Minutes of meeting of the

Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group,
São Paulo, Brasil,

18 and 19 February 2001

[These minutes were approved by the Steering Group Executive on 3 April 2001]



Advisory Group, CENTRAL/CCTR


Advisory Group, Cochrane Library Users’


Advisory Group, Colloquium Policy

7.4, 35

Advisory Group, Criticism Management


Advisory Group, Handbook


Advisory Group, Information Management System


Advisory Group, Quality


Advisory Groups, budgets for sub- and


Advisory Groups, conflict of interest in convenorship of


Articles of Association (Constitution) of the Collaboration


BMJ Publishing Group (Clinical Evidence), relationship with


Centers, US Cochrane


Centre responsible for Cochrane activities in Thailand


Centre, establishment of national networks in countries without a Cochrane


Clinical Evidence (BMJ Publishing Group), relationship with


Cochrane Library, complimentary copies of The


Cochrane products, pricing of specialty


Cochrane products, publishing of


Collaborative Review Groups, workload and calendar of events


Colloquium, Lyon – 2001


Colloquium, prizes


Company Secretary


Constitution (Articles of Association) of the Collaboration


Contact reviewers’ notification list


Document production and updating, standard operating procedures for


Entity changes, advising the Monitoring and Registration Group of


Finance, budgets for sub- and advisory groups


Finance, equitable distribution of funds


Finance, financial loss at Colloquia


Finance, travel by Chair


Finance, travel to CCSG meetings by members


Finance, Treasurer’s report


Funders’ Forum


Funders, raising the profile of the Cochrane Collaboration with


Hypertension Group


International organisations, alliances with


Media guidance, report on


Monitoring and Registration Group, changes in membership

7.1.4, 39.2

National networks, establishment of, in countries without a Cochrane Centre


Prize, Kenneth Warren and Thomas C Chalmers Award, management of the


Prizes, Colloquium


Report, Cochrane Collaboration


Reviewers’ (contact) notification list


Reviews, consumer synopses


Reviews, cost of producing individual


Reviews, dissemination of research


Reviews, electronic tracking of


Reviews, inclusion of a statement in The Cochrane Library for withdrawn


Reviews, publication of complete versions in paper journals


Secretariat, appraisal of Jini Hetherington


Secretariat, new senior staff position


Standard operating procedures for document production and updating


Steering Group priorities


Steering Group, agendas for meetings of


Steering Group, conflict of interest for members


Steering Group, electoral process


Steering Group, e-mail etiquette


Steering Group, meeting in February/March 2002 of the


Steering Group, member stepping down


Steering Group, monitoring of


Steering Group, spreadsheet of members’ outstanding action items


Thailand, Centre responsible for Cochrane activities in


Titles, web site for new

32.1, 32.2



Treasurer’s report


Update Software

9, 10

Web site for new titles

32.1, 32.2

Web sites, Collaboration mirror


World Association of Medical Editors


Minutes of meeting of the

Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group,

São Paulo, Brasil,

18 and 19 February 2001

[These minutes were approved by the Steering Group Executive on 3 April 2001]

Present: Gerd Antes, Hilda Bastian, Mike Clarke (Chair, from Item 7.2 to Item 28), Davina Ghersi, Jini Hetherington (minutes), Ruth Jepson, Peter Langhorne (Chair for items dealt with in Mike’s absence), Youping Li, Jim Neilson, Samuel Ochieng, Elena Telaro, Jimmy Volmink, David Wilkinson and Chris Williams.
Peter Tugwell in attendance for items 1 to 8.

  1. Peter welcomed everyone to the meeting. Due to the delay in the arrival of Mike’s flight from the UK, Peter chaired the first part of the meeting. He thanked Peter Tugwell for coming to the meeting, to feed back the findings of the review panel that had monitored the Steering Group (see item 8).
  2. Matters arising, not on this agenda

    2.1 Jini’s appraisal: Peter reported that Mike had undertaken Jini’s annual performance appraisal, and that it had gone well.

