Cochrane News

Cochrane launches report summarising what we have heard from our diversity and inclusion listening and learning exercise

10 months 3 weeks ago

Cochrane wants to welcome people, no matter who they are or where they live. The more varied perspectives we have, the better we can provide evidence to help inform health and healthcare decisions.

In October 2021, we launched our listening and learning exercise that aimed to gather data, views and experiences regarding diversity and inclusion in Cochrane. Between October and January we heard from over 1,300 people and we are pleased to publish the findings in this new report.

We encourage everyone to read this report and we have made a summary of the report available in multiple languages to increase accessibility.

Chris Champion, Head of People Services, says

“Cochrane is a worldwide organisation that aspires to be diverse and inclusive. We want everyone to be able to participate in Cochrane, regardless of who they are and where they come from. This matters to Cochrane, because if we are more inclusive, we will be able to provide better and more relevant evidence to our users who are at the heart of our vision.”

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this important process. It is clear that we can do a lot more to be a diverse and inclusive organisation, so the important work starts now as we take action in response to these findings.

Monday, April 25, 2022
Muriah Umoquit

Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group seeks Research Associate - Liverpool, UK

11 months ago

Salary: £35,326 per annum
Contract type: Full-time Fixed term until March 2024
Closing date: 15 May 2022

LSTM’s Centre for Evidence Synthesis in Global Health runs the “Research, Evidence and Development Initiative” (READ-It) and contains the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group (CIDG). The CIDG was established in 1995. They are world leaders in evidence synthesis related to public health in the tropics. They have a wide portfolio of Cochrane reviews in malaria and neglected tropical diseases, amongst other topics.

Teams are already in place for some of the reviews and they have experienced technical specialists in all areas. The successful candidate will assure the delivery of a portfolio of high-quality Cochrane reviews according to LSTM’s strategic plan.   You will be part of the READ-It Management Team and assure the delivery of the CIDG Partners deliverables.

Key Responsibilities are (but not limited to):

  • Provide editorial feedback to the Managing Editor throughout the review life cycle
  • To stay up to date with Cochrane methods, standards, and procedures and ensure reviews are in compliance
  • Work with the CIDG team in ensuring efficient and effective editorial processes are in place
  • Assessing technical and academic aspects of reports from READ-It Partners, and the draft READ-It annual reports to funders
  • Actively manage review delivery and report and discuss progress of Liverpool associated outputs with the READ-It Management Team
  • Participate in READ-It Management Team meetings, Partner meetings, and Advisory Group meetings
  • Liaise with READ-It Liverpool staff and the Head of the Department of Clinical Sciences (DoCS) to assure appropriate line management including the performance conversation process
  • Assure delivery of the CIDG strategic plan in relation to reviews by supporting teams and helping overcome review production obstacles
  • Work with stakeholders, editors, and the CRG strategic advisory group in taking on new topics and teams in line with priorities, stakeholder needs and CIDG capacity
  • Deliver seminars for Diploma and Master students
  • Actively contribute to submissions for grant funding

The Candidate will ideally be:

Candidates must be experienced in Cochrane systematic reviews to work in our Liverpool team and with our global partners to help assure the delivery of the CIDG strategic plan. 

  • Hold a Postgraduate professional qualification, such as the Diploma of Tropical Medicine, or health-related Masters’ degree
  • Have knowledge of systematic reviews and RCT trial basics
  • Have knowledge and an interest in LMICs and infectious disease problems
  • Understand qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Be experienced in the critical appraisal of medical literature at postgraduate level

For a confidential discussion about this role, please contact Paul Garner at: sends e-mail)

Additional benefits of joining LSTM:

  • 30 days annual leave, plus bank holidays, plus Christmas closure days
  • Generous occupational pension schemes
  • Government backed “cycle to work” scheme.
  • Affiliated, discounted staff membership to the University of Liverpool Sports Centre
  • Plus, a host of additional family friendly policies

Closing Date: 15th May 2022 
More information and to apply:

Tuesday, April 19, 2022 Category: Jobs
Muriah Umoquit

Cochrane seeks Editorial Assistant - Flexible location, remote

11 months 2 weeks ago

Specifications: Full Time 1 year Fixed Term contract/Consultancy contract
Salary:  £25,540 per annum
Location: Flexible (remote)
Application Closing Date: 22 April 2022 (midnight GMT)

Cochrane has established a Central Editorial Service to support the efficient and timely publication of high-quality systematic reviews in the Cochrane Library. The reviews that are published through the Central Editorial Service address some of the research questions considered to be the most important to decision makers. The Central Editorial Service is also instrumental in running a pilot aiming to improve editorial independence and efficiency within Cochrane. The Editorial Assistant role will play a key role in operationalising this pilot.

