Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions
1.4.1 The Cochrane Library

Cochrane Reviews are published in full online in the CDSR, which is a core component of the Cochrane Library ( The Cochrane Library was first published in 1996, and is now an online collection of six databases (listed in 1.4.a) published by Wiley-Blackwell. In addition to the CDSR, the Cochrane Library includes additional resources that are provided by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) in York, UK. It is available free at the point of use in some countries, thanks to national licences and free one-click access provided by Wiley-Blackwell and Cochrane in most low- and middle-income countries, in association with Evidence Aid. Elsewhere it is subscription based, or pay-per-view. Since February 2013, reviews that have been published in full, or updated in full for the first time, now become freely available to all 12 months after their initial publication under an open access model.

Box 1.4.a: Databases published in the Cochrane Library

Active databases

The CDSR contains the full text (including methods, results and conclusions) for Cochrane Reviews and protocols.

The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) is a highly concentrated source of reports of randomized and quasi-randomized studies. The majority of CENTRAL records are taken from bibliographic databases (mainly MEDLINE and Embase), but records are also derived from other published and unpublished sources. 

The Health Technology Assessment database contains details of completed and ongoing health technology assessments (studies of the medical, social, ethical, and economic implications of healthcare interventions). It is produced by CRD, using information obtained from members of International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) and other health technology assessment organizations.

Archived databases 

The Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE), assembled and previously maintained by CRD, contains critical assessments and structured abstracts of other systematic reviews, conforming to explicit quality criteria. This database was archived in March 2015.

The Cochrane Methodology Register (CMR) contains bibliographic information on articles and books on the science of reviewing research, and a prospective register of methodological studies. This database was archived in July 2012.

NHS Economic Evaluation Database (EED) contains appraised economic evaluations highlighting their relative strengths and weaknesses. It was produced by CRD. This database was archived in March 2015.


Section info
Change date
9 February 2017