Minutes of meeting of the

Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group,

Stavanger, Norway, 31 July and 3 August 2002

[These minutes were approved by the Steering Group Executive on 14 October 2002]




Adverse events, inclusion of information on, in Cochrane Reviews

17, 35.2

Advisory Group, CENTRAL/CCTR

18, 19.4

[Advisory] Group, Cochrane Library Users’


Advisory Group, Colloquium Policy


Advisory Group, Criticism Management


Advisory Group, Handbook


Advisory Group, Information Management System


Advisory Group, Quality


Annual General Meetings


Arbiter/Ombudsman, Publication


Campbell Collaboration, liaison


CENTRAL, budget from the New England Cochrane Center for


Centre, French Cochrane

3.23, 19.2

Centre Directors, feedback from meeting in Stavanger


Centres, responsibilities of Directors and staff


Chief Executive Officer, recruitment of


Chris Silagy Prize and Fund


Cochrane Reviews, change of citation for ISI indexing purposes


Cochrane Reviews, costs of producing individual, 20.1

Cochrane Reviews, duplication of effort resulting from outcome-specific


Cochrane Reviews, funding

3.2.15, 20.1

Cochrane Reviews, inclusion of adverse events in

17, 35.2

Cochrane Reviews, inclusion of safety warnings in

17, 35.2

Cochrane Reviews, intellectual property rights of synopses


Cochrane Reviews, referral of non-standard titles


Colloquium, 2004 (Ottawa)


Colloquium, 2005 (Melbourne)


Conflict resolution


Consumer health information system


Consumer Network representatives having access to their constituents


Contingency Fund expenditure


Co-ordinating Editors, feedback from meeting in Stavanger


Developing countries’ involvement in the Cochrane Collaboration


Discretionary Fund expenditure


Electoral process, proposal for changes


EMBASE, cost of licensing records


Entity funding

7.6, 28

Entity representatives communicating with their constituents


Fields, feedback from meeting in Stavanger


Finance, Contingency and Discretionary Fund expenditure

7.3, 7.4

Finance, revised funding priorities


Finance, use of Collaboration funds for entities in crisis


French Cochrane Centre

3.23, 19.2

Funders’ Forum

7.6, 19.2, 19.13

History of the Cochrane Collaboration


Information Management System, proposal for development of


Intellectual property rights – synopses


International organisations, strategic alliances


ISI indexing, citation format for Cochrane Reviews


Medibank, inaccurate statement on the web site


Methods Groups, feedback from meeting in Stavanger


Monitoring and Registration Group, report and budget

19.2, 24

Monitoring of entities, feedback from Quality Improvement Manager


Needs Assessment Survey




Ombudsman/Arbiter, Publication


Publishing, new arrangement for


Publishing Policy Group


Quality Improvement Manager, report and recommendations


RGCs/TSCs, feedback from meeting in Stavanger


Secretariat, recruitment of a Chief Executive Officer


Steering Group, comments from outgoing members


Steering Group, costs of meetings


Steering Group, electoral process, proposal for changes to


Steering Group, membership of sub- and advisory groups


Steering Group, mid-year meeting, 2003 (Australia)


Steering Group, mid-year meeting, 2004 (Italy)


Steering Group, monitoring the


Steering Group, outstanding action items


Steering Group, reimbursement of expenses


Strategic Plan


Strategic Plan, revised


Synopses, intellectual property rights


Treasurer, report and financial statements to 31 March 2002



Minutes of the meeting of the

Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group

Stavanger, Norway,

31 July and 3 August 2002

Present: Claire Allen, Gerd Antes, Kathie Clark, Mike Clarke, Mark Davies, Mike Davis [of the publishers John Wiley UK] (for the second part of item 9 only), Jon Deeks, Vittorio Demicheli, Kay Dickersin (for item 18), Monica Fischer (for item 22), Davina Ghersi, Sally Green, David Henderson-Smart, Jini Hetherington (minutes), Ruth Jepson, Jos Kleijnen (for item 12), Peter Langhorne (Chair of the first meeting), Steff Lewis, Youping Li (for the first meeting), Jim Neilson (Chair of the second meeting), Samuel Ochieng, Nancy Owens (for parts of the meeting only), Jordi Pardo, Silvana Simi, Elena Telaro, Peter Tugwell (for parts of the meeting only).


