CCSG minutes Ottawa October 2004

Minutes of meeting of the

Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group

Ottawa, Canada
1 and 4 October 2004


[These minutes were approved by the Steering Group Executive on 22 November 2004]




Advisory Group budgets


Advisory Group, Cochrane CENTRAL


[Advisory] Group, Cochrane Library Users’


Advisory Group, Colloquium Policy


Advisory Group, Criticism Management


Advisory Group, Handbook


[Advisory] Group, Information Management System


Advisory Group, Quality


Advisory groups, future Steering Group membership of


Advisory groups, reimbursement of convenors and members


Annual General Meetings, agenda and format of the


BMJ/Clinical Evidence, relationship with


Book series, agreement on


Campbell Collaboration, liaison


Centres, commercial sponsorship of


Centres, report from entity representatives


Centres, revision of section in The Cochrane Manual


Chief Executive Officer, position of the


Chief Executive Officer, report from the


Chris Silagy Prize, commitment to the


Clinical trials, prospective registration of


Cochrane [Exchange] Fellowship, revised name and timetable for


Cochrane Library, complimentary copies of The


Cochrane Manual, revision of section on Centres


Cochrane Reviews, creation of umbrella (summary) reviews


Cochrane Reviews of diagnostic test accuracy


Cochrane Reviews, plagiarism within


Cochrane Reviews, prioritisation of key topic


Collaborative Review Groups, guiding principles for

Collaborative Review Groups, report from entity representatives

22.1; 25.1

Colloquia, filming of sessions


Colloquium Manager, proposal for development of


Colloquium, Dublin, 2006


Colloquium, Melbourne, 2005


Colloquium, São Paulo, 2007


Commercial sponsorship, Cochrane Collaboration policy on

5.6; 9

Commercial sponsorship, ambiguities in the policy


Commercial sponsorship, position of Centres


Company Secretary, job description of


CONSORT Statement, endorsement of the


Consumer Network

5.9; 25.5

Contact Database, suggested amendment to terms of use of


Contingency Fund expenditure


Contingency plan


Declarations of interest by everyone involved in the review process


Declarations of interest by Steering Group members,
  IMS Director and Secretariat staff


Derivative products, commercial sponsorship of


Developing countries initiative


Diagnostic Test Accuracy Working Group


Discretionary Fund expenditure


Donations, central fund or foundation for receiving unrestricted


Editors, gender balance of


Elections, information on candidates


Entity representatives, verbal reports from


[Exchange] Fellowship, revised name and timetable for


Fields/Networks, report from entity representatives


Finance, advisory group budgets


Finance, allocation of expenditure between financial years


Finance, cash flow forecast and current financial position


Finance, Contingency and Discretionary Fund expenditure 


Finance, recommendations about the size and purpose of the Contingency Fund


Finance, reimbursement of sub- and advisory group convenors and members


Funders’ Forum, report from


Funding Arbiter, report from

22.13; 23.4

Funding working group


Funding, European Union


Funding, foundation

5.8; 9.3

Funding, monthly newsletter from Chief Executive Officer


Global review of access to healthcare information


Guidelines International Network, relationship with


Information Management System, status of


Information Management System, name for new server


James Lind Alliance, relationship with the


Job description, Co-Chair of the Steering Group


Job description, Company Secretary


Job description, Funding Arbiter


Job description, Ombudsmen


Job description, Publication Arbiter


Job description, Steering Group members


Kenneth Warren Prize 2004


Mazars LLP, acceptance of


MeerKat, support and development of


Methodological quality improvement projects


Methods Groups, report from entity representative


Mid-year meeting of Steering Group in Thailand in 2006


Monitoring and Registration Group, report from the


Monitoring, frequency of


Non-randomised studies and specialised registers


Ombudsmen, report from the


Priority setting for the next four years


Prospective registration of clinical trials


Publication Arbiter

22.12; 23.3

Quality improvement projects, methodological


Risk assessment, table of


Specialised registers, non-randomised studies and


Steering Group elections, information on candidates


Steering Group members, verbal reports from outgoing


Steering Group membership of sub- and advisory groups, proposed


Steering Group mid-year meetings


Steering Group, monitoring the


Steering Group, next five meetings of the


Steering Group, procedure for selecting a Chair of


Strategic Plan in relation to the Information Management System


Treasurer, report and financial statements


Trading Company Directors, issues raised by the


Visiting Fellowship (formerly called ‘Exchange’ Fellowship)


Website development project


Wiley, report from



Minutes of the meeting of the

Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group

Ottawa, Canada

1 and 4 October 2004


[These minutes were approved by the Steering Group Executive on 22 November 2004.]

Present (Steering Group members shown in bold typeface):  Godwin Aja, Claire Allen, Gerd Antes (on 1 October only), Lorne Becker (on 4 October only), Lisa Bero, Kathie Clark, Mike Clarke (on 1 October only; Chair on 1 October, but absent for item 11 on methodological quality improvement projects), Mark Davies, Jon Deeks, Kay Dickersin (only for item 22.12 on the Publication Arbiter’s report on 4 October), Deborah Dixon (for item 10 only), Zbys Fedorowicz, Dan Fox (only for item 22.14 on the Funders’ Forum on 1 October), Davina Ghersi, Sally Green, David Henderson-Smart (on 1 October, and only for item 22.12 on the Publication Arbiter’s report on 4 October), Jini Hetherington (minutes), Louise Kitchener (until noon on 1 October), Monica Kjeldstrøm, Carol Lefebvre (only for item 10, the report from Wiley representatives regarding search testing the Wiley InterScience site, on 1 October), Steff Lewis, Jim Neilson (Chair on 4 October), Jordi Pardo, Deborah Pentesco-Gilbert (for item 10 only), Nick Royle (absent from discussion about renewal of the CEO’s contract – item 6), Rob Scholten, Silvana Simi (on 1 October only), Haluk Soydan (on 4 October only), Peter Tugwell, Janet Wale and Liz Waters.


1.     Welcomes, apologies for absence, introductions, and approval of the agenda
Mike welcomed everyone to the meeting, and introduced the incoming members of the Steering Group, Godwin Aja (representing the Consumer Network), Lisa Bero (representing Centres), Zbys Fedorowicz (representing CRGs), Rob Scholten (representing Centres) and Liz Waters (representing Fields).  Mike explained that Lorne Becker, sharing the position of Field Representative with Liz Waters, would join the second Steering Group meeting on 4 October.  For the benefit of the incoming members, Mike explained that Steering Group meetings during Colloquia are a day shorter than the mid-year meetings, due to time constraints.  The agenda was approved.

2.     Declarations of interest of Steering Group members, IMS Director, and Secretariat staff

2.1            Current declarations:  Mike invited people to mention any changes to their current declarations of interest, which had been included with the agenda for this meeting, and would form an appendix to these minutes; there were no changes.  It was agreed that guidance as to what should be disclosed in such declarations would be helpful, as would a standard format.  Lisa volunteered to provide a template for discussion at the next Steering Group meeting in Providence in April 2005.
Action:  Lisa

2.2            Should everyone involved in the review process (including editors and referees) make declarations of interest in Cochrane reviews?  It was pointed out that potential conflicts of interest of editors should be declared in the CRG modules published in The Cochrane Library, and the CRG representatives were asked to remind their constituents of this.  It was suggested that referees should also be encouraged to declare their potential conflicts of interest to their CRG(s).  It was not thought to be necessary to declare these conflicts within individual reviews.
Action:  CRG representatives 

3.  Matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting
Mike reminded everyone that the minutes of the mid-year Steering Group meeting in Bergamo had been approved by the Executive in a teleconference in March 2004. The following matters arising from those minutes were discussed:

Item 5.2 - Allocation of expenditure between financial years:  Nick reminded everyone that the default policy is that the Collaboration does not pay institutional overheads on grants to other legal entities.  In cases where a contribution to indirect overheads is requested and refusal to pay these costs would impact negatively on the Collaboration's ability to function effectively, each case should be referred to the Steering Group for consideration by its Executive, which would make a recommendation.  A statement to this effect is contained in The Cochrane Manual.

Item 18 – Proposal for MeerKat support and development:  Nick reported that the MeerKat Working Group has continued to work on a revised budget since the Steering Group meeting in Bergamo, after discussions with the Information Management System Group.  The revised budget has not yet been formally presented to the Steering Group, and Nick agreed to follow this up so that it can be brought to a future Executive teleconference for approval.
Action:  Nick

Item 21.1 – Plagiarism within Cochrane reviews:  Mike explained that preparation of a policy document on plagiarism was still in progress.  Sally asked that the editors of the Cochrane Reviewers’ Handbook (Phil Alderson, Julian Higgins and herself) be sent an early draft of this to comment on, since the policy will eventually be included in the Handbook.
Action:  Mike

Item - Guiding principles for CRGs:  Peter and Davina said they were still in the process of preparing a similar document to ‘Guiding principles for Centre Directors and Centre staff’ for CRGs, and would report to the Steering Group at its next meeting in Providence in April 2005.
Action:  Peter, Davina

4.     Report from the Co-Chairs
Neither Jim nor Mike had anything to report that had not been included on the agenda of this meeting.

5.     Report from the Chief Executive Officer

5.1     Book series:  Nick reported that negotiations for a book series had been concluded, and an agreement had recently been signed between The Cochrane Collaboration and Wiley.  (See also item 18 below.)