The Editorial Assistant will perform editorial tasks to support the smooth running of the Editorial Service. Tasks will include, but are not limited to: performing checks on manuscripts on submission and before publication; supporting the peer-review process including inviting peer reviewers and tracking progress; assisting authors and peer reviewers to use Cochrane’s Editorial Management System; running editorial reports for the Editorial Service Executive Editor; arranging and preparing documents for editorial meetings; and supporting the Head of Editorial in projects aimed at improving or developing editorial systems and processes.
Cochrane is a global independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making the vast amounts of evidence generated through research useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by identifying, appraising and synthesizing individual research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm and where more research is needed.

For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here.  The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples. Note that we will assess applications as they are received, and therefore may fill the post before the deadline.
Deadline for applications: 22 April 2022 (midnight GMT).

Friday, April 8, 2022 Category: Jobs
Lydia Parsonson

Featured review: Control interventions in randomized trials among people with mental health disorders

11 months 2 weeks ago

New Cochrane Review: Control interventions in randomised trials for people with a mental health disorder


  • Researchers use many different control interventions in randomized trials on treatments for patients with mental health disorders, but there is little consensus on how to report and adequately design these controls. This practice has widespread consequences for the evidence base underpinning psychiatric treatments
  • The choice, design and reporting of a control intervention is just as important as the experimental treatment in a randomized trial with psychiatric patients. This is not reflected in most randomized trials with mental health patients, as control interventions are often poorly reported upon and lack methodological rigor
  • Some psychiatric treatments may be recommended based on just having compared the treatment with a waitlist or no-treatment control in a randomized trial, which may give a misleading picture of how effective the treatment is

Erlend Faltinsen, lead author,  commented, "There is a need to develop methodological guidelines on how to design and report upon control interventions in randomized trials on psychiatric treatments, as trialists working in the field of mental health do not have a solid evidence-based framework to draw from on this issue."

Why was this review conducted?
The review investigates the beneficial and harmful effects between different control interventions in randomized trials with mental health patients. We wanted to investigate how control interventions differ from each other and to lay the empirical groundwork to develop methodological guidelines on reporting, and the design of control interventions in psychiatric randomized trials.

What did the authors do?
The authors conducted a Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the benefits and harms between placebo, usual care (or treatment as usual) and waitlist controls versus receiving no treatment.  In that way they assessed how effective and harmful different control interventions in psychiatric randomized trials are.

What did they find?

  • 96 randomized trials were included and the trials involved 15 different types of mental health disorders
  • When combining three different types of placebos, the beneficial effects compared with no-treatment or wait-list controls was small to moderate
  • There was no significant difference between usual care controls and wait-list or no-treatment on benefits. The same was true for waitlist versus no-treatment controls
  • Psychological placebos (non-active controls used mostly in psychotherapy research) showed moderate effects compared with no treatment whereas placebos used for physical treatments like surgery showed a small effect. We found no significant effects of pharmacological placebos versus no treatment
  • There was little data on harms between the control interventions and the findings on harms were insignificant
  • The control interventions were mostly poorly reported upon and there was little rationale for why a given control was used in most reports

What are the limitations of the evidence?
The certainty of the evidence was rated low to very low, and the risk of bias was rated high in all studies. The authors mostly included randomized trials with three intervention arms to compare two controls, which causes issues with blinding of participants and trial personnel. This limitation was due to the methodological objective of the review and may be viewed as part of the review itself rather than a flaw in the evidence-base. Many of the studies were small, however, leading to risk of small-study effects, which limits the evidence.

What gaps did the authors identify?
There is a need to develop methodological guidelines on control interventions in psychiatric randomized trials, as trialists working in the field of mental health do not have a solid evidence-based framework to work from when choosing and reporting upon controls

What important related questions were not addressed in this review?
The review did not compare usual care with placebo interventions, which would have been relevant. It did not quantify the level of reporting issues and rationale for choosing a control in a psychiatric randomized trial, which also would have been relevant.

