Cochrane Collaboration
Steering Group Minutes

Minutes of the meeting of the Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group held on 19/20 October 1996 at the Grosvenor Hotel, Adelaide, Australia

Present: Zarko Alfirevic*, Jeremy Anderson, Hilda Bastian, Lisa Bero*, Iain Chalmers**, Edward Dickinson, Cindy Farquhar, Monica Fischer, Peter Gøtzsche**, Jean Jones, Jos Kleijnen*, Peter Langhorne**, Andy Oxman, Beverley Shea, Chris Silagy (Chair).

* Newly elected members ** Departing members

In attendance: Kay Dickersin (TRDG), Jini Hetherington (minutes), Mark Starr (Update Software).

1. Welcome: Chris welcomed the three new members of the CCSG, and congratulated Jean Jones on being made a Member of the Order of Canada.

2. Apologies for absence were received from Dan Deykin (co-opted policy maker) and Muir Gray (Company Secretary).

3. Minutes of Previous Meeting:

3.1 WWW Distribution of Steering Group Minutes: The minutes of the previous meeting of the Steering Group, held in Oslo on 19 August 1996, were approved, with one amendment (Item 6.4 should read co-ordinators', not co-ordinating editors'): these minutes should now be placed in the appropriate sub-directory ( temp/ccsg/minutes') on the UKCC's FTP Server. Andy suggested that Jini devise a proper system for communicating decisions made at CCSG meetings to all those affected by them. Action: Jini to put 19 August 96 minutes onto Server, and to devise a system for communicating CCSG decisions to others

4. Business arising from Minutes:

4.1 Copyright survey: Chris suggested that Jini prepare a paper outlining the options on this issue, for discussion at the CCSG meeting next March, with assistance from Bev. The decision on individual activities within the CRG for obtaining copies of reports from libraries should be left to individual editorial teams. Action: Jini and Bev to prepare paper for March CCSG meeting

4.2 CRG Administrators' title: Bev advised that the majority of Administrators present at the Colloquium had voted in favour of changing the title of their position to Review Group Co-ordinator. The change of title was approved: if there were any problems regarding the implementation of this change they could be discussed at the CCSG's next meeting. Action: Bev to communicate decision to adminors' Cindy to communicate decision to CRGs Andy to amend title in Glossary and Handbook

4.3 Duplicate reviews: The principles of avoiding duplication of effort and encouraging collaboration were reiterated. Members of CRGs should check the CDSR before internally registering a title, and with members of other CRGs where there are overlapping interests. It is for the individual CRGs to decide how to resolve the issue of more than one review on the same topic: one simple way would be to have multiple authorship on a shared topic. Better mechanisms could be developed for reviews cutting across CRGs. Action: Bev to communicate to adminors'

4.4 Cochrane Secretariat: It was agreed to offer Jini Hetherington the position of Secretariat Administrator for a period of three years (on secondment from the UK Cochrane Centre), from 1st October 1996. Jini accepted the secondment verbally, and was asked to pursue the identification of funds necessary to employ secretarial support to the Secretariat. Action: Muir and Jini to identify funds for secretary Jini to communicate appointment to all entities Hilda to announce in Cochrane News

A range of core activities of the Collaboration had been identified by the Steering Group in Oslo. If the first level (administration) could be funded, the next level (software development, the Handbook, the criticism management system, the TRDG) could then be considered.

The CCSG minutes in which membership fees had been recommended were inaccurate and should be amended. Action: Jini to amend minutes

The higher rate of royalties which would result from changes in the contract with the BMJ (see paragraph 4.8 below) will mean that monies generated by increased sales could provide an incentive to entities if any surplus were returned to them. A Publishing Policy Group should be formed as soon as possible and make decisions in this regard for discussion at the Annual General Meeting on Thursday (see paragraph 4.11 below). Priorities and principles should be established quickly for how to sell the product and what return will be given to those doing the selling. Action: Chris, Edward, Hilda, Jeremy, Mark, Monica to meet soon