5.2        Prospective registration of clinical trials:  Nick said that he would be meeting in New York with people interested in this initiative at the end of October 2004, and would report back to the Steering Group by e-mail.
Action:  Nick

5.3        Global review of access to healthcare information:  Nick reported that the Collaboration is a core participant in this project looking at access to healthcare information in developing countries, and will be preparing the section on access to systematic reviews.  The project is being conducted under the auspices of INASP and WHO, and Paul Chinnock of the Injuries Group is taking the lead on behalf of the Collaboration.  It is expected that there will be a final report to the Steering Group during the Melbourne Colloquium in October 2005, although doubts have arisen recently about the stability of INASP’s funding for the project.

5.4        Funding newsletter:  Nick invited feedback on the usefulness of his monthly funding newsletter.

5.5        Funding working group:  This group (comprising Gerd, Jim, Jon, Kathie [who replaced Mike], Mark, Nick and Nandi) has met once by teleconference and is in the process of establishing its remit and an action plan.

5.6        Commercial sponsorship:  Nick is in discussions with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) about funding initiatives within the context of the Collaboration's policy on commercial sponsorship.

5.7        European Union funding:  The Collaboration’s work does not fit into the EU’s current call for applications for funding, but Nick reported that he was hopeful that a future call would be more relevant.

5.8            Foundation funding:  Nick hopes to work on this area in the next few months.

5.9        Consumer Network issues:  Nick reported that the lengthy dispute had recently been resolved, and that the Cochrane Collaboration Consumer Network Incorporated (CCCNI) is in the process of being dissolved.  Signed agreements by the parties in the dispute are now in place.  He thanked Janet in particular for her part in reaching a resolution, and Sally and Janet both thanked him for all he had done to this end.  Sally reported that all the documents of the CCCNI are archived at the Australasian Cochrane Centre.  Kathie drew attention to the fact that any change of legal status or governance (e.g. registering as a company or charity) requires approval of the Monitoring and Registration Group.  It was agreed that entities will be discouraged in future from setting themselves up as separate legal entities.

6.     Report on progress against objectives set at the Steering Group meeting in Melbourne in March 2003, and priority setting for period 2005-06 to 2007-08

6.1              Progress and priority setting for the next four years: 
Nick was asked to develop this draft document further for discussion at the next Steering Group meeting in Providence.  It was agreed that the priority of developing consumer synopses for those reviews without a synopsis should be reworded to include improving the quality of existing synopses.  Janet agreed to bring recommendations from the group working on synopses to the next Steering Group meeting in Providence.  Jon was asked to discuss with methodologists their role in taking the lead in liaising with CRGs.  Liz requested that Fields be more involved in discussions about priorities in future.  It was agreed that the Collaboration’s Strategic Plan should be discussed in detail at the next Steering Group meeting in Providence. 
Action:  Nick, Janet, Jon
6.2            Position of the Chief Executive Officer:  Nick’s two-year contract as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) ends on 31 March 2005.  He left the meeting for the discussion about whether or not to maintain this post.  It was agreed that the Collaboration needs to continue employing a CEO.  Nick’s annual performance appraisal should be conducted in the next month by a panel comprised of Jim and Kathie (the Co-Chairs) and Jordi (who has the perspective of members of The Cochrane Collaboration based in countries whose first language is not English).  This panel will make a recommendation to the Steering Group about renewal of Nick’s contract, and also about the optimum length of the contract.  The Co-Chairs will ask Steering Group members for questions that should be asked as part of Nick’s appraisal, and share these with Nick in advance.  
Action:  Jim, Kathie, Jordi


7.     Report from the Treasurer - financial and legal matters:

7.1        Report and Financial Statements:  Jini was asked to e-mail this year’s table of risk assessment to the Steering Group for information. 
Action:  Jini 


7.2        Acceptance of Mazars LLP (formerly called Mazars):  It was agreed that, if approved at the AGM, the Collaboration would continue to accept Mazars LLP as its auditors, and Jini would communicate this to the company.
Action:  Jini


7.3        Issues raised by the Trading Company Directors:  Monica reported that according to the table of key dates the Trading Company Directors and the Company Secretary had fulfilled all their responsibilities so far this year.  The Directors had requested that information on the income from sales of reprints and subscriptions to pharmaceutical companies should be declared by Wiley in their quarterly breakdowns of royalty figures, and recommended that the Steering Group should also review these figures on a regular basis.  Jos Kleijnen is resigning from the board of directors of the Trading Company at this year’s Annual General Meeting, and is being replaced as Chair by Mike Clarke when Mike steps down from the Steering Group on 3 October 2004.  Monica explained to new Steering Group members that the Collaboration holds 100% of the shares of the Trading Company, and that the Trading Company passes all surplus income to The Cochrane Collaboration.  
Action:  Nick

7.4        Cash flow forecast, and current financial position:  Nick presented the cash flow forecast and there was discussion about the continuation of some of the current initiatives.  This will be formally reviewed at the next Steering Group meeting in Providence in 2005.  The Chris Silagy Prize should be added to the cash flow forecast as an ongoing commitment.  Nick clarified that the projected income figures on the cash flow forecast are based on a ‘worst case’ scenario.               

            Action:  Nick

7.5        Advisory Group budgets:   Mike drew attention to the document with the agenda materials which listed the advisory group budgets that had been approved at the Steering Group meeting in Bergamo in February/March 2004.

7.6        Contingency and Discretionary Fund expenditure:  Attention was drawn to the fact that only one application had been made for Discretionary Fund support during the current financial year.  Entity representatives should bring this opportunity to apply for resources to the attention of their constituents.
Action:  All entity representatives

7.7                Recommendations regarding the size and purpose of the core Contingency Fund and related contingency plan:  It was agreed that one of the actions in the contingency plan drafted by Nick should be the initiation of legal proceedings if the loss of royalties is due to breach of contract, and an estimate of these costs should be added to the proposed Contingency Fund of £150,000.  Monica was asked to work out how much it would cost to support the IMS team for twelve months, and to send that figure to Nick, so that the Steering Group can come to a decision at a later date if necessary about whether or not to include that figure in the Contingency Fund.  It was agreed that new IMS developments would be put on hold should the Collaboration’s core income collapse, and the contingency plan need to be activated.  Nick was asked to e-mail a revised contingency plan to the Steering Group, taking account of the agreed changes.
Action:  Monica, Nick   

7.8            Reimbursement to sub- and advisory group convenors and members:  Mike and Sally declared their conflict of interest as advisory group convenors.  There was agreement that reimbursing advisory group convenors for their work as convenors was not appropriate.  It was agreed that if there is a specific substantive project that needs to be done by an advisory group to the Steering Group, the Executive should be asked for approval of funding on a case-by-case basis.


7.9        Kenneth Warren Prize 2004:  Mike explained that this will be a standing item on Steering Group agendas in future, to inform them of the current state of this restricted fund, which currently amounts to approximately £22,700.

8.            Information Management System

8.1  Status of the new IMS: 
Monica reported that good progress was being made on the development of the new IMS, as outlined in her report.  The Cochrane Collaboration has funded a system developer to work full-time on the new IMS on a temporary contract.  To ensure continuity and maintain the developer expertise that exists within the IMS team, Monica requested funding to retain this person on staff on a long-term basis.  This was agreed to in principle, and Monica was asked to provide details and a budget for discussion by the Steering Group at its next meeting in Providence, within the context of the current IMS budget.  Monica’s report should describe this person’s particular skills and how ongoing IMS work contributes to the Collaboration’s Strategic Plan.  She confirmed that the four CRGs pilot-testing the IMS are globally distributed.
Action:  Monica

8.2  Name for new IMS server: 
There had been numerous suggestions as to what the new IMS server should be named.  Monica confirmed that once the IMSG had agreed on their recommendation, the Steering Group would be asked to cast the final vote.

Action: Monica


9.            Cochrane Collaboration policy on commercial sponsorship:

9.1            Ambiguities in the sponsorship policy:  Mark drew attention to the fact that the Collaboration’s sponsorship policy is unclear as to whether entities should be allowed to receive royalties from sales of derivative products.  It was agreed that, due to the large potential variation in derivative products, the Steering Group needs to assess the financing of derivative products on a case-by-case basis when assessing the individual business plans for derivative products.  Such business plans should be prepared by the proposers for each product and agreed by the publisher and the Steering Group.  It was noted that all derivative products from The Cochrane Library need Steering Group approval. 


9.2                Position of Centres:  The Centre Directors met in parallel with the Steering Group meeting on 1 October, and Gerd, Kathie and Sally were therefore absent from the Centre Directors’ meeting.  Jordi said that the Centre Directors had asked to see the summary of feedback on the survey of all entities about commercial sponsorship of Centres, and this was agreed to.  Feedback from Centre staff broadly supported the option of commercial funding for activities such as translations.  Feedback from Co-ordinating Editors provided no clear consensus.


9.2.1  Discussion on 1 October 2004:  Two options had been proposed in a paper included with this agenda, based on the responses to the survey of all entities: 
(1) To prohibit direct commercial funding to Centres, as with Review Groups, Fields, and the Consumer Network.  This option would have the attraction of clarity and simplicity, but could damage existing activity by Centres and was not consistent with the varying tasks of Centres, many of which are similar to Methods Groups; or

(2) To permit some direct commercial funding to Centres, but only of non-review activity and with safeguards to maintain the ‘firewall’.  If the Steering Group were to adopt this option, there would be a need to specify which activities could and which could not be supported by commercial sources. 

After lengthy discussion, in which Steering Group members’ views were divided almost equally, there was majority agreement to adopting the second option.  It was agreed that Centres should be encouraged to divest themselves of current funding from commercial sources, and to seek future funding which is not reliant on commercial sources.  Any future proposal to accept funding from commercial sources should be brought to the Steering Group for approval, and all sources of funding should be explicitly stated in Centres’ modules.  The policy should be revisited formally, as planned, in 2007. 

