Strategic portfolio

Methods portfolio

Review Production portfolio

Publishing portfolio


Strategic portfolio

Project Title: Conflict of Interest (COI) Policy Revision

Project Lead: Ruth Foxlee, Senior Programme Manager
Contact: rfoxlee@cochrane.org

Revise the COI policy to improve clarity, incorporate non-financial conflicts into the policy and develop a training and implementation plan.

Update (April 16  2019): The following project milestones have been achieved:

  1. A literature review of other organisations’ COI policies, and published COI research
  2. An open survey to ascertain opinions about Cochrane’s policy from people both in and outside Cochrane
  3. Sixteen in-depth interviews with key Cochrane stakeholders and COI expert

Reports of all three project components will be delivered by mid-May, 2019 and used to inform a recommendation paper and revised COI policy draft for Governing Board approval in July 2019.

Project Title: Author Charter

Project Lead: Senior Editorial Officer (TBA)

Develop an author charter that describes agreed expectations between authors and Cochrane Review Groups to assure the equity and consistently high quality of the review process.

Project Title: Editorial Charter

Project Lead: Senior Editorial Officer (TBA)

Develop an editorial charter that describes agreed expectations across Networks and Cochrane Review Groups to assure the equity and consistently high quality of editorial processes.

Project Title: High-profile reviews

Project Lead: Senior Editorial Officer (TBA)

To develop and implement an agreed quality assurance process for high-profile reviews.

Update (April 9 2019): The draft identification criteria and a quality assurance management process have been developed by December 2018. An advisory group consisting of representatives from the community was convened and feedback on the documents was completed by January 2019 and presented to the Editorial and Governing Boards.

The next steps involve finalising the documents with the feedback from the Editorial and Governing Boards’ feedback and sending for sign off to the Editor in Chief. Hold the first teleconference with the Advisory Group and agree on an implementation, roll-out plan with the community for new reviews. The proposed plan for implementation is news item with links to the criteria, process and registration form on the community website, followed by three webinars across 3 different time-zones. The Advisory Group will meet every quarter going forward to access new submissions.

Project Title: Ibero-American Centre author mentoring

Project Lead: Sera Tort, Clinical Editor
Contact: stort@cochrane.org

A joint project between EMD and Cochrane Ibero-America to support four author teams by providing mentoring in their own language, including linguistic and methods support.


Methods portfolio

Programme Title: Content Strategy

Programme Leads: Toby Lasserson, Deputy Editor in Chief & Ella Flemyng, Methods Implementation Co-ordinator
Contact: tlasserson@cochrane.org; eflemyng@cochrane.org

The Content Strategy Programme contains several projects:

Clinical Study Reports

Explore the feasibility of using Clinical Study Reports as the main source of data in Cochrane drug intervention reviews. If it is confirmed as feasible, three exemplar reviews should be initiated before the end of 2019.

Update (9 April 2019): A planning group has been formed and meeting delegates invited to an exploratory meeting scheduled for May 16, 2019 in London.

Living Reviews

Create an infrastructure to support living systematic reviews across all Networks.

Project Update:
An evaluation of the Living Systematic Review (LSR) pilot has been finalised and a manuscript for publication in preparation. The LSR Network now has almost 250 members.

Network Meta-Analysis

Develop standards and scaling up of Network Meta-analysis (NMA).

Update (9 April 2019): A project proposal and funding request is being prepared. Handbook chapters and a Cochrane interactive learning module have been launched. Next steps include developing a set of methodological expectation; create a network of NMA experts and submit a special session or workshop for the 2019 Colloquium.

Prognosis Reviews

Publish at least six Prognosis Review exemplars to streamline working arrangements between Cochrane Review Groups and the Prognosis Methods Group, and ensure editors and authors have the necessary guidance and support to design, conduct, report and assess prognosis reviews.

Update (9 April 2019): The following milestones have been achieved:

  1. A series of templates for registering a title and writing a protocol and a review are available
  2. A variety of tools and guidance are available
  3. 21 reviews across different CRGs initiated or completed
  4. GRADE guidance for the different prognosis review types is defined or underway.
  5. A network of prognosis review experts created

Rapid Reviews

Define a Cochrane Rapid Review, conduct methods research on vital points concerning the validity of rapid reviews, and determine the utility of rapid reviews in Cochrane.

Risk of Bias 2

Support the implementation Risk of Bias 2 (RoB 2) in all new Cochrane intervention Reviews that include randomized controlled trials initiated from 1 January 2020.

Update (9 April 2019): An RoB 2 training event was held at the Cochrane Governance meeting in Poland (April 2). The Methods Training event in the UK has been confirmed for July 2019. RoB 2 has been incorporated in to RevMan Web and Cochrane Handbook, MECIR and the Cochrane Interactive Learning module have been updated.

Project Title: Methods Support Unit

Project Lead: Senior Methods Editor (TBA)

Establish a Methods Team to provide support to Cochrane Review Group Networks.


Review Production portfolio

Project Title: CRG Networks Innovation Fund

Project Leads: Toby Lasserson, Deputy Editor in Chief and Senior Editorial Officer (TBA)
Contact: tlasserson@cochrane.org

Manage a fund which will support review production and/or editorial procedures that lead to harmonization of processes and improvements in content or quality across the CRG Networks and the Cochrane Library.

Update (April 9 2019): The following project milestones have been completed:

  1. The CRG Networks Innovation fund proposal was launched in February 2019 with acceptance of submissions until mid-April 2019.
  2. Evaluation criteria have been developed and an advisory group convened to evaluate applications.

