A fond farewell to our closing review groups

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Today marks the closure of the UK-based Cochrane Review Groups whose funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has come to an end.

Over Cochrane’s 30-year history, thanks to the work of Cochrane Review Groups, over 16,000 new and updated Cochrane Reviews have been published covering a wide range of disciplines. These have led to countless policy changes, saving and improving many lives across the world.

Cochrane CEO Catherine Spencer and Editor in Chief Karla Soares-Weiser have thanked members of groups that are closing for their contributions:

“We want to express our heartfelt gratitude for your outstanding contributions to Cochrane and evidence-based healthcare, and the countless lives you have positively impacted through your dedication and hard work. The exceptional reviews produced by Cochrane Review Groups have been a cornerstone of our organization's reputation for producing high-quality evidence, and your passion and commitment have been instrumental in achieving that.”

The review group model served Cochrane well over three decades, but in that time the world has changed along with funding pressures and priorities. To ensure that Cochrane can continue to produce trusted evidence for decades to come, a change programme is underway to transition to a new model for producing evidence syntheses. Over the coming years Cochrane will continue to support funded review groups to produce evidence syntheses, while running pilot projects to test different approaches.

“We are grateful to the NIHR for providing stable funding for Cochrane’s UK-based review groups, which helped Cochrane to become the well-respected organisation it is today,” says Karla. “We are now in a strong position to move forward and build on this excellent foundation, for which we owe immense gratitude to our Cochrane Review Groups across the world. Some UK based groups have secured alternative sources of funding to develop and write evidence syntheses, while others are seeking funds to enable them to do so. For others, we share and recognise the sadness that will be felt at their closure but we salute the contribution made by this community of people.

“Isaac Newton wrote ‘if I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’, in reference to the scientific and philosophical ideas that preceded and enabled his theories. At Cochrane, every review we publish, every guideline we influence and every life we improve is only possible thanks to decades of work from review groups. To everyone who has worked in a Cochrane Review Group, I would like to say: you are all giants.”

31 March 2023