Paragraph 8 of the sponsorship policy should be amended in the light of the decision to adopt the second option.  This paragraph currently reads as follows:
”The situation with regard to Cochrane Centres is more complex than for other Cochrane entities. For example, Centres can be both close to review production (like Fields and the Consumer Network) but can also engage in methodological work (like Methods Groups). It was agreed, therefore, that a further, short, period of consultation should take place specifically in relation to the sponsorship of Cochrane Centres by commercial sources.”

9.2.2  Discussion on 3 October 2004:  This issue was discussed in the open session of the Annual General Meetings of The Cochrane Collaboration and the Collaboration Trading Company on 3 October 2004.  Jim described the previous consultation on commercial sponsorship, and the more recent survey of all entities that had been conducted by the four Centre representatives on the Steering Group.  These had shown no clear consensus about the position of Centres.  On the basis of these results, and after lengthy discussion, the Steering Group had decided to discourage Centres from receiving funding from commercial sources because they are the public face of the Collaboration.  Jim explained that the Steering Group had been split on this issue, but it was thought that there could be circumstances in which commercial funding might be acceptable for certain activities such as translation (particularly translation of The  Cochrane Library into Spanish) and methodological work.  It was restated that review production remains insupportable from commercial funds.  Kay Dickersin, US Cochrane Center, submitted a motion that the Steering Group should reconsider the issue of commercial funding, as defined in its existing policy document for all entities other than CRGs.  The motion was carried by majority vote of the entity representatives.

9.2.3  Discussion on 4 October 2004:  Following discussions at the Annual General Meeting on 3 October, at which a number of people had strongly disagreed with the new policy for Centres, and a motion had been carried for the Steering Group to reconsider, they revisited the subject at their meeting on 4 October.  There was unanimous support for Jordi, and distress at the nature of some of the comments made during the Annual General Meetings about the conduct of the survey.  Sally undertook to explain at the Centre staff meeting on 5 October that the survey had been devised by all four Centre representatives, and was not flawed in any way, and also to e-mail all Centres to this effect after the Colloquium.  It was agreed that this issue should be discussed again at the next Steering Group meeting in Providence in April 2005.  In the meantime, Centres can continue to accept commercial funding for activities unrelated to review production, as that was the case before this meeting.  At the Providence meeting, particular consideration should be given to the impact of policy decisions on people in non-English-speaking and developing countries.  It may be that the focus should be on activities rather than type of entity.  The funding of translations is an important consideration, as is the credibility of The Cochrane Collaboration.  Jim undertook to draft a document with help from Jon, Liz, Rob and Sally, to circulate to the Steering Group, and then to send to all entities, describing why the Steering Group had found it extremely difficult to come to a decision, including various policy options, and providing a framework for feedback. 
Action:  Jim, Jon, Liz, Rob, Sally 


9.3            Central fund or foundation for receiving unrestricted donations:  It was agreed to defer this discussion until the Steering Group meeting in Providence.  In the meantime, Nick was asked to circulate his proposal to all entities for their feedback, to inform the discussion in Providence.
Action:  Nick 


10.        Report from Wiley representatives
Mike explained that the main issue for the Steering Group was whether or not to give Wiley permission to give three months’ notice to Update Software to turn off their site, and for the Internet version of The Cochrane Library to be available solely on the Wiley InterScience (WIS) site.  It was agreed that there were no outstanding questions in relation to the analysis and display of the statistical results of Cochrane reviews, or to the current ‘look and feel’ of the product, and that the items that still need to be fixed are all to do with searching The Cochrane Library.  With regard to the Comments and Criticisms system, the Steering Group is satisfied that Wiley is developing an appropriate solution in consultation with the Criticism Management Advisory Group.  Wiley should be asked to provide more detail on their mechanism for continuous quality improvement, and the importance of this process should be stressed to them.  They should also be asked to provide their strategic future plans for making the product more accessible to clinicians, people from developing countries, consumers, and other users.
Carol Lefebvre (UKCC), and Deborah Dixon and Deborah Pentesco-Gilbert (John Wiley and Sons) joined the meeting at this point.  Carol was asked to summarise the searching difficulties on the WIS test site.  She reported that the biggest difficulty had been the timing out during searching, which had resulted in a limited amount and extent of testing taking place to date.  (She confirmed that the Search Testing Group is content with the solution proposed by Wiley to resolve the timing out difficulty.)  She noted that the Search Testing Group still needs to finish the testing of searches for authors/reviewers and editorial bases.  She outlined that the Group could resume their testing on 19 October with the new release of The Cochrane Library, and that it would be able to report next to the Steering Group on 24 November.  Deborah PG said that Wiley is grateful for the good working relationship it has had with the Search Testing Group.  Deborah D said that Wiley is willing to continue to pay Kate Light for her search testing work.  Davina pointed out that it is normal for software to go through a continuous process of identifying errors, which are then resolved.  Deborah D stressed that it is in everyone’s interests to have a continual process for improving The Cochrane Library.  She explained the importance of the Steering Group’s decision in relation to subscribers wishing to take out subscriptions to WIS from the beginning of 2005.  There has been a lot of confusion among potential customers about the two sites (Wiley and Update Software).  Deborah PG said that training sessions are underway in the southern hemisphere but a final product is needed to make this effective.  Lisa thanked Wiley for its work in the USA which has hugely raised the profile of The Cochrane Library, and was reassured by Deborah PG that the Comments and Criticisms system will be public by Issue 1, 2005.  Once the Steering Group gives permission to Wiley to give three months’ notice to Update Software, four weeks would be needed in order to complete the transition to the Wiley InterScience site in those countries with national provision.  Carol, Deborah D and Deborah PG left the meeting at this point. 

After further detailed discussion, there was unanimous agreement for Nick to tell Wiley that it has the Steering Group’s permission to issue three months’ notice to Update Software.  On behalf of the Trading Company directors, Monica reported satisfaction with this decision.  Mike undertook to let Carol know of this decision before Nick informs Wiley, and to restate the gratitude of the Steering Group for the hard work done by the Search Testing Group. 
Action:  Mike, Nick

Nick was asked to stress to Wiley that one of the reasons that they are being given permission is because the Update Software CD-ROM version will continue to be available as back-up.  It was agreed that the Wiley version of the CD-ROM should be tested extensively before Wiley is given permission to withdraw the Update Software version.  The Trials Search Co-ordinators (TSCs) should be closely involved in testing the CD-ROM version, and Davina was asked to convey this to the TSCs during the Colloquium.  Mike reported that the Search Testing Group is willing to continue testing, and will work with Wiley to an appropriate timescale.
Action:  Nick, Davina

4 October:
  Deborah D and Deborah PG attended the second Steering Group meeting to complete the discussion of their report.  Deborah D explained that she had asked the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) for a detailed specification that would enable ISI to capture the citations of Cochrane reviews.  Wiley was asked to give the Collaboration some guidance on the issue of the number of reprints that would constitute a bulk sale.  Nick asked how the pay-per-view system would work, linking directly to the full Cochrane review on Wiley InterScience, and Deborah D said she would follow up on this and let him know. 

Deborah D requested clarification from the Steering Group of the approval process for the CD-ROM version of The Cochrane Library.  Update Software’s initial reaction had been to request early notice (by the end of October 2004) that they would still be required to produce the CD-ROM version for Issue 2, 2005, and Wiley needed to agree the notice period with Update Software (which should be a maximum of three months).  She asked if a process could be agreed:  the Steering Group needs to be happy with the product once all major search testing strategies have been tested and found to be satisfactory on the Wiley version of the CD-ROM.  Deborah PG described the testing of the CD-ROM that had already been done.  Online statistical analysis software and the ‘look and feel’ are the same on the CD-ROM as on the Internet version.  Jon said that the Statistical Testing Group would still like to see the CD-ROM to test that nothing has changed, and Sally pointed out that the testing process should be the same for the CD-ROM as for the Internet version.  The Search Testing Group should be asked to document what they test on the Internet version, so that the scripts can be used when testing the CD-ROM version.  The Steering Group, the Publishing Policy Group, and Trials Search Co-ordinators should all be provided with the CD-ROM in order to provide their feedback, and Wiley will provide a timescale for this.  The whole Steering Group should be consulted, and should be confident that the Wiley version of the CD-ROM is as good as the Update Software version before retiring the Update Software version; this will not necessarily be completed by the end of October 2004. 
Action:  Deborah D and Deborah PG

11.             Methodological quality improvement projects
Mike declared a conflict of interest and left the room for discussion of this item, which Jim chaired.  Jon presented details of seven projects that had been proposed by the Convenors of Methods Groups, the Handbook Advisory Group and the Quality Advisory Group, to improve the methodological quality of Cochrane reviews:

Project 1:  Obtaining a consensus on a strategy for assessing trial quality (protection from bias) for Cochrane reviews:  This was considered to be the top priority, and should be funded.

Project 2:  Improving the quality of analyses of time-to-event data in Cochrane reviews:  This was also considered to be important, but of lower priority, and should be funded.   

Project 3:  Obtaining a consensus on the content and methods of a ‘Summary of Findings’ table (balance sheet) for Cochrane reviews:  This was considered a high priority, as it impacts on RevMan 5, and should be funded.

Project 4:  Involvement of Cochrane methodologists in revision of the statement of standards for reporting for systematic reviews (QUORUM):  This was considered important and should be supported.  However, Jon should send a revised costing to the Executive for approval, to fund only one person (who should be a member of the Handbook Advisory Group) to attend the QUORUM meeting to represent The Cochrane Collaboration.

