Minutes of meeting of the

Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group

Providence, USA
2-4 April 2005


[These minutes were approved by the Steering Group Executive on 13 May 2005.]


Advisory Group budgets


Advisory Group, Cochrane CENTRAL


[Advisory] Group, Cochrane Library Users'


Advisory Group, code of conduct for committee members


Advisory Group, Colloquium Policy


Advisory Group, proposal for a Contact Information


Advisory Group, Criticism Management


Advisory Group, Handbook


Advisory Group, Handbook guidelines


[Advisory] Group, Information Management System


Advisory Group, Quality


Campbell Collaboration, liaison


Central fund for receiving unrestricted donations


Centres, commercial sponsorship of


Centres, report from entity representatives


Centres, request to see CCSG agenda papers in advance


Chair of the Steering Group, report from


Chief Executive Officer, report from the


Cochrane Library, CD-ROM testing and installation


Cochrane Library, future strategy for


Cochrane Review, Interactive Health Communication Applications for

  People with Chronic Disease



Cochrane Reviews, plagiarism within

Cochrane Reviews, plain language summaries of


Cochrane Reviews, prioritisation of key topics for


Cochrane Reviews, methods for updating


Code of conduct for sub/advisory group and committee members


Collaborative Review Groups, guiding principles for editorial teams


Collaborative Review Groups, report from entity representatives


Collaborative Review Groups, support for RGCs


Colloquium, Dublin, 2006


Colloquium, Melbourne, 2005


Commercial sponsorship of Centres


Consumer Network


Contact Database, privacy statement


Contingency plan


Copyright, Information Management System


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



Declarations of interest, standard format and template


Developing countries initiative - analysis of survey results


Discretionary Fund expenditure


Donations, central fund for receiving unrestricted


Elections, Co-ordinating Editor representative positions


Elections, definition of constituency for CRG 'at large' reps on the CCSG


Elections, publicising the number of votes per election candidate


Elections, nominations for Co-Chair of the Steering Group


Endorsements, policy on the granting of


Entity representatives, verbal reports from


Fields/Networks, report from entity representatives


Finance, advisory group budgets


Finance, cash flow forecast and continuation of current initiatives


Finance, current financial position


Finance, estimated expenditure for 2004-5; provisional budget for 2005-6


Funding Arbiter job description


Funding Arbiter, report from


Funding Working Party, remit of


Information Management System, budget for future developments


Information Management System, copyright of


Information Management System, format of data delivered to Wiley


Information Management System, entity modules


Information Management System, monitoring and reporting from


Information Management System, status of


Jean Jones Prize


Job description, Co-Chair of the Steering Group


Job description, Funding Arbiter


Job description, Ombudsmen


Job description, Publication Arbiter


Job description, Steering Group members


Job description, Trading Company Directors


Monitoring and Registration Group, report from the


Monitoring and reporting, provision of standard reports from the Information Management System



Monitoring the Steering Group


Non-randomised studies and specialised registers


Ombudsmen, job description for


Ottawa Statement


Plain language summaries, guidelines from Handbook Advisory Group


Prize, Jean Jones


Publication Arbiter job description


Publication Arbiters, report from the


Publicity leaflets


Publishing Policy Group, report from


Specialised registers, non-randomised studies and


Steering Group mid-year meetings in 2007


Steering Group, entity representation on


Steering Group, imbalance in number of outgoing members each year


Steering Group, monitoring of the


Steering Group, nominations for Co-Chair of the


Steering Group, request from Centre staff to see papers in advance


Steering Group, review of


Steering Group members, job description for


Strategic Plan, progress and priority setting for the next four years


Terminology, changes in


Trading Company Directors, issues raised by the


Trading Company Directors, job description


Treasurer, report on financial and legal matters


Tsunami Working Party, report from the


Website development project


Website, training resources


Wiley, format of data delivered from the Information Management




Wiley, report from




Minutes of meeting of the

Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group

Providence, USA

2-4 April 2005


[These minutes were approved by the Steering Group Executive on 13 May 2005.]


Present (Steering Group members shown in bold typeface):  Godwin Aja, Lorne Becker, Lisa Bero, Mark Davies, Jon Deeks, Kay Dickersin (for items 13.10 and 22.1 only), Deborah Dixon (for items 10 and 11 only), Zbys Fedorowicz, Davina Ghersi, Sally Green, Jini Hetherington (minutes), Monica Kjeldstrøm, Carol Lefebvre (participating by telephone, for item 10.1 only), Steff Lewis, Jim Neilson (Chair), Jordi Pardo, Deborah Pentesco-Gilbert (for items 10 and 11 only), Nick Royle (CEO), Rob Scholten, Peter Tugwell, Herbert Turner (The Campbell Collaboration), and Janet Wale.


1.            Welcomes, apologies, and approval of the agenda
Jim welcomed everyone to the meeting.  Liz Waters had sent her apologies for absence, due to family illness.  Herbert Turner attended the meeting, on behalf of The Campbell Collaboration, and everyone introduced themselves.  Jim explained for the benefit of newcomers that the Steering Group mid-year meetings are a day longer than those held during Colloquia, in order to provide more time for discussion and to provide an opportunity for strategic planning, due to fewer distractions than during Colloquia.       er Turner washer;He

2.            Statements of potential conflicts of interest of CCSG members, IMS Director, and Secretariat staff
No-one had anything to add to their existing statements of potential conflicts of interest, which should be appended to these minutes.    
Action:  Jini

2.1  Standard format and template for declarations of interest: 
Lisa explained the rationale she had used in drafting a template for declarations of potential conflicts of interest.  It was agreed to provide declarations of interest in this format in future, answering the questions in point form.  Lisa would make several minor amendments to the template and circulate it to the Steering Group as soon as possible.  This new format will be adopted for the next Steering Group meeting in Melbourne, and members should if possible send their declarations in this new format to Jini in time to be included in the Steering Group module before the next module submission deadline on 25 May 2005.  The new format should also be included in The Cochrane Manual.  Entity representatives should advise their constituents of the availability of this template for possible use within their own entities, after receiving Lisa's amended version.
Action:  Lisa, Jini, Everyone


3.            Matters arising from the minutes of the Ottawa meeting, October 2004:

3.21.1  Plagiarism in Cochrane reviews: 
Jini was asked to request Mike Clarke to provide a progress report to the next Steering Group meeting in Melbourne of the group working on the guidance to avoid plagiarism in Cochrane reviews.
Action:  Jini

3.13  Prioritisation of key topic reviews:  Jim pointed out that there were two issues: one was the capability of The Collaboration to respond to an urgent need for evidence about specific health issues (which is a recurring theme at meetings of the Funders' Forum); the second was responsiveness to global initiatives about social determinants of health.  Liz and Peter had prepared a paper on the latter.  Sally reported that a plenary presentation on prioritisation was being planned for the Melbourne Colloquium.  Peter applauded the energy and time that Liz Waters had put into the discussion paper.  He asked people to be on the lookout for opportunities for The Collaboration to provide a rapid response, such as that made by the Tsunami Working Party.  Sally spoke for increasing capacity to respond to priorities within existing entities rather than establishing new ones.  Collaboration in responding should be promoted across entities.  This item will be brought forward to the next Steering Group meeting in Melbourne, when Liz will be present to speak to it.
Action:  Jini

