Breaking down information silos in the Cochrane Community with the Comms Digest

How do you break down information silos in the Cochrane Community?

Muriah Umoquit, Communications and Analytics Officer with Cochrane’s Knowledge Translation Department, talks about one solution that Cochrane is using to help break down information silos -  the Communications Network which shares information across groups weekly.

A few years ago when I started at Cochrane, I knew the community was doing great things. We’d hear about an event on Facebook, see a tweet or posting on social media, or learn about a group’s dissemination activities at the Colloquium. But hearing about these successes in the community was sporadic, and it was hard to capture them in a way that we could share further. While Cochrane is a collaboration of many working parts, it was clear that information silos were keeping us from hearing - and sharing - the successes across Cochrane.

It was with this in mind that we started the Cochrane Communications Network in 2015, with its main focus being a weekly digest of all the news and translation work happening within Cochrane. The idea was that those doing communication activities for their Cochrane group could share items in the digest further, and translation teams could better coordinate their activities and promote their work. We started by identifying 23 people who we knew were doing communication work in Cochrane. Now, we’ve grown to 270 members, many joining based on a Cochrane colleague recommending it – a testament to how well the digest is working! You can watch a video how Cochrane Russia is using the digest here.

Why has the CommsNetwork digest worked so well? Given the feedback we’ve gotten, these features stand out as contributing to its success:

  • Regular digest: Every Tuesday you get an email digest; many users build in time into their Wednesday schedule to review. If you miss a week, items with time-sensitive information and items with deadlines are carried over to the next week’s digest.
  • Broad coverage: I monitor a lot of information so you don’t have to! I  pull content from: RRS feeds of all our Cochrane websites; any mentions of @cochranecallab or @cochranelibrary on twitter; and the  Cochrane Community website; dissemination recommendations from KTD, the Cochrane Library Editorial Team, and our publisher Wiley; the Review Group and Methods Digest; the Centre and Fields Digest; tons of Cochrane group newsletters; and submissions from members. Given the space limitations, only a small slice of what goes into the digest makes it into the Cochrane Community and Cochrane Connect newsletters - the Comms Digest gives you the full coverage!
  • Easy to scan: If you only have a minute, at the very top of the newsletter we’ll highlight one or two important items. The newsletter is then organized under the same headings each week: internal membership audience news, external supporter audience news, news about the Colloquium, and date specific items.
  • Easy to share: We’ve listened to feedback and made sharing news items easier - most external news items have ‘suggested tweets’ that you can use on your own accounts. Having it in an email format, rather than a 'nicer looking' newsletter, makes it easier for your to simply copy-and-paste these tweets and use.
  • Easy to submit news: The CommsNetwork Digest is a great platform to share your successes – just email me your news! News items that start in digest could evolve into larger postings, such as community blog posts or features on

What’s the Comms Digest? - 0:33 What does it include? – 0:52 How is it put together? – 1:43 How do you use it? – 3:42 (example at 4:25) How do you sign up? – 8:41

If you do any communications and knowledge translation work for your Cochrane group, come join the Comms Network and get the weekly digest! It will make content creation work easier and give you a platform for sharing your news and successes with a larger audience!

Muriah Umoquit
Communications and Analytics Officer
Cochrane Knowledge Translation

March 8, 2019

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