Project 5:  Development of tools to educate and assist authors/reviewers dealing with cross-over, cluster randomised, change-from-baseline and other non-standard trial designs:  This was also considered important and worthy of funding.  A statistician will need to be identified for the project.

Project 6:  Development of a surveillance program of the methodological quality of Cochrane reviews:  This was agreed not to be a priority to fund at the present time. 

Project 7:  Identification and evaluation of interactive software to help Cochrane authors/reviewers improve the quality of their reviews:  This was of lower priority and should not be funded at the present time.

The total budget agreed was £36,485 for Projects 1, 2, 3 and 5, plus the revised costs of Project 4.  Thanks were expressed to the methodologists for preparing these project proposals.  Additional project proposals should be brought to the mid-year Steering Group meeting in Khon Kaen, Thailand, in 2006. 
Action:  Jon

12.             Creation of umbrella (summary) reviews
Jon explained the background to this issue, which had been under discussion for a couple of years.  He stressed its importance, as it may result in a new style of review.  He said that CRGs are working in an unco-ordinated way, and asked for approval to spend £1,800 to enable the working party to hold several telephone conferences.  He said he was unable to continue to convene the working group, but would be happy to continue to be involved.  Lorne Becker was invited to join the working group to represent Fields, and his offer to take over from Jon as convenor was accepted.
Action:  Lorne   

13.             Prioritisation of key topic reviews
Jim explained that the issue of prioritisation of key topic reviews had arisen at the Funders’ Forum.  He also reported another conversation during the Ottawa Colloquium about the Collaboration having arguably lost an opportunity to make important global impact by not having anti-retroviral drug reviews available at the critical time for policy makers.  Sally advised that there would be a plenary on usability and relevance issues during the Melbourne Colloquium, and invited Steering Group members to let her know if they wished to participate in that plenary.  Liz said it was important to look at methodological issues in relation to priority setting, and in particular how The Cochrane Collaboration keeps abreast of the issues facing organisations like WHO, for example, global social determinants of health; this will require attention to methods for reviews that provide an evidence base for these sorts of questions.  Liz and Peter agreed to prepare a paper for discussion at the next Steering Group meeting in Providence on the issue of strategic directions for review topics, and whether the Collaboration structure as it stands could accommodate some of the more pressing issues such as social determinants.
Action:  Liz, Peter

14.             Developing countries initiative
Jim undertook to write to Joy Oliver at the South African Cochrane Centre to thank her for the survey she had conducted recently of members of the Collaboration based in developing countries.  He would ask her for an analysis of the survey results for discussion at the next Steering Group meeting in Providence.
Action:  Jim

15.             Verbal reports from outgoing Steering Group members
The outgoing members of the Steering Group gave verbal reports about their experience as members of the Group.  Silvana spoke about how she had been enriched by the experience, and asked for consumers to remain a focus.  Gerd said that the whole system had become more efficient, although he worried about concentrating too much on process; he felt it had been a privilege to contribute as a member of the Steering Group.  David said how much he had enjoyed working on the Steering Group, and echoed Gerd in appreciating the improvements that he had observed over the past three years; he drew attention to the fact that there would be less clinical input to the Steering Group on his leaving it.  Mike said that the past two Steering Group meetings had been the most difficult for him, but that he had learnt much from his whole time on the Steering Group; he said that the Steering Group should not be afraid to change things.  Jim thanked the four outgoing members on behalf of the whole Group for their hard work and many contributions.    

16.             Future membership of Steering Group sub- and advisory groups
A table of proposed sub- and advisory group membership was circulated at this point in the meeting.  Mike explained that the proposed assignment of Steering Group members to particular groups was open to discussion.  All Steering Group members (with the exception of the Co-Chairs) should ideally be on no more than one sub-group, and advisory groups should each have two Steering Group members on them.  People were invited to speak to Jim or Kathie before the next meeting on 4 October if they wished to contribute to a different sub-group than that to which they had provisionally been allocated.  No-one asked the Co-Chairs if they could be reallocated to a different group, and Jini should therefore arrange for the membership lists and e-mail discussion lists to be updated as soon as possible.
Action:  Jini

17.             Relationship with Guidelines International Network (G.I.N.)
Jim had prepared a paper about the work of G.I.N. and how it complemented the work of The Cochrane Collaboration.  It was agreed that discussions should continue about formalising a working relationship between the two organisations.  Jim agreed to draft a Memorandum of Understanding between The Cochrane Collaboration and G.I.N. with the help of Rob and Sally.  Kathie suggested the need to establish criteria upon which to base future decisions as to which partnerships/endorsements the Collaboration would enter into, and offered to work on a document outlining the criteria and a reporting process, for discussion at the next Steering Group meeting in Providence. 
Action:  Jim, Rob, Sally, Kathie

18.             Relationship with BMJ/Clinical Evidence
Jon said that Mike Clarke had undertaken to continue to be the liaison person between The Cochrane Collaboration and BMJ/Clinical Evidence.  In response to a question about the exclusivity of the Cochrane-Wiley book series, Nick clarified his recommendation that anybody who is producing a book based on Cochrane reviews should first consider approaching Wiley to publish it, but stressed that this is not an exclusive arrangement.  (See also item 5.1 above.) 

19.             Endorsement of the CONSORT Statement
Jon explained that the CONSORT Statement provides a method of improving the reporting of randomised controlled trials which has been widely adopted by medical journals, and has already made a difference to the quality of reporting of trials.  Many members of The Cochrane Collaboration had been involved in its development.  It is an initiative of importance to authors of systematic reviews and hence to the Collaboration.  On this basis, Jon proposed that the request for endorsement should be accepted by the Collaboration.  He also pointed out that in order to organise its meetings the CONSORT group had needed to obtain funding from multiple sources, including pharmaceutical companies (as is declared in their published statements).  He noted that this was unfortunate but typical of methodological developments.  It was pointed out that the Steering Group discussions of conflict of interest had related only to the Collaboration's activities and not to those of other groups, and that this should not be a reason to stop the Collaboration from endorsing the work of others, if merited.  It was agreed to endorse the CONSORT statement, and Jim agreed to write to Doug Altman, David Moher and Ken Schulz who had requested this endorsement.
Action:  Jim

20.             Relationship with the James Lind Alliance
The Steering Group agreed that it should support this important initiative.  Jim agreed to write and wish Iain Chalmers well, and to suggest that the UKCC be represented at the meeting on 1 December 2004, and that a Cochrane Consumer Network representative also be invited to attend. 
Action:  Jim

21.             Agenda and format of the Annual General Meetings
It was agreed to add two items to the agenda of these meetings:  the Steering Group’s agreement at this meeting to give John Wiley and Sons permission to give Update Software three months’ notice in relation to the Internet version of The Cochrane Library, and the issue of commercial sponsorship to Centres.  An explanation about the large amounts of funding committed to certain projects should be raised under the Treasurer’s report, to allay concerns that the Collaboration appears to have large cash reserves.
Action:  Jim, Mike

22.             Reports to the Steering Group:


22.1            Monitoring and Registration Group:
Sally thanked Claire for the excellent support she provides to this Group.  She also expressed thanks to Kathie for her enormous contribution to the MRG while she was Co-Convenor.  Jim said that the MRG report was very well presented.  Kathie will chair a working group reporting to the MRG to assess the current coverage of entities in the Collaboration to guide assessment of the need for future entities seeking registration.  The working group will look at both global coverage (with respect to the need for additional Centres) and clinical coverage (with respect to the need for additional CRGs and Fields).  Entities are monitored against core functions, not against whether they have adhered to the registration criteria (which include core functions but extend beyond them).  Davina asked whether those criteria could be revisited with a view to incorporating them into the monitoring system.  Sally asked whether one of the Co-Convenors of the MRG could in the future be a non-member of the Steering Group, and this was approved, as long as that person has served one year on the MRG beforehand.  This decision should be reflected in the document entitled ‘Structure, remit and membership of groups accountable to the Steering Group’ on the website. 
Action:  Jini

Sally reported that the MRG would in future write a short report for each entity representative to distribute, about issues of importance in their area of responsibility.  The key findings from the 2003 round of monitoring were presented.  Funding was the single biggest cause for concern among specific entities.  The MRG will work with the CRG and Field representatives on the Steering Group to develop closer working relationships.  The Steering Group agreed to the establishment of a formal working group to look at updating reviews; central data inputting was proposed as a potential way to relieve this problem to some extent.  Rob agreed to take the lead on this, with assistance from Davina, Mark and Jessie McGowan, and report to the next Steering Group meeting in Providence.  Public access to MRG reports to the Steering Group was endorsed, keeping the identity of individual entities confidential.  It was noted that RGCs need more support.  Monica pointed out that the members of IMS Support are in the process of contacting all RGCs to discuss issues around the IMS; in doing so, they are also trying to help address non-software issues.  Davina reported from the RGCs’/TSCs’ meeting on the poor relationship between some RGCs and their Co-ordinating Editors, and the lack of support that RGCs feel from their Co-ordinating Editor.  Peter said that he would address this with the Co-ordinating Editors, and it was agreed that the need for support for RGCs should be revisited in Providence.  It was noted that there is now much stronger Field representation on the MRG.  Zbys had invited the MRG to hold their mid-year meeting in Bahrain, with a view to providing input to local seminars while there, and the MRG is considering this.
Action:  Sally, Steff, Rob, Davina, Mark, Peter