            3.14  Developing countries initiative - analysis of survey results:  Jim expressed appreciation to Joy Oliver and Taryn Young of the South African Cochrane Centre for the thorough and concise analysis of the results of their survey, and would write and thank them.  It was noted that it is still not easy for many people in developing countries to access the Internet, let alone The Cochrane Library.  Zbys drew attention to the fact that different developing countries have different sorts of challenges.  It was agreed that the Monitoring and Registration Group should work with Xavier Bonfill, Jimmy Volmink and Joy Oliver to produce a paper for the next Steering Group meeting, defining the primary objectives of a new entity which would have the remit to address the problems experienced by people living in developing countries, including recommendations as to the best way of achieving those primary objectives, either as a Field, an advisory group, or some other type of entity.  This would subsume the existing developing countries initiative.  An amount of £5,000 had initially been committed to this work, of which £2,845 remains.  Nick pointed out that Wiley will shortly be providing information for the Collaboration website about how to access The Cochrane Library in developing countries.  Jini was asked to check that there is adequate information on the site about the various ways of participating in the work of the Collaboration. 
Action:  Jim, Sally, Jini

3.17  Policy on the granting of endorsements:  Nick was asked to put points 6.3 to 6.5 of the policy that he had drafted, on the granting of endorsements, into a standard document that can be sent to people who seek the endorsement of The Cochrane Collaboration.  Nick would deal with simple endorsement requests, bring to the Executive for approval any requests that are not straightforward, and maintain a record of all endorsements on the website.  This policy was approved with the suggested modifications, and should be included in The Cochrane Manual, including examples of acceptable and unacceptable use.  The entity representatives should circulate the policy to their constituents.    
Action:  Nick, Jini, Everyone   


4.            Report from the Chair
Jim expressed his gratitude to Kathie Clark for all her work as Co-Chair and previously as Co-Convenor of the Monitoring and Registration Group.  He said that her valuable input would be much missed, and members of the Steering Group echoed this. 

Jim also reported on the recent Global Health Forum meetings in Mexico, attended by several members of The Cochrane Collaboration, including himself.  There had been much discussion and support there for the prospective registration of trials and for the use of systematic reviews by policy makers.  Kay Dickersin had produced a paper by Karmela Krleza-Jerić of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and her co-authors entitled 'Principles for international registration of protocol information and results from human trials of health-related interventions' (the 'Ottawa Statement') that would be circulated to the Steering Group at the end of the meeting (see item 22.1 below).  There would be a three-day meeting in May 2005 at the World Health Organization, organised by Metin Gülmezoglu, about implementing the prospective registration of trials.  Jim had asked Gerd Antes to represent The Cochrane Collaboration formally at this meeting.

Jim also reported on the two meetings in Providence that had taken place just before the Steering Group meeting.  These were with members of the Consumers' Coalition and with the USCC Advisory Board; both meetings had been constructive.  The importance of raising the profile of the Collaboration in the USA had been highlighted at both.  Lisa reported on discussions about the perceived lack of responsiveness from the Collaboration.  The relevance and importance of Evidence-Based Practice Centers (EBPCs) in North America had been discussed, and Jim reported that Jeremy Grimshaw and others are continuing to work on possible ways of complementary working, and would report to the Steering Group in due course.  Janet reported on the decision of the Consumers' Coalition at their Annual General Meeting the previous day to lobby for national provision of The Cochrane Library in the USA.  There was discussion about the need for capacity building within and across CRGs to grasp opportunities that present themselves when funds are provided to do particular reviews.  Jim emphasised the need for dedicated funding when rapid reviews are needed, as volunteer authors cannot be pressured to work to an agency's timetable.  Peter and Davina were asked to work with Lorne on seeking feedback from CRGs as to whether, if the conditions were right, they would be willing and able to do commissioned systematic reviews and, if so, to describe how they would collaborate with others in the Collaboration to accomplish this.
Action:  Peter, Davina, Lorne


5.                  Report from the Chief Executive Officer
Nick reported on his activities since the last Steering Group meeting vis-à-vis publishing, contract and policy documents, presentations and meetings, and strategic alliances with the European Union, World Health Organization and others, as well as the Collaboration's forward plan.  Wiley had sent Issue 1, 2005 data to ISI and the final decision about obtaining an impact factor for the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews is thought to be imminent.  Nick was asked to summarise the salient points of the contract with Wiley to the Steering Group and the Trading Company Directors, as the number of people on the Steering Group, who had been on the Publishing Policy Group when the contract was signed, is reducing each year; he also agreed to make copies of the contract available to CCSG members and Trading Company Directors on individual request.  He stressed that it would be important to regard this information as confidential as there are commercial sensitivities.  Monica pointed out that the Trading Company Directors had sought clarity about the terms of the Ovid contract, and Wiley had provided this to Nick.  He was asked to send details of the contact person within The Cochrane Collaboration on prospective trial registration to Herb Turner.  He was also asked to circulate the 'Cochrane Inside' logo to the Steering Group; the Publishing Policy Group should endorse individual uses of this logo.   
Action:  Nick

5.1  Remit of the Funding Working Party: 
Nick reported that Gerd Antes, Mark Davies, Jon Deeks, Jim Neilson and Nandi Siegfried are the current members of this working party, set up to advise him, as the Chief Executive Officer, on funding issues.  It is due to meet next by teleconference on 25 April and then during the Melbourne Colloquium.  The remit of this working party was approved.

6.                  Use of a central fund for receiving unrestricted donations

            Nick explained that a usual key purpose of setting up such a fund is to be tax efficient, although in this case a central fund is being investigated to ensure compliance with the Collaboration's sponsorship policy.  As such a central fund based in one country could not meet all the objectives of donors and the fund itself, it could only operate within the tax regime of the host country.  He explained that it can be a simple process to set up such a fund, particularly as the Collaboration had already registered itself as a charity in order to benefit from the same tax regime.  He thought it almost impossible for an entity to do this itself in such a way that it didn't look like a method of evading the commercial sponsorship policy; some people disagreed.  It was suggested that Cochrane Centres could set up such funds to meet the requirements of national tax regimes and the needs of regional entities, but this should be a matter for Centres to decide individually.  Nick would take forward the setting up of a central fund with a draft memorandum and articles of association, a description of how money gets into the fund and who makes decisions about spending it, with very clear guidelines about setting up such funds locally.  He would distribute this description to the Steering Group in advance of the meeting, to be discussed initially at the late June/early July Executive teleconference.  He will concentrate on the central fund and follow this by doing the same thing for individual entities setting up such a fund, together with Lorne, after the principles have been established. 
Action:  Nick, Lorne

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

7.1  Spreadsheets of current financial position: 
Jim explained that Jon had asked to join the Executive in his capacity of Treasurer and it was agreed that this would be sensible; given the added responsibility of this role, he will no longer be a member of the Monitoring and Registration Group.  Jon explained the sharp learning curve entailed in gaining an understanding of the Collaboration's financial processes, and appreciated the help he had been given by Jini, Nick and Mike Clarke to induct him in this role.  Steff applauded the explanatory text that Jon had provided with the spreadsheets of the current financial situation, and it was agreed that this should be provided routinely in future.  Jon explained that the Charity Commission had arranged to pay a site visit to the Secretariat in April 2005, but had subsequently cancelled this visit because the requested background papers provided by the Secretariat had been so comprehensive that a visit was no longer thought to be necessary.  Jini explained that it had been a very useful exercise to collate the papers for the visit, showing how much information is available, and a subset would be provided to new Steering Group members from October 2005 onwards.   
Action:  Jon, Jini

