Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource
Disseminating Cochrane Reviews

Key user groups

The key user groups of the Cochrane Library – those that use the content to inform healthcare decisions – are clinicians and healthcare workers, researchers (including information specialists and guideline developers), students, consumers (including patients and carers), and policy-makers.

There are other groups important to the Cochrane Library who serve a variety of purposes, such as those involved in knowledge translation and dissemination via media outlets, journalists, and bloggers to global audiences; database providers who ‘repackage’ content, policy-setting bodies, and others; bodies who provide access to content by purchasing institutional, regional, and national licenses to the Cochrane Library; and funders of Cochrane Reviews and related content.

These groups were described in the Cochrane Content Strategic Session background paper.

Guiding principle for disseminating Cochrane Reviews

The guiding principle for dissemination is to identify the people who most need to know the information contained within a particular Cochrane Review, and the channels which maximise the potential for it to reach those audiences, while maintaining the integrity of the individual reviews. Every Cochrane Review that is scheduled for publication goes through an assessment process to establish key findings and messages and their importance, as well as audiences and channels for dissemination. (For more information, please see the Identifying Cochrane Reviews for centrally organized dissemination activities section below.)

Centrally organized dissemination activities

Many of the dissemination activities are co-ordinated by the Cochrane Knowledge Translation Department and the Cochrane Editorial Unit, often in partnership with Cochrane's publisher, John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

There are a range of formal Cochrane dissemination channels, such as:

  • Global press release.
  • Cochrane Podcast (usually recorded by one or more authors).
  • Social media activity (via the Cochrane Library Facebook and @CochraneLibrary Twitter account).
  • Featured in a Cochrane CDSR editorial (and possibly accompanied by a Special Collection).
  • Included in the list of New & Highlighted Cochrane Reviews on The Cochrane Library homepage.
  • Featured in a Cochrane Review on the Cochrane.org homepage.
  • Listing as a highlight in Wiley’s monthly round up marketing email to subscribers.
  • Featured in a Cochrane Journal Club (including a podcast and slide-set).
  • Inclusion in The Cochrane Library iPad edition – monthly.
  • Presented in a Cochrane Blog post
  • Posting on Wikipedia
  • Targeted Dissemination to relevant groups and organizations

Press releases

Press releases are produced to highlight some of the key healthcare conclusions of Cochrane Reviews published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) and their implications for practice.

Press releases for Cochrane Reviews are available on cochrane.org. Further media coverage is also highlighted on the Cochrane website together with the Cochrane PR process and checklist.

Journalists or members of the press who wish to receive news alerts or arrange an interview with an author should contact the Cochrane press office (pressoffice@cochrane.org).

Wiley also grants complimentary access to the Cochrane Library for journalists. For more information please contact pressoffice@cochrane.org.

Cochrane Journal Club and Podcasts for Cochrane Reviews

Learn about the Cochrane Journal Club and Podcasts for Cochrane Reviews. Cochrane Review Groups are encouraged to forward suggestions for Cochrane Reviews that they think are suitable for podcasting to the weekly Cochrane Content and Dissemination meeting by completing and submitting the Cochrane Dissemination brief.

Featured Reviews on the Cochrane website

Reviews may be included as featured reviews on the Cochrane website. The Cochrane website is managed by the Cochrane Communications and External Affairs Department. For further information contact Jo Anthony, Head of the Knowledge Translation Department.

Highlighted reviews on the Cochrane Library website 

The Cochrane Library home page lists five Highlighted Reviews. These are selected by the Cochrane Editorial Unit, and they are usually recently published reviews that are of particular interest.

Reviews can also be highlighted on the Cochrane Library browse functions. The browse menu has two starting points: by Topic or by Cochrane Review Group. Both use the same interface, which provides an additional means of giving prominence to reviews of interest within a topic or group context.

Browse by Review Group: When browsing reviews of a particular Review Group, via the Browse by Cochrane Review Group page, one review is included as a ‘Highlighted Cochrane Review’. Each Review Group can choose which review they wish to be displayed on their Group’s page.

