Cochrane Collaboration

Steering Group Minutes - Rome 1999

Minutes of Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group Meetings
Rome, 5-9 October 1999

[These minutes were approved by the Steering Group Executive on 13 December 1999]

Alphabetical index to Minutes

Annual General Meetings, Business arising from
Annual General Meetings, Order of events; See also
Annual General Meetings, Report and Financial Statements for
Campbell Collaboration
Centre staff meeting, report from
CENTRAL/CCTR; See also; See also
Cochrane Library, Complimentary copies of
Cochrane Library, Topic-based structure for
Cochrane News, new editor of
Cochrane Prizes
Cochrane Reviews, Abstracts
Cochrane Reviews, Citation of
Cochrane Reviews, Comments and criticisms, non-response to; See also
Cochrane Reviews, Consumer synopses
Cochrane Reviews, Copy editing
Cochrane Reviews, Methodological editing/quality; See also
Cochrane Reviews, Status in CRG modules
Cochrane Reviews, Titles of
Collaboration, Business manager for; See also
Collaboration, Constitution of
Collaboration, Contingency fund for
Collaboration, Financial position of
Collaboration, Treasurer of; See also
Collaboration, Gender balance and developing country participation in
Collaborative Review Groups, bridging funding
Collaborative Review Groups, calendar of events
Collaborative Review Groups, moratorium on surveys, and extension of; See also
Collaborative Review Groups, workload and resource needs; See also
Colloquia, cross-entity meetings at
Colloquia, Convenor of advisory group
Colloquia, future, organisation of; See also
Colloquia, host needed for 2002
Colloquia, surplus funds of
Conflict resolution
Co-ordinating Editors' meeting, report from
Entities, possible new
Funders' Forum
Information technology, plans for improving the use of
Kenneth Warren Prize
Monitoring and registration of entities, Reports of ; See also
Monitoring and registration of entities, New Convenor of
Neonatal reviews and specialised databases
Review Group Co-ordinators, Action Group; See also
Review Group Co-ordinators, involvement in setting deadlines
Review Group Co-ordinators, reports from their meetings; See also
Secretariat staffing
Software, Developments in the Cochrane Collaboration; See also; See also
Steering Group, Chair of, job description for and election of
Steering Group, Co-ordinating Editor rep, election of
Steering Group, Electoral process, committee on
Steering Group, RGC/TSC rep, voting for
Steering Group, Meetings and communication, suggested improvements to
Steering Group, Membership/convenors of sub/advisory groups; See also
Steering Group, Minutes of meeting of 14/15 March 1999
Steering Group, Monitoring of
Steering Group, Priorities for the next two years; See also
Translation policy
Update Software
Update Software, Liaison person between Collaboration and
Update Software, Report from Mark Starr
Update Software, Special Agreement with the Collaboration; See also
Valerie Jefferson Fund
World Health Organisation

Meeting of Tuesday 5th October 1999

Present: Zarko Alfirevic, Gerd Antes, Hilda Bastian, Lisa Bero, Monica Fischer, Gill Gyte, Jini Hetherington (minutes), Paul Jones, Peter Langhorne, Mark Lodge, Andy Oxman (Chair), Bev Shea, Jimmy Volmink, Chris Williams.

In attendance: Claire Allen, Davina Ghersi, Ruth Jepson.

1. Welcomes, apologies for absence, introductions, and approval of the agenda: Andy welcomed everyone to the meeting, and the agenda was approved without amendment. Apologies for absence were received from Mike Clarke, due to unforeseen circumstances.

2. Minutes of previous meeting: The minutes of the Steering Group meeting held in Freiburg on 14th and 15th March 1999 had been approved by the Executive Group on 23rd April, distributed to all entities, and also made available on the Collaboration web site. There were no matters arising in addition to items that were already on the agenda.

3. Membership/convenors of Steering Group sub-groups and advisory groups: Andy asked CCSG members to consider the suggested revisions to membership of the sub-groups and advisory groups, and let him know of any changes before their Saturday meeting.

4. Report and Financial Statements of the Collaboration: The report and financial statements for the year to 31st March 1999, to be tabled at the Annual General Meeting on 8th October, appeared to be satisfactory, and no detailed discussion was necessary.

