Cochrane Collaboration
Steering Group Minutes

Minutes of the meeting of the Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group, 3rd and 4th March 1997, San Francisco

Minutes approved by Steering Group Executive on 29th April 1997

Present: Zarko Alfirevic, Hilda Bastian, Lisa Bero, Cindy Farquhar, Monica Fischer, Cecilia Hammarquist, Jini Hetherington (minutes), Jean Jones, Jos Kleijnen, Andy Oxman, Beverley Shea, Chris Silagy (chair).

In attendance: Alvaro Atallah, Co-Director, Brazilian Cochrane Centre.

1. Welcomes:

(i) Recent election: Jeremy Anderson was thanked for his contribution to the CCSG in the past; Cecilia Hammarquist was welcomed to the CCSG.

(ii) Rotation of members: We will do our best to stick to the rotation system. People are elected for three years, and it was agreed that they should continue for the full term; Cecilia is on for the term that Jeremy Anderson would have been. Cindy and Jean may step down in 1997. Andy, Cecilia, Chris, Edward and Hilda will step down in 1998. Bev, Jos, Lisa, Monica and Zarko will step down in 1999. It was confirmed that non-Directors can stand in the ballot to nominate Centre representatives.

(iii) Orderly transition of Chair: Chris agreed to remain on the CCSG for a full three-year term, until October 1998. In March 1998 the CCSG will elect one of their number to take over from him in October.

(iv) Reimbursement of expenses for attending CCSG meetings: In view of the difficult financial situation in which the Collaboration currently finds itself, Chris asked that claims for reimbursement for attendance at CCSG meetings should be kept to a minimum as far as possible.

2. Apologies for absence: Edward Dickinson sent his apologies for absence from the meeting, due to illness.

3. Approval of minutes of previous meeting, Adelaide, October 1996: The minutes were approved without amendment. 4. Matters arising from the minutes:

a. Collaboration module for The Cochrane Library: The contents of this were agreed, with the amendment that the sub-groups of the Steering Group should be listed alphabetically next time. The old Sections I to V of the Handbook should be maintained and eventually updated, on The Cochrane Library CD but as a completely separate element (in the form of a policy and operations manual), in addition to the Collaboration's various policy documents. The short document already prepared by the CRG representatives about collaborative review groups should be included in the appropriate section about the Collaboration on The Cochrane Library, as well as a brief overview of all the other entities. Chris and Jini will put together and circulate a list of what needs to be done, and who is responsible for updating the old sections of the Handbook. Action: Chris, Jini

b. Options regarding copyright: The UK-based review group co-ordinators will discuss this issue at their April meeting in Oxford, so it was agreed to defer further discussion of this by the CCSG until its next meeting in October 1997. In the meantime, Chris will raise informally the issue of the photocopying of articles with Richard Smith of the BMJ, after discussing this further with Bev. Action: Chris, Bev

c. Internet use and electronic communication in The Cochrane Collaboration: Chris will write and thank Philippa Middleton and David Badger officially for their thoughtful document on this issue, and ask them to quantify the resources needed by the Collaboration's core Web sites.

The German group should be referred to as the Freiburg Cochrane Initiative.
- - On page 9, it should be the Editorial Group who defines what goes onto the Web sites and in which format (not the Publishing Policy Group or the Informatics Group).
- Jos, as Chair of the Editorial Group, is responsible for augmenting the Group's membership as he thinks fit.
- Potential new sites need to link into existing sites to ensure that their information is accurate, and in the meantime Jos will talk to Brian Haynes about the need to amend the existing errors on the Canadian Web site as soon as possible.
- The San Antonio Cochrane Center have volunteered to establish a further Web site; however, it is important to note that alternative sites cannot carry core Collaboration information - people should be referred to the Collaboration's core sites for that.
- Chris will ask Philippa and David to turn their document into a policy document for the Collaboration, circulate a draft of it to all involved in Web sites for comment, and then it should be checked by the Executive before being distributed to all entities.
- Jos was asked to put the issues raised during this discussion on the agenda of the Centre Directors' meeting. Action: Chris, Jos