    2.2 Electronic tracking system for reviews: Jim reported that Tor-Arne Bertheussen had left the Oslo branch of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, and therefore development of this system had not yet progressed. Peter agreed to find out whether this is being taken forward through the Information Management System Group, or otherwise.
    Action: Peter
  3. Treasurer’s report
    Peter reported on the satisfactory increase in royalties to the Collaboration over the past year. It was agreed that the contingency fund needs to be looked at with a view to increasing it, when the budget for the coming year is set, to cover the salary costs of the additional member of staff in the Secretariat. This budget, for the period April 2001 to March 2002, should be circulated to the Steering Group before the end of March when the current financial year ends.
    Action: Peter, Mike, Jini
  4. Steering Group priorities
    4.1 It was agreed that this item had been incorrectly called ‘Funding priorities’ on the agenda. Chris asked if action items could be identified during the meeting that would entail reassessing the current list of priorities. He also asked for future agendas of Steering Group meetings to be organized around the revised list of priorities. The original list had been drafted two years ago, during the CCSG meeting in Freiburg in March 1998, and finalised at the CCSG meeting during the Rome Colloquium in October 1999. It was agreed to revisit the list of priorities at the next Steering Group meeting in Lyon, in light of the Collaboration’s strategic plan and the various issues entailing funding which are currently under discussion.
    Action: Peter

    4.2 It was agreed that Gerd should recommend to the Centre Directors that the basic introductory material about the Collaboration should be translated from English into several other major languages, and made available on the web site.
    Action: Gerd
  5. Equitable distribution of funds
    Peter gave the background to the document prepared by himself and Mark Lodge before the previous Steering Group meeting, to provide some guiding principles for the allocation of money from this discretionary fund. The ceiling of 5,000 pounds sterling per year in this fund was altered to 10,000 pound, with a ceiling of 2,000 pounds to any one applicant. The Chair would bring requests for money from decisions as to allocation of this fund to the Executive for approval, and the existence of the fund should be publicised in the Cochrane Manual and disseminated via CCINFO. Patterns of application, and who had been given money, should be kept in a table and be a standing item on future CCSG agendas. Jini was asked to advise the CCSG on past retrospective spending from this fund via e-mail.
    Action: Mike, Jini
  6. CCSG expenses

    6.1 Travel by Chair to other meetings:
    It was agreed that it was only necessary only to bring requests to fund exceptional travel by the Chair to the Executive for approval, and that standard travel by the Chair on Collaboration business would not need such approval. Peter would outline the expenses the Chair might expect to incur prepare a budget forduring his routine exceptional travel duties, expenses as Chair, for the Steering Group meeting in Lyon. It was suggested that this may be expressed as a small percentage of Collaboration income.
    Action: Peter

    6.2 Travel to CCSG meetings
    : Jini agreed to ask Claire Allen to explore obtaining a credit card for the Collaboration Secretariat, to make it more efficient to pay the costs of Steering Group members’ hotel and travel expenses for the mid-year meeting. Hilda agreed to draft a travel policy for future Steering Group meetings, with very specific criteria, based on her tabled paper. Chris, David and Jim volunteered to produce a paper on how to prioritise where the mid-year Steering Group meetings are held, the expectations of visiting one place versus another, the organization of the Steering Group meeting agendas, and the way to get the most out of the meetings.
    Action: Jini, Hilda, Chris, David, Jim

7. Reports and budgets from sub- and advisory groups

7.1 Monitoring and Registration Group (MRG)
: The MRG were thanked for their hard work, particularly on the monitoring of entities, and Ruth was asked to pass on thanks to Claire Allen for the support she had provided to the MRG.
Action: Ruth

7.1.1 Hypertension Group
: It was agreed that it would be advisable for potential applicants for new entities to advise the Monitoring and Registration Group at the earliest opportunity, to avoid several individuals applying to establish the same entity. The Steering Group approved the proposal that, at this time, the Monitoring and Registration Group only considers the application from James Wright to re-establish the Hypertension Group, which is currently being looked after by the Heart Groupbeing caretaken by the Heart Group.
Action: Ruth