5. Current financial position: Monica gave an update on the Collaboration's financial position, as displayed on the spreadsheet that had been circulated with the agenda. She was thanked and applauded for the excellent job she had done as the Collaboration's Treasurer.

6. Secretariat staffing: Andy introduced Claire Allen, who is commencing employment as the Secretariat Deputy Administrator on 8th November. He also described the initiative on defining a process for copy editing which Philippa Middleton would undertake on joining the staff of the UKCC for a year on 11th October. Chris asked that there be long-term planning when any new initiatives are contemplated, and it was agreed again that such initiatives should first be piloted.

7. Plans for the Annual General Meetings: The order of events during these meetings on 8th October was agreed. It was agreed that additional agenda items should be requested from the floor at the start.

8. Titles, synopses, abstracts, copy editing, methodological editing:

8.1 - Titles: Andy described the software that has recently been developed at the Norwegian branch of the Nordic Cochrane Centre to put titles for all newly proposed reviews onto the web site, to achieve a consistent format for titles, to avoid duplication, and to alleviate e-mail overload. Coding and keywords are still an unresolved issue. It was agreed that it was important first to pilot the web site system of title registration, before coming to a decision as to whether or not it should be mandatory to register the titles for all newly proposed reviews in this way.

8.2 - Synopses: Hilda reported that the process of producing consumer synopses for reviews appeared to have gone relatively smoothly for new reviews, but that the backlog was a huge task. The ACC will be employing a person half-time at the beginning of 2000 who will help prepare synopses. Bev reported the stress that Review Group Co-ordinators had been experiencing over this process. It was agreed to eliminate the mandatory clause for Issue 1/2000, and agreed that the publication of new reviews should not be held up for the lack of a consumer synopsis. The extent of overburden of work is well recognised, and a decision about when inclusion of consumer synopses should become mandatory should be discussed at the Steering Group's next meeting in San Antonio in March 2000. In the meantime, people should be encouraged to keep working on the synopses, and be reassured that none will go into The Cochrane Library without the approval of the relevant reviewers. Hilda should co-ordinate any future changes to the guidelines for producing synopses with Mike so that these can be incorporated into revisions to the Handbook.
Action: Hilda, Mike

8.3 - Abstracts: The message saying that abstracts are prepared centrally should be removed from The Cochrane Library in Issue 2/2000. Monica should convey this decision in writing to Update Software, and Paul should convey it to the Co-ordinating Editors.
Action: Monica, Paul

8.4 - Copy editing: This had already been discussed under Item 6 above.

8.5 - Methodological editing: Andy reported on the work done by Ole Olsen and others. The suggestion of having a working committee on quality issues was discussed: it was thought that the Dutch Cochrane Centre might potentially take on this responsibility (see item 31.3 below). Andy reiterated that responsibility for scientific editing rests with the editorial teams. Chris will co-ordinate what is being done to ensure quality by the Cancer Network with Philippa Middleton.
Action: Chris

9. Software development:

9.1 Monica asked people to note that her paper, circulated as background to this agenda item, was a personal view rather than that of the Software Development Group. The SDG had since discussed her paper, and she showed an overhead reflecting the SDG's recommendations to the Steering Group:

1. Planning for and implementation of future software development should build on the experience gained during the development and release of RevMan 4.0.

2. The Steering Group should recognise that additional resources are likely to be needed for future development of the Cochrane Collaboration's Information Management System and should earmark funds for this. The level of funding and a process to ensure that the funds are used effectively will be discussed at a special, strategic planning meeting of the Software Development Group in the near future.

3. The CCSG is requested to consider earmarking 1750 pounds for printing of another batch of RevMan on CD-ROM.

It was agreed that the next issue of The Cochrane Library should contain the following statement:
"The preparation of Cochrane Reviews for publication on issue 1, 2000 of The Cochrane Library has coincided with the need to convert all of these into the Collaboration's new review writing software (RevMan 4.0).

This has considerably increased the workload on the Collaborative Review Groups and priority has been given to the technical conversion process rather than to the updating of the protocols or reviews or their copy editing.