Jini advised that she had recently created e-mail lists for the contact people of all MGs and Fields, who are responsible for ensuring that messages intended for all entities reach the members of these entities. Hilda was asked to publicise the list of existing Cochrane e-mail lists in Cochrane News, after Jini had provided some amendments to Philippa. Action: Jini, Hilda

d. HIREx and Cochrane contact directories: Chris clarified with Philippa after the meeting that it is only the basic structure of the contact information that is to be imposed throughout the Collaboration, but it is up to individuals if they wish to use some other package instead. The frequency with which updates will be required will be monthly. CRGs should be given six months' notice of the implementation of this system, to allow for a smooth transition. Action: Chris, Philippa

e. Proposal for a Cochrane database of unpublished data: Andy will take this forward, and raise it again at the next CCSG meeting by providing a progress report. Action: Andy

f. Mechanisms and responsibility for ensuring high quality reviews: See Item 7.4 - Registration Group, and Item 10 - Monitoring progress of entities.

g. Insurance for the Collaboration: The status of this is still to be notified by Edward Dickinson. Action: Edward

h. Affiliate status/ Friends of the Collaboration': The CRD and the SBU had expressed keenness to be affiliated with the Collaboration, and some guidelines need to be developed by Andy and Chris as to what this means in different situations, for consideration at the CCSG's next meeting in Amsterdam. Andy will advise the SBU, and Chris will speak to Iain about advising Trevor Sheldon that affiliate status for the CRD would more appropriately be with the UKCC rather than with the Collaboration. Chris will follow up with Centre Directors that they need to investigate in their own countries the feasibility of making tax deductible donations. Action: Andy, Chris

i. Trademark registration of the Cochrane name and logo: Chris said that the ACC would be contributing 15,000 Australian dollars to the Collaboration (the proceeds from the 1996 Colloquium). Hilda was asked to put a short announcement in Cochrane News to the effect that the costs of registering the Cochrane name and logo had been met by payments from some of the entities, without actually naming those entities which had been able to do so. Chris reminded everyone that the annual Cochrane Colloquia should be budgeted to break even, not to make a profit. Action: Hilda

j. Reviews of test accuracy: Les Irwig no longer has time to convene this Methods Group. It has been agreed that these reviews will be indexed on D.A.R.E., and members of the Screening and Diagnostic Tests MG will work with review authors who wish to do such reviews. Action: Andy

k. Centre Directors' sub-group for orphan management and CRG co-ordination: It was agreed that Targets 1.1, 1.2 and 2.6 were not within the scope of this group. Re Target 2.7, the Centre Directors' sub-group should come up with recommendations to the Registration Group as to how changes to the scope of a CRG might be handled. Lisa would pass feedback from the Registration Group back to Iain and Peter. Action: Lisa

5. Financial situation: Jos reported that the Collaboration's bank account is not healthy at present. Chris will discuss our projected needs with Muir Gray. He will also raise this with the Centre Directors. There should be an up-to-date financial statement tabled at each Executive Group meeting. It was agreed that individual items of expenditure over 1,000 pounds should be approved in advance by two members of the Executive. Action: Chris, Jini

The CCSG expressed extreme gratitude to Jini for taking over a difficult task and doing a fantastic job. Hilda agreed to prepare brief written descriptions of the roles of the Treasurer and Company Secretary for clarification purposes. Jos and Jini will go over the budget for the Secretariat. Chris will write a letter of thanks to the UKCC for the financial and other support it has been providing to the Secretariat. Action: Chris, Hilda, Jos, Jini