7.1.2 US Cochrane Centers: Peter agreed to ask the Directors of the US Centers to provide clarification about their intentions for merging these centers. Jini was asked to arrange for removal of the San Antonio Cochrane Center from the Collaboration web site.
Action: Peter, Jini

7.1.3 Changes within entities: There was discussion about whether or not it should be mandatory to notify the Monitoring and Registration Group (MRG) of changes to existing entities (such as change of name, move of editorial base, etc.). The Director of the reference Cochrane Centre should always be asked if the Centre it knows about, and supports, a particular change. It was agreed that the MRG should be advised of all such intended changes; however, they should first discuss and propose to the Steering Group which types of changes should require MRG approval, and which types of changes should be notified to them for information only. When this has been agreed, Ruth should convey the information to all entities, assuring them that a response from the MRG would be given as soon as possible in situations where their approval has been sought.
Action: Ruth

7.1.4 Interim replacement for Jimmy Volmink on the MRG: It was agreed that the MRG should try to co-opt someone to the Group to represent Centres until October 2001 when a new Centre representative will be elected to the Steering Group and replace Jimmy on the MRG.
Action: Ruth

7.2 CENTRAL/CCTR Advisory Group (CCAG)
: Davina Elena clarified that there had been some general confusion in the past between the CENTRAL Management Plan had been confused in the past with and the guidelines for submitting specialised registers for inclusion in CENTRAL. [JINI AND PETER: THIS MIGHT NEED TO BE CHANGED TO MAKE IT CLEARER WHO HAS BEEN CONFUSED ABOUT THIS]. It was agreed that Mike should write to the Trials Search Co-ordinators, strongly encouraging them to follow the existing guidelines for submitting their specialized registers, and asking them to make it known if they had problems or difficulties in adhering to those guidelines. A separate issue causing concern is that CENTRAL contains many inappropriate entries and duplicates. It was agreed that there is a need to Mike and Peter would try to clarify the nature of the problems with CENTRAL, in order to develop a plan for their resolution.so that there could be a rapid resolution of these. Mike and Davina agreed to work together on this and to contact Kay Dickersin to discuss how this could be done. They would also ask Kay if the finalisation of the CENTRAL Management Plan could be acceleratedask for an acceleration of the timescale for cleaning up CENTRAL, as it was felt desirable to complete this such activities sooner than the planned six months mentioned in her report. Davina would also repeat her offer to Kay to help TSCs who had had problems in making their submissions for CENTRAL.
Action: Mike, Peter, Davina

7.3 Cochrane Library Users’ Group (CLUG): It was agreed that the Publishing Policy Group should discuss providing some free subscriptions to The Cochrane Library to ensure broader membership of the CLUG.
Action: Mike

7.4 Colloquium Policy Advisory Group (CPAG): It was suggested that the CPAG be asked to recommend the setting up of additional awards, rather than trying to change the criteria of any existing award. They should also be asked to consider who is liable if a Colloquium suffers a financial loss.
Action: Davina

7.5 Criticism Management Advisory Group (CMAG): Mike advised that the new web site system for submitting comments and criticisms is now working well. Strategies need to be developed , and the process needs to be worked out for encouraging people to use it. He agreed to ask the San Francisco Cochrane Center to name someone to represent them on the CMAG Group.
Action: Mike

7.6 Handbook Advisory Group (HAG): It was clarified that the Cochrane Reviewers’ Handbook is a living document, and people are should be encouraged to make suggestions for improvements and amendments to the editors, Mike Clarke and Andy Oxman.
Action: Mike

7.7 Information Management System Group (IMSG)
: Mike described the survey that is soon to be distributed to all entities to assess identify and prioritise the software needs within of the Collaborationorganisation. It was agreed that all software developed for use across within the Collaboration should be the responsibility of the IMS Group. It was also agreed that the IMS Group should be encouraged to expand its membership internationally.
Action: Mike

