Learning for consumer peer reviewers


This guide and checklist was written by Claire Glenton of Cochrane Norway. It is intended for use by people reading through Plain Language Summaries that have been prepared using the template, “How to write a Plain Language Summary of a Cochrane Intervention Review.”

The instructions in this checklist and in the PLS template aim to be consistent with the
“Standards for the reporting of Plain Language Summaries in new Cochrane Intervention Reviews” (PLEACS) 


Peer reviewing Cochrane Reviews as a consumer is vitally important in producing Cochrane Evidence. The information set out below has been written by consumers to help you comment on protocols and full Cochrane Reviews.

Cochrane Peer Review Policy

Cochrane's policy for peer review was changed in 2018 after a considerable process of consultation including with consumers. You can read more about Cochrane's policy here. It is now expected that Cochrane Review Groups should aim to include at least one consumer peer reviewer for each Cochrane Review.

There is more detailed information from Cochrane about making comments on Cochrane Reviews here

Guidance for Consumers

We have a short guide for those new to consumer peer review who would like to start commenting on Cochrane Reviews. This has been written by Cochrane consumers.  

Using Checklists

The Cochrane Review Group with which you are working may provide you with their own checklist to guide you in making comments on reviews and protocols.  If not, please refer to these checklists which were developed by the Cochrane Consumer Network.

If this is your first time using a Consumer Referee Checklist, please refer to the Guidance document (below) for an explanation on the types of information required in each section of the checklist.