Members of the Cochrane Collaboration and all other users of The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews should recognise this and ensure that any criticism of the quality of Cochrane Reviews on issue 1, 2000 does not confuse problems that may have arisen during the conversion process with problems related to the actual conduct of the reviews."
Action: Mike

9.2 Monica said that Update Software should provide a timetable for responding about bugs identified in MetaView. Other agreed upon features, including printing functionality, should be implemented and the software should be field tested before it is distributed on CD-ROM to all reviewers. It was decided to go with MetaView 3.1 for the next two issues; this will affect new and updated reviews, and these will all be checked centrally to ensure that the statistics which have used MetaView 4 are accurate. A message to this effect should be disseminated to all concerned, and announced at the Annual General Meeting. People working on new reviews for Issue 2/2000 will be told as soon as possible which version of MetaView to use. It was agreed that approximately 4,000 should be provided from central resources to print and distribute the new software (RevMan 4.1 and MetaView 4.1) on CD-ROM direct to all reviewers as soon as it is ready. Andy agreed to work with Monica to find about ten beta testers for the new software, and try to find a way to fund it from outside central resources.
Action: Monica, Andy

9.3 October 27th will remain the module submission deadline date, after which a month will be taken to check the statistics in new reviews. If errors can be fixed they will be resubmitted; if not, they will be pulled from the module until the following issue. This was checked and agreed with Mark Starr, and these decisions should be made public. Reviewers should be told that they will also have a month to check their reviews themselves.
Action: Monica

10. Plans for improving the use of information technology within The Cochrane Collaboration: The background document prepared by Tor-Arne Bertheussen and Andy Oxman, outlining several projects aimed at making better use of information technology to facilitate more effective and efficient communication within the Collaboration, was for information. It was noted that the Norwegian branch of the Nordic Cochrane Centre was prepared to invest resources in co-ordinating and implementing these projects.

Meeting of Wednesday 6th October 1999

Present: Zarko Alfirevic, Gerd Antes, Lisa Bero, Mike Clarke, Monica Fischer, Gill Gyte, Jini Hetherington (minutes), Paul Jones, Peter Langhorne, Mark Lodge, Andy Oxman (Chair), Bev Shea, Jimmy Volmink, Chris Williams.

In attendance: Kay Dickersin (a.m. only), Cindy Farquhar (a.m. only), Davina Ghersi, Ruth Jepson, Youping Li, Mark Starr (a.m. only).

11. Update Software

11.1 Report from Mark Starr:

Item 7 - Neonatal reviews and specialised databases: It was agreed that there was no objection to the neonatal reviews, which are already available on the NIH web site, being treated as a specialist database.

Item 9 - Complimentary copies of The Cochrane Library: It was agreed that the Publishing Policy Group should discuss the details of this issue, and return to the full Steering Group if necessary.
Mark reported verbally that he estimated that royalties to the Collaboration next year would be somewhere between 200,000 and 350,000.

11.2.1 - Draft Special Agreement:
It was pointed out that the new Special Agreement between the Collaboration and Update Software will be for three years. It was agreed that in future it would be the responsibility of the Software Development Group to test the statistical algorithms fully before release of any new version of RevMan, and it would be the responsibility of Update Software to correct any errors.

11.2.2 - Next generation of software:
The possibility was discussed of the Collaboration taking over responsibility for development of analysis software (MetaView), ModMan and the Parent Database. This and other plans for the next generation of software will be further discussed by the Software Development Group. Mark agreed to liaise with Lisa Bero to find out why some comments and criticisms had not been reaching the San Francisco Cochrane Center, and to keep Andy informed.
Action: Monica, Mike, Mark Starr

Cindy Farquhar presented a list of decisions from the CENTRAL/CCTR Advisory Group's meeting earlier that day:

1. Update Software will process specialised registers from CRGs and Fields, and a single file of handsearch results, both submitted from NECC@P in mutually agreed tagged text format.

2. Update Software will negotiate with database producers for rights to process and include records for inclusion on CCTR, e.g. MEDLINE and Embase.

3. Update Software will set up a timely feedback system with NECC@P to improve the quality of CENTRAL/CCTR.

4. Update Software will designate a named individual to communicate with NECC@P and ensure that the level of communication will be acceptable to both sides.

5. In exchange for performing the above tasks, Update Software will require exclusive rights to the electronic form of CENTRAL/CCTR for a period of three years.

