Current Executive projects

The Exec and other MEs are currently volunteering on a broad range of projects, and maintaining ME representation in Cochrane's governance and developmental work.

Current projects

  1. Capacity building survey and questionnaire: MEs’ Executive
  2. Clinical study reports: Frances Kellie
  3. Cochrane Board: Jordi Pardo Pardo 
  4. Cochrane Council: Liz Dooley. Non-Exec member: Gail Quinn (Gynaecological, Neuro-oncology and Orphan Cancer)
  5. Comments Publishing Project: Liz Dooley 
    Comments Publishing Board: non-Exec member: Jessica Hendon (Common Mental Disorders) 
  6. Consumer engagement: Marlene Stewart
  7. Editorial Charter Working Group: Non-Exec member: Emma Dennett (Airways)
  8. Editorial Management System Project: Liz Dooley. Non-Exec member: Anupa Shah (Eyes and Vision)
    Editorial Management System Board: Rachael Kelly, Marlene Stewart
  9. Engaging with non-UK MEs: Liz Paulsen 
  10. Exit interviews: Frances Kellie
  11. Knowledge Translation - Building KT Infrastructure and Internal Capacity: Rachael Kelly
  12. Knowledge Translation - KT Introductory Online Learning Module: Non-Exec member: Jess Hendon (Common Mental Disorders)
  13. ME job descriptions: Lindsey Elstub, Frances Kellie, Clare Jess
  14. ME training needs survey: Marlene Stewart
  15. Prioritisation: Frances Kellie 
  16. RevMan Web: Frances Kellie, Clare Jess, Jordi Pardo Pardo, Rachael Kelly, Marlene Stewart. Non-Exec members: Anupa Shah, Emma Dennett (Airways), Elizabeth Royle (Injuries)
  17. Style Manual Working Group: Rachael Kelly
  18. Update Classification System: Clare Jess. Non-Exec members: Anupa Shah, Emma Dennett, Dee Walsh (Infectious Diseases)

We are committed to representing the interests of all MEs - so please do get in touch if you'd like more information or have suggestions in relation to these projects.


1. Capacity building survey and questionnaire

One of the aims of the Exec is to proactively identify MEs who struggle to keep up to date with changes, objectives and best practice recommendations, and to address the disparity of MEs who are unable to attend meetings that promote capacity building and networking opportunities. We recognised this is a multifaceted issue as the Exec addressed this in August 2015 when we surveyed MEs/AMEs on their attendance at past meetings. This work led to one-to-one interviews conducted between MEs/AMEs and members of the ME Exec from April and July, 2017. This informal and candid survey was undertaken from a desire for the Exec to connect with its constituents and provide an opportunity to discuss any issues related to MEs’/AMEs’ work. The questions and results are here

The Exec will repeat this survey between January and March 2020.

2. 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.

3. Cochrane Board

Cochrane's governing body is the Board, with some members elected by Cochrane’s contributors and some appointed by the Board. The Board is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of Cochrane’s strategic direction. Cochrane is a registered charity in the UK and the Board serves as our Board of Trustees.

The Board oversees the work of Cochrane's Chief Executive Officer and Central Executive team, which supports development and delivery of all work across Cochrane groups and projects. For more information see here.

4. Cochrane Council

The Council aims to ensure that Cochrane Groups retain an effective voice in Cochrane’s leadership and strategic decision making. The purpose of the Council is to provide:

  • a forum for Cochrane Groups to consider high-level matters affecting Cochrane as a whole;
  • a mechanism to raise matters and provide input to the Governing Board on behalf of Cochrane’s communities; and
  • a forum to consider matters at the request of the Board and inform Board deliberations.

The two current ME Representatives on the Council are Liz Dooley (ME Exec rep) and Gail Quinn.  Both attend face-to-face Council meetings at the annual Governance Meeting as well as the Colloquium, and also regular teleconferences. They are also active on Council subcommittees and projects as and when requested.  

