If you’ve been following Cochrane Crowd’s activities, hold onto your hats! Our latest challenge held in partnership with the Cochrane Associated Centre at Sinaloa’s Pediatric Hospital (Mexico) and the Autonomous University of Sinaloa (Mexico) was a roaring success, breaking all previously held challenge records.
Over three days from Dec 5-8, 738 people signed up, 455 participated and 319,643 individual assessments were made equating to 89,692 records being screened. 90 people screened at least 1000 records during the challenge and as a result were invited to become Cochrane members. And finally, almost 10,000 RCTs were identified for Cochrane’s CENTRAL register of controlled trials, where they can be accessed by systematic reviewers around the world.
We trust you’ll agree this was a hands-down success! Read on for an interview between Emily Steele, Cochrane Crowd’s Community Engagement and Partnerships Manager and Giordano Perez-Gaxiola, director of Cochrane Mexico and key challenge organiser. They discuss Giordano’s motivation for the challenge, how he worked with the Autonomous University of Sinaloa to engage participation, and why the challenge was so successful.
How did you initially become involved in Cochrane Crowd?
At first, it was just curiosity. I found out about Crowd when it was launched and it caught my attention. I tried it and found it very simple to use.
What motivated you to run a Cochrane Crowd challenge?
I had run a couple of small challenges through Cochrane Classmate with my students in the past year. I thought it was a simple way to motivate them to learn what Cochrane is, what a clinical trial is, and how an easy-to-use platform like Cochrane Crowd could help them learn.
Who did you invite to take part in the challenge?
A couple of months ago I had a meeting with the dean of the medical faculty of the Autonomous University of Sinaloa (Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, UAS), Dr. Gerardo Alapizco, to discuss how the university and our Cochrane Associated Centre at Sinaloa’s Pediatric Hospital (Hospital Pediátrico de Sinaloa, HPS) could collaborate. I proposed setting up a university-wide challenge in order to engage a large number of students. This would introduce them to Cochrane and hopefully pique their interest, potentially leading to further engagement with Cochrane. This proposal was then discussed and approved by the medical faculty’s governing committee. We agreed that all students at UAS would be invited to take part.
How did you engage the students?
First we made a general announcement to all students. UAS is a very large public State university. We had a conference with all student group representatives, and also sent invitations via WhatsApp groups. After that we had 12 training sessions with students.
We had a launch event for the start of the Challenge and we set up a large screen so that students could see the number of classifications being done, sort of a telethon set up.
What was your goal for the challenge?
Our goal was to reach 20,000 classifications, just like the goals set in previous screening challenges like the one during the Colloquium in Edinburgh. We reached that goal in 7 hours! The final tally was 319,643 classifications made by 455 participants in the three days of the challenge.
What helped make the challenge a success?
The challenge exceeded our most ambitious expectations.
In my opinion, there are a few reasons for the success of the challenge. First, we had complete support by the dean, Dr. Alapizco, and teachers of the university. Second, we motivated students by explaining the thresholds to gain a certificate (200 classifications) and to become members of Cochrane (1000 classifications). Third, we are giving a first place prize (a sphygmomanometer) to the participant with the most classifications. And last but not least, the university gave them school credits for participation.
Editorial note: read more about the benefits of joining Cochrane Crowd as a student, including certificates and the possibility of Cochrane membership, here.
And finally, what would you say to people who are thinking about running a challenge?
In my opinion, a Cochrane Crowd challenge is a simple way to engage students, to help them learn about Cochrane and about clinical trials. It is very easy to set up (takes about 10 minutes) and easy for the students to participate. It can be a useful teaching tool, too. And if you make it a competition, it can be fun.
Thank you for sharing your experiences here, Giordano. And a huge thank you from the Cochrane Crowd team to Giordano for driving the challenge, to the Autonomous University of Sinaloa and the Cochrane Associated Centre at Sinaloa’s Pediatric Hospital for your support of Cochrane Crowd, and of course to all the wonderful students who took part in the challenge.
Has Giordano inspired you to organise a Cochrane Crowd challenge at your workplace or university!? If so, please get in contact and we will support you to get one up and running: email@example.com. You can also sign up to Cochrane Crowd, and take a look at Cochrane Classmate, the software we use to run Cochrane Crowd challenges.
Support for Project Transform was provided by Cochrane and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (APP1114605). The contents of the published material are solely the responsibility of the Administering Institution, a Participating Institution or individual authors and do not reflect the views of the NHMRC.