7.8 Quality Advisory Group (QAG): It was clarified that no decision had been taken to have a checklist for peer reviewers. There is a It was noted that there should be a third option for the copy editing of Cochrane reviews, which is that this should become the responsibility of the Collaboration’s publishers of the Collaboration’s products. The: the Quality Advisory Group Steering Group should advise the Steering Group on the feasibility of the three options.
Action: Mike, Peter

7.9 Budgets for advisory groups: All the budgets submitted by the advisory groups for the year April 2001 to March 2002 were approved, and it was agreed that these budgeted figures should be included in the Collaboration’s annual report. Each advisory group should be asked to provide a five-year plan with their report for the Steering Group meeting in Lyon. . It was agreed that the IMS Group should be encouraged to expand its membership internationally. The Secretariat should organise advisory group telephone conferences where possible in future, so that the invoices for these can be paid centrally. The sums approved in the various budgets should be paid by the Secretariat in arrears, on the basis of invoices submitted by the advisory group convenors. Peter undertook to advise the sub- and advisory group convenors that their budgets had been approved as submitted, to thank them for their reports, and to ask them to pass on thanks to all their members for their hard work.
Action: Peter

  1. Monitoring the Steering Group
    Peter Tugwell presented the findings of the review panel that had undertaken to monitor the Steering Group. Peter [Langhorne] and Mike undertook to study the recommen-dations of the review panel and work out what is already being done about them, flagging up ways in which some of the others could be dealt with. They would raise this for discussion with the Executive in their next telephone conference in early April, and put the matter on the agenda of the Steering Group meeting in Lyon. Mike undertook to write formally to Peter Tugwell and the review panel to thank them warmly for their hard work and efficiency in conducting the review of the Steering Group.
    Action: Peter, Mike
  2. Request for proposals for publishing Cochrane products
    Mike reported on progress to date by the working group committee (comprising Chris, Hilda, Peter and himself) in finding a consultant (at a cost of between 5,000 and 10,000 pounds sterling) to help develop a canvas for Rrequests for Pproposals from publishers, to advertise this, and to help with the selection process. The search for a suitable person was continuing. The working group estimated that hiring a consultant would cost between 5,000 and 10,000 pounds sterling. David offered to send Mike a couple of contact names of people who might be suitable, and suggestions would also be sought from other people. It is estimated that it will should take about six weeks after finding a suitable consultant before advertising the Request for Proposals.putting the bid out to tender. In the meantime, he Mike clarified that in the meantime the existing contract with Update Software is not affected by this initiative.
    Action: David
  3. Letter from Mark Starr, Update Software
    It was agreed that in future the publisher of the Cochrane Collaboration products should be provided with a structured template for their report to the CCSG. Mike and Peter would draft thisa structured template for reporting by its publishers, and bring it to the CCSG for approval, via the Executive.
    Action: Mike, Peter
  4. Pricing of specialty products
    Mike clarified that the category into which a particular specialty product falls in the banding structure would be agreed jointly by the publisher, the Collaboration, and the producers of the specialty product. The proposed banding structure that had already been agreed by the Publishing Policy Group was accepted in principle. Clarification would be was sought as to what were "allowable expenses".
    Action: Mike, Peter
  5. Funders’ Forum
    Peter reported that since the meeting with funders in Cape Town in October 2000, arrangements had been made to hold a telephone conference in the near future, with a view to holding a small planning meeting in June, to draft funding options for a second, larger meeting of funders during the Lyon Colloquium. Mike agreed to advise Ron Stamp that potential funders should be strongly encouraged to attend the Lyon meeting.
    Action: Mike
  6. Relationship between Clinical Evidence and the Collaboration
    The Steering Group reviewed the ten proposals contained in the tabled paper from the BMJ Publishing Group (BMJPG). It was agreed that all these proposals should be viewed from an international perspective. For example, if the BMJPG made special arrangements with three3 CRGs, it would be good if This could be ensured by requiring that one of theseCRGs represented should be was from outside the UK and, perhaps, one should preferably be from a non-English language-speaking editorial base. It was agreed that representatives from such CRGs should be part of future , in any negotiations with the BMJPG: Bernd Richter and George Rutherford should be approached to see if they would be willing to join the negotiating group (which already includes Mike, Peter and Jim). Hilda volunteered to be involved in any negotiations involving issues relatingalting to consumers.