  1. Welcomes, apologies for absence, introductions, and approval of the agenda
    Peter Langhorne welcomed everyone to the meeting, and incoming and outgoing members introduced themselves to each other. The agenda was approved.
  2. Declarations by Steering Group members of potential conflicts of interest
    Mike declared that there was potential for him to have a conflict of interest in some matters, as incoming Director of the UK Cochrane Centre, with responsibility for nearly half the Collaborative Review Groups (CRGs). Similarly, Sally Green, acting Director of the Australasian Cochrane Centre, declared her responsibility for six CRGs in Australasia. Kathie Clark declared her potential conflict as a member of a Centre facing a possible financial crisis (see item 28). Peter Tugwell highlighted the importance of potential conflict in the area of sponsorship from industry.
  3. Matters arising, not on this agenda:

    3.1 History of the Cochrane Collaboration: Peter L. explained that the issue of archiving or compiling a historical record of the organisation had been discussed at the previous Steering Group meeting; it had been felt that it would be premature to commission someone to write a formal history. Peter had since spoken to Iain Chalmers, who had recommended employing an official archivist. Jini agreed to contact an archivist whom she had met, on behalf of the Steering Group, to obtain some costings.
    Action: Jini

    3.2 Consumer health information system
    : It was agreed that developments with the Consumer Network web site should be co-ordinated with the current redevelopment of the Collaboration web site, and that the latter remains the main web site of the Cochrane Collaboration. Peter L. agreed to contact Hilda Bastian to ask for her help in correcting the inaccurate statement on the Medibank web site (
    http://www.medibank.com.au/cochrane/hottopic.asp) that says, "Cochrane Reviews provide information of topical health issues and are produced by the Cochrane Consumer Network (Inc)".
    Action: Peter L.

    3.2.15 Costs of producing individual reviews: Peter L. reported that Chris Williams had expressed the view that a project to identify the average cost of a Cochrane review is not something that can be done without the allocation of appropriate resources. He had obtained a very rough estimate of £10,000 sterling from a health economist to look at five reviews from every Collaborative Review Group, to try to calculate the average cost of a single review. Members of the Funders’ Forum had suggested that work in this area could be a suitable subject for a Masters degree. Davina agreed to speak to several health economists about the feasibility of such projects. However, at the Steering Group meeting on 3 August, Peter L. reported that Miranda Mugford had expressed interest in undertaking this project and had estimated that it would cost approximately £2,500 sterling. Peter agreed to ask Miranda to produce a brief paper for the next Executive teleconference (September 2002).
    Action: Peter L.

    12 Report of the Needs Assessment Survey: Mike explained that the Steering Group had agreed in Chengdu to accept the recommendation that the Collaboration should develop a study-based register of trials, but that this decision had not been included in the minutes of that meeting. This was now endorsed, and Davina mentioned that this would be discussed by the CENTRAL/CCTR Advisory Group.
    Action: Davina

    15 Change of citation for Cochrane reviews for ISI indexing purposes: Mike explained that until a new publishing arrangement is in place, it is premature to recommend any change to the citation format of Cochrane reviews. It was thought that ISI will probably do what MEDLINE does, which is to cite Cochrane reviews as being from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews as opposed to The Cochrane Library.

    23 Future of the French Cochrane Centre: Peter L. explained that the French Cochrane Centre had closed temporarily earlier this year due to continuing lack of funds, and that their module in The Cochrane Library reflects this. He agreed to speak informally to Margaret Haugh during the Colloquium, and to write to Jean-Pierre Boissel to suggest the voluntary de-registration of the Centre. French-speaking people showing an interest in, or in working with, the Collaboration are already being directed to the Italian and German Cochrane Centres (see item 19.2 below).
    Action: Peter L.
  4. Membership of the Steering Group’s sub- and advisory groups
    A document was circulated during the meeting containing suggested membership of the sub- and advisory groups to the Steering Group. This was for discussion outside the meeting and amendment if necessary, and agreement at the Steering Group meeting on 3 August.
  5. Comments from outgoing Steering Group members
    Ruth Jepson stressed the importance of Steering Group members being able to communicate with their constituents. She thanked Claire Allen for her support to the work of the Monitoring and Registration Group during the past three years. Elena Telaro asked that the Steering Group think about ways of conveying decisions more efficiently to members of the Collaboration. Youping Li said that her firsthand experience of the organisation had been very valuable and enjoyable; she thanked the Collaboration, in particular the Australasian, German and UK Cochrane Centres for their support and help, and said that she hoped to continue working closely with the Collaboration. Peter L. admitted to having found his time as Chair quite stressful; he thought the Steering Group had worked really well over the past two years, and he would miss his interactions with people on the Group. Mike thanked Peter for all his hard work as Chair, and said that he had found it a pleasure, as Deputy Chair, to work with Peter.
  6. Charity and Trading Company Annual General Meetings
    It was agreed that Peter L. should open the Annual General Meetings (AGMs) by explaining their purpose and the reason why it had not been possible to alter the start time to provide longer than the scheduled half an hour. Jos Kleijnen would chair the legal items pertaining to the Trading Company, and Jim Neilson would chair the open discussion that would centre on explaining the process of reaching a new publishing arrangement. Samuel would make a short presentation about the recent monitoring process.
  7. Report from the Treasurer:

    7.1 Report and Financial Statements to 31 March 2002: If requested, Mike agreed to describe at the Annual General Meetings the spending that has been committed from core funds for the next one to two years. Before putting the minutes of the previous AGMs onto the web site (after they had been approved), Jini was asked to move the explanatory notes attached to those minutes to a more visible position. She was also asked to circulate to the Steering Group the document describing the risk assessment exercise that had been undertaken at the auditors’ request during preparation of the Report and Financial Statements.
    Action: Mike, Jini

    7.2 Spreadsheet of current financial situation: In his capacity as Treasurer, Mike explained the current financial situation of the Collaboration. There were no questions on the details contained in the spreadsheet.