6. Three-year business plan 1997/2000: It was agreed that Chris would convey to Muir the CCSG's appreciation for the work that had gone into preparing this plan. It was agreed that ball park figures should be included for the Consumer Network and the TRDG, but that top priority should be given for the next couple of years to funding the Secretariat. Malcolm Newdick's report on the eight days' consultancy work he had done for the Collaboration contained sound advice and some good ideas, and should be tabled for discussion both at the Centre Directors' meeting and the next Publishing Policy Group (PPG) meeting, and that both groups need to prioritise his recommendations. Chris would ask Mark Starr if supplies of Cochrane Library disks could be given to CCSG members to distribute for free, until the demonstration disks are available. Action: Chris, Jos, Jini

7. Reports from the CCSG's standing sub-groups:

7.1 Colloquium Organising Group: Jos advised that the revised date for submission of abstracts for the Amsterdam Colloquium is 15th April 1997.

7.2 Editorial Group: The new Cochrane brochure produced by Jos was tabled at the meeting, and he was thanked and congratulated for his hard work in producing this.

7.3 Handbook Editorial Group: It was agreed that hard copies of the Handbook should be provided in future to people who had trouble downloading it from one of the servers. This decision should be conveyed to the Centre Directors at their meeting. Action: Jos 7.4 Registration Group: Jean welcomed Cecilia Hammarquist as a member of the Registration Group, and reported that the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Group, the Gynaecological Cancer Group, the Prostate Group, and the Renal Group have all been registered since the last Colloquium. It was agreed that the scope of this sub-group of the Steering Group should be enlarged to encompass monitoring the progress of entities (see also Item 4(f) - Mechanisms and responsibility for ensuring high quality reviews, and Item 10 - Monitoring progress of entities).

7.5 Software Development Group: Beta versions of RevMan for DOS and Mac have recently been released. Monica reported that funding might be forthcoming shortly in Denmark for software development over the next three years. The Parent Database Advisory Group is not really needed and it was therefore agreed that it should be disbanded. Monica was asked to convey the CCSG's thanks to Iain and Mark for their involvement in setting up the Information Management System. Action: Monica

7.6 Trials Registers Development Group: Chris agreed to stress to all members of the TRDG that its primary role is one of providing support to CRGs with their specialised registers. It was agreed that Jini would ask Kay Dickersin to circulate to all entities the report on the activities of the TRDG that she had tabled at the CCSG meeting. Action: Chris, Jini

7.7 Publishing Policy Group: Concerns were expressed about the activities of Synapse vis-a-vis their contract with the Collaboration. Reviews on the Internet are incomplete and out of date, and a different browser is being used to that which was agreed in the contract (i.e. not Janus). Chris said he would be talking informally to Andrew Penn in a week's time before making any decisions about future steps that should be taken, and would clarify the exact amount of money accruing to the Collaboration for each Internet subscription taken out. Centre Directors would need to take a greater part in identifying opportunities for promoting The Cochrane Library in their region.

Andy advised that the Norwegian Medical Association are interested in putting the entire Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews on their Web site, and Chris agreed to discuss this opportunity with Mark Starr, as well as having some sort of flag' in The Cochrane Library when a substantive amendment has been made to a review. When people want to use The Library for research, it is the Publishing Policy Group to whom application should be made to do this. The CCSG recommended that multiple users' should mean a full network subscription (the number of simultaneous users, not the total number of users): this should be stated in the next printing of The Cochrane Library leaflet. Action: Chris, Mark

7.7.1 The Cochrane Collaboration and the Cochrane Library: strategic review and income generation initiative: The contents of this report were noted; however, the CCSG were unhappy about the way this report had been commissioned, and Chris agreed to advise Muir Gray that future such items should receive the approval of the Executive Group in advance. Action: Chris

8. BIOMED II: Jos reported that many items about the Collaboration have now been translated into languages other than English, and that there will be several pilot training workshops in Europe this summer.