4.5 Data Protection Act (including trademark registration): It was agreed that it is a top priority to register the trademark (this may be excessively expensive for Japan), and that Chris would instruct Muir to have this done by Morrell, Peel and Gamlen as soon as possible. The impact of this on the Collaboration's reserves needs to be recognised, as there is a misunderstanding in some quarters that these reserves are great. Centres who can make a contribution towards the core costs of the Collaboration should be encouraged to do so, as a matter of choice, and ways of doing this should be discussed at the next Centre Directors' meeting. Muir should explore ways of receiving donations that would be tax deductible in other countries. Action: Chris to ask Muir to have trademark registered, to explore tax deductible donations, and to pursue Data Protection Act registration

To protect the Collaboration's name and logo, registered entities could be invited to pay for their use on written material such as stationery and leaflets, but no pressure should be applied if they did not wish or were unable to do this: an invoice could be supplied to those who wished to contribute in this way. Other voluntary contributions could be recognised and acknowledged formally by some system such as naming a contributor a Friend of the Cochrane Collaboration'. Action: Chris to invite entities to contribute Muir and Jini to explore a system of Friends'

4.6 Annual Report to Charity Commissioners: Chris undertook to have the errors in the Report amended (such as incorrect spelling of Cochrane on page 3), particularly the inaccuracies showing who had resigned from the CCSG, who were Carl Counsell, Taddy Dickersin, Brian Haynes, Alessandro Liberati and Dave Sackett. Chris will prepare a letter for the Annual General Meeting in this regard. Action: Chris to write to Charity Commissioners, and copy to AGM

4.7 Strategic Plan: People agreed which particular goals they would work on together, so that the mission, principles and goals of the Collaboration could be efficiently described to the Annual General Meeting on Thursday. Action: All CCSG members

4.8 BMJ Negotiations: The exclusivity clause has been removed from the contract. It was agreed that Jini ask the editors of the BMJ, the Lancet and the Annals of Internal Medicine to reiterate their agreement to publication of reviews in their journals concurrently with publication of the corresponding Cochrane Review in the CDSR. Andy agreed to add information about removal of the exclusivity clause to the new Handbook. Action: Jini to contact the three journal editors, and then all entities Andy to add statement to the Handbook Hilda to announce exclusivity clause removal in Cochrane News

4.9 Update Software negotiations re developing a special relationship: Chris, Hilda and Monica continue to negotiate this on behalf of the CCSG, and will have the proposed contract reviewed by our lawyers. Action: Chris, Hilda and Monica to continue negotiations Jini/Monica to have contract reviewed by lawyers when ready

4.10 Software development: It was agreed that Monica would invite Mike Clarke to become a member of the Software Development Group, and also discuss with Lisa inviting a member of the SFCC to join it, to represent the criticism management system. Action: Monica to invite Mike Clarke to join the SDG Lisa and Monica to discuss an SFCC member joining the SDG, and Monica to invite her/him

From now on, if possible, new versions of the RevMan software should be issued no more frequently than once a year.

4.11 Publishing Policy Group: This Group should report to the CCSG at its meetings twice a year and when otherwise requested. Its written report should also be part of the Collaboration module. Justus Hofmeyr (and Ken Schulz if in Adelaide) should be invited to attend its next meeting to discuss the Reproductive Health Library. Chris agreed to chair this Group in his capacity as Chair of the Collaboration. Mark Starr should represent Update Software, Monica should be a member, as convenor of the Software Development Group, and there should be a representative each from CRGs, Fields, and the consumer network (see paragraph 4.4 above). In addition, Chris would invite Julie Glanville to be a member, to represent the NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (because the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness [D.A.R.E.] is an integral component of The Cochrane Library). This Group could have a smaller Executive Group if it wished. It would be a standing sub-group of the CCSG. Action: Chris, Edward, Hilda, Jeremy, Mark, Monica to meet a.s.a.p. Chris to invite Julie Glanville

