Attribution of credit in updated Cochrane reviews
2Imperial College Business School, UK
Background: Cochrane’s guidance indicates that when a review is updated, the authors of the first review version should be listed as former contributors in the updated review’s acknowledgements.
Objectives: We explore whether Cochrane review authors are properly credited in the acknowledgements of updated reviews. We are particularly interested in potential disparities (if any) in the attribution of credit for female authors and authors from minority groups.
Methods: We consider 2,096 Cochrane reviews that have been subject to at least one update between 2003 and 2019. We capture whether authors who contributed to a review by participating in the first version did, or did not, receive credit in the acknowledgements of the updated review. We estimate the antecedents of exclusion from acknowledgements, focusing on the gender and race of the authors. The sample we use for the estimation contains 7,764 observations (review authors). Gender and race were inferred from the authors’ first and second names using prediction packages Gender-API and Ethnicolr.
Results: 14% of the authors listed in the original review (and missing from the author list of the updated version) were not mentioned in the acknowledgements of the updated review. We find weak preliminary evidence that the authors’ race predicted their exclusion from the acknowledgements.
Conclusions: Our initial findings suggest that, despite the guidance set by Cochrane, former contributors are not always credited in updated reviews.