    Action: Mike, Peter
  7. New senior staff position
    There was lengthy discussion on the required skills and remit of the proposed senior staff position. It was agreed that this person would be employed initially for one year to look at the review process and then draw up a plan for supporting CRGs, with the aim of improving the quality of reviews: s/he would be required to identify and report back on the problems with Cochrane reviews, with the aim of identifying best practice. This process would primarily involve the staff at the editorial bases of CRGs and reviewers.
    The current job description should be revised, removing everything not to do with the production process of reviews.
    It would be desirable for the appointed this person to have a good grasp of quality and improvement methodology, some experience of health care systems, a good knowledge of the Collaboration, and an appreciation of its ethos. S/he should be prepared to travel, to possess good listening and communication skills, and the ability to remain focussed on the wider picture. S/he would report to the CCSG through the Chair, and preferably be based for the majority of the year in or close to Oxford, although candidates who wished to be based elsewhere were not prepared to relocate would not be ruled out.
    The selection panel should consist of Chris, Davina, Gerd, Jim, Jini, Mike, and Peter. This position should be advertised both within and outside the Collaboration, and David, [JINI AND PETER: DOESN’T LISTING JINI REPLACE THE NEED FOR THE FOLLOWING TEXT?]and someone locally who understands clearly what is required of this person.
    agreed to provide Mike with the name of an employment consultant; it was also recommended that Mike he seek advice on where to advertise the position from Heather Buchan in Melbourne. The post should be advertised in April, with interviews taking place in the third week of June, with the aim of appointing someone to the position in time to attend the Lyon Colloquium. Travel expenses would be paid to shortlisted candidates who are interviewed. Mike will revise and circulate the job description to all Steering Group members, Philippa Middleton and Pim Assendelft as soon as possible, so that it can be finalized by the end of March.
    Action: David, Mike
  8. Costs of producing individual reviews
    It was agreed that it is important to have a reliable estimate of know the costs of producing individual Cochrane reviews, on an hourly basis. A committee was formed, consisting of Chris, Davina, Jimmy and Ruth, to work with the Health Economics Methods Group to develop a proposal for ascertaining such costs, for discussion at the Steering Group meeting in during the Lyon Colloquium. The committee members y should decide work out among themselves which of them will take the lead on this.
    Action: Chris, Davina, Jimmy, Ruth
  9. Inclusion of a statement in The Cochrane Library for withdrawn Cochrane reviews
    The recommendations in Philippa Middleton’s paper of 29 January 2001 were accepted, and Mike agreed to convey this to her. It was agreed that withdrawn reviews should not be counted when the total number of Cochrane reviews is shown in The Cochrane Library.exact number of reviews should be included in the proposed statement, rather than a rough figure. Otherwise, the wording of the statement was agreed to, and Mike agreed to convey this to Philippa Middleton.
    Action: Mike
  10. Review of electoral process
    The paper prepared by Davina, with assistance from Mark Lodge and Jini, was discussed, and the following agreements were reached:

    Section 2: All entities should continue to provide a list of their voting members to the Secretariat, to comply with the legal requirements of conducting elections to the Steering Group. All active members are eligible to vote for the person to represent their entity, and a description of who constitutes an ‘active’ member should be included in entity modules.

    Section 10: Jini was asked to discover the legal implications, if any, of someone from outside the Steering Group becoming Chair of the Collaboration in the absence of a suitable candidate from within the Steering Groupexisting member. Her Any findings and the implications for the source of the Chair should be discussed by the Steering Group at its meeting in Lyon.
    Action: Jini

    Section 11: A template should be devised setting out the expectations of Steering Group members, such as how to communicate with their constituencies. Additional information should be provided to incoming members in the form of a job description provided by the relevant outgoing members. It was agreed that two consecutive terms as a member of the Steering Group should be the limit, with a three-year break before someone could stand again for election. The exception to this is the Chair, who continues to have to step down after one two-year term (but this term can extend beyond what would have been the end of two terms as an entity representative).