7.2  Estimated expenditure for 2004-5; provisional budget for 2005-6:  Jon explained the process that he had used, with Jini and Nick, in setting the proposed budget for the coming financial year.  He provided clarification to the Steering Group on particular items of expenditure.  Jon then displayed several graphs showing the increase in sales of The Cochrane Library, the increasing rate of royalty payments, the division of expenditure by category, and the surplus of annual and cumulative income.  He was asked to separate operational from development costs on these graphs, to make several other more minor modifications to them, and to circulate them to the Steering Group. It was agreed that it might be useful to make some of the graphs more widely available, perhaps at the Annual General Meeting in Melbourne.
Action:  Jon   


7.3  Cash flow forecast and continuation of current initiatives:  Nick explained the details of these documents, drawing attention to the balance currently available for new initiatives, of £104,766 over the period of the forecast (but see item 7.5 below).  The importance was stressed of linking expenditure to the Strategic Plan.  The issue of whether or not to continue to provide one Colloquium sponsored registration fee to each entity should be revisited year by year.  Sally stressed how helpful it is for Colloquium organisers to receive a sum of money in advance to pay, for example, the costs of booking conference facilities.  Davina asked for a provisional budget to be included year on year for CENTRAL, but in allocating funds recently for CENTRAL for one year, the Executive had agreed to reassess the need for future funding in a year's time if a request for funds is made at that time.  There was discussion about raising the level of the contingency fund to provide a cushion to help entities at risk, but it was agreed that a better model was for funds to continue to be spread across entities (via the provision of central services) rather than help being provided to them individually.

7.4  Advisory Group requested budgets for 2005-6:  Jon explained the reasons for under spends by Advisory Groups in the current financial year.  Individual advisory group budget requests would be dealt with later in the meeting under the individual advisory group reports.

7.5  Confirmation of contingency plan: 
Nick explained that he had made the several changes that had been requested at the previous Steering Group meeting in Ottawa.  The principles outlined in paragraph 6 were adopted, and the outline action plan at paragraph 7 was approved.  The size of the contingency fund was set at £200,000, to include an amount for unforeseen circumstances.  It  was noted that this impacted on the funds identified in the cash flow forecast as currently available (see item 7.3 above).
Action:  Nick

7.6  Discretionary Fund expenditure:  The table of expenditure in the current financial year showed that there had only been one call on this Fund in 2004-5.  Steering Group members were asked to publicise the existence of the Discretionary Fund again to their constituents; the criteria for funding, which are described in The Cochrane Manual, should remain unchanged.
Action:  Everyone

8.         The Collaboration's Strategic Plan
8.1  Progress and priority setting for the next four years: 
Nick described the background to the Strategic Plan, which had first been produced in 1996 and then updated by the Steering Group at its meeting in Chengdu in 2002.  Nick took the Steering Group through the list of prioritised goals in the current version of the Plan, activity by activity, identifying the appropriate people to act as liaison for achieving each goal.  He volunteered to contact all the liaison people who had been identified, and work with them to identify what and who should be involved in particular activities, and to develop a project plan for achieving those tasks.  As someone leaves the Steering Group, Nick explained that he would identify other people on the Steering Group to take on the activities for which the retired member had been liaison person.
Action:  Nick

9.         Status of the new Information Management System:  Jim congratulated Monica and her team at the Nordic Cochrane Centre for the progress that had been made with the new IMS, as shown during her demonstration to the Steering Group the previous day.  He said this was one of the Collaboration's most important current initiatives. 

9.1  Entity modules:  Monica reported on the huge variation in the quality of entity modules and said that many could benefit from some central copy editing and formatting.  It was agreed that the Publishing Policy Group should look at ways of providing some central editorial oversight, and work out how best to communicate the plans for this to all entities, providing regular prompts to them to update their modules.  
Action:  Mark 

9.2  Format of data delivered from the new IMS to Wiley:  Monica explained that the IMS development team wishes to continue delivering reviews to the publishers in the RevMan format, as has been the procedure with Update Software, and as is specified in the contract between The Collaboration and Wiley.  However, she explained that Wiley had expressed a preference for receiving reviews in a format close to the one they would use for publication.  The Steering Group noted that the IMS team is working closely with Wiley to resolve differences as to the format in which reviews should be provided to them, and Nick was asked to discuss with Wiley their responsibility for data-delivery issues.   
Action:  Nick

9.3  Monitoring and reporting:  The Steering Group had been asked to provide a list of standard reports that it would like the IMS to provide.  It was agreed to defer consideration of this for the time being.
9.4  Budget for future developments:  Monica explained that she had requested some additional funding to that displayed in the current cash flow forecast, to enable the IMS to establish a maintenance platform in addition to the development project.  In the middle of 2006, it is expected that the currently funded development phase will come to an end, and the IMS will move to a maintenance phase.  To allow new development to take place as outlined in her report and in the accordance with the Collaboration's Strategic Plan, Monica requested approval of an additional £30,000 per year in 2006-07 and 2007-08 for this, pointing out that the Nordic Cochrane Centre currently funds a larger proportion of the development costs of the IMS than the Collaboration. 

Monica left the meeting at this point, and Nick raised the issue of ownership of copyright of the IMS, as this may have a bearing on future funding for the IMS.  This will be a standing item on the agenda of future Executive teleconferences until the issue of copyright of the IMS has been resolved.  In the meantime, discussion about new developments should be postponed (see item 13.8 below). 

Monica returned to the meeting and was asked to provide some additional information to the Steering Group after the meeting, with advice from Jon as to the type of information that is needed, and details of the additional developments that the IMSG and the IMS team would like to undertake.
Action:  Monica, Jon

9.5  Privacy statement for the Contact Database:  See item 13.13 below.

9.6  Copyright of IMS software:  Whilst assuring the Collaboration of their continued wish to support the IMS project, the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen (the employers of the IMS team) had asserted their right to the copyright and potential commercial exploitation of the IMS.  Nick is discussing this with the Collaboration's solicitors and undertook to resolve the issue expeditiously and to report back to the Executive. 
Action:  Nick

10.            Report from the Publishing Policy Group: 

10.1  CD-ROM testing and installation: 
Carol Lefebvre from the UKCC connected to the meeting by telephone to speak on behalf of the Search Testing Group, and Deborah Dixon and Deborah Pentesco-Gilbert of Wiley attended the meeting in person for this item.  Jim and Deborah PG both thanked everyone who had been involved in the testing of the CD-ROM.  Deborah PG explained that Wiley proposed asking Update Software to produce Issues 2 and 3 of The Cochrane Library on CD-ROM in April and July 2005 respectively.  In the meantime, they would work with the various testing groups to get the remaining bugs fixed in order to produce Issue 4 themselves at the end of October 2005.  They were therefore asking for permission to give three months' notice to Update Software on 30 April 2005, such that Issue 3 in July 2005 would be the final version of the Update Software CD-ROM. 