4.12 Trials Registers Development Group: There were offers of help from the ACC, the BCC and the UKCC to enter references for the CCTR that are not directly relevant to the CRG which had identified them originally. It was agreed that the prime objective of the TRDG should be to assist CRGs in developing their specialised registers. The CRGs also have a great need for a system for tracking reports of trials. The prototype software produced by the Stroke Group is currently being investigated by the TRDG together with review group co-ordinators, to assess its applicability to all CRGs. Taddy, Bev, Peter L. and Mark will work out the exact wording of the TRDG's main objectives, and Bev would circulate to the CCSG separately a list of these objectives. She reported that the review group co-ordinators had stated their willingness to continue to contribute towards the MEDLINE Enhancement Program. It was agreed that it is vital to simplify this process for them as much as possible. Action: Bev to circulate list of objectives to CCSG Taddy, Bev, Peter L, Mark, ACC, BCC, UKCC to give this priority

4.13 US Centers' Meeting with Chris and Dan: Lisa reported that the US Centers have developed a draft network plan, and believe they are networking with one another quite well. They will explore the possibility in the longer term of becoming a single center with satellites. Action: Lisa 4.14 Steering Group Module: It was agreed that it is a high priority to produce this. Iain and Jini will work on this as soon as possible, to have a proposed module ready for consideration at the CCSG meeting next March. Jos represents Centres, and the CRG representatives will name someone representing them, as per the outline already prepared. With the exception of Section VI of what used to be referred to as the Handbook, material in the former version of the Handbook will be incorporated into other modules on The Cochrane Library. Action: Iain and Jini to prepare draft module Bev, Cindy, Jeremy, Zarko to name a representative to Jini, and to co-ordinate preparation of their entry 5. Outstanding Applications:

5.1 Levels of Evidence: This application had been approved in principle. There had been discussion about merging this with a possible Applicability Methods Group. A proposal to this effect should be brought forward for discussion at the next Executive Group meeting by teleconference. Action: Andy to bring proposal to 1/2 December teleconference

5.2 Gynaecological Cancer: Jean had written to Chris Williams on 14th October and this CRG is now registered. This information should be conveyed to Philippa Middleton to update the Entities Database. Action: Jini to ask Philippa to update Entities Database

5.3 South African Cochrane Centre: The registration of this Centre was approved, and Jini was asked to see that the Entities Database was updated accordingly. Ways of enhancing consumer involvement should be discussed between Hilda and Jimmy Volmink. It was agreed that this application to establish a Cochrane Centre provided an excellent model for future applications. Action: Jean to tell Jimmy Volmink and all entities of registration approval Jini to ask Philippa to update Entities Database Hilda to announce in Cochrane News

5.4 Alternative forms of registration: See paragraph 7.13 below.

6. Colloquium meetings

6.1 Plan for Annual General Meeting/Future Directions: It was agreed that the Strategic Plan would be presented at the AGM, but that there would not be detailed discussion about it. Items to be highlighted would be specific targets of entities, trials registration process, orphan trials, promoting access by searching/browsing/language/marketing, appointment of a business manager, estimate of core funding needed (with 150,000 pounds sterling p.a. being the top priority), and goals for quality. Action: Chris to highlight items at AGM

7. New business 7.1 Boundaries of the charitable status of the Cochrane Collaboration: It was clarified that individual entities within the Collaboration cannot claim charitable status.

7.2 Representation of Fields on CCSG: Edward suggested that perhaps there should be additional representation from these entities on the CCSG. This was not thought to be necessary at this time, but could be reviewed at some point in the future.

7.3 Reviews on Internet: In response to the request to Chris from David Badger and Philippa Middleton of 17th October 1996 on the Cochrane Software and Internet Policy and Development Plan', Chris will ask Philippa to work with the Informatics Group to prepare a paper by February for consideration at the March CCSG meeting on items: (b) - setting up, maintaining and co-ordinating World Wide Web sites, (c) - setting up, maintaining and co-ordinating FTP sites, (d) - setting up, maintaining and co-ordinating e-mail discussion lists, (h) - electronic communication within the Collaboration, and electronic distribution of Collaboration products. If necessary, Philippa could be invited to attend the March meeting.