    Section 13 (g): If someone is a reviewer in more than one CRG s/he should only exercise one vote in elections for a CRG representative, but they could also vote in elections for other entity representatives. they can vote more than once

    Section 13 (i): It was agreed unanimously that reviewers do not need the approval of their Co-ordinating Editor before standing for election.


    Section 13 (a), (b), (c) and (h)
    , and Section 14: Jini was asked to obtain feedback from all entities on these items.
    Action: Jini

    Additional decision: There is no elected position for Deputy Chair.

    Davina undertook to follow through on these decisions by advising the entity electoral officers for entities.
    Action: Davina
  11. Developing conflict of interest policy for CCSG members
    Hilda had agreed at the Steering Group meeting in Cape Town to produce a paper outlining a conflict of interest policy for Steering Group members: she said she was now in a position to do this, and would circulate it to all members by e-mail by the end of April.
    Action: Hilda
  12. Conflicts of interest in convenorship of advisory groups
    Hilda was asked to take account of conflicts of interest in convenorship of advisory groups in the paper she would be preparing for circulation to the Steering Group by the end of April (see item 18 above). Mike agreed to pass on thanks to the staff of the UKCC for their suggestions in this regard.
    Action: Hilda, Mike
  13. Establishment of national networks in countries without a Cochrane Centre
    No objections were raised to Mike’s suggestions with regard to the desirability of establishing national networks in countries without a Cochrane Centre.
  14. Report on media guidance
    Steering Group members were asked to give Mike feedback by the end of March on his document giving guidance on dealing with the media. He will not release it more widely until he has been able to He would then modify it as necessary. He will then and circulate it to all entities to pass on to reviewers and others as appropriate. The question of who within the Collaboration should be able to speak to the media on behalf of the organization should be discussed by the Steering Group at its meeting in Lyon.
    Action: Everyone, Mike
  15. Cochrane Collaboration Report
    This document is being prepared for an external audience and should therefore be reader-friendly and look professional. There was discussion about the purpose of the planned report. It was concluded that it is not an "aAnnual rReport" as such, as that would contain very detailed budget and expenditure information that may not be of wide interest to an external audience; such information is already tabled at the charity’s Annual General Meetings. It would be more appropriate to call the document something like ‘The Cochrane Collaboration 2000’. Examples should be included about activities that have had a high impact on health care. There should be a statement about existing funders, directing the reader to the source for the specifics. Jini should ask the entities what reviews they have done which show a very strong outcome, or which have resulted in a new randomised trial being undertaken, or something they have produced which has brought about a change. High impact activities and products, things such as Alvaro Atallah’s weekly television programme in Brazil on evidence-based medicine, and the Reproductive Health Library, should also be mentioned.
    Action: Jini
  16. Dissemination of research on Cochrane reviews
    Peter Gøtzsche and Phil Alderson, two of the contributors to a paper under review by the BMJ regarding the quality of Cochrane reviews, had been invited to join the Steering Group meeting for the discussion of this item. The Steering Group felt that the current version of their paper, as written, reads rather negatively, and does not recognise the changes that have occurred within the last three years to improve the quality of Cochrane the reviews. The opportunity was welcomed from the contributors to modify the paper to include more comment about these developments a critique within their paper. Concerns were raised about the potential damage to enthusiasm within the Collaboration if the paper was published in its current form, and ideas were raised as to how to minimise that damage by revising the paper, particularly the abstract. All members of the Steering Group supported the principle that the authors of the paper were of freedom to express their views in public and the Steering Group did not wish to censure thatbut hoped that . The they were asked would amend their paper to to put the paper into a broader context to summarise the Collaboration’s efforts programme to improve the quality of Cochrane reviews.
    Action: Peter Gøtzsche, Phil Alderson
  17. Standard operating procedures for document production and updating
    Hilda agreed to work with Mike on developing some standard operating procedures for document the production and updating of Collaboration wide documents. , inviting the participation of Georg Koch of the German Cochrane Centre would be invited to join Hilda and Mike in doing this.
    Action: Hilda, Mike
  18. Raising the profile of the Cochrane Collaboration and systematic reviews with research funders
    Davina, Elena and Peter agreed to work on developing an appropriate strategy, possibly involving Peter Tugwell if he is interested and available.
    Action: Davina, Elena, Peter
  19. Alliances with international organisations
    Hilda, Jimmy, Samuel and Youping agreed to work together on developing a strategy for working closely with other relevant international organisations. It was agreed to ask Peter Tugwell to suggest someone from North America to join this group.
    Action: Hilda, Jimmy, Samuel, Youping
  20. Publication of versions of Cochrane reviews in journals
    In view of the Lancet’s offer to publish versions of Cochrane reviews after these have appeared in The Cochrane Libraryin their entirety, Jini was asked to check with Monica Fischer, who had because of her previously worked on the agreement between the Collaboration and its publisher, whether permission needs to be obtained from Update Software to publish complete Cochrane reviews in paper journals.
    Action: Jini
  21. Steering Group Meeting, February/March 2002