Who will find this review most relevant?
Psychiatric researchers and especially those who conduct randomized trials will find the review relevant for their research work. It may also appeal to trialists in general and methodologists.

How up to date is this review?
The search was conducted in March 2018. The researchers were not able to screen records after this date, since the search process was very large and extracting data was exceptionally time-consuming.

Friday, April 8, 2022
Lydia Parsonson

Cochrane seeks Project Manager - UK based, Remote

11 months 2 weeks ago

Specifications: Full Time 1 year Fixed Term contract
Salary:  £42,000 per annum
Location: UK based (remote)
Application Closing Date: 25 April 2022 (9am GMT)

Cochrane is a global independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making the vast amounts of evidence generated through research useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by identifying, appraising and synthesizing individual research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm and where more research is needed.

A Project Manager role has become available to support the Evidence Production and Methods Department (EPM), Publishing and Technology department (P&T), Cochrane Library Product Manager and other Central Executive Teams (CET) in delivering on high priority projects: to project manage the highest priority EPM, P&T and other Cochrane projects where appropriate.

Key essential criteria we are looking for:

  • Project Management qualification
  • Publishing experience
  • 2-4 years’ experience in project management, change management and risk management. Proven track record in delivering projects
  • Experience of Agile project management methodology
  • Experience with project management software tools e.g. Microsoft Project, JIRA, Confluence, SmartSheets

For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here.  The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples. Note that we will assess applications as they are received, and therefore may fill the post before the deadline.

Deadline for applications: Monday 25 April 2022 (9am GMT).

Thursday, April 7, 2022 Category: Jobs
Lydia Parsonson

Catherine Spencer to join Cochrane as new Chief Executive Officer

11 months 2 weeks ago

Cochrane’s Governing Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Catherine Spencer as Cochrane’s new Chief Executive Officer. 

Catherine joins Cochrane from The Seafarers’ Charity where she held the position of CEO.

Prior to her role at The Seafarers’ Charity, Catherine was acting Chief Operating Officer and Director of Communications and Change Management at international public health research organisation, icddrb, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Between 2008-2015 Catherine held various senior management roles at the Army Families Federation, including three years as Chief Executive.

Governing Board Co-Chairs, Tracey Howe and Catherine Marshall said: "We are delighted to welcome Catherine to Cochrane. Catherine is a proven Chief Executive with an exceptional record leading non-profit organisations. She brings expertise in strategic planning, change management, and communications backed by a global perspective. Catherine is well positioned to partner with the Editor-in-Chief, Karla Soares-Weiser, to lead Cochrane as we drive an exciting programme of delivering trusted evidence, promoting informed decisions, and better health.”

Catherine lives with her family in Wiltshire, England after many years moving frequently, including living and working in Canada, Germany, Cyprus and Bangladesh.

Catherine will take up the position as CEO in July 2022.

Thursday, April 7, 2022
Muriah Umoquit

Grant to enhance evidence-informed guideline recommendations for newborn and young child health in three sub-Saharan African countries

11 months 3 weeks ago

Grant to enhance evidence-informed guideline recommendations for newborn and young child health in South Africa, Malawi and Nigeria

The Global Evidence, Local Adaptation project aims to maximise the impact of evidence for poverty-related diseases by increasing the capacity of decision makers and researchers to use global research to develop locally relevant guidelines for newborn and child health. The project will support decision makers in South Africa, Malawi and Nigeria, and will build on and add value to the large-scale programme of child-health guideline development led by the World Health Organization (WHO), with adaptation and implementation led by the WHO Afro regional office, country offices and national ministries.

 “Despite progress in the health of newborns and children, most sub-Saharan African countries have not met the Sustainable Development Goals for under-five mortality,” said Tamara Kredo of Cochrane SA. “In the context of COVID-19, even though most children present with mild conditions, the consequences of the pandemic are being felt on health systems and services, hampering healthcare delivery to children and increasing poverty, food insecurity and inequity. To address these issues, policy makers and practitioners not only need evidence-based guidance on effective clinical care, they also need guidance on how to implement this care efficiently within the context of their own health systems, considering inequity (in health and access to services) caused by poverty and other factors.”

“MAGIC is thrilled to be partner in GELA,” said Per Olav Vandvik. “The need to allow WHO guidelines to make an impact in member states is critical. Now is the time to show this is possible and we believe this strong consortium of partners is excellently placed to get the work done.”