22.1.1            Frequency of monitoring:  Sally presented the case for entities to be monitored once every two years instead of annually.  They would still be asked to provide Part B on funding on an annual basis (to the Secretariat).  There was approval to try this new schedule, starting with the January-December 2004 monitoring round, and with a formal evaluation during January-December 2007.       
Action:  Sally, Steff

            22.1.2            Revision of section on Centres in The Cochrane Manual:  The proposed revisions to the section on Centres were agreed to, with one small clarification; Jini was asked to make the necessary changes in the Manual.
Action:  Jini


22.2            Steering Group issues:

22.2.1            Monitoring the Steering Group:  Peter agreed to work with the Co-Chairs of the Steering Group and Janet to draft clear terms of reference and a timeframe, and a shortlist of people who might be involved.  This will be discussed at the next Steering Group meeting in Providence. 
Action:  Peter, Jim, Kathie, Janet

22.2.2            Procedure for selecting a Chair of the Steering Group:  Peter asked for clarification of how the proposed procedure for selecting a new Chair/Co-Chair would work.  It was agreed that in future there should be a formal process of nominating and seconding, and the members of the Steering Group would vote.  Nominations should be made nine months in advance and discussed at the mid-year Steering Group meeting. 
If no member of the Steering Group comes forward for selection, or if the person or people who come(s) forward are judged unsuitable by the Steering Group (by vote if necessary), a person from outside the Steering Group would be sought.  Monica proposed that this should happen six months before the position of Co-Chair becomes vacant, Peter supported this proposal, and it was agreed.  It was agreed that candidates should provide a brief written description of their credentials for taking on this responsibility.  This description of the agreed procedure for selecting a new Chair/Co-Chair should be confirmed via e-mail to the Steering Group. 
Action:  Jim  

22.2.3            Steering Group elections:  information on candidates:  It was agreed that Phil Alderson’s suggestion to change from candidates providing a 200-word summary to something more structured (i.e. a series of questions covering the candidate’s background, abilities, and views on topical issues), should be adopted.  Jon volunteered to ask Phil if he would develop a template for this, and circulate it to the Steering Group for approval.
Action:  Jon

22.3      Cochrane CENTRAL Advisory Group (CCAG):  Jim undertook to write and thank Kay Dickersin for her report on behalf of the CCAG.  Davina agreed to bring a formal proposal to the next Executive teleconference for approval of a continuing budget for MEDLINE retagging.  She was also asked to find out from the CCAG who the Handbook Advisory Group should liaise with in regard to Section 5 of the Cochrane Reviewers’ Handbook, since it was agreed that the CCAG and HAG have joint responsibility for this section.  Davina also agreed to clarify in writing the situation with regard to Kay’s and the CCAG's understanding about the integration of CENTRAL and specialised registers into the new IMS.  It was pointed out that the Steering Group had not come to a decision at their Bergamo meeting in March 2004 about whether or not this should happen, nor whether CRGs would be required to enter and edit records in their specialised registers or in CENTRAL online; instead, the Steering Group had asked the IMSG to form a subgroup which would make recommendations on the desirability and feasibility of doing this.

            Action:  Jim, Davina, Mike, Monica

22.4      Cochrane Library Users’ Group (CLUG):  Kathie reported that she could not yet confirm who the new Convenor of CLUG would be, but thought this might be resolved during or shortly after the current Colloquium.  She agreed to keep the Steering Group informed of developments.
Post hoc note:  Emma Irvin, librarian at the Institute for Work and Health in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, volunteered to take on this role, and the Steering Group approved this appointment.

22.5      Colloquium Policy Advisory Group (CPAG):  Jim undertook to write and thank Claire Glenton and Alessandro Liberati for their report.  Alessandro had recently resigned as Co-Convenor, and Jim was asked to thank him for his valuable contribution in this role. 

Action:  Jim

            Post hoc note:  Steve McDonald of the Australasian Cochrane Centre volunteered to take on this role, and the Steering Group approved this appointment.


22.6      Criticism Management Advisory Group (CMAG):  Jim undertook to write and thank Sherri Sheinfeld Gorin for her report on behalf of the CMAG.  It was agreed that the membership of this Group needs to be revisited.  Monica suggested that all Advisory Group Convenors should be asked to revisit the remit of their group, as it is difficult to persuade someone to join an advisory group without providing a detailed remit.  Lisa agreed to raise this with the CMAG, and Nick to bear this in mind when resuming his task of revisiting the remits and memberships of the advisory groups.
Action:  Jim, Lisa, Nick


22.7      Handbook Advisory Group (HAG):  Jim thanked Sally for the report from the HAG.  He said he would also write and thank her Co-Convenors, Phil Alderson and Julian Higgins, and encourage them to apply for funding for the next financial year, as all advisory groups will be encouraged to do.  Endorsement was given to the proposed changes in remit and membership.  The remit of the HAG now includes providing advice to the RevMan Advisory Group and the Steering Group on the content and structure of Cochrane reviews (in particular by gathering opinion from Methods Groups), and providing advice on structure style and production to the editors of the Cochrane Handbook for Diagnostic Test Reviews.  The membership will include the Co-Convenors of the HAG; one named Convenor from each Methods Group, the Adverse Events Sub-Group, and the Methodology Review Group; those methodologists currently on the editorial board without a role as a Methods Group Convenor; at least one RGC, TSC, Co-ordinating Editor, Author/Reviewer, and Field Convenor; and two members of the Steering Group.  These changes should be reflected in the document, ‘The structure, remit and membership of groups accountable to the Steering Group’ on the website.  The Co-Convenors were asked to be explicit in future about the remit and membership of HAG’s editorial board.  Liz stressed the importance of ensuring Field representation on the HAG, as there are many diverse methodological issues identified and worked on by members of Fields.  The proposed change of name of the ‘Cochrane Reviewers’ Handbook’ to the ‘Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions’ was approved.  Jon reported that the Cochrane Handbook for Diagnostic Test Reviews is already in preparation, and its editors will liaise with the editors of the Interventions Handbook to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort. 
Action:  Jim, Sally, Jini


22.8      Information Management System Group (IMSG):  Jim undertook to write and thank Mike for his report as Convenor of the IMS.  The Steering Group supported the establishment of a sub-group of the IMSG to deal with issues pertaining to the Contact Database.    
Action:  Jim

22.8.1  Suggested amendment to terms of use of the Contact Database:  The Steering Group agreed with the decision that had been made by the Executive on 21 June 2004, to amend the terms of use of the Contact Database, to allow people within the Collaboration to use the information it contains in certain circumstances, with permission from the Executive.  Until now, the default option in the Contact Database with regard to bulk mailings has been ‘None’ (i.e. I do not wish to receive any bulk mailings).  Monica recommended that the default, in phase 1 of the new IMS, should be changed to ‘I wish to receive mailings from my primary entity only’.  She was asked to consider whether a pick list of all entities could be provided in the Contact Database under the new IMS, so that one could indicate the entity/entities from whom one does want to receive mailings.

                        Action:  Monica


22.9      Quality Advisory Group (QAG):  Jim thanked Sally and Phil Alderson for their report.  Sally advised that the Executive would be receiving a report and a request for ongoing funding from the Style Guide Working Group shortly after this meeting.  She said that the QAG Convenors felt strongly that it should be a central responsibility to maintain the Style Guide, with an associated budget, and this was agreed.  Jim asked Sally to pass on thanks to Sarah Hetrick for the work she had done in making the resources identified by Nancy Owens as Quality Improvement Manager available to CRGs on the website.  It was agreed that ongoing support for this project had Steering Group approval.  Liz raised concern that Sally is Co-Convenor of the MRG, QAG and HAG, as this is a heavy workload.  Sally pointed out that she has Co-Convenors who share the workload but, in the case of QAG and HAG, her Co-Convenors were not at the Steering Group meeting to report.  It was agreed that it is important to guard against any Steering Group member being overloaded.  Davina asked whether central copy editing should be mandatory.  The current process is somewhat cumbersome, so this could be considered in the longer term, at the time of the Steering Group meeting in Melbourne in October 2005.  Monica reminded Advisory Group Convenors that the members of their advisory group should have this role assigned to them in the Contact Database, so that people can access this information.
Action:  Sally    


22.10    Cochrane reviews of diagnostic test accuracy working group:  Jon reported that development of specifications for the software for these types of reviews is already under way.  Materials will be piloted with a few CRGs in 2005, with the aim of releasing the Handbook for Diagnostic Test Reviews during the Melbourne Colloquium.  The key concern is to find support for CRGs, and a model is proposed of having four regional support centres located where methodologists are working already, associated with Australasian, Dutch, UK and US entities.  He said he had been talking to funders and was optimistic.  It was re-emphasised that there was no expectation that CRGs would take on this additional workload without additional resources.  The development plan was endorsed by the Steering Group, and Jon’s request for additional funding was approved.  Monica was hopeful that it might be possible for the software for the special version of RevMan to be developed within the existing IMS budget, but until the specifications had been finalised and reviewed this was uncertain.