    28.1 Meeting in China
    : Youping reiterated her invitation to host the mid-year meeting of the Steering Group in Chengdu in 2002, after the Chinese New Year on 12th to 14th February. She said she would welcome the opportunity to arrange for Steering Group members to participate in teaching sessions for Chinese people after the Steering Group their own meeting. She was thanked for her offer to host this meeting, and was asked to try to arrange the Chinese EBM Symposium at around the same time. It was agreed that if the Centre Directors also decided to meet in Chengdu at the time of the Steering Group meeting, they should be asked to schedule their meeting before that of the Steering Group. Kay Dickersin had advised Davina that unless the mid-year Centre Directors‘ meetings are held towards the end of March, US Center Directors find it difficult to attend because of teaching commitments. Therefore, if the Centre Directors decide also to have a mid-year meeting in Chengdu, Jini was asked to canvas the US Center Directors as to their availability before the date for this meeting is set.
    Action: Youping, Jini

    28.2 Sharing of agendas: In future, Steering Group meeting agendas should be circulated to all entities in advance of meetings, for their information. Also, the Steering Group agreed that they would like to see agendas for Centre Directors’ meetings in advance, again for information. It would be helpful if other entities adopted this sharing of agendas.
    Action: Jini, Gerd
  22. CRG workload, and Calendar of Events
    It was agreed that the Review Group Co-ordinators’ Action Group should submit put in a budget for expenses for the coming financial year, which commences in April 2001. Colloquium deadlines (for abstract submission, registration, etc.) should be added to the Calendar of Events. This item should be renamed ‘CRG issues‘ and continue to be a standing item on agendas of Steering Group meetings, with the up to date Calendar of Events as a background document.
    Action: Davina, Jini
  23. Policy regarding complimentary copies of The Cochrane Library
    It was agreed that withdrawal of complimentary copies should take effect from the module submission deadline for Issue 1, 2002 (i.e. for reviews that have not been updated since Issue 3, 1999). This means that Issue 2, 2002 will be the first issue for which complimentary copies can be withheld from contact reviewers. Jini was asked to send a message to entities to this effect. RGCs should apply to the Secretariat for extra complimentary copies for distribution to reviewers in exceptional circumstances to reviewers who had not updated their review within two and a half years. This will be monitored and reviewed at the Steering Group meeting in Oslo in 2002.
    Action: Jini
  24. Contact reviewers’ notification list
    This list has been established for the Steering Group and its advisory groups to communicate directly with contact reviewers. It was therefore decided that it would be for information only, rather than a discussion list. Ruth volunteered to manage the list, to ensure that people do not use it inappropriately, and to notify the contact reviewers of its existence and purpose. They can, of course, ask to be removed from the list, which will automatically be updated quarterly from each new version of the Parent Database.
    Action: Ruth
  25. New titles web site

    32.1 Responsibility for management of site: It was clarified that the Oslo branch of the Nordic Cochrane Centre has agreed to continue to be responsible for the management of this site, even though Tor-Arne Bertheussen, who developed the system, has now left the Collaboration.