There are currently three extra projects running with input from either Gail or Liz including:

  1. a review of the Cochrane Conflict of Interest policy, the results of which will be considered by the Board at the Santiago Colloquium; 
  2. a review of how we handle high-profile reviews, which is an initiative to respond to the needs of the Cochrane Community by developing a Centralized Editorial Service to facilitate the publication of various types of reviews, for which additional scrutiny and input from multiple sources is needed. A high-profile pathway will support reviews that are likely to be highly scrutinized. Key Cochrane stakeholders, including authors, the Review Groups, the Editor in Chief, Network Senior Editors and Associate Editors, will be consulted prior to publication of the final review; 
  3. a review of Group Executives, to make sure they are performing the right roles and functions in the right ways for their stakeholders, to resolve gaps or duplications, and to align their work and priorities with the work and priorities of the Council.

For more information, please go to Council Documents and Reports page.

5. Comments Publishing Project

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 was a new mechanism for publishing comments that are submitted via the Cochrane Library. The aim of the project 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. For more information see the Editorial & Methods department's projects page.

Project participants:

  1. Project Managers: John Hilton
  2. Project Team: Liz Dooley, John Hilton, Toby Lasserson, (Sophia Wheat on maternity leave), Karen Pettersen
  3. Project Sponsor: Harriet MacLehose
  4. Project Board: Jess Hendon (ME), Tarang Sharma (EMD), Tony Aburrow (Wiley), Nuala Livingstone (Network Associate Editor), Hayley Barnes (Feedback editor), Karla Soares-Weiser (Editor in Chief)

6. Consumer engagement

Cochrane consumers are involved in the production and dissemination cycle of systematic review evidence. This includes the prioritisation of future important reviews, the identification of outcomes important to patients, and the dissemination of research. The main way in which consumers contribute is through peer reviewing. Consumers have expressed a desire to contribute more and through the whole cycle of review production.

The MEs’ Executive works with Cochrane’s Consumer Engagement Officer, Richard Morley, to encourage and facilitate consumer involvement by Cochrane Review Groups via workshops at Colloquia and regional meetings and online activities.

7. Editorial Charter Working Group

The aim of the group is to 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.

8. Editorial Management System

Cochrane is currently reviewing Archie, the editorial management system (EMS) used by Cochrane staff and authors to prepare Cochrane Reviews, and other content published in the Cochrane Library, with a view to either replacing or updating it to meet user needs, accommodate different content types, and be sustainable. For more information about this project (Project EMS strategy) and for updates, see the Cochrane's strategy for improved future editorial management systems page.

Project participants:

  1. Project Managers: Harriet MacLehose, Gert van Valkenhoef
  2. Project Team: Anupa Shah, Liz Dooley, John Hilton, Monaz Mehta, Harriet MacLehose, Gert van Valkenhoef
  3. Project Sponsor: Karla Soares-Weiser and Chris Mavergames
  4. Project Board: Paul Garner, Toby Lasserson, Dan Shanahan, Marlene Stewart, Rachael Kelly, Chris Mavergames, Karla Soares-Weiser; invitation also with the CIS Executive

9. Engaging with non-UK MEs

MEs based outside the UK, especially whose first language is not English, may feel isolated and excluded from the ME community, due to language, funding or other issues, and are less likely to attend MEs’ meetings or participate in projects or training. The MEs’ Exec wants to make sure all MEs feel part of the ME community and are exploring ways of including MEs’ not based in the UK.

10. Exit interviews

The Exec has developed an informal exit interview questionnaire to promote frank, open and honest feedback on your experiences of being an ME/AME. We hope this chance to talk will provide some understanding about why people leave Cochrane and give the MEs’ Exec a valuable opportunity to listen, gain insight and act on feedback. We hope that your feedback will enable us to adapt and offer the best possible support to MEs/AMEs to encourage contact with members of the Exec. This will help us to identify training needs, or other actions for the Exec to undertake on behalf of MEs/AMEs.

