Give us a P, give us an I, give us a C, give us an O! The Cochrane Crowd PICO task is here!


It is with pleasure, and a little trepidation, that we announce the launch of the Cochrane Crowd PICO task.

Building on the randomised trial identification task, this new task asks you to help describe the trial. In order to do that we’ve adopted a well-known framework called PICO. PICO stands for Population, Intervention, Comparator, and Outcome.

Why develop such a task?

One of the biggest challenges we face in our efforts to turn information into knowledge about treatments, is keeping up with the sheer volume of research produced. Over 4000 health-related articles are published each day. When we need to find studies to help answer questions about the effectiveness of treatments, researchers and information specialists are faced with having to wade through potentially thousands of irrelevant articles to find the good stuff!

This poor level of specificity has a detrimental effect on being able to produce timely systematic reviews. More time is spent identifying studies for inclusion in systematic reviews than on any other critical task in the process.

Surfacing the PICO elements of a study according to a pre-defined framework and using controlled vocabularies could dramatically speed up the study identification process by improving the specificity of searches without compromising on their accuracy.

But none of this is easy and it’s going to take a big collective effort to make it work.

What exactly is the task?

The task looks quite similar to the RCT identification task in Cochrane Crowd, except that for this task you’ll have to try to answer some questions regarding the trial’s key PICO characteristics.

How can I get involved?

Anyone who has screened 100 or more records in the RCT identification task will ‘unlock’ this new task. Once the task is unlocked, you’ll be able to see it in your Crowd dashboard. So if you’ve already screened 100, the PICO task awaits you!

What records are being annotated first by the Crowd?

We’re starting off with records that are focused on a particular healthcare domain: airways. We’re doing this because it will give us a good chance to assess Crowd annotation consistency and to provide a complete dataset in one area, meaning we can test out just how useful these annotations are to identify relevant health research quickly, easily and accurately!

Well, what are you waiting for? Hop over to Cochrane Crowd now and get that PICO task unlocked!

Let’s see if we can we do 500 PICOs in a week!

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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.

20 June 2018