Governing Board meeting update

Photo of the Governing Board outside the meeting's venue

The Governing Board met in London on Thursday 31 August, Friday 1 September and Saturday 2 September. Members of the Governing Board are Cochrane’s Trustees and are responsible for the charity’s management and administration. The Board usually meets quarterly, two of the meetings are online and two are in person. Below is a summary of the meeting.

Open Access

Trustees discussed Open Access and the latest work that has been done to test a viable model for the future.  A number of potential outcomes have been identified and next steps will be discussed with Wiley.

Governance Review

A Governance Review was commissioned to help the Board consider how well Cochrane’s governance structures support the delivery of our strategic aims and charitable objectives. The report concluded that the organisation's governance structures are ‘healthy’.  A number of recommendations designed to build on firm foundations and clarify, simplify and strengthen our governance were made.

It was agreed that a Chair and a Vice Chair (rather two Co Chairs) would be appointed after a robust recruitment process to ensure that a wide pool of candidates is reached.

Membership and terms of reference for the Board’s sub Committees and working groups will be reviewed and more information will be gathered around the role and function of Cochrane’s many groups. The Governance and Nominations Committee will work with the Head of Governance to oversee the programme of work.

The role and function of the Council was considered as part of the Governance Review. The Board agreed that the Council is not able to fulfil all of the functions that it has been attempting to and that a new Advisory Panel will be established to gather perspectives from the whole community and provide advice to the Governing Board. Members of the Council committed to working together with the Governing Board to define the role, function and membership of a new Advisory Panel.

More information about the changes to the Council can be found here.

Financial results

The latest financial results showed that income from the Cochrane Library was up but both fundraising and events income were down when compared to the budget. Overall though, the projection of a £0.4m operating deficit was in line with the agreed budget for 2023.


An Income Generation Strategy which had been developed with input from the Fundraising Committee was approved. A draft accepting and rejecting donations policy was reviewed and more work will be done before it is approved.

The Cochrane Collaboration

The organization’s official name has always been The Cochrane Collaboration but after a rebranding exercise in 2015 it was agreed that we would be known as ‘Cochrane’ and that ‘The Cochrane Collaboration’ should not be used.

The Board agreed that branding guidelines should be updated to remove reference to not referring to Cochrane as The Cochrane Collaboration. Board members noted that collaboration is a behaviour and a way of working that never went away.

Strategy 2024-2027

The latest version of the strategy was discussed and members of the Board noted their thanks to the groups and individual members of the Community who had contributed to its development.

Catherine Spencer said that two main messages had come out of the engagement activity; that the direction of travel is the right one and, there is appetite to understand how the strategy will be put into operation.

The special session during the Colloquium provided another opportunity for engaging and collecting and the strategic goals were shared at the Annual General Meeting.

Publisher’s report

Deborah Pentesco-Murphy and colleagues from Wiley joined the Board and reported that as of June 2023 sales were 12% up on 2022. Free one-click access was available in over 100 low to middle income countries and 82% of Cochrane reviews could be viewed freely on Cochrane Library and PubMed Central.

The annual impact reports showed that a Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) review published in 2021 or 2020 was cited, on average, 8.4 times in 2022 (this is known as the Impact Factor).

Customer survey results which showed that Cochrane’s most attractive feature is credibility.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Governing Board will be on 8 December 2023. The meeting will be a virtual one.

The agenda and papers for the meeting will be published here.

28 September 2023