9. Prevention and resolution of conflicts: Chris volunteered to draft an abstract, with Andy, for a workshop to be held at the next Colloquium on the prevention and resolution of conflict. It was agreed that this is an issue which should be openly discussed within entities whenever possible. Action: Chris, Andy

10. Monitoring progress of entities: [See also Item 4(f) - Mechanisms and responsibility for ensuring high quality reviews, and Item 7.4 - Registration Group.] It was agreed that Centres should play a key role in providing feedback for editorial bases within their area. CRGs and Fields should be asked to provide reports at six-monthly intervals to their Centre, which would be brought to the Registration Group, describing the progress achieved. Quality criteria will be developed and made explicit to everybody. Cindy and Lisa will work on a checklist for CRGs, Andy on a one for MGs, Edward on one for Fields, and Hilda and Jean on one for the Consumer Network. Identification of the core targets of Centres should be discussed at the Centre Directors' meeting, as well as the suggestion that they act as mentors for other Centres. The question should also be resolved of to whom a report of a Centre's progress should be submitted. Action: Andy, Edward, Cindy, Lisa, Hilda, Jean

11. Training and support in the Collaboration: It was agreed that Andy would acknowledge the suggestions made in this paper via the training' e-mail discussion list, and Chris would advise Lelia to follow up via the same route, encouraging someone to step forward and offer to take the lead in establishing a Training Methods Group. Action: Andy, Chris

12. CRG matters:

12.1 The possibility for Fields to sponsor reviews: It was agreed that this was a good idea, and that it could be encouraged providing that such sponsorship was done through the collaborative review groups. Action: Edward

12.2 Review citations: It was suggested that citations might be shortened by omitting editors' names. Zarko will speak to Mark Starr about making the review number explicit so that it can be included in the citation. It was also recommended that review authors amend titles of reviews which are inordinately long, and that protocols should be cited as such in brackets at the end of their title. Zarko will investigate the rules governing citations and advise the CCSG accordingly. Action: Zarko

12.3 Rules for links with industry: It was agreed that, from the date of this meeting, in the case of an industry having a vested interest in the outcome of a particular review, funding should not be accepted for undertaking that review. CRGs should be advised to state in their module any existing conflict(s) of interest. Chris will provide Andy with some wording to include in the Handbook about this. Action: CRG reps, Chris

12.4 Lay summaries in CDSR: It was agreed that the suggestion of incorporating a summary in each review that is written in simple English should be put onto the agenda of the next Publishing Policy Group meeting for discussion. Action: Jini

12.5 Guidelines for observational studies: There will be a workshop on this at the next Colloquium.

12.6 Standardisation of the quality assessment of trials: This was not thought to be necessary.

12.7 Indexing in The Cochrane Library: The Library Advisory Group should be asked to consider the issue of more friendly retrieval of reviews and trials from The Cochrane Library. There might be a workshop at the next Colloquium on this issue. Action: Chris

13. The need for a Library Advisory Group (L.A.G.): Mark Starr had asked Iain Chalmers, Mike Clarke, Jon Deeks and Julie Glanville to be members of this Group. Monica's suggestion that he also invite Ole Olsen to join this Group was agreed to, and Hilda agreed to recommend to him the name of a suitable consumer representative: Jini would advise Mark of this suggested expansion of the group. It was agreed that it was the responsibility of the Publishing Policy Group to decide if and when an additional database be added to The Cochrane Library.

The L.A.G. should be established, with responsibility for advising Update Software on the look and feel of The Cochrane Library, while any concerns and suggested changes to the structure should be brought by the Software Development Group to the CCSG for approval. Whenever possible, advanced notice will be given to review group co-ordinators of any major changes that are to be implemented (any intermediate, minor changes will be optional). The L.A.G. could actively solicit comments from users, possibly as a button on The Cochrane Library itself. Jini was asked to circulate a copy of the BMJ's Cochrane Library Subscriber Survey to all CCSG members (except the members of the PPG, who already have it). Action: Hilda, Jini