22.11    The Ombudsmen:  Jini was asked to pass on thanks from the Steering Group to Gill Gyte and Peter Langhorne for their report.  She was also asked to find out from Gill whether she had been in contact with the author/reviewer mentioned under item 2004/04 of the report, and to ask her to clarify whether this had been taken in the first instance to the Director of the reference Cochrane Centre.
Action:  Jini


22.12    The Publication Arbiter:  David Henderson-Smart and Kay Dickersin attended the second Steering Group meeting on 4 October, for this item only.  Jim thanked them for their report, which David said had been difficult to anonymise.  Davina left the meeting for the discussion about one review for which she was conflicted, and Janet asked for consumer input to be obtained for this review.  Kay Dickersin agreed to become Co-Publication Arbiter with David.  Jini should update the website and the Steering Group module accordingly.   
Action:  Jini

22.13    The Funding Arbiter:  Jim thanked Mark for his report.  It was agreed that the Funding Arbiter must be a member of the Steering Group, and at least one of the panel members must not be a member of the Steering Group; the third panel member may or may not be a member of the Steering Group.  Approval was given for Mark to go to a third person in circumstances in which one member of the Funding Arbitration Panel is unable to participate (for example, due to a conflict of interest); if the two remaining Panel members are unable to reach consensus, the Co-Chairs of the Steering Group will be asked to nominate a third person to join the Panel temporarily.  This person could be a member of the Steering Group, one of the Co-Chairs, or a member of the Collaboration who is not a member of the Steering Group.  It was agreed that the term of the Funding Arbiter should be limited by their term on the Steering Group (i.e. three years, with the possibility of another three-year term if re-elected).  The term for the other panel members should also be three years, again with the possibility of a second three-year term.  No two panel members should leave the panel at the same time or within twelve months of each other, i.e. panel membership should be staggered so that there is continuity within the panel.  It was also agreed that appeals against decisions made by the Funding Arbiter should go to the Steering Group.  The administrator of the Australasian Cochrane Centre should continue to provide support to the Funding Arbiter, with the Secretariat providing support only if a situation arises which would put the ACC administrator in a position of conflict.  Jini should update the Collaboration website and the Steering Group module accordingly.
Action:  Jini


22.14    The Funders’ Forum:  Dan Fox attended the meeting for this item only, and reported that the Forum provides the opportunity for people who can be or are already in the external constituency to meet with leaders of the Collaboration.  He reported that people from nine countries would attend the Forum meeting on 2 October.  He explained that the Forum began formally at the Cape Town Colloquium four years ago, had met at every Colloquium since then, and is evolving with each meeting.  Dan emphasized the uniqueness of the Funders’ Forum:  he said he did not know of any other scientific organisation in the world that had forged such a close and satisfactory relationship with its actual and potential funders.  He described an initiative to bring The Cochrane Collaboration to the attention of the media, particularly in the United States.  Mike explained that items would be brought from the Forum to the Steering Group for discussion.  Peter thanked Dan for his energetic involvement in this initiative.  Dan explained the challenge of persuading people to join the Forum, and asked Steering Group members to inspire people in their own country to participate; he emphasized that the single most important goal is to raise the profile of the Collaboration in the countries of members of the Forum.  Lisa thanked Dan for his role in turning the USCC advisory board into a more active group.  She asked if ways could be found for communicating better between meetings to take this initiative forward.  Mike asked the Steering Group to think about involving Dan more in their discussions in future. 

At the second Steering Group meeting on 4 October, Nick reported back from the meeting of the Funders’ Forum held on 2 October.  Two major issues that had been discussed were the prioritisation of key topic reviews, and the possibility of attracting funding for specific reviews.  Jim said that Dan Fox would be trying to co-ordinate several meetings during the coming year, the outcome of which would be crucial to the continuance of the Forum.  One of these would be specifically to bring together potential funders for reviews of diagnostic test accuracy.

22.15    Cochrane-Campbell liaison:  Jim welcomed Haluk Soydan, Co-Chair of The Campbell Collaboration with Bob Boruch, to the meeting.  Haluk thanked Kathie and Peter for their helpful contributions to Campbell Collaboration Steering Group discussions.  He said that advice from the Cochrane Consumer Network would be appreciated.
Action:  Janet

23.   Job descriptions:

23.1            Co-Chairs:  Kathie volunteered to draft a sentence to add to this job description, to reflect the fact that the Co-Chairs are the official spokespersons for the Collaboration.  Sally asked Jim to include a statement as to the minimum time commitment needed from the Co-Chairs.  After these two amendments have been made, this job description should be included in The Cochrane Manual.
Action:  Kathie, Jim, Jini

23.2            Steering Group members:  It was agreed to defer discussion of this job description to the next Steering Group meeting in Providence due to lack of time, when the difficulties experienced by the two CRG ‘at large’ representatives in defining their constituency should also be addressed.
Action:  Jini

23.3            Publication Arbiter:  It was agreed to defer discussion of this job description to the next Steering Group meeting in Providence due to lack of time.
Action:  Jini


23.4            Funding Arbiter:  It was agreed to defer discussion of this job description to the next Steering Group meeting in Providence due to lack of time.  It was noted that information contained in the document prepared by Mark, outlining the role and processes of the Funding Arbiter, should be added to the Collaboration website and the Cochrane Manual.
Action:  Jini      


23.5            Ombudsmen:  Gill Gyte and Peter Langhorne are currently preparing a draft job description for the Ombudsmen.  Jini was asked to let them know that this would be put on the agenda of the Steering Group’s next meeting in Providence.
Action:  Jini


23.6             Company Secretary:  The text of this job description had been taken from material provided by Companies House in the UK.  The Executive had approved its content in late July, and it had already been included in The Cochrane Manual.  It was included with this agenda in case it needed to be referred to in the light of the several draft job descriptions above.

  1. Website development project
    Dave Booker’s document outlining the development of the website was received with appreciation.  The request for additional funding for the financial year 2005-06 was noted, and the Steering Group said it would be helpful to have a breakdown of the costs of maintenance of the site and the costs of providing new content.  Monica agreed to discuss the budget and work plan with Dave, and to ask him to provide such a breakdown of costs to the Steering Group. 
    Action:  Monica

  2. Verbal reports from entity representatives:


25.1            Collaborative Review Group issues: 


25.1.1            Gender balance of Editors:  The Steering Group noted with interest the paper prepared by Paul Garner and Paula Waugh of the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group, on the distribution of editors of Collaborative Review Groups by gender.  Jim would write and thank them for this.  The CRG representatives on the Steering Group agreed to try to encourage CRG editorial teams to involve more women as editors. 
Action:  Jim, Davina, Mark, Peter, Steff, Zbys

25.1.2            Non-randomised studies and specialised registers:  Davina requested that this item be deferred to the next Steering Group meeting in Providence, and agreed to ask the Non-Randomised Studies Methods Group to contribute to a paper for that discussion.
Action:  Davina

25.1.3            Filming of Colloquia sessions:  Davina asked whether it would be feasible for certain sessions at the Colloquium to be filmed and made available on the website to people who were unable to attend in person.  Sally undertook to investigate this for the Melbourne Colloquium.
Action:  Sally

25.2      Methods Group issues:  Jon had no further issues to raise.

25.3      Field/Network issues:  Liz had no further issues to raise.  Jim said that the re-energised Field representation on the Steering Group was most welcome.            


25.4      Centre issues:  Lisa reported that the Centre Directors had asked for information on the funding of each Centre, and Nick was asked to seek clarification of their request.
Action:  Nick


25.5      Consumer Network:  Janet reported that the Consumer Network as a legal entity is in the process of being de-registered, and a new Network is being constituted.  Their revised website material would shortly be ready to go public on


  1. Cochrane ‘Exchange’ Fellowship:  Name and timetable
     Sally drew attention to the fact that this fellowship is inappropriately named, since no ‘exchange’ takes place; it was therefore agreed to rename it the ‘Cochrane Visiting Fellowship’.  It was also agreed that the closing date for applications for this Fellowship will in future be a month after the Monitoring and Registration Group reports have been sent out, i.e. in late November/early December.  The decision will be announced in early February in future.
    Action:  Sally

  2. The next five Steering Group meetings:


27.1            Providence:   2-4 April 2005 (mid-year):  Nothing additional to discuss.


27.2      Melbourne:      21 & 24 October 2005:  Nothing to discuss.


27.3            Location in 2006 (mid-year):  Jim said that the Steering Group had received three invitations for this meeting, from Chengdu, China; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Khon Kaen, Thailand.  Sally declared a conflict of interest in relation to the Thai Cochrane Network.  Jim agreed to write to Pisake Lumbiganon to accept the invitation of the Thai Cochrane Network.  He would also write to Youping Li and Peter Gøtzsche to thank them for their invitations, which would go into the pool for discussion at the Providence meeting in relation to subsequent Steering Group meetings.
Action: Jim, Jini


27.4            Dublin, in October 2006:  Nothing to discuss.


27.5            Location in 2007 (mid-year):  Calls should be made to all Centres in future, inviting offers to host the mid-year meetings and Colloquia.

28.   The next three Cochrane Colloquia:

28.1      Melbourne, Australia, 22-26 October 2005:  A progress report was presented in the background papers, for information.  There was nothing to discuss in relation to next year’s Colloquium.


28.2      Dublin, Ireland, October 2006:  There was nothing to discuss in relation to the 2006 Colloquium.


28.3      São Paulo, Brazil, 2007:  Jini was asked to help the Brazilian Cochrane Centre in scheduling the dates for the 2007 Colloquium, to avoid clashing with major national public holidays, notably Canadian Thanksgiving and Yom Kippur.

Action:  Jini


28.4      Proposal for development of ‘Colloquium Manager’:  It was agreed that the software that had been developed at the Norwegian branch of the Nordic Cochrane Centre was extremely useful, and its development should be supported centrally for the benefit of future Colloquium organisers.  Jini was asked to let Shaun Treweek know that his request for funds to provide two months of programmer time, server hosting, licensing and e-mail, was approved, to a maximum of 85,000 Norwegian Krone (approximately £7,000 sterling), and that he should arrange for an invoice to be sent to her.  The need for further expenditure on development should be reviewed annually.
Action:  Jini


  1. Spreadsheet of Steering Group members’ outstanding action items
    Jim reminded everyone to let Louise know of their completed Action items.
    Action:  Everyone
  2. Any other business

  3. Thanks to the host
    Jim thanked Kathie, all the staff of the Canadian Cochrane Centre and the conference organisers for a great Colloquium.  He also thanked the Secretariat staff for organising the materials for this meeting.