    7.3 Tables of Contingency and Discretionary Fund expenditure: For the benefit of incoming members to the Steering Group, Mike explained the reasons for setting up these two Funds, and described how they are managed. Three one-off grants had been made from the Contingency Fund: £10,399 to the organisers of the Stavanger Colloquium for consumer and developing country stipends, £6,280 to the Canadian Cochrane Centre to enable the continuation of production of CCInfo and Cochrane News, and £1,560 to the New England Cochrane Center at Providence for the storage for two years of paper records relating to handsearching. Two one-off grants had been made from the Discretionary Fund: £750 to the University of Liverpool for testing ‘RevMan Analyses’, and £2,000 to the Cochrane Cancer Network for legal fees to establish a charity, ‘AidCancer’. There were no questions on the tables summarising the activity of these Funds.

    7.4 Table of costs of Steering Group meetings, 1998 to 2002: Peter L.explained that the table of costs of Steering Group meetings for the past five years provided background to discussions about achieving a balance between the costs of these meetings and their value as a means of adding impetus to Cochrane awareness and activities in particular countries.

    7.5 Reimbursement of Steering Group members’ expenses: Mike declared that he had a conflict of interest on the issue of reimbursing home telephone and Internet expenses of Steering Group members, and did not take part in this discussion. Peter L. explained that it had been proposed that Steering Group members should be able to claim reimbursement of telephone and Internet costs of working at home if they did a lot of Collaboration work there. It was agreed that such claims should be reimbursed from central funds, substantiated by receipts or itemised bills. Where practical, such claims should be added to claims for reimbursement of the costs of attending Steering Group meetings, to reduce the amount of administration by the Secretariat.

    7.6 Entity funding: Mike spoke to data gleaned from the entity monitoring process on current levels of funding to entities. He had presented these data at the Funders’ Forum meeting the previous day. Such data had been found to be extremely helpful, and had generated positive discussion on their importance in generating additional funds and identifying ways of doing so.

    7.7 Cost of licensing EMBASE records: Mike raised the request from Update Software for the Collaboration to reimburse £40,000 sterling for retrospective licensing of EMBASE records for use by the Cochrane Collaboration. In his capacity as liaison with Update Software, Mike agreed to convey to Mark Starr that the Cochrane Collaboration would not pay this, since it had not been part of the original agreement. Mike was asked to obtain advice from the Collaboration’s lawyer on the content of his letter.
    Action: Mike
  8. The Cochrane Collaboration Strategic Plan

    8.1 The revised Strategic Plan: Peter L. stressed that the goals of the Collaboration remain unchanged: the amendments that have been made to the Plan are not to the activities themselves but to ways of conducting those activities. Jim asked that some explanatory text about the amendments be added to the document, which would inform the draft job description for the proposed Chief Executive Officer. Sally requested that mention of annual Cochrane Colloquia be made in the Strategic Plan. The next iteration of the Plan should be discussed at greater length at the next Steering Group meeting in Melbourne in 2003, and would include more subtext on methods of delivery. In the meantime, Peter should arrange for a dated version to be put onto the Collaboration web site. The entity representatives are responsible for communicating the contents of successive drafts of the Plan to their constituents, eliciting their reactions, and feeding those back to Jim and Mike.
    Action: Peter L., entity reps, Jim, Mike