Mark reported on behalf of Kathie Clark, ex-Convenor of the PPG, on the 'look and feel' aspects of the CD-ROM.  He thanked Kathie for all her hard work in this regard.  The PPG had identified some minor problems but, with respect to their remit which covered 'look and feel only', recommended giving permission to Wiley to issue notice.  Jon reported on behalf of the Statistical Methods Group on three statistical problems:  presentation issues to do with log scales and raw data scales, incorrect labelling of confidence intervals in the table in the text, and incorrect labelling of the sub-groups.  However, he thought these problems should not delay sign-off, as Wiley had committed to sorting them out within the next few months.  Carol referred to the report from the Search Testing Group which recommended against sign-off until the identified bugs had been fixed.  The most serious problem was that the Boolean operator 'NOT' did not work between set numbers, and the Wiley engineers had reported that this could not be fixed.  In order to give adequate time for this and other bugs to be fixed, Carol suggested that it should be possible for Wiley to give Update Software three months' notice by mid-July.  Deborah PG said that Wiley wished to issue the notice now, confident that the bugs would be fixed before October.  Carol pointed out that there were some shortcomings with the Wiley InterScience online version, so that the Update Software CD-ROM was acting as the fall-back; if sign-off was granted now, there would be no fall-back option after the notice period, even if the bugs were not fixed.  Deborah D said it would not be realistic to fix all the identified bugs by the end of April; however, she considered that there was ample time between now and October for Wiley to produce a CD-ROM that is fully functional and bug-free, with the Update Software CD-ROM being the fall-back option in the meantime.  She said that Wiley were well over budget as the result of having to continue to pay Update Software for producing the CD-ROM.  She considered the risk to be small in giving Update Software three months' notice now.  She questioned the financial viability of the CD-ROM, as subscriptions had been declining steadily in the past two years as users moved to the Internet platform, and asked the Collaboration to work with them in view of the financial implications.  Davina asked whether Wiley could guarantee that the problems with the CD-ROM could be solved, and whether TSCs could use the online version in the meantime.  Carol said that a substantial number of bugs had been identified in the online version by the UK Cochrane Centre testers, but Deborah PG said that these were being addressed as a matter of urgency.  She stressed Wiley's commitment to continue investing the necessary resources and making their engineers available to sort out the bugs.  Jon clarified that the Statistical Testing Group could go along with this timeframe.  Carol disconnected from the telephone at this point.  Deborah D said that the CD-ROM is becoming less and less financially viable; the contract allowed that if the number sold falls below 500, Wiley could ask a third party or the Collaboration to fund production costs; as sales were now below 500, this clause could be enacted.  Wiley are keen to work with The Collaboration to determine who uses the CD-ROM and whether it is viable for the majority of CD-ROM users to convert to using the online version.

Deborah D and Deborah PG left the meeting at this point.  The Steering Group was unanimous in agreeing to give Wiley permission to issue three months' notice to Update Software at the end of April 2005.  It would ask Wiley to continue working with the different testing groups to iron out the problems, providing frequent progress reports.  It should be stressed to Wiley that priority should be given to making the online version satisfactory to the TSCs, and to exploring providing the ability to store their saved searches locally from the online version.  Wiley should also be asked to hold a training session at the Melbourne Colloquium on the online version. 

Deborah D and Deborah PG returned to the meeting and Jim conveyed these decisions to them.  He stressed the importance of giving testers sufficient time in which to provide feedback.
Action:  Deborah D, Deborah PG

Jim also conveyed these decisions to Carol the day after this discussion, by telephone.  Carol referred again to the fact that Wiley engineers had said there was one major problem that they would not be able to fix (the 'NOT' problem) which, in her view, needed to be fixed before sign-off.  Jim asked her to contact Nick, Davina and Steff to resolve this important issue as soon as possible. 
Action:  Nick, Davina, Steff
Post hoc note:  Wiley has since advised that this issue has been resolved.

10.2  Cochrane review - Interactive Health Communication Applications for  People with Chronic Disease:  Mark reported on the extensive consultation that had taken place on this review with various groups.  The Steering Group approved that CRGs and the Handbook Advisory Group should consider the recommended processes to be followed if such a situation arises in the future, as they have major resource implications.  Sally stressed the importance of the Collaboration supporting a Review Group in such circumstances, and would provide Nick with suitable wording to add to the recommendations to be included in Appendix 1.  It was agreed that where there is a major problem with a review, a press release should be issued proactively.  The communication management process was approved, and it was recognised that it is human to make mistakes.  Steff undertook to provide an alternative wording for the definition of 'serious error', and the document should be considered at the next meeting of the Publishing Policy Group, and sent to the HAG before circulating it to all entities, removing reference to the particular CRG.  The need was highlighted for peer referees to take particular time and care and follow a checklist when checking a review before recommending its publication.  
Action:  Sally, Nick, Jini, Steff

11.            Report from Wiley representatives

11.1  Report: 
Deborah D reported that Wiley is very happy with the way things are going.  The 2004 figures show that the Collaboration received royalties in excess of the guaranteed minimum, i.e. in excess of £500,000.  There are several new sources of revenue, particularly for reprints, e-prints and pay-per-view copies of Cochrane reviews.  From Issue 3, 2005 of The Cochrane Library Wiley plans to distribute a survey to CD-ROM users  on take-up and use of the CD-ROM version and the complimentary copies issued to entities each quarter.  Deborah PG agreed to send a draft of this survey to the PPG for approval before circulation.  She should ask Joy Oliver and someone from India and/or Thailand to review the survey from the perspective of developing countries.  Efforts will be made to ascertain whether the preferred version of The Cochrane Library in developing countries is the online or the CD-ROM version, and whether other forms of the CD-ROM might provide better value to potential users, such as a dedicated training version and a CD containing only Cochrane systematic reviews.
Item 5.1 (CRD databases):  Deborah D reported on progress with Wiley's negotiations with the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD).  She said that agreement had been reached with CRD regarding all revenue streams except for national provisions.  Wiley had discussed with CRD the possibility that national provisions of The Cochrane Library could possibly be offered with or without the CRD databases, and CRD would get a royalty on the additional amount payable for a version of The Cochrane Library with CRD databases as opposed to a version without CRD databases.  Wiley are investigating whether this option is viable from a technical perspective.  Some concern was expressed at the possibility of there being different versions of The Cochrane Library available, and it was agreed that it is time for the Publishing Policy Group (PPG) to explore the value of the CRD databases to The Cochrane Library.  The Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) is available free of charge on the Internet and, with the increasing range of reviews in CDSR, it is now perhaps less relevant for inclusion in The Cochrane Library; it might therefore be worth considering what other material could be included in The Library in place of the CRD databases.  Monica suggested that reviews in DARE could be linked to from CENTRAL, and Wiley agreed to investigate this.  Wiley will present some alternative options to the PPG, with financial implications. 

Item 5.4.1 (centralised copy editing):  There was discussion about the possibility of centralised copy editing within the new IMS and RevMan 5.  This would be discussed in detail at the Melbourne Colloquium, together with how it would fit into review groups' workflows, and should be discussed by the Co-ordinating Editors beforehand.
Item 8.5 (usage statistics):  Deborah PG asked what information the Steering Group would like to be provided with on a regular basis and how it should be presented.  It was agreed that additional usage statistics should be provided showing in which countries  people have tried and been unable to access The Cochrane Library.  Sally suggested having an online form to survey people over a brief time period, repeated periodically, asking them to provide information about themselves and give their reasons for accessing The Cochrane Library.  Deborah D said that Wiley intended to conduct usability testing on the InterScience interface, and would work on a proposal with a consultancy company.
Communication issues:  Davina said that some RGCs and TSCs had had difficulty in obtaining responses from Wiley.  Nick volunteered to act as liaison with Wiley in cases of future such difficulties.  Davina was asked to try to find out and identify to Wiley the kinds of communications that had been problematic.
Action:  Nick, Davina

