How do you break down information silos in the Cochrane Community?

How do you break down information silos in the Cochrane Community?

Simple communication solution found in Cochrane’s Communications Network

Muriah Umoquit, Internal Communications and Content Officer with Cochrane’s Communications & External Affairs Department (CEAD), talks about how Cochrane is breaking down information silos with the Communications Network and the sharing of information across groups weekly.

A year ago, we knew that the Cochrane community was doing great things. We’d hear about an event on Facebook, see a tweet or posting on social media, or learn about a group’s dissemination activities at the Colloquium. But hearing about these successes in the community was sporadic, and it was hard to capture them in a way that we could share further. While Cochrane is a collaboration of many working parts, it was clear that information silos were keeping us from hearing - and sharing - the successes across Cochrane.

It was with this in mind that we started the Cochrane Communications Network in Spring 2015, with its main focus being a weekly digest of all the news and translation work happening within Cochrane. The idea was that those doing communication activities for their Cochrane group could share items in the digest further, and translation teams could better coordinate their activities and promote their work. We started by identifying 23 people who we knew were doing communication work in Cochrane. Now, just over a year in, we’ve grown to 146 members based only on recommendations – a testament to how well the digest is working! It’s also been the model for how information is shared with our Review and Methods and Centres and Fields groups.

Why has the CommsNetwork digest worked so well? Given the feedback we’ve gotten, these features stand out as contributing to its success:

  • Regular digest: Every Tuesday you get an email digest; many users build in time into their Wednesday schedule to review. If you miss a week, items with time-sensitive information, like deadlines, are carried over to the next week’s digest.
  • Broad coverage: I monitor a lot of information so you don’t have to! I  pull content from: RRS feeds of our 130+ group news websites; Cochrane’s twitter feed; any mentions of @cochranecallab on twitter; and the  Cochrane Community website; dissemination recommendations from CEAD, CEU, and Wiley; all Cochrane Review publications; the Review Group and Methods Digest; the Centre and Fields Digest; tons of Cochrane group newsletters; and submissions from members. Given the space limitations, only a small slice of what goes into the digest makes it into the Cochrane Community and Cochrane Connect newsletters.
  • Easy to scan: If you only have a minute, at the very top of the newsletter we’ll highlight one or two important items. The newsletter is then organized under the same headings each week: community news, important dates, Cochrane translations, top tweets, recent Cochrane publications and recommendations, and up next.
  • Easy to share: We’ve listened to feedback and made sharing translations easier and have embedded ‘suggested tweets’ throughout.
  • Plan ahead: The ‘important dates’ section has news with specific deadlines (like a job posting or training event). In the ‘up next’ section we let you know of any upcoming things like internal national health awareness days. We also share with you advance copies of big news items like press releases and featured reviews.
  • Easy to submit news: The CommsNetwork Digest is a great platform to share your successes – just email me your news! News items that start in digest could evolve into larger postings, such as community blog posts or features on

Now that the secret is officially out, see for yourself what the hype is about! You can learn more about the CommsNetwork with this FAQ. Everyone is welcome to join and submit items - join the CommsNetwork here!

Muriah Umoquit
Internal Communications and Content Manager
Cochrane CEAD

May 26, 2016

The Cochrane Official Blog is curated and maintained by the Knowledge Translation Department. To submit items for publication to the blog or to add comments to a blog, please email

The Cochrane Blog presents commentary and personal opinion on topics of interest from a range of contributors to the work of Cochrane. Opinions posted on the Cochrane Blog are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Cochrane.