    8.2 Funding priorities: Mike had already mentioned a number of major activities, of benefit to the whole Collaboration, that had been costed and to which funds had already been allocated at the Steering Group meeting in Chengdu in April 2002. These included support for Information Management System developments, copy editing projects and appointment of a Chief Executive Officer. A proposal to support improvements in CENTRAL would be discussed later in the meeting.
  9. New publishing arrangement for the Cochrane Collaboration’s output
    It was agreed that it would be important to describe the process of seeking a new publishing arrangement for the Collaboration’s output at the Annual General Meetings, since there was confusion about this among members of the organisation. Peter L. explained to incoming members of the Steering Group that it had been agreed at the Steering Group meeting in Cape Town in October 2000 (see the Steering Group’s response to recommendation 4, in item 11 of the minutes of that meeting) that Mike Clarke, Hilda Bastian, Chris Williams and himself would be involved in establishing the process for reaching a new publishing arrangement. It took eight months to identify a satisfactory publishing consultant to assist them, since several people who were approached were unwilling to give advice to the panel, as this would preclude their own company from tendering: this severely delayed the process. When Chris and Hilda stepped down from the Steering Group in October 2001, it was agreed that they should continue to be members of the selection panel. It was also agreed that it would be necessary to expand the selection panel, but that this expansion should continue to ensure that the majority of the panel were members of the Steering Group. This was because the final decision on the preferred proposal would need to be taken by the Steering Group and so there needed to be strong representation of the Steering Group on the panel. It was agreed that the panel should be kept to a manageable size of about nine people. Gaps in expertise among panel members were then identified, and two people were invited to become special advisers without voting rights. These were Monica Fischer because of her experience of the Collaboration’s software, and Drummond Rennie because of his experience in publishing, in particular in relation to the USA. The membership of the expanded panel was notified to the Steering Group at its meeting in Chengdu in April 2002. It was agreed that an overhead of the timelines of the process should be displayed at the Annual General Meetings, indicating where these decisions had been documented, and circulated to all entities after the Colloquium.
    Action: Peter L., Jim, Mike

    At their suggestion, the members of the Steering Group who were on the selection panel then left the meeting so that non-panel members could discuss openly whether they had any criticisms of how the process had been conducted. As a consequence of the resulting discussion, David HS proposed a vote of confidence in the selection panel for the way they have conducted the process, which was unanimously supported. The importance of documenting all the various steps in the process was highlighted. The members of the Steering Group who are on the selection panel then rejoined the meeting.

    Mike Davis, Publishing Director of John Wiley (UK), joined the meeting to answer questions from the Steering Group. He explained his background in medical publishing, and apologised that his colleague Deborah Dixon, Editorial Director for the medical area, was unable to come to the meeting. Steering Group members questioned Mike Davis closely about any aspects of a possible new publishing arrangement about which they had concerns, after which he left the meeting.

