Getting involved

Being part of The Cochrane Collaboration is more than a publication or a job. It's a network of colleagues, advisors and friends that spans the globe - an incomparable opportunity to learn, collaborate and share with some amazing people.”

 Miranda Cumpston, Collaboration Training Co-ordinator, based at the Australasian Cochrane Centre

The task which Cochrane has undertaken is very large. The latest estimate is that at least 10,000 Cochrane Reviews are needed to cover all healthcare interventions that have already been investigated in controlled trials, and these reviews will need to be updated at the rate of 5000 per year.

Cochrane works thanks to the people who contribute their skills and time to this effort. Already more than 31,000 people around the world have become involved in writing, editing, disseminating or otherwise supporting systematic reviews. Getting involved does not require formal qualifications. There are no membership fees. The key requirements are that you:

  • have suitable skills (and willingness to learn new ones);
  • can volunteer some of your time over an extended period;
  • work as part of a team;
  • support Cochrane's aims ; and
  • share Cochrane's spirit of goodwill.
Getting involved as an author of a Cochrane Review
If you have an idea for a new systematic review of an intervention or diagnostic test, you should contact the relevant Cochrane Review Group to register your proposed topic. There are 52 Cochrane Review Groups, each taking editorial responsibility for a particular area of health care. Being part of a Cochrane Review Group provides the support, resources and training to tackle a systematic review, and an international audience when your work is published in The Cochrane Library. More information about identifying and registering a title, as well as links to resources and training for authors, are available here.
Getting involved as a peer reviewer
Each Cochrane Review Group uses a network of peer reviewers with a range of expertise to ensure the high quality of published protocols and reviews. Some reviewers need content/topic expertise, others need methodological expertise and an editor's eye for detail. For more information, contact the group responsible for publishing reviews in your area of interest.
Getting involved as a Field member
Fields are Cochrane groups that focus on dimensions of health care other than health problems, such as the setting of care (e.g. primary care), the type of consumer (e.g. older people), the type of provider (e.g. nurses) or the type of intervention (e.g. physical therapies). People working in Fields help to ensure that priorities and perspectives in their field of interest are reflected in the work of review groups. They also compile specialised databases of reviews, co-ordinate activities with relevant agencies outside Cochrane, and comment on systematic reviews relating to their particular area. For more information on ways to get involved, contact the Field in which you have an interest.
Getting involved as a consumer representative
Consumers are the recipients of health care (patients or clients). Every Cochrane Review Group aims to have members who will represent the consumer viewpoint in deciding which reviews are done, the questions on which they focus, and how the results are presented. The Cochrane Consumer Network coordinates the involvement of consumers within Cochrane. You can also contact specific Review Groups for more information.
Getting involved as a methodologist
If you have expertise in statistics or other methodological aspects of systematic reviews, you can contribute through one of the Cochrane Methods Groups. Such involvement can enhance your own work through collaboration with an international team.
Getting involved as a translator
The language Cochrane and of The Cochrane Library is English, but reports of trials are often published in other languages. People who are willing to contribute their translation skills freely are invaluable to the work of the organisation. Please contact your local Cochrane Centre.
Getting involved as a funder
If your organisation is interested in funding the preparation of a review, please read our policy regarding commercial sponsorship of reviews, and contact the group in which your area of interest resides. We also welcome individual donations.

How to register your interest in becoming involved

Decide on the role that suits your skills (review author, handsearcher, translator, etc. See above for more detail)

  1. Choose the Cochrane group (i.e., health care area) you wish to work with. Browse the lists of Cochrane Review Groups, Methods Groups, Fields, and the Consumer Network. The reviews and protocols produced by Review Groups will indicate the scope of their work.
  2. Contact the group by email, phone or fax. Briefly state your background and the way you wish to become involved.
  3. If you can't decide which is the most suitable group, contact your nearest Cochrane Centre. Explain your interest and background. Their staff will help you decide which is the most suitable Cochrane group to work with.
    Contact details for Cochrane Centres

The Cochrane20 Video series

As part of a series of events to mark our 20th Anniversary in 2013, twenty-four videos - the Cochrane20 Video Series - were created focusing on the ideas, achievements and people that have contributed to its growth since 1993. The following selected installments focus on the roles of authors and consumers in Cochrane, the training we provide, and the process of producing Cochrane Reviews.

#7: Producing Cochrane reviews #10 Engaging consumers
#8: Cochrane Review authors #11 Cochrane training

The complete playlist can be found on our 20th Anniversary website and on YouTube.

Updated on: June 13, 2014, 15:05

Comments for improvement or correction are welcome.