11.2  Future strategy: 
Deborah PG presented several ideas for future presentation of separate aspects of Cochrane reviews, i.e. providing a more friendly 'front end'.  It was agreed that this was a high priority issue for Wiley and the Collaboration.  Deborah PG was asked to provide some mock-ups for people to react to.  Sally agreed to circulate the Handbook Advisory Group's schedule for updating the Handbook to the Steering Group and to Wiley, showing how the different initiatives are co-ordinated.  It was agreed that the membership of the Handbook Advisory Group should include one or two people from Wiley with a view to identifying opportunities for presentational issues, arising from being aware of activities of the various working groups.  Formation of a sub-group of the Publishing Policy Group should be discussed at the next PPG meeting, and a short document circulated thereafter to the Steering Group.         
Action:  Deborah PG, Sally, Mark, Nick

12.            Election issues:
12.1  Nominations for Co-Chair of the Steering Group: 
Jim highlighted the benefits of having a CEO and a strong Secretariat, which had brought about a shift, from former years, in Chairs/Co-Chairs having to adopt the responsibilities of both 'Chair of the Board' and 'Chief Executive'.  Peter made a brief presentation as to the due process that some Co-ordinating Editors had suggested should be followed in appointing a new Co-Chair.  It was agreed that in future an outgoing member of the Steering Group should chair the election for a new Co-Chair; in this case one of the Co-Chairs was being replaced from April 2005 to October 2006, and the other from October 2005 to October 2007, to ensure overlap between outgoing and incoming Chairs in future years.  Steff nominated and Sally seconded Mark, and explained their reasons for doing so.  It was agreed unanimously that the Steering Group welcomed Mark as the new Co-Chair replacing Kathie Clark, from April 2005 to October 2006.  Mark also agreed to take over immediately from Kathie as Convenor of the Publishing Policy Group.  Zbys nominated and Sally seconded Steff for the second position of Co-Chair, and outlined their reasons for doing so.  The Steering Group voted unanimously except for one abstention for Steff to become Co-Chair from October 2005 to October 2007.  Jim thanked Mark and Steff on behalf of the Steering Group for being willing to take on the responsibilities of Co-Chair. 
12.2  Entity representation on the Steering Group:  There was agreement that the Steering Group should remain much the same in size, or that there should only be a modest increase.  Steff explained that the constituency of the 'at large' representatives is unable to be defined, but it was agreed to maintain the status quo as far as those two positions are concerned, pending review of the Steering Group in the near future.  Peter presented a paper asking for several additional Co-ordinating Editor representative positions on the Steering Group.  One additional Co-ordinating Editor representative position was agreed to, pending the review of the Steering Group.  Peter would present a paper that he had prepared on reviewing the Steering Group to the Executive in May, and the Executive would then agree on the process and set the timescale for this review.  The need for separate representatives for RGCs and TSCs would be revisited as part of the review of the Steering Group.
Action:  Peter, Jini    

12.3  Publicising the number of votes per election candidate: 
Lisa explained that the Centre Directors had advocated transparency over the election process, by publicising the number of votes for all candidates on the website.  Other entity representatives agreed.  It was agreed to post this information, accepting that some candidates might be upset in the process.
Action:  Jini

12.4  Imbalance in number of outgoing CCSG members each year: 
This item was for information only; no decision was sought at the present time.

12.5  Monitoring the CCSG
:  See item 12.2 above.  

13.            Reports to the Steering Group:

13.1  Tsunami Working Party:  Jim thanked Sally and Mike Clarke for their report on behalf of the Tsunami Working Party, and thanked them both, and also Pisake Lumbiganon, Prathap Tharyan, Paul Garner, Frank Archer and the other members of the Working Party for their important work in this area.  The requested budget of £815 was approved, for two large teleconferences that had taken place in January and February 2005.  (Regular teleconferences of the small working group have been supported by the Australasian Cochrane Centre.)  Sally would make arrangements with Jini for this amount to be paid to the ACC.
Action:  Sally

13.2  Monitoring and Registration Group:  Jim thanked Sally and Steff, the Co-Convenors of the MRG, for their comprehensive report, and the requested budget of £10,000 was approved.

13.3   Cochrane Central Advisory Group: 
Jim expressed appreciation to Kay Dickersin for her report on behalf of the CCAG.  He explained that she is in a difficult position as she both receives core funding for CENTRAL and is the Convenor of the CCAG.  He said that this is a similar position of potential conflict to that in which Monica had found herself as both the Director of the IMS and Convenor of the IMSG, and she had consequently relinquished the latter role.  It was agreed that it was important to distinguish clearly between the USCC and the CCAG.  In his program of assessment of the remit and membership of all the advisory groups, Nick was asked to assess the remit and membership of the CCAG next, and Jim would advise Kay that this was being done.  Davina agreed that this is probably a good time for an assessment of the CCAG, as the Group is in the process of considering its own remit.  Sally pointed out that other Co-Convenors might be in a similar position of potential conflict to Kay, and Nick was asked to address this when making his assessment of the remit and membership of each of the advisory groups.  Davina said that there had been some confusion among TSCs recently as to whether or not the Steering Group had agreed that the Collaboration should have a study-based register:  this had been agreed to as an aspiration, but at some point in the future rather than imminently.  It had not yet been decided whether or not this could be integrated into the Information Management System.  Monica asked for these decisions to be clarified to the CCAG.  Steff said that a message would be sent to the Trials Search Co-ordinators shortly on behalf of the CCAG, and copied to the Steering Group.  Nick was asked to clarify who owns the copyright of CENTRAL.  The requested budget of £2,000 was approved. 

Action:  Steff, Jim, Nick 

13.4  Cochrane Library Users' Group: 
Jim expressed appreciation to Emma Irvin, the new Convenor of the CLUG, for her report, and the requested budget of £1,600 was approved.  In his new role as Convenor of the PPG, Mark was asked to tell Emma about the various suggestions put forward by Wiley the previous day for providing a more friendly front end to The Cochrane Library, so that she could inform the members of the CLUG of the new possibilities being considered.  Since Wiley will shortly be surveying users of the CD-ROM, Peter agreed to follow up with Deborah PG as to how best to reach people without Internet access.  Godwin agreed to communicate with Joy Oliver at the South African Cochrane Centre about the findings from her recent survey in this regard, and to pass on any relevant information to Deborah PG.
Action:  Mark, Peter, Godwin

13.5  Colloquium Policy Advisory Group:  Jim expressed appreciation to Claire Glenton and Steve McDonald, the Co-Convenors of the CPAG, for their report.  The CPAG is currently preparing an overview of the different models of Colloquium.  The requested budget of £1,000 was approved.

13.6  Criticism Management Advisory Group:  Jim expressed appreciation to the new Convenor, Sherri Sheinfeld Gorin, for her report on behalf of the CMAG.  Lisa said that the Group had been reinvigorated and the budget for teleconferences had made a huge difference to their ability to consult and communicate.  She said the long-range plan was to get more input from people about the new feedback system.  Monica raised the issue of amending the word 'Criticism' to 'Feedback' in the name of the Advisory Group and also in the new IMS, which had been approved some time ago but not yet implemented, and Lisa agreed to raise this with Sherri.  The Executive had already approved the requested budget of £1,800 for the fifteen-month period January 2005 to March 2006.
Action:  Lisa

13.7  Handbook Advisory Group:  Jim thanked the Co-Convenors, Sally, Julian Higgins and Phil Alderson (former Co-Convenor), for their report on behalf of the HAG and their hard work in this area.  All the requested changes in terminology were approved, and should be implemented within the next two years, added to the next edition of the Handbook, the Glossary, and the Style Guide, incorporated into the IMS, and disseminated to all entities via CCInfo, Cochrane News, and the entity e-mail lists.  The new terminology should also be implemented in The Cochrane Library, and Mark would raise this with Wiley in the next PPG teleconference in May 2005.  The requested budget of £11,250 was approved. 
Action:  Sally, Mark


Post hoc note: Collaboration-wide terminology changes are as follows:



Collaborative Review Group 

Cochrane Review Group  

Comments and Criticisms


Peer reviewer 



13.8  Information Management System Group:  Jim expressed appreciation to Mike Clarke for his report on behalf of the IMSG.  It was agreed that all decisions about the special tables for the summary of findings in Cochrane reviews should be made by the Steering Group, via the Handbook Advisory Group.  Nick was asked to defer consideration of the membership and remit of the IMSG (as part of his assessment of all the advisory groups) until after the roll-out of the new IMS.  It was also agreed to defer consideration of the kinds of routine data that the IMS should provide, for the time being (see item 9.4 above).  Nick was asked to seek advice from the Collaboration's solicitors about accessibility laws (see item 13.13).  The requested budget of £22,830 was approved.