    At the second Steering Group meeting, Mike was asked to write to Update Software in his role as liaison person, if he became aware of any activities that they might have put on hold pending the new publishing arrangement which are covered by the current contract. He reported that he had been told during the RGC/TSC meeting in Stavanger that apparently the next generation of The Cochrane Library would not be available to entities on CD. He suggested that the Collaboration take out a licence for Internet access for all entities, to be paid for by central funds: this was agreed to.
    Action: Mike
  10. Intellectual property rights - synopses
    Peter L. described the meeting that had taken place in Lyon in October 2001 between Hilda Bastian, Mark Starr, Gerd Antes and himself on this issue. It was reiterated that the synopses are an intrinsic part of Cochrane reviews. Peter agreed to seek clarification as to the status of summaries other than the official synopses of Cochrane reviews that appear on the Cochrane Consumer Network web site. It was stressed that any summaries of Cochrane reviews that are not taken directly from The Cochrane Library must not be labelled as synopses of Cochrane reviews.
    Action: Peter L.
  11. Report and recommendations from the Quality Improvement Manager
    Nancy summarised the recommendations contained in her report, and described what she thought needed to be done to put these recommendations into practice. It was initially agreed to extend the project deadline to the end of September to enable Nancy to complete her visits to all entities. On further discussion, it was agreed to extend the project to the end of December 2002, so that Nancy can provide information on the objectives and costs of continuing this project for a second year. During the next five months (August to December 2002) Nancy would also complete her report for circulation to all entities, and put the material she had gathered during her entity visits into a usable form on the Collaboration web site. She was encouraged to construct templates of good practice that could be used by entities. In the Steering Group meeting on 3 August, it was acknowledged that so much time away from home in the past eleven months must have been extremely difficult for Nancy, and she was congratulated and thanked for all her hard work.
    Action: Nancy
  12. Recruitment of a Chief Executive Officer
    Peter L. displayed an overhead (based on a template for a CEO of an existing charity) itemising what would be required of the incumbent of this position and the relevant lines of responsibility. It was agreed that a CEO for the Collaboration should have responsibility for overseeing the funding (liaison and leverage), finance (business planning), and publishing (publicity) functions, and that responsibility for administration and communication should be left to the Secretariat Administrator, reporting to the Steering Group through the CEO. Other issues to be worked out are responsibility for the monitoring function, and overseeing of the administration function. Jos Kleijnen attended the meeting for this part of the discussion, on behalf of his Co-Directors of the Collaboration Trading Company. He said that the existing draft job description seemed to be enough work for five people. He recommended that the text be phrased in a more dynamic way, and that it should be spelled out how the organisation is led by the Steering Group, how the CEO would work closely with that Group and report to the Chair, and work as part of the small effective team in the Secretariat. The job description should state that the CEO should be expected to attend Steering Group and other meetings, and liase with the Funders’ Forum. In the current draft, only the first four tasks are linked to duties, but duties should be linked to all tasks. Interaction with the Trading Company Directors should be another explicit responsibility. Jos pointed out that the bullet points do not yet relate to the first responsibility. He recommended that the salary should start at £60,000 sterling. Mike stressed the importance of filling the post without undue delay (i.e. within the next six months), and of wording the advertisement so as to attract suitable candidates to apply. Peter L. undertook to revise the job description and circulate it to the Steering Group by the end of August, so that it can be discussed and agreed by the Executive in their September teleconference (date yet to be arranged). The Executive should decide at that time on the membership of a small working group to take this forward.
    Action: Peter L.
  13. Publication Ombudsman
    Jim explained that at the joint meeting of Review Group Co-ordinators and Co-ordinating Editors during the Colloquium, views had been expressed both in favour and against establishing such a position. Having discussed the objections that had been raised, the Steering Group agreed to go ahead and establish such a position, and to monitor how and how often this person is called upon during the coming year. It was agreed to call the position Publication ‘Arbiter’ rather than ‘Ombudsman’, as had been suggested at the joint meeting. David Henderson-Smart agreed to take on this role; Mike would convey this decision to all entities.
    Action: Mike
  14. Duplication of effort resulting from outcome-specific Cochrane reviews
    Phil Alderson and Iain Chalmers had asked the Steering Group to discuss the fact that there is an increasing number of Cochrane reviews which are explicitly not looking at all of the relevant outcomes, despite the guidance in the Cochrane Reviewers’ Handbook. This was discussed, and Jon was asked to produce a formal proposal for facilitating outcome-specific reviews, since it will be especially relevant to reviews of adverse events (see item 17). In the meantime the existing policy should not be changed. It was agreed that the scope of Cochrane reviews should be part of a wide consultation on the Cochrane Collaboration’s output, which is expected to follow a new publishing arrangement.
    Action, Jon
  15. Referral of non-standard review titles
    Jini accepted the suggestion that she should take over responsibility from Iain Chalmers at the beginning of October for monitoring non-standard review titles that are currently referred to Iain via the title registration system.
    Action: Jini
  16. Conflict of interest
    Silvana advised that there would be a document on this matter for consideration at the next meeting of the Steering Group in Melbourne in March 2003. Jim advised her that Frans Helmerhorst, Co-ordinating Editor of the Fertility Regulation Group, had said he would be very happy to work with her on this.
    Action: Silvana
  17. Safety warnings and Cochrane reviews
    Following discussion of a document from Hilda Bastian, it was agreed that the Collaboration is not equipped to monitor the world for information on withdrawn drugs or devices, nor should it become equipped to do so. Jon was asked to add this issue to the list of things that need the advice of the group that is looking at the issue of reliably including reviews of adverse effects in Cochrane reviews. Mike agreed to communicate this decision to Hilda and to suggest that the ‘Comments and Criticisms’ system could be used to raise concerns about withdrawn drugs. Mike agreed to prepare an appropriate draft disclaimer for Cochrane reviews, such as "health care decisions are your responsibility as the reader of this review".
    Action: Jon, Mike
  18. Budget for CENTRAL from the New England Cochrane Center
    Kay Dickersin attended the Steering Group meeting for this item. Kay explained the current funding arrangements for the New England Cochrane Center at Providence (
    NECC@P), which is fulfilling a contract with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) for retagging records. Other activities, including co-ordinating handsearching activities, and receiving specialised registers from Collaborative Review Groups and forwarding them to the NLM, are funded from ‘overhead’ funds associated with project grants. Two major grants are scheduled to end in January and March 2003.  Their contract from the NLM for MEDLINE retagging has not yet been renewed for the year commencing 1 October 2002, and thus funding for the Center as a whole is currently uncertain.  If no new overhead funds from other grants become available to the Center, the MEDLINE retagging project would be the only part of these activities that could continue (assuming NIH continues to fund this project).  In response to the details of annual costs provided by Kay, and in recognition of the importance of this work to the Collaboration, the Steering Group agreed to make a one-off grant of 75,000 US dollars to the NECC@P for use in managing CENTRAL. This should be conveyed to Kay verbally after the meeting, and confirmed in writing as soon as possible, so that arrangements can be made with the Cochrane Collaboration Secretariat to pay these funds to the NECC@P in September 2002. At the second meeting, Mike passed on Kay’s thanks for this grant.
    Action: Mike
  19. Reports to the Steering Group:

    19.1 Publishing Policy Group: No written report had been provided by this sub-group, and Mike reported that there were no issues needing discussion in addition to the items that were already on the agenda for this meeting.