“Clinical practice guidelines offer a means to bridge the gap between research evidence and practice and are essential policy-implementation tools supporting implementation of effective, cost-effective healthcare,” added Kredo.

The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) has awarded three-year (2022 – 2025) funding of over 3 million Euro to a partnership coordinated by Cochrane South Africa (SA), South African Medical Research Council along with partners from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Western Norway University of Applied Science, Stellenbosch University (South Africa), Cochrane Nigeria at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (Malawi), Cochrane and the Stiftelsen MAGIC Evidence Ecosystem (Norway).  

 The specific objectives are to: 

  1. ENGAGE: Identify child and newborn priority topics and the capacity needs of guideline panels. 
  2. SYNTHESISE: Support policy makers and researchers to find, appraise and use best-available systematic reviews and guidelines. 
  3. DECIDE: Support guideline panels’ capacity to contextualise global evidence using transparent, digitally supported standards and WHO methods for guideline development. 
  4. SHARE: Disseminate and communicate guideline recommendations to healthcare providers and the public using innovative and user-friendly formats and digital platforms.
  5. LEARN: Strengthen capacity of researchers and policy makers for all aspects of guideline development, adaptation and dissemination. 
  6. EVALUATE: Monitor and evaluate policy makers’ experiences of this approach, preferences for receiving evidence, capacity development and overall impact of the project on evidence-informed decision-making processes. 

GELA will incorporate a multi-faceted, multidisciplinary research and capacity-strengthening programme using primary and secondary research, guideline-adaptation methodology and digital platforms to support delivery and dynamic local adaptation. This is enabled through a project team of African and international leaders in the field of evidence-based healthcare and guidelines methods partnering with national ministries in Malawi, Nigeria and South Africa, the WHO and its Afro regional office and the civil society group, Peoples Health Movement.

The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) is a public-public partnership between countries in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, supported by the European Union. EDCTP focuses on enhancing research capacity and accelerating the development of new or improved medical interventions for the identification, treatment and prevention of poverty-related infectious diseases, including emerging and re-emerging diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, through all phases of clinical trials, with emphasis on phase II and III trials. 

 This project is part of the EDCTP2 programme supported by the European Union (grant number RIA2020S-3303-GELA).


Cochrane South Africa

Cochrane South Africa (SA) is an intramural research unit of the South African Medical Research Council and is part of the global, independent Cochrane network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers and people interested in health. It aims to promote evidence-informed healthcare decision-making in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa by producing high-quality, relevant, accessible systematic reviews and other synthesised research evidence.


Cochrane focuses on producing relevant and timely synthesised evidence and is a global advocate for evidence-informed health and health care. We work towards a world of improved health where decisions about health and health care are informed by high-quality, relevant and up-to-date synthesised research evidence. Our members and supporters come from more than 130 countries, worldwide.


The independent non-profit Norwegian MAGIC Evidence Ecosystem Foundation was set up in 2018 to provide sustainable and professional services to our customers (e.g. MAGICapp) while pursuing the evidence ecosystem vision through continued research and innovation.

MAGIC leads the work package on disseminating and communicating CPG recommendations to healthcare providers and the public. GELA will make use of innovative formats and the MAGIC authoring and publication platform (MAGICapp) to adapt, translate WHO guidelines for national and local use. MAGIC will also support development and adaptation of the guideline recommendations, customised to the needs of decision makers and making use of the GRADE EtD framework.

Centre for Evidence-based healthcare, Stellenbosch University

The CEBHC is a recognised leader nationally and globally for research and practice in teaching and learning for evidence-based health care (EBHC). Based at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences they support undergraduate and post-graduate training in all aspects of EBHC. They lead a Masters in Clinical Epidemiology programme recognised throughout the continent. Leads at SU have spearheaded several projects linked to evidence synthesis, knowledge translation, building capacity of policymakers and researchers for evidence-informed policymaking, and supported national and international guideline projects.


The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) acts as a national competence institution placed directly under the Ministry of Health and Care Services. Our social mission is to provide knowledge and systematic reviews to contribute to good public health efforts and healthcare services. In this way we contribute to better health, both in Norway and globally.