This statement was discussed by the CCAG in the absence of representatives from Update Software and the NECC@P, a vote was taken, which was unanimous, and the Group [comprising Cindy Farquhar, Diane Haughton, Carol Lefebvre, Mark Lodge, Indy Rutks, and Joanne Telenta] specifically wanted to recognise the efforts that NECC@P have put into negotiations with other publishers in respect of CENTRAL/CCTR. CCAG were concerned about time issues involved in any such project and consequently favour the Update Software proposal. CCAG recognise that it will be necessary for Update Software and NECC@P to work closely together to ensure the proposal works effectively for all concerned.

After lengthy discussion of the options, the CCSG agreed that the recommendations of the Advisory Group be adopted, and that the above five points become the new Annexe 2 to the new Special Agreement between the Collaboration and Update Software. Mark Starr urged that the CCSG find some funds to help support the NECC@P for their work with CENTRAL/CCTR.
Action: Mike

13. Proposal for a topic-based structure for The Cochrane Library: The proposal suggested by Paul Glasziou was supported in general. The proposal should be discussed by the Co-ordinating Editors. If the proposal is implemented, it is important to be cautious about comparisons across reviews and cross review summaries should not include implications. It was agreed that Paul Glasziou et al. should be encouraged to proceed with a pilot with the understanding that it may not be possible to incorporate this in the next generation of software since a decision about this would need to be taken in approximately one year.
Action: Paul

14. Report from RGCs' meeting: Bev had no issues of concern to Review Group Co-ordinators to bring to the Steering Group which had not already been discussed.

15. Proposed Steering Group priorities for the next two years: It was agreed to add an additional priority to the list that had been prepared for this meeting following the recent consultation process, that of supporting raising awareness of the Collaboration. It was also agreed that, when introducing new tasks for collaborative review groups, review group co-ordinators should be involved as much as possible in setting deadlines for completion of such tasks. The top funding priorities (running the Secretariat and the Steering Group, and building up a reserve of capital) should be secured with the next royalty payment from Update Software, after which consideration can be given to the second level of funding priorities (see item 28 below).

16. CRG workload and resource needs for groups with many reviews:

16.1 Status on protocols and reviews contained in CRG modules: The status sheet produced by the Nordic Cochrane Centre from data contained in the Parent Database should be provided every six months to the Monitoring and Registration Group to help them in the monitoring process. When it becomes possible, the date that a module was last submitted should also be provided. Suggestions should be given to Monica as to other useful data that could be included in this status sheet.
Action: Monica

16.2 Calendar of events: It was agreed that the calendar of events is very helpful, that it should be kept updated, and that the update should be put onto the Collaboration web site at regular intervals.
Action: Chris, Davina

17. Monitoring and registration of entities: Lisa advised that the monitoring of collaborative review groups had gone well and a report would be made to the Annual General Meeting on 8th October.

17.1 Registration Group report:

17.1.1 Possible entities: Jimmy was asked to draw the attention of all Centre Directors to the requirement that if there is a possible new entity, with an identifiable person taking it forward, this information should be notified to the Secretariat (via Iain Chalmers for CRGs if he agrees to continue to do this, via Mike Clarke for Methods Groups, and via Mark Lodge for Fields/Networks) so that it can be included in The Cochrane Library.
Action: Jimmy

17.1.2 Non-response to comments and criticisms: Chris was asked to discuss with the Co-ordinating Editors the suggestion that if a Criticism Editor has received no response to a criticism from the relevant reviewer within six months, the editorial team would include that criticism in The Cochrane Library nonetheless, and to report back (see item 27.2 below).

17.2 Monitoring the Steering Group: Chris Silagy's suggestions for monitoring the Steering Group, outlined in his e-mail of 12th September and circulated with the agenda, were heartily endorsed. He should be asked to go ahead and provide suggested membership and terms of reference of a review panel.
Action: Jini

18. Surveying Centres [and other entities]: It was agreed that requesting financial information in surveys is a sensitive issue and providing it should be entirely optional. A message should go out via CCINFO both about this, and repeating that people should send requests to conduct surveys of Centres or other entities, as well as CRGs, via the Secretariat to the Executive Group.
Action: Jini

19. Funders' Forum: Andy advised that he would be approaching Chris Silagy and Muir Gray to help with this initiative, to see if it could be got off the ground in the coming year.
Action: Andy

20. W.H.O.: Andy said that there had been very positive developments with the World Health Organisation, and that he would provide a draft proposal for the Steering Group to consider for future collaboration with them.
Action: Andy

21. Kenneth Warren Prize: Iain Chalmers should be advised that the Steering Group approved this initiative, and asked if he would go ahead and set up the mechanism for administering it.
Action: Jini

22. The Campbell Collaboration: Andy advised that he had invited Robert Boruch to attend the Steering Group meeting in San Antonio in March 2000.