    19.2 Monitoring and Registration Group (MRG):

    19.2.1 The entity monitoring process: Thanks were expressed to the MRG for their six-monthly report. The MRG was asked to discuss at their next meeting the dissatisfaction of some entities with the current monitoring process. Jon agreed to investigate how the process had been managed in the past, to see whether there are any elements of the data that entities are required to provide for the monitoring process that can be obtained automatically from the Parent Database. Mike stressed that data that had been provided by entities on their funding situation had already proved extremely helpful to the Funders’ Forum. Vittorio explained that descriptions of the core functions of all types of entities are being reviewed, in order to re-examine the whole monitoring process. Entities will be involved in the process.
    Action: Samuel, Kathie, Jon

    19.2.2 The French Cochrane Centre
    : Gerd explained that the French Cochrane Centre was expected to de-register as an entity, due to continuing lack of funds, and that discussions are under way as to alternative ways to help French-speaking people to participate in the Collaboration. In the meantime, enquiries should be directed to the Italian and German Cochrane Centres until a new arrangement can be made (see item 3.23 above).

    19.2.3 Branches of Cochrane Centres: Kathie described the complexity of the issue of establishing additional branches, networks or Cochrane Centres. The suggestion had been agreed to in the Centre Directors’ meeting that Centres should include information on branches within their area of responsibility in their modules in The Cochrane Library. Sally agreed to provide a brief document on behalf of the Centre Directors for discussion at the next Steering Group meeting in Melbourne in March 2003.
    Action: Sally

    19.2.4 Convenorship of the MRG
    : Kathie had accepted to become Co-Convenor of the MRG in place of Ruth Jepson, who had stepped down from the Steering Group on 1 August; Ruth had kindly agreed to remain on the MRG as an ex officio member. Heather Maxwell had said she would be willing to represent RGCs and TSCs on the MRG instead of Davina. The Steering Group approved these recommendations.

    19.2.5 Entity monitoring report - 2001: Samuel agreed to circulate the MRG’s report on the results of last year’s monitoring of entities to the Steering Group by e-mail as soon as possible.
    Action: Samuel

    19.3 Monitoring the Steering Group: Peter T. agreed to bring recommendations for the future of this process to the next Steering Group meeting in Melbourne in March 2003.
    Action: Peter T.

    19.4 CENTRAL/CCTR Advisory Group (CCAG): Thanks were expressed to the CCAG for their six-monthly report. Davina advised that the CCAG had recommended that the name of the ‘CENTRAL’ database be changed to ‘The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials’ in The Cochrane Library and on other related documentation as soon as possible. Mike advised that in his role as liaison with Update Software he had asked for this change to be made in The Cochrane Library. In response to a request from the CCAG to be represented more actively in the process for establishing a new publishing arrangement for the Cochrane Collaboration’s output, it was agreed that Davina and Vittorio should decide which one of them (as the Steering Group representatives on the CCAG) would join the panel.
    Action: Davina, Vittorio

    19.5 Cochrane Library Users’ Group (CLUG)
    : Thanks were expressed to the CLUG for their six-monthly report, which contained nothing needing a decision from the Steering Group.

    19.6 Colloquium Policy Advisory Group (CPAG): The Steering Group agreed that the standing committees of the Thomas C Chalmers MD Award, the Kenneth Warren Prize, and the Chris Silagy Prize should be responsible for appointing replacement members to those committees as people rotate off them. The Steering Group expressed appreciation to this advisory group for what it had accomplished, recognising that this had been largely thanks to the efforts of a few individual members of the Group. CPAG members should all be encouraged to consider attending the debriefing meeting immediately after the Colloquium in future.
    Action: Kathie, Jordi
  20. 19.7 Criticism Management Advisory Group (CMAG): Thanks were expressed to the CMAG for their six-monthly report. David advised that the Group is currently sometimes referred to as the ‘Feedback’ and sometimes the ‘Criticism’ Management Advisory Group. A decision on which word to use should be left until a proper consultation process has taken place with the Group’s members and others.
    Action: David, Steff

    19.8 Handbook Advisory Group (HAG): Thanks were expressed to the HAG for their six-monthly report. Mike advised that this advisory group had no questions for the Steering Group.

    19.9 Information Management System Group (IMSG): Thanks were expressed to the IMSG for their six-monthly report. Gerd confirmed that this group had no questions for the Steering Group.

    19.10 Quality Advisory Group (QAG): Thanks were expressed to the QAG for their six-monthly report. Sally Green advised that she had been invited to become Co-Convenor of this advisory group, together with Phil Alderson, and this was approved by the Steering Group. Philippa Middleton would remain a member of the Group.

    19.11 Cochrane-Campbell liaison: No six-monthly report had been provided to the Steering Group by Lisa Bero, the liaison between the Cochrane and Campbell Collaborations. Jini confirmed that she expects Lisa to provide a report for the next Steering Group meeting.