    32.2 Should its use be mandatory by CRGs? Davina reported that the review group co-ordinators had been canvassed for their views of the web site system for registering new titles and canvassing for interest from other collaborative review groups; the feedback about it had been very positive. It was therefore agreed that use of the web site should be mandatory, and Davina agreed to notify all RGCs of this decision.
    Action: Davina
  26. Collaboration mirror web sites
    Gerd reported that he had applied for funds to redevelop the central web site. This redevelopment would be undertaken in co-operation with the Nordic Cochrane Centre, Update Software, and the Consumer Network. Gerd would keep the Steering Group informed of progress with this application. He was asked to convey the thanks of the Steering Group to Georg Koch for all his hard work in this area. Mirror sites that had not been true mirrors had been shut down over the past few months, and no-one had expressed unhappiness about this.
    Action: Gerd
  27. Consumer synopses
    Hilda had tabled a document outlining progress with the consumer synopses in which she had omitted to report that there is ongoing training at Colloquia to improve the quality of the synopses of reviews. It was agreed that this system was now working well, and Hilda was thanked for her hard work on this.
  28. Management of the Thomas C Chalmers MD Award and the Kenneth Warren Prize
    It was agreed that management of these prizes should be referred to the Colloquium Policy Advisory Group for their advice, as it overlaps with their remit.
    Action: Davina
  29. Articles of Association (Constitution) of the Collaboration
    Hilda agreed to prepare a short paper on recommended changes to the Aarticles, for consideration at the next Executive teleconference in early April.
    Action: Hilda
  30. Company Secretary
    It was agreed to invite Malcolm Newdick to replace Godfrey Fowler as Company Secretary of the Collaboration, and to inform Companies House of this if he accepts.
    Action: Jini
  31. Spreadsheet of CCSG members´ outstanding action items
    Steering Group members agreed to try out Mike’s suggested system for being prompted of outstanding action items from Publishing Policy Group and Executive Group telephone conferences, and face-to-face Steering Group meetings.
    Action: Everyone
  32. Any other business

39.1 E-mail etiquette: It was agreed that e-mails addressed to the Steering Group or one of its sub-groups should not be copied to other people.

39.2 Co-opting to the Monitoring and Registration Group: It was agreed that the Group could try to co-opt a non-member of the Steering Group to it, to help with the workload, until Jimmy Volmink is replaced on the Steering Group (see 39.6).

39.3 World Association of Medical Editors: It was agreed that membership of this Association should be encouraged. Jim advised that all Co-ordinating Editors had already been encouraged to consider joining this association.

39.4 Cochrane activities in Thailand: Peter clarified that it was his understanding (from a conversation with Mike) that the Australasian Cochrane Centre and the UK Cochrane Centre had discussed this, and were in agreement with responsibility for Cochrane activities in Thailand passing from the ACC to the UKCC.

39.5 Lyon Colloquium: It was agreed that Jean-Pierre Boissel be asked to provide a brief report on the status of the Lyon Colloquium, for the next Executive telephone conference, since the French Cochrane Centre would not be had not been represented at the Centre Directors’ meeting in São Paulo.
Action: Mike

39.6 Jimmy Volmink to leave the Steering Group
: Jimmy was thanked for his contributions during his two and a half years on the Steering Group, and wished well for the future in his new post in Washington.

39.7 CCSG meeting agenda and minutes: Peter thanked Jini for taking the minutes of the meeting, and asked her to pass on thanks to Claire Allen for her efficient preparation and distribution of the agenda and background material.
Action: Jini