GODWIN AJA, Consumer Network Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group (from 3 October 2004):


Godwin Aja has no conflicts of interest to declare.


GERD ANTES, Centre Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group, Member of Publishing Policy Group, and Steering Group representative on Information Management System Group (until 3 October 2004); Director, German Cochrane Centre: 


Gerd Antes is employed by the University Hospital, Freiburg, as Director of the German Cochrane Centre. This contract is not limited in the sense that the employment will last until his retirement, but the position can be changed by the employer. The University Hospital Freiburg is his source of regular income. In addition he has received and receives payment for speaking and for writing from some journals and from some organisations, including manufacturers of health care products. All payments are on a one-off basis and there are no regular or long-lasting personal relationships with any organisation. Gerd Antes is Chair of the Advisory Board of 'Current Controlled Trials', and receives an annual retainer and travel expenses for this work. The German Cochrane Centre has been and is supported by manufacturers of health care products, health insurances and a large hospital association to conduct projects and to organize meetings and conferences. Gerd Antes has played a central role in setting up the German Network for Evidence-Based Medicine and is now co-chair of the Network. This not-for-profit organisation has 28 supporting organisations, across all stakeholders of the German health care system, including pharmaceutical companies. The network is heavily dependent on this support and could not offer some services without this support. In particular, the network offers the lowest priced access to The Cochrane Library in Germany to its members. There are no financial links to manufacturers of health care products or other stakeholders of the health care system. He does not believe that any religious, political or other beliefs he may hold have a strong biasing influence on any of his work.


LORNE BECKER, Co-ordinator, Primary Health Care Field; Author/Reviewer and Peer Referee, Acute Respiratory Infections Group; Author/Reviewer, Tobacco Addiction Group; Member, Drugs and Alcohol Group and Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care Group: 


Lorne Becker is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University, having recently retired from his position as Professor and Chair of that department.  He has received and continues to receive honoraria for speaking engagements - usually on topics related to the application of evidence in clinical practice by primary care physicians. He serves as the Evidence Based Medicine Editor for the electronic publication 'DiseaseDex', and receives an annual honorarium from Thomson Micromedex for this activity.  He serves periodically as a remunerated expert for the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct and in some legal cases. He is an associate editor for the Journal of Family Practice and a member of the board of the Family Physicians' Inquiries Network, and receives no compensation for either of these roles.


LISA BERO, Centre Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group (from 3 October 2004); Member, Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group:


Lisa Bero has been a full-time faculty employee of the University of California, San Francisco, since 1991.  Her salary is provided by funds from the state of California and her research grants.  She has had or currently has research grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), World Health Organization, and California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (research money derived from the tax on cigarettes).  Dr Bero receives about $50.00 US per year in royalty fees for the publication of The Cigarette Papers.  She has accepted honoraria ($50 to $1000 US on a one-time basis) from the Canadian National Cancer Institute and AHRQ for grant review, Research Triangle Institute and Health Systems Research, Inc. for methodological consultation, the Friends Research Institute for a talk on financial conflicts of interest and clinical trials, The Association of Medical Writers and Dartmouth University for talks on reporting of scientific research in the lay press, and the World Health Organization and Pomona University - European Union Center for talks on public commentary on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Kaiser Permanente for talks on a) evaluating the quality of research and b) tobacco industry manipulation of research, and the World Conference on Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics for a talk on managing financial conflicts of interest in clinical trials.  She has received consulting fees (four times) from the University of Colorado for conducting workshops in evidence-based medicine. 


KATHIE CLARK, Centre Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group until 3 October 2004, then Co-Chair of the Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Co-Convenor, Monitoring and Registration Group, until 3 October 2004, then Convenor of the Publishing Policy Group; Member, Colloquium Policy Advisory Group; Member, Consumer Network.


Kathie Clark is Co-Director of The Canadian Cochrane Network and Centre (CCN/C). She is employed full-time by the CCN/C that is currently funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and received donations in 2004 from the Canadian Chiropractic Protective Association.


MIKE CLARKE, Co-Chair, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group, Convenor of the Publishing Policy Group and Treasurer (until 3 October 2004); Director, UK Cochrane Centre; Co-Co-ordinating Editor, Cochrane Methodology Review Group; Editor, Breast Cancer Collaborative Review Group; Co-Convenor, Cochrane Individual Patient Data Meta-Analyses Methods Group:


Mike Clarke is employed by the Milton Keynes Primary Care Trust on behalf of the Department of Health in England, as Director of the UK Cochrane Centre for four days per week. This is a fixed term contract, the renewal of which is dependent upon the value placed upon his work, that of the UK Cochrane Centre, and of The Cochrane Collaboration more widely by the Department of Health. He is also employed by Cancer Research UK to work one day per week at the Clinical Trial Service Unit, University of Oxford, UK, primarily on systematic reviews of treatments for early breast cancer. He prepares a regular contribution for the National electronic Library for Health in the UK, for which he receives payment. He is also paid for teaching on the University of Oxford's MSc in Evidence Based Health Care course and for supervising postgraduate students. He is not paid to act in any of his roles that relate to the central organisation of The Cochrane Collaboration. He has not knowingly received any personal funding direct from manufacturers of health care products, and cannot recall accepting any hospitality from such companies, but he will correct any errors in regard to this as soon as they are brought to his attention. He has received payment for speaking and for writing from some journals and organisations, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He referees for several Cochrane Collaborative Review Groups, journals and funding agencies, and has received little or no financial remuneration for any of this work. Neither he, nor his immediate family, holds any shares or stocks in any company. Members of his family have experienced specific health problems that influence some of the choices he makes with regard to the work that he does. He does not believe that any religious, political or other beliefs he may hold have a strong biasing influence on any of his work, apart from his desire to help people achieve better health through well-informed decision-making.


MARK DAVIES, Collaborative Review Group Representative (of Cochrane Authors/Reviewers), Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Funding Arbiter (; Member, Cochrane Collaboration Publishing Policy Group; Member, Cochrane Collaboration Quality Advisory Group; Author/Reviewer, Anaesthesia, Neonatal and Skin Collaborative Review Groups; Peer Reviewer, Anaesthesia Collaborative Review Group:


Mark Davies is a consultant neonatologist: part of his income is derived from private practice in neonatology. He has acted as a consultant to BMJ Books reviewing manuscripts and proposals; but no other for-profit companies. As far as he is aware he has no shares in any company with health care interests. He recently co-edited and published 'Pocket notes on neonatology' (ISBN 0-9750756-0-8) where the printing costs were partially met by grants from Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Pty Ltd and Abbott Australasia Pty Ltd. He is not aware of any other potential conflicts of interest.


JON DEEKS, Methods Group Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Treasurer (from 3 October 2004); Co-Convenor, Statistical Methods Group:


Jon Deeks was funded one day per week from April 2004 to September 2004 by The Cochrane Collaboration, and will be funded one day per fortnight from October 2004 to September 2005, to progress the Cochrane Diagnostic Reviews Initiative. He receives payment from the British Medical Journal for statistical reviewing and attending editorial meetings. Jon currently has no industry links, but has occasionally worked as a paid methodological consultant to industry.


ZBIGNIEW FEDOROWICZ, Collaborative Review Group representative (of all members of Collaborative Review Groups), Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group (from 3 October 2004); Member, Health Related Quality of Life Methods Group, Member and Peer Referee, Oral Health Group; Member, Eyes and Vision Group, and Health Promotion and Public Health Field:


Zbigniew (Zbys) Fedorowicz is currently employed as a civilian clinician at the United States Naval Dental Center, Europe, Branch Dental Clinic in Bahrain. This is currently his sole source of income and he has no conflicts of interest to declare.


DAVINA GHERSI, Collaborative Review Group Representative (of Review Group Co-ordinators and Trials Search Co-ordinators), Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Editor and Review Group Co-ordinator, Cochrane Breast Cancer Collaborative Review Group; Member, Cochrane Cancer Network; Member, Cochrane CENTRAL Advisory Group; Member, Steering Group Executive; Author/Reviewer, Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders Collaborative Review Group; Advisory Board Member, Methodology Collaborative Review Group; Convenor, Prospective Meta-Analysis Methods Group:


Davina Ghersi is the Review Group Co-ordinator and an Editor of the Cochrane Breast Cancer Group, and Co-Convenor of the Prospective Meta-Analysis Methods Group, neither of which receive funds from for-profit organisations. She does not act as a consultant to any for-profit organisation and has no shares in any company with health care interests.


SALLY GREEN, Centre Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Director, Australasian Cochrane Centre; Author/Reviewer, Musculoskeletal Collaborative Review Group; Co-Convenor, Quality Advisory Group, Handbook Advisory Group, and Monitoring and Registration Group:


Sally Green is employed by Monash University as Director of the Australian Cochrane Centre for four days per week. The Centre is fully funded by a grant from the Australian Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing. One day a week she conducts private physiotherapy practice in a practice of which she is the sole owner. She has no shares in any other company with health care interests. Sally Green holds research grants from the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, the Australian National Institute of Clinical Studies, and the Wellcome Trust, all not-for-profit organisations.  She is paid a nominal fee for supervising postgraduate students, marking academic work, and contributing to journals. She has not knowingly received any personal funding direct from manufacturers of health care products, but has been co-investigator of a clinical trial in which one intervention was supplied free of charge by Sigma Pharmaceuticals.