14. Establishment of additional Cochrane Centres: This issue was discussed and it was decided that it should be brought forward for discussion at the Centre Directors' meeting. Action: Jos

15. Reaching out: external communications and changing the culture in health care: The contents of this document were noted and discussed, and Chris agreed to write to Mark Lodge and thank him for this. Action: Chris

16. The Eyes and Vision Group's registration application: There were concerns about the nature of Glaxo's sponsorship, which should be clarified before registration could be approved, as potential conflicts of interest should be avoided. Malignancies should be included in the Group's scope if at all possible. Liaison with CCEPP should be mentioned, and the Group should have a close link with the Health Care of Older People Field. The editorial team was not thought to be multi-disciplinary enough; also, only a small number of review authors had been listed, and a plan for identifying additional review authors should be provided. An alternative to the phrase rehabilitated people' should be found. Jean was asked to discuss all these concerns with Iain Chalmers to obtain any clarification he could provide, after which she would draft an appropriate letter to the Group. Action: Jean

In general terms, it was clarified that any expression of a major concern means that an application should come back to the Registration Group before that application can be approved. Note: Everyone

17. Video production for the Collaboration: It was noted that there is now some video material about the Collaboration. This will not be developed further unless a specific individual comes forward and offers to do the task. It was agreed that this could be discussed further at the Centre Directors' meeting, and Chris agreed to tell Muir Gray about the video's existence, with a view to incorporating clips from it in the demonstration disk. Action: Chris

18. Future Colloquia: Chris would advise Alessandro that the Steering Group accepted his offer to host the Colloquium in Italy in 1999, and advise Jimmy Volmink that his offer to host the Colloquium in South Africa in 2000 was also gratefully accepted. Action: Chris

19. The Collaboration's Action Plan: An hour was spent discussing this document in small groups, reassessing the targets and providing text where there were gaps. It was agreed that an additional column should be added to the document showing a named individual as responsible for monitoring that action had been taken. Discussion of this document should be a standing item on every CCSG meeting agenda. It will be tidied up for wide circulation. Action: Chris, Jini

20. Date/s of next meeting in Amsterdam: It was agreed that there was no alternative to meeting on the free afternoon, Friday 10th October, and again on Sunday 12th October after the Annual General Meeting. Jos agreed to ask the Centre Directors to change the date of their meeting to sometime earlier in the week. Action: Jos

21.1 Guidelines for pre-publication refereeing of Cochrane protocols and reviews: This whole refereeing process should be made transparent in the editorial process displayed in each CRG's module, and Lisa undertook to issue some guidelines to CRGs about it, which Hilda would publicise in Cochrane News, and which would also be included in the Collaboration's policy and operations manual being prepared to go onto the same CD as The Cochrane Library. Andy agreed to circulate his proposals for modifying the CRGs' module outline to all the CCSG members. Action: Lisa, Hilda, Andy

Guidelines for updating reviews: Modules should contain a description of the CRGs' policy on updating reviews, setting their own timeframe for doing this. There should be an explicit statement about how often they update their reviews, and how they single out ones that need updating. Reviews that are not going to be updated could perhaps be taken off The Cochrane Library and be included in D.A.R.E. instead. The CRG representatives will consider Lisa's revised paper before it is circulated wider. Action: CRG representatives

Post-publication review criticism: If a CRG hasn't identified a Criticism Editor, it will by default be the co-ordinating editor for the time being. This system will be implemented on the April disk issue. Action: CRG representatives

21.2 Italian Neurological Network: The issue of this proposed network was raised for discussion. Some concern was expressed about the use of the Cochrane name in association with this initiative, and it was agreed that it should be discussed at the Centre Directors' meeting. Action: Jos

21.3 Bugs in MetaView: Chris would advise Update Software that they should notify the Secretariat in writing of any known bugs in MetaView as soon as they are identified, so that these can be forwarded to the Executive Group to decide whether any action needs to be taken or not. Action: Chris


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