How Review Groups can select reviews to highlight in Browse by Review Groups:

1. Find the review in Archie

2. Create a new note

3. Select Note Type 'Tag' and make the title of the note 'Highlight'

4. Save and Exit. 

The CEU will search for notes of this sort at the start of each month and apply the relevant changes to the Browse by Review Groups pages.

The CEU will only process the most recently highlighted review by each CRG, so there's no need to delete old notes. If you do want a particular change made, please contact John Hilton (jhilton@cochrane.org) or Monaz Mehta (mmehta@cochrane.org).

Browse by Topic: When browsing reviews under a particular topic, via the Browse by Topic page, one review is included as a ‘Highlighted Cochrane Review’. These reviews are chosen by the Cochrane Editorial Unit, informed by choices made for highlighted reviews that appear on the home page and the Browse by Review Group pages.

Editorials and Special Collections

Cochrane Reviews may be supported by an accompanying CDSR editorial, and may form part of an existing or new Special Collection. The Cochrane Editorial Unit welcomes suggestions for editorials or Special Collections.

Inclusion in the Cochrane Library iPad edition

Refer to sections on Smartphone/iPad applications.

Social media activity

Cochrane uses popular social media such as:

Cochrane material is also included in other social media routes including blogs, further podcasts, RSS feeds, and Wikis.

Identifying Cochrane Reviews for centrally organized dissemination activities

Members of the dissemination team (mainly from the Cochrane Editorial Unit and Cochrane’s Communications and External Affairs Department - CEAD) receive an email alert every time a Review is approved by a Sign-Off Editor in the editorial workflow (milestone E) See information about workflows. For more information on Cochrane’s Dissemination Process (Link)

The dissemination team then work together to identify Cochrane Reviews for dissemination based on the importance of the research question, the findings of the review, the impact the conclusions may have on practices in healthcare and health policies, and whether the review topic has already been identified as a priority topic on the Priority Reviews List.

Reviews which have been chosen for dissemination are often prominently featured on the Cochrane Library home page with a related accompanying image. These are usually changed on a weekly basis by the CEU. All images selected to accompany Cochrane Review dissemination are chosen using Cochrane Brand Guidelines.

Between milestone E and milestone H – when the Cochrane Review is marked for publication – a member of the dissemination team will contact the Managing Editor of the responsible Cochrane Review Group to agree the dissemination activity and the publication date for the Cochrane Review if it requires central dissemination support.

Cochrane Reviews identified for dissemination activities remain under embargo until publication of the Cochrane Review in the CDSR.

For more information, see Cochrane’s Dissemination Process

Activities co-ordinated by Cochrane groups or authors

Some Cochrane Review Groups organize dissemination activities for Cochrane Reviews prepared and published by their groups; and Centres or Fields may also publicize selected Cochrane Reviews. These may include identifying key target audiences (e.g. decision-makers) for a particular review and the preferred dissemination routes for the audiences (e.g. selected emails, Twitter, blog posts). Please note that Groups need to follow the spokesperson policy in their dissemination planning.

Impact plan

One of the targets of Cochrane's Strategy to 2020 was to develop a dissemination checklist for every Cochrane Review and pilot it with Cochrane Review Groups. This scope of this work has been expanded in recognition of the fact that the main focus should be to achieve impact and that dissemination and impact need to be considered throughout the lifecycle of the review. Cochrane is currently developing impact resource and usage documents to support Cochrane Review Groups and authors disseminate their findings and communicate the difference Cochrane Reviews make.

The first step in this process is for Cochrane Review Groups to complete the Cochrane Dissemination brief.

For more information contact John Hilton (jhilton@cochrane.org) or Jo Anthony, Head of the Knowledge Translation Department

Dissemination contacts within the Central Executive Team: 

Toby Lasserson (TLasserson@cochrane.org), Cochrane Editorial Unit



Section info
Describe change
Disseminating Cochrane Reviews has now been updated.
Change date
21 June 2016