The Cochrane Collaboration

The Cochrane Collaboration is an international collaboration with more than 25,000 contributors that prepares, maintains, and promotes the accessibility of systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare interventions. It has done more than 4,000 systematic reviews, 314 of which involve cancer. All of the Cochrane Collaboration’s reviews are published in The Cochrane Library, which is updated monthly. The Cochrane Collaboration is currently working with other groups, such as the AHRQ and its evidence-based practice centers, to make the data from their systematic reviews publicly available so that other researchers can use these data in their own systematic reviews.

SOURCE: Dickersin presentation (October 25, 2010).

do systematic reviews and that the capacity to conduct systematic reviews be built in the workforce by expanding training opportunities in systematic review and comparative effectiveness research methods. Additional suggestions from Dr. Dickersin included that efforts be made to learn from the methods research that has been done in other countries and that the federal government provide training grants specifically for systematic reviews, as well as infrastructure funds for investigator-initiated systematic reviews. “Let’s ensure that these mechanisms are sustained and we don’t break down the groups as soon as the funding is over. That’s one of the advantages of funding large groups who build infrastructure and hubs of knowledge and activity,” Dr. Dickersin said.

Dr. Dickersin’s final suggestion was that systematic reviews be required before clinical trials are funded and that the purpose of the trials should be put within the context of a systematic review. “The bottom line is that systematic reviews are very important. I would like to see NIH, AHRQ, and all the federal agencies engaged in a cooperative effort here,” she said. Dr. Lowy agreed that it is an appropriate role for NIH to fund systematic reviews and that it should leverage its resources with other agencies in order to create maximum benefit in this regard.

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