Cochrane Nigeria

Cochrane Nigeria at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital's Institute of Tropical Disease Research and Prevention is involved in the production and dissemination of relevant and priority systematic reviews of healthcare interventions, provision of technical support for development of trustworthy clinical practice guidelines and knowledge translation activities involving the media. Our long term strategic goal is to strengthen stakeholders' capacity to use evidence to inform decisions for positive individual and population health outcomes within Nigeria and the West African sub-region.

Kamuzu University of Health Sciences

Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS) is a public-owned university established in 2019 under the act of parliament by merging the Kamuzu College of Nursing (est. 1979) and College of Medicine (est. 1991). As a key government partner, the university continues to serve the Malawi nation through provision of quality education and innovation through research as key to the health welfare of Malawi, the region and beyond. Through research the university generates evidence that informs government policies and practice in the health sector. KUHeS is an internationally recognised institution currently leading the teaching of systematic reviews, evidence-based healthcare and formulation of evidence-informed health guidelines in Malawi. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Katie Abbotts

Cochrane seeks Head of Editorial

11 months 4 weeks ago

Specifications: Full Time (Permanent)
Salary: £60,000 per annum
Location: Flexible, UK
Application Closing Date:  Friday 15 April 2022

A wonderful new opportunity has come up on the team at Cochrane, a brilliant not-for-profit publishing organisation that facilitates global medical research. They are now looking for a new Head of Editorial who will lead the editorial operations and oversee the transition of editorial processes to a centralised system. With lots of change and growth planned, this is an exciting opportunity to join an expanding team and be involved with the strategic direction and leadership of the team.
Reporting into the Editor in Chief, you will have responsibility for:

  • Overseeing a small team of direct and indirect reports
  • Managing editorial operations for articles submitted, contributing to the development of new processes for direct submissions
  • Attending editorial board meetings as part of senior management team
  • Contributing to the editorial strategy for the launch of new journals and supplementary products
  • Facilitating communication and collaboration among different directorates 

The ideal candidate will possess strong leadership skills and the ability to manage relationships with key stakeholders both internal and external to the business. Candidates applying do need experience with Editorial Manager as this is a new system which has been implemented. They will ideally come from an scholarly publishing background - ideally STM, and understand the importance of systematic reviews, research platforms and digital resources, and their role within research. Some experience of line management and budget management will be great, together with familiarity with a charity organisation or the healthcare sector.

Cochrane is a global, independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesizing research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm and where more research is needed. Our work is recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information. An understanding of Cochrane’s work and health research more generally is an advantage, but not essential.

How to apply
If you're interested in finding out more about this great role, get in touch with Shalini Bhatt at Inspired Selection with your CV via

Friday, March 25, 2022 Category: Jobs
Lydia Parsonson

WHO postnatal care guideline supported by 13 Cochrane Reviews

11 months 4 weeks ago

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an updated postnatal guideline which is supported by evidence from Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth reviews and one Cochrane Incontinence review.

Cochrane has been a non-governmental organization in official relations with WHO since 2011, and a major aspect of this partnership is supporting WHO’s global health guidelines with relevant evidence synthesis.

The Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group has a long-standing collaboration with WHO on the development and updating of Cochrane reviews that inform WHO’s guidelines on global maternal and perinatal health.

In March 2022, WHO released the updated comprehensive guideline called ‘WHO recommendations on maternal and newborn care for a positive postnatal experience’. It focuses on the weeks shortly after the birth and makes 63 recommendations on maternal care, newborn care, health systems, and health promotion during the postnatal period.

The guideline draws on the evidence from a suite of systematic reviews and qualitative evidence syntheses, including 13 Cochrane Reviews. These Cochrane Reviews cover:

  • Relief of postpartum pain (5 reviews; 3 recommendations) 
  • Pelvic floor muscle training for pelvic floor strengthening (1 review; 1 recommendation) 
  • Preventing and treating breast engorgement and mastitis (2 reviews; 4 recommendations) 
  • Preventing postpartum constipation (1 review; 1 recommendation) 
  • Vitamin D supplementation for term breastfed infants (1 review; 1 recommendation)
  • Timing of discharge from health facilities to the home (1 review; 1 recommendation)
  • Schedules for postnatal care contacts (1 review; 2 recommendations)

As well as the 12 Cochrane Reviews, a Cochrane qualitative evidence synthesis on the factors that influence the provision of postnatal care was used to help understand the acceptability and feasibility of different aspects of postnatal care, according to health workers. 

The Cochrane evidence highlights the broadened scope of the guideline, and sheds important light on some of the most common experiences of women after having a baby.

