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Dear Colleagues,
Many thanks for your patience in the last few weeks as we’ve sought to re-arrange the annual Governance Meetings. At the end of 2020, we took the decision to change these meetings from an in-person to an online event, due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s safety and ability to travel.
There have been a number of important external developments and decisions taken by the Governing Board in the past weeks that have affected the timing of the Governance Meetings, and will form the basis of the agenda:

  • In March, the Governing Board approved a project aiming to improve editorial integrity and efficiency. There are two workstreams in the project: Workstream 1 - Scaling up and piloting a Centralized Editorial Service; and Workstream 2 - Consultation with all Cochrane Review Groups on the future of producing reviews in Cochrane. More information can be found on the Cochrane Community website;
  • In April, the Governing Board re-committed to a long-standing organizational ambition that by 2025 at the latest, Cochrane will achieve universal open access to Cochrane Systematic Reviews immediately on publication for both new and updated reviews;
  • Also in April, the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the principal funder of Cochrane Review Groups in the UK, indicated plans to change the way it funds evidence synthesis in the UK.

These developments create both uncertainty and opportunity for Cochrane, and it’s right that sufficient space is provided for organization-wide discussion, especially in a situation where we cannot meet in person and are working across multiple time-zones.
We are therefore planning to divide the Governance Meeting into two main parts:

  1. A series of business meetings in May for members of the Group Executives, all Co-ordinating Editors, members of the Author Form, members of the Early Career Professionals Network; and the Cochrane Council;
  2. Strategic and discussion sessions on 22 and 24 June for all members and supporters, covering topics including the Editorial Integrity & Efficiency project and outcomes from the business meetings. You can now register for this event here

For more information and the latest updates, please see the Governance Meeting pages on the Cochrane Community website.          
The strategic landscape in which Cochrane operates in 2021 looks quite different and we believe the division of these meetings over the next two months will provide space for important conversations. Given this intention and approach, the Governing Board has decided to delay the launch of a new organizational Strategic Framework.
We look forward to constructive, honest discussions with you all, which will form part of an ongoing dialogue about how Cochrane can best respond to these new challenges and opportunities.
With best wishes,
Catherine Marshall & Tracey Howe
Co-Chairs, Governing Board
Karla Soares-Weiser

Acting CEO

April 30, 2021