Items which are the ACC's responsibility are: (f) - access to Contact directory information by Centres, review group co-ordinators and others, (g) - maintenance of Contact directory information.

Items which are the Software Development Group's responsibility are: (a) - continuing software development within the Collaboration, (e) - distribution of software throughout the Collaboration,.

Action: Chris to respond to Philippa, and also to write to the Informatics Group to have the errors on the Web Page corrected or removed immediately (the Editorial Group to give input on this where relevant).

7.4 Coding and Classification MG: Taddy to discuss with Richard Smith of the BMJ the issue of NLM indexing the CDSR. Chris will respond to Bill Hersh regarding applying MeSH codes at Level 1, who should look at ways of pulling together the various ways the CRGs are developing their own coding systems; he should put in a formal proposal to the CCSG if he needs funding for any of this work. Jini to explore how the CDSR can get cited in Science Citation Index. Action: Chris to respond to Bill Hersh Jini to investigate Science Citation Index

7.5 Cochrane database of unpublished data: Andy proposed that a very simple database be set up for unpublished data from trialists, and was asked to prepare a short paper explaining the proposal and how it relates to the TRDG, for discussion at the CCSG meeting next March. Action: Andy to prepare paper for March CCSG meeting

7.6 Responsibility for quality control: In consultation with Andy, Lisa was asked to prepare a short paper for the March meeting on the components of quality control, and which entity is responsible for monitoring each component. Action: Lisa and Andy to prepare paper for March CCSG meeting

7.7 Clearing house for surveys: Proposed surveys of Cochrane entities should first be cleared by the Executive Group, and an announcement to this effect should go into Cochrane News. A letter should go to all entities informing them of this. Action: Jini to write to all entities Hilda to announce in Cochrane News

7.8 BIOMED II report: Andy, Cindy Mulrow and Bernie Towler should be invited to give input to the proposed pre-protocol/RevMan workshop course currently being developed by the BIOMED II participants. Action: Jos to invite Andy, Cindy and Bernie to contribute

Chris will contact Alessandro re his offer to form a database of available translators. Action: Chris to write and accept Alessandro's offer

7.9 Copyright of Cochrane Reviews: Peter Sandercock's request for the Collaboration to give blanket permission to the journal Stroke' (and to any other journals who offer a similar service) to reproduce abstracts verbatim from CDSR reviews, was approved. Action: Chris to write to Peter Sandercock

7.10 Insurance for the Cochrane Collaboration: Edward agreed to obtain further advice on this issue. Action: Edward to make further enquiries

7.11 Steering Group Organisation 1996/97: Jos was nominated as the Collaboration's Treasurer, and he, Andy, Bev, Chris, Hilda and Monica were nominated and appointed to the Executive Group. Everyone else will be on the Registration Group, with Jean continuing as Chair. Membership of the Publishing Policy Group should be announced at the Annual General Meeting. Action: Chris to announce at AGM

Jini was asked to provide all members of the CCSG with any available official documentation describing the duties and responsibilities of a Director of a registered charity. Action: Jini to obtain and circulate documentation

It was agreed that, since we now have US representation, it is no longer necessary for Dan Deykin to be a co-opted member of the Steering Group, although his particular skills would still be very helpful to the Collaboration. Action: Chris to convey decision to Dan Deykin

7.12 SBU: Iain's suggestion that a letter of thanks be sent to them was agreed. Action: Iain to send letter of thanks 7.13 Affiliate status: Chris's draft proposal to establish organisational affiliate status' for organisations with complementary interests was approved by the CCSG. Iain suggested that the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination be invited to adopt this status, and agreed to contact Trevor Sheldon to see whether he would like the CRD to have affiliate status with the Collaboration or to maintain its sibling status with the UKCC. Action: Iain to contact Trevor Sheldon

Chris will have another look at the separate document regarding use of the Cochrane logo, and raise this again at the next CCSG meeting. Action: Chris to put on March CCSG meeting agenda