23. Constitution of the Collaboration: Gill advised that several minor amendments to the Constitution were needed. She agreed to bring a draft amended Constitution to the San Antonio meeting which could be presented for approval at the Annual General Meeting in 2000.
Action: Gill

24. Conflict resolution: Gill advised that she was drafting a small leaflet on conflict resolution to go to all entities. This should be discussed at the San Antonio meeting.
Action: Gill

25. Plans for the Annual General Meetings: No changes to the plans for these meetings were suggested.

Andy warmly thanked the four outgoing members of the Steering Group, Bev, Lisa, Monica and Zarko, for their immensely hard work and valuable contribution while on the Steering Group.

Meeting of Saturday 9th October 1999

Present: Gerd Antes, Hilda Bastian, Mike Clarke, Davina Ghersi, Gill Gyte, Jini Hetherington (minutes), Ruth Jepson, Paul Jones, Peter Langhorne, Mark Lodge, Andy Oxman (Chair), Elena Telaro, Jimmy Volmink, Chris Williams, Youping Li.

In attendance: Claire Allen, Monica Fischer.

26. Business arising from the Annual General Meetings:

26.1 It was agreed in future to obtain signatures of entity representatives in advance of the Colloquium and to ask people to try to bring prepared questions to the AGMs. It was agreed that the ex-Treasurer of the Steering Group, Monica Fischer, should be invited to join the Board of Directors of the Collaboration Trading Company.
Action: Jini

26.2 Hilda and Jimmy volunteered to prepare discussion documents on how best to achieve gender balance and developing country participation in the Collaboration, for discussion at the Steering Group meeting in San Antonio in March 2000.
Action: Hilda, Jimmy

27. Reports from:

27.1 Centre Staff meeting: There were no issues to discuss arising from this.

27.2 Co-ordinating Editors' meeting: The main points arising from this meeting were:

(a) There was strong support for the Collaboration employing a chief executive officer/business manager; it was also suggested that some capital might be set aside to be used as bridging funding for unforeseen contingencies.

(b) Central copy editing was agreed to be a sensible goal, providing the autonomy of editorial teams was protected.

(c) Concern was expressed about poor communication between CRGs, Fields, Methods Groups and Centres, and it was agreed that the next Colloquium should have more cross-entity meetings.
Action: Jimmy

(d) It was agreed that if a reviewer had not responded to a criticism of their review within six months, the criticism should be published with the review. The editorial team could include a comment if they wanted to. This decision should be conveyed to Lisa Bero, criticism editors and RGCs and copied to the Co-ordinating Editors.
Action: Jini

(e) Paul Jones had notified everyone of his resignation from the Steering Group as soon as a replacement could be found, and the Co-ordinating Editors should hold an election immediately to appoint someone for three years from now.
Action: Jini

(f) Andy agreed to prepare a statement to all entities on publication of versions of Cochrane reviews in journals.
Action: Andy

27.3 RGCs' follow-up meeting: Bev and Davina reported on several key issues arising from this meeting:

(a) An RGC Action Group is forming to work strategically to get things done in between Colloquia.

(b) There was an expressed need for training for trainers (such as handsearcher training).

(c) Confusion had been expressed about the electoral process: it was agreed that RGCs and TSCs should each have a separate vote for the RGC/TSC representative on the Steering Group.

(d) In recognition of the heavy workload of CRGs, the Steering Group agreed to extend the moratorium on surveys to the end of 1999, and that this would be kept under review. Davina should make it clear to review group co-ordinators that if people have a pressing need for information from CRGs during this period, they may still contact CRGs, in which case it is entirely optional for RGCs to respond.
Action: Davina

27.4 Monitoring and Registration Group meeting: Gill advised that Lisa would be providing a written report on the monitoring process to date. Steering Group members should have access to monitoring information and treat it in confidence.

28 Steering Group priorities for the next two years:

(a) The five top priorities were agreed to (see addendum to these minutes).