DAVID HENDERSON-SMART, Collaborative Review Group Representative (of all members of Collaborative Review Groups) (until 3 October 2004); Publication Arbiter (; Member of the steering group of the Australasian Cochrane Centre; Chair of the Renal Review Group Advisory Board; Member and Australasian Co-ordinator of the Neonatal Collaborative Review Group; Member of Pregnancy and Childbirth Collaborative Review Group; Member of the Effective Practice and Organization of Care Collaborative Review Group:


David Henderson-Smart is Director of the Centre for Perinatal Health Services Research at the University of Sydney. His salary is provided by New South Wales Health through the Central Sydney Area Health Service, where he is a member of the Department of Neonatology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. He is an advisor to the NSW Health and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. He is a member of the executive of the Australian and New Zealand Neonatal Network, which receives funding from Abbott Australia to run its database. He does not currently act as a consultant to any for-profit organisation and has no shares in any company.


STEFF LEWIS, Collaborative Review Group Representative (of all members of Collaborative Review Groups), Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Editor, Stroke Collaborative Review Group; Member (and, from 3 October 2004, Co-Convenor), Monitoring and Registration Group; Co-Convenor, Statistical Methods Group; Member, Cochrane CENTRAL Management Advisory Group:


Steff Lewis is a statistician based in a clinical trials unit in Scotland, UK.  As part of this role, she is the trial statistician for a clinical trial funded by PPP, but with some active drug and placebo supplied by Boehringer Ingelheim free of charge.  She is also the trial statistician for a trial funded by Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland and the Medical Research Council, but with medical devices provided free of charge by Tycohealthcare.  Steff is paid by the Cochrane Stroke Group for one day per week as statistical editor.  She does not currently act as a consultant to any for-profit organisation and has no shares in any company.


JIM NEILSON, Co-Chair, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Co-ordinating Editor, Pregnancy and Childbirth Collaborative Review Group; Peer Reviewer, Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Collaborative Review Group; Convenor, Steering Group Executive; Member, Publishing Policy Group; Member, Handbook Advisory Group:


Jim Neilson is co-principal investigator of a clinical trial in Malawi, funded by the Wellcome Trust, but with active drug and placebo supplied by Pfizer free of charge. He does not act as a consultant to any for-profit organisation and has no shares in any company with health care interests.  He does no private clinical practice but does act as a remunerated expert in some legal cases, usually involving claims about obstetric origins of cerebral palsy.


JORDI PARDO PARDO, Centre Staff Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Administrator, Iberoamerican Cochrane Centre; Member, Colloquium Policy Advisory Group; Member, Publishing Policy Group:  


Jordi Pardo is the Administrator of the Iberoamerican Cochrane Centre. He is employed full-time by the Fundación de Gestió Sanitària de l'Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, a private not-for-profit charity. The Centre receives support from several sources, including pharmaceutical companies, as listed in the Centre's module in The Cochrane Library and on the Centre's website ( Jordi does not believe that any religious, political or other beliefs he holds have a strong biasing influence on any of his work. Neither he, nor his immediate family, holds any shares or stock in any company. Jordi is not aware of any other potential conflicts of interest.


ROB SCHOLTEN, Centre Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group, (from 3 October 2004); Member, Quality Advisory Group, Statistical Methods Group, and Screening and Diagnostic Tests Methods Group; Author/Reviewer, Back, Dementia and Cognitive Improvement, Depression Anxiety and Neurosis, Heart, and Neuromuscular Disease Collaborative Review Groups; Chair, Thomas C. Chalmers Award Committee, 2004:


Rob Scholten is Co-Director of The Dutch Cochrane Centre, which is currently funded by the Dutch Ministry of Health. He is employed full-time by the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam. Rob is not aware of any potential conflicts of interest.


SILVANA SIMI, Consumer Network Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group and Member, Steering Group Executive (until 3 October 2004); Editor, Multiple Sclerosis Collaborative Review Group; Consumer Representative, Multiple Sclerosis Collaborative Review Group; Member, Cochrane Consumer Network Governing Council:


Silvana Simi has a stable position as a senior researcher at the Italian National Research Council. As far as she can remember, she has never received funding directly from manufacturers of health care products in her research career. She recently received payment and hospitality for giving a seminar from GenPharmTox, a biotechnology company, established by a former colleague at Munchen University. She does not act as a consultant to any for-profit organization, and has no shares in any company with health care interests.  One of her current research projects is to study the mechanisms of in vitro genotoxicity of complex mixtures such as cigarette smoke condensate: this project has been financed by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture.  A member of her family is suffering from a severe disease which can influence choices in the work she does.


PETER TUGWELL, Collaborative Review Group Representative (of Co-ordinating Editors), Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Co-ordinating Editor, Musculoskeletal Collaborative Review Group:


Peter Tugwell has received travel and research support from dozens of pharmaceutical firms (PFs) for over thirty years. This support has permitted research associates to work on methodologic projects of no commercial interest, has supported students and fellows who otherwise would not have been able to get an education, and has provided partial support for the planning and organization of scientific meetings in which the funder had no say about subject matter, content, or speakers. He has never received personal salary research support or awards from PFs. He was principal investigator for randomized trials of cyclosporine published in the Lancet and NEJM; these were funded in part but never in whole by PFs who had no access to the emerging data, no control over whether or when the studies stopped, and no veto power over any publications or presentations. The Musculoskeletal Collaborative Review Group has received unrestricted grants for staff support in carrying out systematic reviews, a number of which failed to draw favorable conclusions about donor's drugs. While Chair of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, Peter prohibited PFs from solo support of department educational rounds or from any say in content. He also enforced a policy of using generic names. When he served on the US Government National Science Panel examining the relationship between silicone breast implants and connective tissue disorders, he was certified by a U.S. District Court Judge to be free of any industry influence.


JANET WALE, Consumer Network Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; a freelance editor and consumer representative on Commonwealth of Australia and Western Australian health committees; a consumer for the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections, Anaesthesia, Musculoskeletal, Musculoskeletal Injuries, and Heart Collaborative Review Groups, and a member of the Cochrane Consumer Network.


Janet Wale has no conflicts of interest to declare.


ELIZABETH WATERS, Field Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group (from 3 October 2004); Director, Health Promotion and Public Health Field; Member, Advisory Board of the Child Health Field; Member, Non-Randomised Studies Methods Group; Member, Quality Advisory Group; Member, Cochrane Heart, Pregnancy and Childbirth, Airways, and Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Collaborative Review Groups:


Elizabeth (Liz) Waters is employed by Deakin University as Chair in Public Health and is a member of the Australian NHMRC Health Advisory Committee. She receives funding from a range of research organisations to conduct research and education programs of work. Neither she nor her family have shares in industry, and she does not receive monies from industry or related organisations. She very occasionally receives monies for reviewing research grants from international universities. Liz is not aware of any potential conflicts of interest.



Declaration of interests of Director, Information Management System


MONICA KJELDSTRØM, Director, The Cochrane Collaboration Information Management System; Director, Collaboration Trading Company; Member, Publishing Policy Group; Member, Information Management System Group, Editorial Management Advisory Group and RevMan Advisory Group; Member, Quality Advisory Group; Author/Reviewer, Peripheral Vascular Diseases Group:


Monica Kjeldstrøm is employed by the Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark, as Director of the Cochrane Collaboration Information Management System. Her employment is permanent but her position can be changed by the Rigshospitalet. The Rigshospitalet provides her only source of income. Monica Kjeldstrøm was given, and continues to hold, shares in a small Danish biotechnology company, but is unable to trade in these and does not derive any income from them. She will not influence the conduct of any review in which this company might have a financial interest.



Declaration of interests of Secretariat staff:


NICK ROYLE, Chief Executive Officer, The Cochrane Collaboration; Member, Campbell and Cochrane Economic Methods Group; Member, Cochrane Screening and Diagnostic Tests Methods Group: As part of his role as Chief Executive Officer, Nick Royle has a responsibility for developing strategic alliances and for developing new and maintaining existing funding for The Cochrane Collaboration. As such he is precluded from participating in the process of developing the Collaboration’s policy on conflicts of interest, but will take a major role in its implementation. He does not currently act as a consultant to any organisation, although he has formerly been a member of government committees on drug and alcohol misuse, and advised organisations involved in helping those with drug and alcohol misuse problems. With the exception of a small number of shares in a household and general insurance company obtained as a result of a privatisation, he holds no direct shares in any company, but has investments in general funds such as pension funds and no knowledge of which companies these invest in.


JINI HETHERINGTON, Administrator and Company Secretary, Cochrane Collaboration Secretariat: Jini Hetherington holds no stocks or shares, and is not aware of any potential conflicts of interest.


CLAIRE ALLEN, Deputy Administrator, Cochrane Collaboration Secretariat; Consumer (commenting on protocols and reviews) with the Ear, Nose & Throat, Peripheral Vascular Diseases, Airways, and Acute Respiratory Infections Collaborative Review Groups; Member of the Complementary Medicine Field Advisory Board; Author/Reviewer in the Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group; Consumer on a randomised controlled trial of acupuncture for migraine funded by the NHS; Consumer on the NHS Priorities Project for Complementary Therapies for Cancer funded by the NHS; Commentator on 'Hot Topics' for Informed Health Online.  Claire Allen is not aware of any potential conflicts of interest.


LOUISE KITCHENER, Administrative Assistant, Cochrane Collaboration Secretariat:  Louise Kitchener holds no stocks or shares, and is not aware of any potential conflicts of interest.