    19.12 The Ombudsman: Jim advised the incoming Steering Group members that Peter Langhorne had accepted to become Ombudsman with Gill Gyte when he ceased to be a member of the Steering Group on 1 August. Jim agreed to suggest to Gill that she compile a list of people who might be able to help her in situations requiring input from the Ombudsman. It was agreed that a databank of information and ideas, including Gill’s materials on conflict management and resolution, should be put onto the Collaboration web site. These might be housed with the resources that Nancy Owens will be making available there as a result of her Quality Improvement Manager activities over the past year. Nancy was asked to discuss with Gill Gyte how to implement the suggestion that introductory material about the Collaboration should be provided to new members, including some resource material on conflict management.
    Action: Jim, Nancy

    19.13 The Funders’ Forum: Mike reported that the two meetings of the Funders’ Forum during the Colloquium had been very positive. There had been activity by this group between Colloquia towards improving the funding base for Cochrane entities. Kay Dickersin had advised that the grant being made from central funds to the New England Cochrane Center at Providence might enable her to attract funding from other sources. Kathie and Sally asked that invitations to other funders to attend future meetings of the Funders’ Forum should be issued much further in advance than hitherto.
    Action: Mike
  21. Collaborative Review Group issues:

    20.1 Costs of producing individual reviews: This matter had already been discussed earlier in the meeting (see item

    20.2 International activity within Collaborative Review Groups: Mike and Claire had produced a poster for the Colloquium showing the increase in international activity since their research for their similar poster last year. It was noted that the biggest area of growth identified by this study had been that of involvement of people from developing countries.
  22. Centre Directors’ recommendations concerning responsibilities of Directors and staff: Sally advised that the Centre Directors had discussed the first draft of a paper containing these recommendations at their meeting during the Colloquium. The next draft would be available for the next meeting of the Steering Group in Melbourne in March 2003.
    Action: Sally
  23. Proposal for development of the Information Management System: Monica Fischer attended the Steering Group meeting for this item only. She described the recent meeting with the ModMan Advisory Group in which the need for a Collaboration-wide tracking system for reviews had been discussed, and it had been agreed that the tracking system within ModMan 4.2 would suffice as an intermediate solution. Monica confirmed that a specification would be drawn up over the next few months to present to the Information Management System Group, and thence to the Steering Group for approval. The work of the Quality Improvement Manager would be taken into consideration. A security expert would be consulted before taking any decisions about implementing the technical platform.
  24. Developing country initiative: Samuel recommended that progress on this important initiative should be discussed at the next Steering Group meeting in Melbourne in March 2003 when there will be more time to do so. In the meantime, Youping Li’s document on the status of the initiative should be circulated to all Steering Group members after the Colloquium.
    Action: Claire
  25. Feedback from the Monitoring and Registration Group meeting: This had already been dealt with earlier in the Steering Group meeting.
  26. Mid-year meetings of the Steering Group:

    25.1 2003 – Australia: Sally asked everyone to respond quickly to e-mails she sends them about this event, so as not to hold up the arrangements that need to be made.

    25.2 2004 – Italy: Alessandro Liberati’s invitation to hold this meeting in Italy was gratefully accepted. The decision as to which Italian city to hold this meeting in should be left to Alessandro, with input from individual Steering Group members if they have a strong preference. However, Milan or Rome were preferred over Pisa, as it may be easier to fly into these cities.
  27. Future Cochrane Colloquia:

    26.1 2003 – Barcelona: The Steering Group had not been asked to make any policy decision about this event, and arrangements seem to be well in hand.

    26.2 2004 – Ottawa: Kathie confirmed that the Steering Group had not been asked to make any policy decision about this event, and arrangements seem already to be in hand.

    26.3 2005 – Melbourne: Sally confirmed that no input was currently needed from the Steering Group about arrangements for this event.
  28. Electoral process: proposal for changes

This item had been deferred from the Steering Group meeting in Chengdu in April 2002. A document summarising various issues relating to the electoral process was discussed. These issues included:

27.1 A possible succession plan for the Chair of the Steering Group. There is a constitutional mechanism for appointing a Chair from outside the Steering Group, in the event that there is no suitable candidate for Chair on the existing Steering Group.

27.2 The requirement that members step down from the Steering Group after two consecutive three-year terms (agreed in February 2002).

27.3 In the event of a tie between two candidates in a Steering Group election, the Steering Group would be asked to vote.

27.4 A number of items in the document highlighted the need to revise the constitution of the Collaboration. Mike agreed to take this forward so that the Steering Group can discuss suggested revisions to the constitution at their next meeting in Melbourne in March 2003.
Action: Mike

Davina will revise the electoral process document in the light of discussion during this meeting. It will then be sent to the Secretariat to arrange for it to be put onto the Collaboration web site.
Action: Davina

28. Use of Collaboration funds for entities in crisis
Kathie declared her potential conflict as a member of a Centre facing a possible financial crisis. The Steering Group agreed that it would be extremely difficult to formulate a sensible and equitable policy on criteria for using Collaboration funds for entities in crisis.