(b) The Steering Group's priorities for funding were then considered in light of their agreed priorities for the next two years. Andy noted that the highest priorities were now covered by royalties from sales of The Cochrane Library and we could begin to consider the next level of priorities in light of our priorities for the next two years and projected income for the next year as reported by Mark Starr (see item 11.1 above). He repeated the caution raised at both the Co-ordinating Editors' meeting and the Annual General Meeting that we should not be in a rush to spend money. Peter and Mark agreed to draft a set of basic principles upon which to base decisions for providing central funding such as always asking how such decisions would benefit CRGs.
Action: Peter, Mark

(c) It was agreed that the highest priority was now to recruit a business manager or executive director. This suggestion was put forward at both the Co-ordinating Editors' meeting and the Annual General Meeting. Based on the projected royalties for next year it should be possible to recruit to this position once a job description and selection process are agreed. Andy agreed to circulate the draft job description of the Business Manager produced for the Freiburg meeting in March 1999. This document should be revised and then circulated to the Co-ordinating Editors, who requested this, and others.
Action: Andy

(d) Chris and Hilda volunteered to draft a job description for the Chair of the Collaboration, as this would have a bearing on the tasks to be assigned to the Business Manager. Steering Group members should give Chris any suggestions and comments.
Action: Chris, Hilda

(e) It was agreed that ten per cent of the royalties should be earmarked as a contingency fund, commencing with the next royalty payment.
Action: Mike, Jini

(f) Software development, central copy editing and CENTRAL/CCTR should be considered to be at the same level of funding priority at this time, and this decision should be reviewed when costings and, if appropriate, business plans are available for these. It was agreed that the RGCs' Action Group could spend up to a maximum of 1,000 to hold discussions by telephone conference, and to present a strategic plan for that group to the Steering Group at its next meeting in San Antonio. The pilot work on central copy editing should be taken to the CLIB Users' Group for feedback.
Action: Davina

(g) The CENTRAL/CCTR Advisory Group could also spend up to a maximum of 1,000 for the purpose of holding discussions by telephone conference. Central funding for CENTRAL/CCTR would be considered on receipt of a business plan from Kay Dickersin, which Andy would ask her to produce before she approaches another publisher: this business plan should be approved in advance by the Steering Group.
Action: Andy

29. Citation of Cochrane Reviews: Chris was asked to resolve this issue with the Co-ordinating Editors and report back to the Steering Group at its next meeting in San Antonio.
Action: Chris

30. Membership/convenors of Steering Group sub-groups and advisory groups:

30.1 Approval of:

30.1.1 Approval process for membership of advisory groups: It was agreed that the Executive could approve changes in membership of these groups, rather than such changes having to go to the full Steering Group for approval.

30.1.2 New Treasurer: Mike Clarke agreed to take on this role from Monica Fischer.

30.1.3 New Convenor, Monitoring and Registration Group: Gill Gyte agreed to take on this role from Lisa Bero.

30.1.4 New Convenor, Colloquium Group: Jimmy agreed to canvas the Group to find out who would be prepared to take on this role.
Action: Jimmy

30.1.5 New liaison person between the Collaboration and Update Software: Mike Clarke was thanked for agreeing to take over this role from Monica Fischer, in addition to his several other new responsibilities. There will be a period of overlap between Monica and Mike to finalise the details of the Special Agreement between the Collaboration and Update Software.
Action: Monica, Mike

30.1.6 Membership of other sub and advisory groups: It was confirmed that there should be two Steering Group members on the CENTRAL/CCTR Advisory Group and, in the light of Mark Lodge's decision to step down, Davina should replace him on the Group. Mark should suggest to Kay Dickersin a suitable representative of Fields to join the Group. Andy agreed to discuss with Lisa Bero who might take over from Mildred Cho as Convenor of the Criticism Management Group. Monica agreed to remain a member of the Publishing Policy Group in her role as Convenor of the Software Development Group. Hilda and Gill agreed to find a consumer to replace Gill on the CLIB Users' Group. It was agreed that Hilda should be put back onto the Colloquium Group.
Action: Davina, Andy, Hilda, Gill, Jini

30.2 Review of electoral process, and election of the next Chair:

30.2.1 Electoral process: A committee should be formed to consider amendments to the whole electoral process. Davina and Mark should recruit people to this committee, including if possible Frances Fairman and Steve Macdonald. They should consult with Jini regarding experience with the current process and report back on their progress at the San Antonio meeting of the Steering Group.
Action: Davina, Mark