Action: Nick

13.9  Quality Advisory Group
:  Jim thanked Sally and Harriet MacLehose for their report on behalf of the QAG, and the members of the working group for the hard work that had gone into developing the CRG resources website.  The requested budget of £1,000 for ongoing costs was approved; this budget is separate from the budget of £600 recently approved by the Executive for the Style Guide Working Group.

13.10  The Publication Arbiters:  Kay Dickersin joined the meeting for this item, in her role as Co-Publication Arbiter with David Henderson-Smart.  She summarised the background to the problems surrounding the review in question, which had first been published in October 2001, and explained that the update of this review contains additional information from the published review.  She said that reports from three peer referees had all been constructive and remarkably consistent, as had the comments from the editors of the Review Group.  Monica and Davina left the meeting after the short introductory discussion; Sally offered to withdraw also, as Director for the reference Cochrane Centre, but the Steering Group did not think this necessary.  Kay suggested that the language used in the review and the historical context might be contributing to the lack of progress.  Kay and David recommended that the author of the review should be given the opportunity to take the peer referees' comments into account and to update the review.  They also recommended that the existing review not be withdrawn from The Cochrane Library in the interim.  The Steering Group fully supported the Publication Arbiters' recommendations for bringing about a resolution between the reviewer and the Review Group, but the ultimate decision on publication sits with the editorial team.  It was agreed that the Review Group should be encouraged to send an itemised list of what needs to be addressed for the review to be publishable, incorporating the points raised by the peer referees and also by the editorial team.  In suggesting the revisions, the editors should offer the author assistance with language.  If the author fails to act on the points on the itemised list within six months of receiving it, the Review Group's right to withdraw the review or to commission a new review team will be respected.  The ultimate decision on publication of the revised review rests with the editorial team.  Jim asked the Publication Arbiters to communicate these decisions to the author and the editorial team, pointing out the importance of speedy communication.  
Action:  Jim

13.11  The Funding Arbiter:  Mark described his activities in this role within the past six months.  The Steering Group agreed with the Funding Arbitration Panel's recommendation that a review of the current sources of funding to reviews should take place among all CRGs.  Lisa [Bero], who has just taken over from Mark [Davies] as the Funding Arbiter, agreed to undertake this with the Funding Arbitration Panel, looking at the funding sources of all existing reviews and feeding back to the CRGs.  Peter volunteered the assistance of the Co-ordinating Editors' working group in this process.  The decision had been made earlier in the meeting to add an additional member to the Panel; Lisa agreed to circulate a list of potential names to the Steering Group, and welcomed additional suggestions.    
Action:  Lisa
Post hoc note:  Cindy Farquhar and Joaquin Barnoya have since been appointed to this Panel.

13.12  Cochrane-Campbell liaison: 
Jim thanked Herb Turner (hmturner@campbellcollaboration.org) for representing The Campbell Collaboration at this meeting.  There was no objection to his adding the Steering Group e-mail address to his own mailing list to assist future communications.

13.13  Proposal for a Contact Information Advisory Group:  A decision about the proposal to establish an additional advisory group based on the model of the Criticism Management Advisory Group, to advise the Steering Group on policies and procedures pertaining to contact information about members of the Collaboration held in the IMS, should wait until Nick has obtained advice from the Collaboration's solicitors and passed it on to the Executive, since most of the issues confronting such a potential group relate to privacy and legal issues (see items 9.1 and 13.8 above).
Action:  Nick

13.14  Code of conduct for sub/advisory group and committee members:  It was agreed that the Monitoring and Registration Group's document outlining the expectations of its members (contained in The Cochrane Manual) could be adapted for use by others.  Jini was asked to arrange for this document to be circulated to all advisory group convenors, after any mention of the MRG had been removed from it, so that it could be adapted to describe the expectations of both advisory group convenors and members.

Action:  Jini   

14.            Report on website development project
Jim expressed appreciation to Dave Booker for his report.  The Steering Group agreed to communicate any decisions affecting the web projects through the CEO; to involve Web Team members in synopses and other public web-based presentation discussions; and to continue project funding as planned.  Nick agreed to liaise with Dave and Jon and to circulate to the Steering Group by e-mail a concise description of the work that is going on and how the budget is being spent. 
Action:  Nick, Jon

15.            Reports from entity representatives:

15.1  Collaborative Review Group issues: 

15.1.1  Guiding principles for CRG editorial teams: 
Sally reminded everyone that CRGs were to be encouraged to provide a similar set of guiding principles to that produced for Centre staff.  Davina said a draft would be ready for discussion at entity meetings during the Melbourne Colloquium.
Action:  Davina

15.1.2  Methods for updating Cochrane reviews: 
Rob asked for the fourth and fifth recommendations contained in his background paper to be removed, and agreed to continue to work with the Handbook Advisory Group and bring a revised document to the next Steering Group meeting in Melbourne.  This matter is so important that it should be a standing item on future agendas of Steering Group meetings.
Action:  Rob

15.1.3  Support for RGCs
:  It had been reported during the Ottawa Colloquium that some RGCs and TSCs had said they felt unsupported by their Co-ordinating Editor.  Monica said that the IMS Support Team is providing more than technical support to editorial teams and that this is improving morale, with which Davina agreed.


15.2    Methods Group issues:

15.2.1  Non-randomised studies and specialised registers: 
The Non-Randomised Studies Methods Group was encouraged to continue to work on the issue of advising on how to search for and include non-randomised studies in specialised registers.  Entities that include non-randomised studies in their registers should clearly define in their modules how a non-randomised study is defined within that entity, and should also include their search strategy in their module.  Fields that have registers of non-randomised studies should communicate with those CRGs that will use those studies in their reviews to try to ensure that their polices in this regard do not conflict.
Action:  Lorne


15.3   Field/Network issues:  Lorne reported that he had no issues to raise relating specifically to Fields.

15.4  Centre issues:

15.4.1  Commercial sponsorship of Centres:  
Jim reminded everyone of the processes that had been undergone during and between the Barcelona and Ottawa Colloquia to devise the Collaboration's policy on commercial sponsorship.  A clear message had been conveyed during the Annual General Meeting in Ottawa that the Steering Group should reconsider the policy with regard to the commercial sponsorship of Centres.  The Centre Directors had discussed this issue again at their recent mid-year meeting, for five and a half hours.  There had been unanimous support among those at the Centre Directors' meeting for the principle that there should be no new direct funding from commercial sources to Centres or Branches of any function (core or non-core).  It was recommended by the Centre Directors that [1] direct funding currently in place to Centres should be allowed to continue, but should be phased out over a five-year period, and [2] if a Centre or interested party believes that an issue of new funding contravenes this principle, or where there is some doubt, the matter should be referred to the Funding Arbiter.  There was also support for establishing an independent foundation to which unrestricted donations could be made (see item 6 above), and agreement that this fund would be accessible to Centres to apply for funding of some activities. 