It was agreed that the Cochrane Cancer Network should be formally registered: Chris would look at the previous minutes for clarification of the name, and discuss with Chris Williams moving this forward as soon as possible. Action: Chris Silagy to discuss with Chris Williams

7.14 Forms for co-reviewers: Bev was asked to devise a form to obtain Permission for Publication from all co-reviewers (not just the contact reviewer, as in the past), citing the full title of the review on the form. It is the responsibility of review group co-ordinators to obtain these signed forms from the reviewers, to keep a copy of each on file, and to forward copies to the Company Secretary. Hilda will publish this information in Cochrane News. Action: Bev to devise a new Permission for Publication form Hilda to announce in Cochrane News

7.15 Correct form of citation for modules: There was discussion about whether or not it would be appropriate to include the review group co-ordinator's name with those of the editors, in the text of the citation of the CRG module, but this was not thought to be appropriate for the CCSG to decide on: it is the responsibility of the CRG representatives to develop guidelines for implementing the various aspects of Section II of the former Handbook. Action: Bev to communicate to adminors' re citation text Bev, Cindy, Jeremy and Zarko to work on developing some guidelines if/where necessary 7.16 Concerns of Klaus Linde and co-reviewers: Klaus Linde's letter of 17th October 1996 was tabled, expressing concerns held by himself and his co-reviewers regarding interpretation of the results of reviews and the conclusions drawn from them, when continuous data have been used. Andy was asked to respond to this. Action: Andy to write to Klaus Linde

7.17 Reviews of test accuracy: It was suggested that these might be included in the Methods Group module. The CCSG would like a position paper for their March meeting on how best to take this forward, and Andy was asked to convey this to the other members of the MG. Action: Andy and MG to prepare paper for next CCSG meeting

7.18 Management of orphans': The CCSG agreed that it is a priority that every person on the Contact Directory and every trial on CCTR should eventually have a CRG home. Iain and Peter to provide a written proposal for the March meeting. Action: Iain and Peter to prepare paper for next CCSG meeting

7.19 Dissemination of CDSR: The Publishing Policy Group should come back with a proposal quickly on dissemination of CDSR by entities. Action: Chris, Edward, Hilda, Jeremy, Julie, Mark, Monica

7.20 Funding priorities: The top priority should be to fund the Secretariat for the next three years - Jini to be responsible for managing that budget, with reference to Jos Kleijnen as the newly appointed Treasurer. Until the core function has been funded, we cannot explore funding the other functions that were identified as priorities by the CCSG at its meeting in Oslo in August 1996.

7.21 World tour: Chris confirmed his intention to do a networking tour in late February/March 1997, to raise awareness of the Collaboration amongst potential funders. This could dovetail with the CCSG meeting in early March. He asked for names of people whom he should try to meet, and for assistance in setting up such meetings. Action: Everyone

8. General Business

8.1 American College of Physicians: In response to the proposal by the ACP of 9th October 1996, it was agreed that they would need to approach Update Software, who would consult with the Software Development Group and the Publishing Policy Group as necessary, if they decided to pursue their Option 1 (of seeking to arrange for Cochrane reviews to serve as one of the basic components of the information available to physicians through PIER). The CCSG recommended that the ACP be encouraged to pursue Option 3, of supporting fellowships for their members in the United States who are interested in becoming systematic reviewers. Action: Chris to communicate with ACP

8.2 International Society of Technology Assessment in Health Care: Chris will write to their executive office to say that the Collaboration would be interested in exploring ways of working together to mutual benefit. Action: Chris to write to ISTAHC

9. Dates of next meetings: The Centre Directors' meeting will be held all day on 5th March, so the CCSG meeting should meet before that, on the afternoon of 3rd and all day on 4th March. Venue to be decided upon as soon as possible: Lisa needs to know very soon indeed if these two meetings are to be held in San Francisco. Action: Chris to communicate final dates/venue to everyone

Copyright © The Cochrane Collaboration 1999
This page was last updated on 30 January, 1998
Comments for improvement or correction are welcome.