30.2.2 Election of the next Chair: Andy advised that the new Chair should be elected at the Steering Group's meeting in San Antonio and referred people to the agreed upon process that was attached to the agenda. Possible nominations should be considered in the context of the Collaboration employing a business manager or executive director, and the job description for Chair to be produced by Chris and Hilda as soon as possible. It was agreed that if there were no candidates among members of the Steering Group, the CCSG would find out if people not on the Steering Group could be nominated who could then be considered as a fallback.
Action: Everyone

31. Matters arising from advisory group reports:

31.1.1 Colloquium Group: Half the members of this group had had a brief meeting during the Rome Colloquium, at which an experiment had been suggested, of having two days for science and three days for internal business, commencing no later than 2001. Jimmy was asked to communicate this to Margaret Haugh, so that it could be kept in mind when she is making the arrangements for the Lyon Colloquium.
Action: Jimmy

31.1.2 The Steering Group agreed that any surplus funds from Colloquia should go into a fund to support stipends for future Colloquia rather than going into the Collaboration's central funds, as has been the policy in the past, and that the host Centre could keep up to 50% of any surplus. This should be communicated to this year's hosts and future hosts.
Action: Jini

31.1.3 Gerd was asked to pursue identifying a host for the 2002 Colloquium with all the Centre Directors. Xavier Bonfill has offered to host the event in 2003 in Barcelona, combined with the Scientific Basis of Health Services conference. Jini should let Xavier know that his offer was gratefully received and confirm with him that the Spanish Centre will host the Colloquium in 2003.
Action: Gerd, Jini

31.2 Publishing Policy Group: Andy advised that the Collaboration's translation policy would be circulated to the full Steering Group with the minutes of the PPG's 6th October 1999 meeting.
Action: Jini

31.3 Suggested advisory group on methodological quality of reviews: Andy agreed to ask Pim Assendelft and Philippa Middleton to consider putting such a group together and drawing up its terms of reference.
Action: Andy

32. Suggestions for how to improve Steering Group meetings and communication:
Andy agreed to follow up on establishing an e-mail list for reviewers. Chris thanked Jini for her efficient organisation of the material for the Steering Group's meetings in Rome. A decision should be reached in San Antonio as to the timing of the CCSG's meeting during the Cape Town Colloquium, before other events are arranged around it, to avoid conflicts for the elected representatives with their entity meetings. The Brazilian and Chinese Centres have both offered to host the March 2001 CCSG meeting: Centres should be canvassed, and the decision should be made in San Antonio, taking travel costs into account. Both Centres need to be advised of the costs for which the hosts of such a meeting would be responsible.
Action: Andy, Jini

33. Any other business:

33.1 Valerie Jefferson Fund: Andy agreed to convey concerns that the purpose of the fund should perhaps be broader than cancer.
Action: Andy

33.2 'Cochrane' Prizes: As with funds, prizes wanting to have 'Cochrane' in the name need the approval of the Steering Group. This information should be disseminated via Cochrane News. The Cochrane - Health Libraries Group Prize was approved.
Action: Jini

33.3 External review of agreement with Update Software: Consideration of the suggestion of commissioning an external review of our agreement with Update Software should be put onto the agenda for discussion in San Antonio.
Action: Jini

33.4 Cochrane News: Andy advised that the Canadian Centre (Kathie Clark) had agreed to take on editing Cochrane News from the San Antonio Center (Karen Stamm) after the next issue. Jini was asked to convey the thanks of the Steering Group to Karen for the excellent job she has done and to Kathie and the Canadian Centre for taking over this responsibility.
Action: Jini

Addendum to Minutes

Steering Group priorities for the next two years


Additional priorities

Work towards ensuring manageable workloads and resources for CRGs

Encourage the preparation of reviews for high priority topics

Develop and implement effective editing and quality improvement for reviews

Develop and implement mechanisms for ensuring reviews are up to date

Develop a business plan and improve the Collaboration's funding base

Possible actions for additional priorities

Develop and implement a management plan

Support effective consumer involvement

Improve access for users and contributors in languages other than English

Help raise the profile of the Cochrane Collaboration worldwide

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