29. Funding, sponsorship, and insurance of Colloquia: Kathie advised that the Colloquium Policy Advisory Group had discussed these issues, and that she and Xavier Bonfill would be preparing draft sponsorship guidelines for the CPAG in September.
Action: Kathie

30. Strategy for forming alliances with international organisations
Since there was no background document on this issue, no discussion took place, due to lack of time.

31. Feedback from various entity meetings during the Colloquium

31.1 Co-ordinating Editors: The suggestion of the Collaboration having a Publication Ombudsman was raised at the joint meeting of Co-ordinating Editors, Review Group Co-ordinators and Trials Search Co-ordinators (see item 13 above). Overlap of review titles was also discussed, and a strong request was made to allow dual publication of the same review by more than one Collaborative Review Group (CRG), to allow two or more CRGs to receive credit for work done on a particular review: it was thought that this might dissolve disagreements between CRGs over reviews that fall within the scope of more than one CRG. Investigation of whether it would be feasible to implement this suggestion needs to be deferred until a new publishing arrangement has been made. Peter T. reported that the Co-ordinating Editors had agreed that they need a full-day meeting during the next Colloquium, some part of it jointly with Review Group Co-ordinators and Trials Search Co-ordinators. He should convey this to the organisers of the Barcelona Colloquium as soon as possible.
Action: Peter T.

31.2 Review Group Co-ordinators/Trials Search Co-ordinators: Davina reported that no particular areas of concern or dissatisfaction had arisen during their meeting, which had not been dealt with at other points in the Steering Group meeting.

31.3 Centre Directors: Sally reported that the Centre Directors had had a good meeting, but that it had been too short and the discussion had been rushed. They had agreed that the organisers of the Barcelona Colloquium should be asked to schedule more time next year for this meeting.
Action: Sally

31.4 Methods Groups: Jon reported that this style of Colloquium (with no scientific meeting focussing on methodological issues) does not work well for members of Methods Groups because of difficulties in raising funding to attend meetings without a strong scientific content. Jon said he would be getting together a small group of people to suggest better ways of communicating in future, both among the Methods Groups and with other entities. He would also work with Nancy Owens to tailor her forthcoming interviews with Methods Groups, to ensure that questions are appropriate to their special situation. A Qualitative Research Methods Group is preparing to apply to register as a formal entity with the Collaboration. The issue of reviews of diagnostic tests is still current, and Jon was asked to make recommendations as to the feasibility of creating a database of these.
Action: Jon, Nancy

31.5 Fields: Vittorio reported that this kind of smaller scale, inward-looking Colloquium seems to be appreciated by members of Fields. He advised that discussion is underway as to the core function of Fields, and that a proposed Occupational Health Field had a preliminary meeting during the Colloquium.

31.6 Consumer Network: Silvana raised the question of how to improve direct communication between the two Consumer Network representatives and their constituents, i.e. all members of the Consumer Network. Jim agreed to ask Hilda Bastian how best to enable the elected representatives to achieve this.
Action: Jim, Samuel, Silvana

Samuel reported that discussions on governance of the Consumer Network are underway. Sally agreed to provide feedback to the Executive before their next teleconference in September 2002 on the status of these discussions. It was noted that consumers had recommended that there be more developing country representation on the Steering Group.
Action: Sally

32. Conflict resolution
The Steering Group expressed appreciation of the work that had gone into the materials produced by Gill Gyte on conflict management and resolution. See comments above at item 19.12.

33. Usefulness of spreadsheet of Steering Group members’ outstanding action items
Steering Group members agreed that they found this spreadsheet extremely helpful. They were asked to be prompt about letting Claire know when they have carried out any Action items.
Action: Everyone

34. Thanks to the host
Jim expressed appreciation for a most interesting, enjoyable and well organized Colloquium, and agreed to write a formal letter of thanks to Andy Oxman and his excellent team of organizers on behalf of the Steering Group.
Action: Jim

35. Any other business:

35.1 Chris Silagy Prize, and entity exchange fund
: This new prize had been at the wish of Chris Silagy, for people who had made an extraordinary contribution to the work of the Cochrane Collaboration, which would not normally be recognised by other means such as publication of papers, etc. It was noted that the first Chris Silagy Prize had been awarded to Jini Hetherington. As a separate matter, David explained that the idea of establishing an ‘entity exchange fund’ had been suggested after the Prize had been set up, for people such as review group co-ordinators, trials search co-ordinators, administrators, and handsearchers to visit and work in another entity for a brief period of time, at the Collaboration’s expense. David and Sally would be discussing after the Colloquium how to take this forward, and David would report on progress to the Executive in their September teleconference.
Action: David, Sally

35.2 Reviews of adverse effects
: This matter had been discussed earlier in the meeting (see item 17).

35.3 Entity feedback on the monitoring process
: Nancy agreed to provide the Monitoring and Registration Group with an anonymised list of comprehensive and constructive feedback that she had received during her visits to entities over the past eleven months, for use in reassessing and improving the monitoring process.
Action: Nancy