Evidently Cochrane Author Jessica Hatcher-Moore with her first baby at home, days after giving birth. Jessica had a positive first experience of birth but felt poorly prepared for what came next. Image: © Philip Hatcher-Moore

“The WHO guideline sets out clear recommendations around the common health issues women experience after giving birth. It brings renewed and due focus to the importance of a positive postnatal experience at the heart of care - because no woman should ever feel abandoned by health services after having a baby”, says Aleena Wojcieszek, a clinical epidemiologist, science communicator, and honorary research fellow at the Australian Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth (Stillbirth CRE). “I was excited to highlight the need for real investment in postnatal care and urgent need for high-quality research in a recently Evidently Cochrane blog. It’s written jointly with Jessica Hatcher-Moore, a new mother, and illustrates how good postnatal care should aim to meet every individual woman’s needs, leaving the new mother, her baby and family with a positive experience of this critical period in their lives.”

"Cochrane is extremely proud of this valuable work and our continued partnership with WHO", said Dr Karla Soares-Weiser, Editor in Chief of the Cochrane Library. "This particular collaboration makes it possible to translate the latest maternal and perinatal health evidence into practice quickly, which ultimately benefits more people's health."


Wednesday, March 30, 2022 Category: The difference we make
Muriah Umoquit

While guarding against misinformation on social media, mechanisms are not protecting trusted information

1 year ago

Cochrane's incidents with Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube highlight the realities of Cochrane’s call against misinformation while protecting trusted sources. Cochrane’s Instagram posts have been removed, their Instagram account has been shadow banned, a Youtube video removed, and a Cochrane Library Twitter post about winning a prestigious award for trustworthy information was tagged as misleading.

Cochrane’s health evidence syntheses are recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information. Cochrane Library reviews are used to support global and national health guidelines and policy. We advocate for evidence-informed healthcare and make our trusted evidence accessible and available to all. One way we do this is using social media to reach different audiences. 

Cochrane has been the subject of several Instagram misinformation blunders. A post about a Cochrane Review on Ivermectin for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 being removed from the platform in August 2021, and it wasn't until July 2022 that the review notification came back saying it was because it 'goes against Community Guidelines'. Also Cochrane’s Instagram account has been denied the verification blue check mark several times. 

In March 2022, the prestigious Harding Prize for Useful and Trustworthy Communication was jointly awarded to by the ONS Covid Infection Survey and the Cochrane Review of Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. The Harding Prize, run in association with Sense About Science and the Science Media Centre, and is supported by Sir David Harding,  goal is to draw attention to the unsung task of 'informing and not persuading' and celebrate those who were doing it well. The Harding Prize judges noted that the Cochrane Infectious Disease Group’s review of the evidence for the use of hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19 used clear language, communicated straightforwardly, and with balance that that there was no benefit to hydroxychloroquine which outweighed the side effects and that trials of it should be stopped. This review was done with rigorous methodology and communicated with clarity and directness, which enabled policy makers, journalists, and the public to discuss and make decisions based on the best evidence. 

It was particularly ironic that a celebratory tweet from the Cochrane Library about winning an award for useful and trustworthy communication was tagged by Twitter for being misleading. This tag does not allow it to be replied to, shared, or liked. 

The latest fumble has been a webinar video being removed from Cochrane's YouTube channel for violating Community Guidelines. The video is a recording on the topic of research integrity, where Dónal O'Mathúna discussed findings from his recent study comparing different systematic reviews of the ivermectin literature. After appealing the removal, the video has be restored back to YouTube: 'Ethics and integrity in reviewing research: lessons from ivermectin'.

“Social media platforms are starting to act on mis/disinformation by tagging posts that are deemed misleading and penalizing repeat offenders. But they don't always get it correct - we are aware that other research publishers, such as the BMJ, have also experienced similar issues with Facebook”, says Catherine Spencer, Cochrane’s CEO. “Having Cochrane blocked and posts removed, while other misleading posts remain, illustrates the system needs urgent improvement. This 'censorship' on credible sources of information such as Cochrane underscores the need to not only guard against misinformation but that we urgently need better mechanisms to protect trusted information on social media.”