11. Knowledge Translation - building KT infrastructure and internal capacity (Working group 6)

The aim of this group is to ensure that we deliver on building Knowledge Translation and engagement within Cochrane. This group is responsible for providing information about KT, resources, tools, and training products and making them accessible to Cochrane’s community through the KT learning resources on the Training website. In addition, the group aims to establish a training and development programme to build KT skills and develop KT leadership within Cochrane Groups. The group meets on a quarterly basis.

12. KT introductory online learning module

Working as part of the team to develop a 30-minute, self-directed online learning module for Cochrane Groups and the Cochrane community to support the implementation of Cochrane’s Knowledge Translation Framework and to strengthen the understanding of knowledge translation within Cochrane.

The module will be designed to be useful and accessible for both those learners with little or no knowledge and experience of KT and for more experienced learners looking to refresh their knowledge, understand the specific application of KT within Cochrane, and to update and deepen their understanding in practical and operational ways.

13. ME job descriptions

The Managing Editor’s Portal on the Cochrane Community website contains an example job description that CRGs can modify and use when recruiting new Managing Editors. This was last updated in 2014 and no longer accurately reflects the wide range of responsibilities covered by this role. This project aims to update the example job description, as well as generating a list of tasks common to the role to help inform future training programmes specifically for Managing Editors.

14. ME training needs survey

The MEs’ Exec surveyed the MEs and AMEs in early 2019. The aim of the survey was to identify existing training needs among the MEs and AMEs. The results of the survey will inform the development of a training programme for regional and international face-to-face training sessions and online training resources.  To date we have also used these data to bolster our request for funding to the Central Executive Team (CET) to support MEs/AMEs to attend focused training sessions.

15. Prioritisation

The aim of the project is to gather information about CRGs’ prioritization work and to share stories of good practice that may be useful to other CRGs, in order to maximize resource use and to align priorities to ensure that Cochrane Reviews meet stakeholder needs. This initiative is tied to the development of the Cochrane Priority Review List.

16. RevMan Web

RevMan Web is the next generation of Cochrane’s software for preparing and maintaining systematic reviews. This web-based version of RevMan will work across all platforms, be installation-free, and automatically updated. Featuring an improved and modernized workspace and user interface, RevMan Web will offer a more intuitive and enjoyable user experience than RevMan 5.

The needs of Managing Editors and copy-editors differ widely from authors’ needs to edit review content. To support the full cycle of the review process in RevMan Web, the RevMan Web team are working with a number of MEs (ME Exec members and Non-Exec members) to implement features that help editors work effectively in RevMan Web.

For more information, see the project webpage.

17. Style Manual Working Group

The Cochrane Style Manual helps review authors and people responsible for copy-editing to use a consistent style when copy-editing Cochrane Reviews and other documents produced by Cochrane. The working group meets via teleconference every quarter to discuss queries that have been raised by users of the style manual.

18. Update Classification System (UCS)

The UCS guides readers as to whether a Cochrane Review is up to date, likely to be updated in future, or does not need updating at the current time. The system can also help Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs) with prioritization decisions for individual Cochrane Reviews. The UCS follows a decision framework that asks about the usage and currency of the review question, the availability of new studies or information, and how new information would impact on the review; and also, whether new methods will make important changes to the review. For more information, see the Cochrane Editorial and Publishing Policy Resource.

As part of implementation of the UCS four CRGs were invited to act as pilot groups: Airways, Eyes and Vision, Gynaecological, Neuro-oncology and Orphan Cancers, and Infectious Diseases. Each CRG has classified a subset or all of their reviews in line with the guidance and feedback provided by the UCS Project Team. The UCS went live for the Infectious Diseases group in late May 2019 but some technical difficulties arose so UCS roll-out for the other CRGs is on hold until these issues are resolved. We are currently waiting for a new UCS launch date for all the pilot groups.