The Risk of Bias 2 Strategic Session at the mid-year Cochrane Governance Meeting

The Risk of Bias 2 Strategic Session at the mid-year Cochrane Governance Meeting

Following the development of the Risk of Bias 2 (RoB 2) tool, Cochrane will be rolling it out on new reviews in 2020. Here, Ella Flemyng, Methods Implementation Coordinator at Cochrane, highlights feedback from the Cochrane community on its implementation during the ‘Risk of Bias 2 Strategic Session’ at the mid-year Cochrane Governance Meetings last month.

The mid-year Cochrane Governance Meetings in Krakow was a great opportunity for us to present plans for implementing Risk of Bias 2 (RoB 2) - see the post ‘Update on the implementation of Risk of Bias 2 in Cochrane‘ - and to hear from the Cochrane community about what is going to help them work with this new method. Given the collaborative approach that we are taking with RoB 2 roll-out, we needed to get your feedback on our plans for its implementation.

We had some really useful discussions about the RoB 2 roll-out at our strategic session. The session began with Julian Higgins (University of Bristol and Bias Methods Group Co-Convener) introducing RoB 2 and the differences compared to original tool. This was followed by Rachel Richardson (Network Research Fellow, Abdomen and Endocrine Network) who gave a case study on how she used RoB 2 in an ongoing Cochrane Review. Kerry Dwan (Statistical Editor, CET) then highlighted proposed changes to the data extraction form, Rebecka Hall (Product Owner of RevMan) showcased changes for RevMan Web, and Toby Lasserson (Senior Editor, CET) highlighted plans for the pilot, wider roll-out and proposals for the Cochrane Library. The slides have been made available here.

Questions arose around the expectations of when RoB 2 should be applied in the context of updates, the role of funding source, and stipulating the effect of interest. We are currently developing these questions into a FAQ.  

The final section of the session was a breakout, where those attending gave feedback on what tools, guidance, training and support they feel are needed, for us to build in to our plans. Full details on the feedback can be found here and the following were the most frequently mentioned:

  • Guidance = Quick-start, bite-sized guides (such as on each domain) using diagrams, ‘how-to’ YouTube clips, etc. that would support full guidance.
  • Training = Virtual sessions, including offline, webinars, recorded webinars, and interactive e-learning tools.
  • Support = Centralised, ongoing, expert support team for editorial teams and authors including ‘Help’ Slack channel or clinics.
  • Tools = Integration of all tools with RevMan Web, including the RoB 2 Excel tool, Covidence, updates to GRADE, Archie, and signalling questions.
Risk of Bias


Some final thoughts

We are confident that the use of RoB 2 will improve the reliability and transparency of risk of bias assessments in Cochrane Reviews, facilitating more concrete conclusions and ultimately making health decisions more informed. By working with all key stakeholders, our pilot and roll-out project aims to develop a clear and streamlined process for authors, editors and other users to conduct or assess risk of bias using the RoB 2 tool.

We plan to keep you up-to-date with periodic posts on RoB 2 implementation so watch this space for more updates to come!


We welcome any questions or feedback on RoB 2 implementation, please email

I would like to thank Kerry Dwan, Rebecka Hall and Toby Lasserson for their insightful and constructive comments on this post during its development.


8 May 2019

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