Conflict of Interest Revision Project – Progress Report, Jan 2020

Conflict of Interest Revision Project

Cochrane is revising our current commercial sponsorship policy and also developing a non-financial or academic conflict of interest policy. Read about the progress to date, view project reports and recommendations, and learn about the next steps.

Cochrane’s policy on conflict of interest (COI) is very important to those who create and use Cochrane Library content. We strive to minimize the impact of conflicts of interest in the conduct of Cochrane Reviews and as a result we have a policy that is stricter than that of most biomedical journals (1).

Progress to date

The current version was last updated in 2014, so there was a clear need to review and refresh the policy and many members of the Cochrane community will be aware that work to do this got underway late in 2018. As background to the policy revision the COI Project Team undertook three separate pieces of work; a review of organizational COI policies and selective review of academic research; a survey of Cochrane community members; and a series of semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders and conflict of interest experts.

The findings from the interviews, survey and organizational policy review, together with expertise from the COI Project Board and knowledge of the cases that had been referred to the Funding Arbiters and Panel in the past, were used to generate a set of recommendations for change which were presented to Cochrane’s Governing Board in Santiago, in October 2019.

What's next?

All recommendations were approved by the Board and work on a draft policy is currently underway. In addition the Editorial and Methods Department is working on a detailed implementation plan to disseminate information about the policy changes, raise awareness of their implications, and provide training opportunities before the policy is officially launched.


1. Bero L. [Internet]: thebmjopinion, November 12, 2018. (cited January 2020)

January 9, 2020