Funding of translation work by Centres has been of particular concern to the Steering Group because some of this work is currently funded from commercial sources, and because of the manifest importance of this activity.  The Steering Group was reassured that mechanisms were to be put into place to transfer the funding base to non-commercial sources.  The primary drive to the overall commercial sponsorship policy was to separate commercial funding from the production of reviews; therefore the two-year moratorium to remove that type of funding from CRGs seemed most appropriate; five years would be an acceptable timescale for non-core Centre activity funding (e.g. for translation work).  Centres need time to support CRGs in seeking alternative funding where necessary.  The Steering Group discussed the suggested revisions to the sponsorship policy at length, and the revisions were adopted.  The revised policy should be circulated to all entities and put on the website.
Action:  Jini 

Members of the Collaboration had also asked during the Ottawa AGM for the acceptability of commercial funding for Methods Groups to be revisited.  Jon was asked to work with the Methods Groups to produce a document summarising the likely impact of different policies to restrict the use of commercial funds.  It was agreed that this paper should be presented to the Steering Group at its mid-year meeting in 2006, to allow the Methods Groups time to discuss the issue during the Melbourne Colloquium.  Jon would present a progress report to the Steering Group in Melbourne.  Lisa agreed to assist Jon as she had been involved in the Centre Directors' discussions about this issue.
Action:  Jon, Lisa

Lorne suggested that it was a question of balance, and it would be helpful to list the types of activities for which it would be acceptable to receive commercial sponsorship.  This suggestion could be explored at the next Steering Group meeting during the Melbourne Colloquium.  Nick noted that the IbCC had offered to make the abstracts which had been translated into Spanish available on the Collaboration website.  Jordi was conflicted and did not take part in this discussion.  It was agreed that this does not contravene the commercial sponsorship policy.  The offer of the IbCC was approved, with thanks to them for their generous offer.  Nick would communicate this decision to Dave Booker.

Action:  Nick

15.4.2  Training resources website: 
The request made by the Australasian Cochrane Centre on behalf of all Centres for a budget of £500 was approved, to fund one month's work in order to put the output of this project onto the website.
Action:  Sally

                        15.4.3  Request from Centre staff to see CCSG agenda papers in advance:  In order to facilitate accessibility of CCSG papers, Nick was asked to update his document on the website giving advice on the  preparation of documents for Steering Group meetings, describing the different categories of accessibility (confidential, restricted (specify why), embargoes, open access, etc.). 
Action:  Nick

15.5 Consumer Network issues: 

15.5.1  Plain language summaries of Cochrane reviews: 
The Steering Group agreed that plain language summaries of Cochrane reviews should be available as stand-alone products on the Collaboration website.  Centres and Fields should be able to refer people directly to a subset of summaries in a way that raises the profile of Cochrane reviews and The Cochrane Library, while raising awareness of CLIB and increasing subscriptions.  Centres should be encouraged to translate the plain language summaries of Cochrane reviews into their own language and to make these translations accessible.  Where existing summaries have serious errors of fact or conclusion, this should be fed back to the relevant RGCs so that the errors can be corrected in liaison with the authors and CCNet.  The German Cochrane Centre has been doing some work on this matter, and Jim agreed to communicate with Gerd Antes to obtain more detail.  CCNet, which offers a service  to CRGs, has a key role in encouraging and offering support in developing plain language summaries for all existing reviews.  There should be no release of a new or substantively updated Cochrane review without a plain language summary, as it is an integral part of the review; this should be built into the new IMS.  The Publishing Policy Group is already looking, in conjunction with Wiley, at the policy for use and management of web links, to maximize the benefit to target audiences.  The Executive had already asked Janet to devise a work plan and budget after the HAG guidelines had been approved, which should come to the Executive for approval.
Action:  Jim, Monica, Janet

15.5.2  HAG guidelines:
  Sally explained the work that had already been done by the working group in devising the guidelines for plain language summaries.  Peter stressed the importance of getting this initiative right, and that further discussion is needed, although Sally pointed out that this was holding up the publication of the revised Section 3 of the Handbook.  The new guidelines were approved with the modification that plain language summaries should be no longer than 400 words (excluding the title).  Jim thanked Sally for all the working group had done to develop these guidelines.  The content and process for plain language summaries were both approved.  Peter would liaise with Andy Oxman over the concerns he had expressed to Peter as to the need to have guidelines in the Handbook at all, and raise this for discussion at the next Steering Group meeting in Melbourne. 
Action:  Peter

16.       Issues raised by the Trading Company Directors
Monica described the activities of the Trading Company Directors in the past six months.  It was not anticipated that the Trading Company would receive any income other than that of royalties from the sales of The Cochrane Library and derivative products. 

17.       Job descriptions:

            17.1  The Co-Chairs:  The job description for Co-Chairs had been approved earlier in the meeting, during the discussion about the next Co-Chairs, and should be added to The Cochrane Manual.
Action:  Jini

17.2  Steering Group members: 
The job description for Steering Group members was approved, and should be added to The Cochrane Manual.
Action:  Jini

            17.3  The Publication Arbiter:  Jini was asked to request Kay Dickersin and David Henderson-Smart to produce a draft job description for the position of Publication Arbiter, for discussion during the Steering Group meeting in Melbourne.
Action:  Jini

            17.4  The Funding Arbiter:  Jim explained that, in accepting to become Co-Chair, Mark had relinquished the role of Funding Arbiter.  Lisa had agreed to take on this role, and planned to invite a Co-ordinating Editor to join the Funding Arbitration Panel; she would propose several names to the Steering Group, and ask for additional suggestions.  Sally offered the continuing administrative support of the ACC to the Funding Arbiter unless, because of time zone differences, it is more practical for this role to be filled by the Secretariat.  Mark was asked to update the job description and send it to Jini to include in The Cochrane Manual.
Action:  Lisa, Mark, Jini

Lisa left the meeting at this point to catch her flight.

            17.5  The Ombudsmen:  It was confirmed that the Ombudsmen need only report to the Steering Group annually, but that this should be at the Steering Group's mid-year meeting rather than at their meeting during the Colloquium.  Jini was therefore asked to convey this to the Ombudsmen and request them to provide a report for the mid-year meeting in Thailand in April 2006.  It was agreed that their term of office should be five years, and that the only qualification necessary was substantive previous involvement with the Collaboration.  Jini was asked to amend the job description accordingly, and include it in The Cochrane Manual.
Action:  Jini

            17.6  The Trading Company Directors:  This job description had already been approved, and was included in the background papers for completeness.  Jini was asked to check that it had been included in The Cochrane Manual.
Action:  Jini

18.              Invitations to host the mid-year meetings in 2007

            Rob and Monica left the meeting for the discussion of the following item.  Jim drew attention to the large amount of material that the Steering Group have to consider at their mid-year meetings, and asked whether those meetings should be scheduled to last for three days to allow time for 'blue skies' thinking.  Peter suggested that half a day should be set aside in future for considering wider issues, and this was agreed to.  It was suggested that other types of entities than Centres should be given the chance to offer to host the mid-year meetings, and this should be discussed in Melbourne.  Sally raised the importance of Steering Group members not missing out on the sporting events during Colloquia.  Both the Dutch and the Nordic Cochrane Centres had issued invitations to host the 2007 mid-year meetings of the Centre Directors and the Steering Group.  The decision was very finely balanced but the Steering Group agreed to accept the invitation of the Dutch Cochrane Centre.  Jim would write and thank both Directors for their invitations and let Peter Gøtzsche know of this decision.
Action:  Jini, Jim

Monica, Nick and Steff left the meeting at this point to catch their flights.