Advisory group members will evaluate the submissions and successful applicants will be notified in May 2019.

Project Title: 

Editorial Management System Project (EMS) evaluation

Project Lead: Harriet MacLehose, Senior Editor, Publishing Strategy and Gert van Valkenhoef, ITS Manager
Project Sponsor: Chris Mavergames, Head of ITS/CIO
Project Board: Paul Garner, Toby Lasserson, Dan Shanahan, Marlene Stewart, Rachael Kelly, Chris Mavergames (Project Sponsor), Karla Soares-Weiser, Elizabeth Stovold
Contact: hmaclehose@cochrane.org; gvanvalkenhoef@cochrane.org

Cochrane is currently reviewing the editorial management systems used by our editors and authors to prepare Cochrane Reviews, and the other content published in the Cochrane Library.

Cochrane uses several editorial management systems (EMS) to manage its content. The primary system used for Cochrane Reviews is Archie, which was developed in-house in 2003. Limited investment in recent years has caused Archie to fall behind the technological curve and the system does not meet all the desires of our users. The EMS marketplace has evolved since 2003.

Cochrane needs to find or develop a sustainable editorial management solution that will serve the needs of our audience and contributors. The time to evaluate our technical needs and options is now. 

Cochrane requires an EMS that meets user needs, accommodates different content types, and is sustainable. This programme of work forms part of an organizational Target in 2019 which aims to evaluate, plan and begin implementation of an improved editorial management solution for Cochrane Review production.

Update (19 December 2019): Origin Editorial has helped Cochrane to document stakeholder requirements, assess the potential for Archie to meet these requirements, and identify potential external systems that could meet these requirements. This phase of work is now complete with the key decisions: 

  • Cochrane will not continue to develop its own EMS, and the editorial management parts of Archie will be decommissioned. (The other Archie functions will be reviewed separately.)
  • Cochrane will explore a small number of commercial EMS providers in more detail, with the aim of selecting one for implementation.

Cochrane's programme of work to review, evaluate, select, and implement a new EMS started this year and will extend into 2020 and beyond. This programme will also look at the linked production systems used to deliver content from the EMS to the publisher platform for the Cochrane Library. A combined review will ensure these systems are complementary and work efficiently together.

This project is now closed, and new projects are planned for the next stages in the programme of work.

Project Title: Update Classification System publication

Project Lead: Harriet MacLehose, Senior Editor, Publishing Strategy
Contact: hmaclehose@cochrane.org

The Updating Classification System (UCS) guides readers as to whether a Cochrane Review is up to date, likely to be updated in future, or does not need updating currently. It can also help Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs) prioritize individual reviews. The current version of the UCS was published in 2014 after a consensus workshop in Canada on updating systematic reviews. CRG staff can apply this to reviews in Archie; see guidance. The decision framework asks about the usage and currency of the review question, the availability of new studies or information, and the impact of new information on the review; and also whether new methods will affect the review. We were unable to publish this information alongside the reviews on the old Cochrane Library platform, but with the new platform released in August 2018, we are now in a position to start the publication.

The Editor in Chief and Editorial Board approved the start of publication of UCS information in December 2018. A project was set up to ensure that the publication criteria were agreed and met, and that support and training is available to all CRG teams. Our goal is for all CRGs to have started publishing the ‘update status’ for published Cochrane Reviews (intervention and DTA) – as a minimum all reviews published in 2018/19 – by the end of 2019.

Update (25 November 2019): This project is on hold due to a publishing issue. There will be another update in December.

Project Title: Fast-Track Service

Project Leads: Toby Lasserson, Deputy Editor in Chief and Senior Editorial Officer (TBA)
Contact: tlasserson@cochrane.org

To publish up to three high priority reviews per CRG Network within a timeframe of 12-19 weeks.

Update (April 9 2019): Since its launch in September 2018 we have received 14 enquires, have published two reviews (from the Acute and Emergency Care Network) within 12 and 17 weeks respectively and have three reviews in progress. We have also rejected four applications based on our acceptance criteria. We have also developed checklists and templates to ensure the editorial process is as efficient as possible.


Publishing portfolio

Project Title: Cochrane Library Comment Publishing

Project Lead: John Hilton, Senior Editor, Publishing Operations
Contact: jhilton@cochrane.org

As part the new Cochrane Library platform we developed plans to improve the submission, display, and publishing of Comments on articles in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR). The changes were introduced for the launch of the new platform in August 2018, but the publishing aspects had to be delayed until after launch. We are now implementing these changes. The project goal is to fully implement a new system for publishing Comments on CDSR articles, accompanied by a revised workflow clarifying roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders.

Update (28 March 2019): The new Cochrane Library platform launched in August 2018 included improvements to the way Comments on CDSR articles are submitted and displayed. Coupled with this is a new mechanism for publishing Comments that are submitted via the Cochrane Library. This functionality is in place, but we have not been able to make it broadly available to Cochrane Review Groups (which have responsibility for publishing Comments), due to the need for some further configuration work to ensure usability and security. We are keen for Cochrane Review Groups to make use of the new publishing tool, which avoids the need to use Archie/RevMan to publish Comments and enables the full set of improvements to Comment display. To speed up and simplify the implementation of the new Comment publishing system, we are now working on a different approach in which named people in the Editorial & Methods Department publish the Comments in collaboration with Cochrane Review Groups.