Providing guidance for setting Cochrane review priorities

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Providing guidance for setting Cochrane review priorities

This is part of a series of Cochrane Blog posts about prioritization work by Cochrane Review Groups. You can read more about the project and the full series of blog post on the project page.

Setting systematic review priorities is essential to ensure that Cochrane produces the right reviews. Allowing Cochrane stakeholders (consumers, healthcare professionals, policy makers) to engage with Cochrane Groups at the earliest possible stage of review production, places priority-setting at the heart of Cochrane’s Knowledge Translation efforts.

The Knowledge Translation Working Group on Priority Setting (KT Working Group) has developed practical guidance for Cochrane Review Groups and Networks, Geographically-oriented Groups, and Fields to use when defining a set of high priority Cochrane reviews. The guidance note does not recommend a standardized approach for all Cochrane Groups to use, instead it aims to help Groups determine the best approach according to their specific goals and resource constraints.

Whilst the a variety of approaches to priority setting are described in the guidance note, the KT Working Group has defined a set of mandatory standards which relate specifically to review titles  being proposed for the Cochrane Priority Review List. Going forward, only reviews that have been derived from a process that follows these mandatory standards will be accepted. There are additional highly desirable standards, which don’t have to be followed to get a title on the list, but will make the priority setting process more robust if followed. We recognize that priorities may emerge in between formal priority-setting cycles (for example because of an emerging health issue, or at the specific request of guideline developers or funders). Clearly, Groups should undertake these reviews as a matter of priority, even if they are not included in the Cochrane Priority Review List. We encourage Groups to justify and document the priority of any reviews that fall outside of a formal process.

How can you get involved in priority setting?

  • Learn more about priority setting at our upcoming workshop at the Cochrane Colloquium in Edinburgh: Monday 17 September 2018: 14:00 to 15:30 https://colloquium.cochrane.org/workshops/producing-right-reviews-cochrane-approach-priority-setting
  • The KT training website includes the guidance note, case studies, as well as references to other resources to support each step of a priority setting process.
  • From October to December 2018 the KT Working Group will run a series of webinars where staff from Cochrane Review Groups and Networks, Geographically-oriented Groups and Fields, can ask questions and discuss any challenges they face in undertaking a priority-setting exercise. In addition, the KT Working Group will contribute to the development of training resources that can support Groups in their priority setting work.
  • Contribute to priority setting processes of other Cochrane Groups. Information about ongoing processes will be communicated through the community website.

Ruth Foxlee, Senior Advisor to the Editor in Chief, Cochrane Editorial & Methods Department
Sylvia de Haan, Senior Advisor (Centres, Partnerships & Fundraising), Chief Executive’s Office

September 11, 2018

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