19.            Cochrane Colloquia:

19.1  Melbourne:  22-26 October 2005: 
Sally reported that preparations for the Melbourne Colloquium were progressing well, and the ACC was looking forward to welcoming everyone to Melbourne.  She advised the Steering Group that Australia's National Institute of Clinical Studies was sponsoring the first day of the Colloquium and conducting some special sessions for clinicians and policy makers.  Members of the Steering Group may be contacted to contribute to these sessions.  Sally also notified the Steering Group that the Colloquium would conclude with a hypothetical situation relevant to the Collaboration being debated and discussed in a series of brief presentations.

19.2  Dublin:  23-26 October 2006: 
The Steering Group was happy with the scheduling of their first meeting, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday 22 October, but asked to meet from 12.30 to 3.30 p.m. (instead of 10.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.) on Thursday 26 October, with lunch provided, so as not to miss parallel sessions 3 and 4.  The relevant Steering Group representatives agreed to be the contact points for the meetings of their own entities; they suggested that the RGCs and TSCs could be asked if they want an earlier start.  It was suggested that, after the election results are known at the end of July 2005, the Colloquium organisers should invite whoever they wish to join the various Colloquium committees.  The Steering Group was grateful to the UKCC for providing this information and had no questions at this point; however, Jordi agreed to tell Mike Clarke that the Steering Group considered that insufficient time had been scheduled for all the entity meetings.  Sally wondered if the Dublin Colloquium organisers would be asking the Steering Group to underwrite a proportion of the costs of cancellation of the Colloquium, as had been the case in some previous years, and Jim agreed to follow this up with the UKCC. 
Action:  Jordi, Jim

20.            Publicity leaflets:  An introduction, The structure, The Cochrane Library, Cochrane reviews, Implementation and dissemination of Cochrane evidence
It was agreed that these leaflets, which had been drafted by the staff of the Secretariat and formatted by Claire Allen, were excellent, and Claire was to be congratulated.  Steering Group members were asked to send any feedback or suggestions for improvements to Claire by the end of April, after which time the Secretariat would arrange for them to be put onto the website and all entities notified of their availability.
Action:  Everyone

21.            Spreadsheet of CCSG members' outstanding action items 
Jim reminded everyone to let the Secretariat know when any of their action items have been completed.
Action:  Everyone

22.       Any other business:

22.1  The Ottawa Statement: 
Kay Dickersin had circulated a document entitled 'Principles for international registration of protocol information and results from human trials of health-related interventions' (the 'Ottawa Statement') to the Steering Group the previous day, about the principles of trial registration (see item 4 above).  The Steering Group endorsed the principles of this initiative, and asked Jini to arrange for a link to the document to be put onto the website, so that people outside the Steering Group could endorse it as individuals if they wished.
Action:  Jini

22.2  Jean Jones Prize:  Peter explained the background to Jean Jones' involvement with the Collaboration.  Jini was asked to send a donation of £250 to the Jean Jones Prize, and to send the Steering Group some information about the Prize.
Action:  Jini

23.            Thanks to the host
Jim expressed the thanks of the Steering Group to Kay Dickersin and the staff of the US Cochrane Center, particularly Laura Coe, for hosting this mid-year meeting, for their hospitality, and for looking after everyone so well.  He also expressed thanks to Claire and Louise for compiling the background papers for this meeting, to Jini for taking the minutes, and to the Steering Group for all their contributions and hard work.  Jim's chairing of this two and a half day meeting was appreciated by all.


Statements of potential conflicts of interest of Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group members who attended the April 2005 meeting in Providence, USA


Godwin Aja, Consumer Network Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Member, Monitoring and Registration Group; Member, Cochrane Library Users' Group; Member/Co-Author/Reviewer, Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group; Member, Consumers and Communication Review Group:

Godwin Aja is employed full-time by Babcock University, Nigeria, as a senior lecturer in Community Health. He is a member of local, national and regional NGOs working on consumer health issues, including Health Action International (HAI) Africa, a sub-regional network of consumer groups, health care professionals and health policy makers working for increased rational drug use, provision of quality health information and access to essential medicines. He is also the focal point for the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network, a faith-based organisation that works to increase the capacity of church-related health institutions to provide high quality pharmaceutical services. He receives no compensation for any of these roles.


Lorne Becker, Field Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group (shared position with Liz Waters); Member, Monitoring and Registration Group; 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; Member, Publishing Policy Group; Member, Criticism Management Advisory Group; 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.


Mark Davies, Collaborative Review Group Representative (of Cochrane Reviewers/Authors), Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Funding Arbiter (fundingarbiter@cochrane.org); Member, Publishing Policy Group; Member, 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; Co-Convenor, Statistical Methods Group; Member, Handbook Advisory Group:

Jon Deeks is funded one day per fortnight from October 2004 to September 2005 by The Cochrane Collaboration 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; Member, Colloquium Policy Advisory Group; 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; Member, Steering Group Executive; Editor and Review Group Co-ordinator, Cochrane Breast Cancer Collaborative Review Group; Member, Cochrane Cancer Network; Member, Cochrane CENTRAL Advisory Group; 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 Review Group Co-ordinator and 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, Monitoring and Registration Group, Quality Advisory Group, and Handbook Advisory 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.


Steff Lewis, Collaborative Review Group Representative (of all members of Collaborative Review Groups), Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Editor, Stroke Collaborative Review Group; 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 Healthcare Medical Trust, but with some active drug and placebo supplied by Boehringer Ingelheim free of charge. She is 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. She is also the trial statistician for a trial funded by Microvention Inc of Aliejo Viejo California who make the hydrocoils being assessed in the trial. Steff is paid by the Cochrane Stroke Group for one day per week as statistical editor. She has no shares in any company.


Jim Neilson, Chair, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Convenor, Steering Group Executive; Member, Publishing Policy Group; Co-ordinating Editor, Pregnancy and Childbirth Collaborative Review Group; Peer Reviewer, Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Collaborative Review 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, Steering Group Executive; Member, Information Management System Group:

Jordi Pardo is employed full-time by the Fundación de Gestió Sanitària de l'Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, a 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 web site (http://www.cochrane.es/). 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 has no declaration of interests to make.


Rob Scholten, Centre Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Member, Monitoring and Registration Group; Member, Information Management System Group; Member, 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:

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 has no declaration of interests to make.


Peter Tugwell, Collaborative Review Group Representative (of Co-ordinating Editors), Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Co-ordinating Editor, Musculoskeletal Collaborative Review Group; Member, Cochrane Library Users' 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 methodological 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 favourable 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; Member, Steering Group Executive and Publishing Policy Group; freelance editor and consumer representative on Commonwealth of Australia and Western Australian health committees; consumer for the Cochrane Anaesthesia, Musculoskeletal, Musculoskeletal Injuries, and Heart Collaborative Review Groups: 
Janet Wale has no declaration of interests to make.


Elizabeth Waters, Field Representative, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group; Member, Steering Group Executive; Member, Criticism Management Advisory Group; 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.


Statement of potential conflict of interest 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; Review Author, 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 Righospitalet 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.


Statements of potential conflicts of interest 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.