“These social media blunders come after the  launch of the Cochrane Convenes Report which highlights the parallel challenges of generating trust in evidence and countering mis/disinformation and calls for concrete action to address these issues”, says Cochrane’s Editor in Chief, Dr Karla Soares-Weiser. “There is an ongoing issue with how you hold those deliberately creating and sharing mis/disinformation to account and how you form accreditation and approval for official sources of evidence that have met certain quality control standards. We need to make it easier for people to access trustworthy information – and that includes on social media or YouTube.”

Cochrane is a proud supporter of WHO’s call to action on infodemic management and is currently collaborating with science communicators at Lifeology and the Association for Healthcare Social Media. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this recurrent issue with social media platforms directly and to work with others interested in supporting science communication. Write to us at, and consider signing our call to action on trusted evidence for all in health emergencies.

Friday, October 7, 2022
Muriah Umoquit

Cochrane joint winner of 2021 Harding Prize for Useful and Trustworthy Communication

1 year ago

The inaugural Harding Prize for Useful and Trustworthy Communication has been jointly won by the ONS Covid Infection Survey and the Cochrane Review of Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.

The Winton Centre at the University of Cambridge launched the Harding Prize this year to celebrate individuals or teams who had communicated information in a trustworthy and useful way - that genuinely helped people decide what to do, or help them judge a decision made by others. The award was run in association with Sense About Science and the Science Media Centre, and is supported by Sir David Harding. The organisers wanted to draw attention to the unsung task of 'informing and not persuading' and celebrate those who were doing it well.

The Harding Prize aims to encourage evidence to be presented in a balanced, non-manipulative way, open to talking about pros and cons, and about uncertainties, designed to help the audience make up their own mind on a subject – not to lead them to the conclusions that the communicator wants them to draw.

Dr Bhagteshwar Singh, and his co-authors of the Cochrane Review, published by the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group said:  “We are honoured to receive this award. Our aim was to provide clinicians, policymakers and the public with a balanced, trustworthy, and clear account of the potential benefits and harms of hydroxychloroquine when used for COVID-19. This award confirms that our review was communicated clearly and transparently, which we are thrilled to hear.”

The organisers bought together an illustrious judging panel, comprising:

  • Helen Boaden (Chair): previously Director of BBC News.
  • Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam: Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England
  • Baroness Onora O’Neill: philosopher and presenter of 2002 Reith Lectures on ‘A Question of Trust’
  • Fraser Nelson: Editor, Spectator
  • Helen Jamison: previously Deputy Director of the Science Media Centre.

The judges made the following comments about Cochrane as a joint winner:

As with all its projects, the Cochrane review worked to internationally agreed methodology and prioritised high quality (randomised) evidence. This particular review was a summary of the evidence for the use of hydroxychloroquine in treating Covid-19. Using clear language, it communicated straightforwardly and with balance that that there was no benefit to hydroxychloroquine which outweighed the side effects and that trials of it should be stopped. That decision was then made. 

This subject may seem minor in the UK where treatment by hydroxychloroquine was never a big part of medical discussion. However, many millions of people around the world, especially in the USA and Brazil, were encouraged by their leaders to take this treatment seriously. 

The panel felt that just as the ONS survey was the bedrock of accurate information about Covid-19 infection rates in the UK, the Cochrane approach delivered rigorous, trustworthy and balanced reviews of scientific papers communicated with clarity and directness. Such reviews enabled policy makers, journalists and the public to discuss and make decisions based on the best evidence. 

Helen Boaden, Chair of the judging panel, commented: “It's never been more important for the public and policy makers to have access to the best possible evidence before they make significant decisions for themselves or others. Both our winners set the gold standard  for clearly communicating accurate, trustworthy, transparent data without frills or spin. The panel is delighted to jointly award them the inaugural Harding Prize.”

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, Chair of the Winton Centre, said: “The panel considered many fine examples, and we are delighted with the examples that they chose. We had intended to have a booby, ‘weasel words’ prize for untrustworthy communication dressed up as an unbiased source. There were many possible candidates, particularly in social media and in scientific pre-prints that had not gone through any peer review. But we finally decided that it would be inappropriate to highlight, and indeed publicise, such poor practice, and instead chose to focus on the positive efforts people have made. The Royal Society’s recent report makes clear that online misinformation is best tackled, not through censorship, but by encouraging a diverse media, independent fact-checking, careful monitoring, and education.”

Tracey Brown, director of Sense about Science, said: “Statistics are the currency of public life. They are how we can describe the world and debate what is getting worse or better, and never more so than during the pandemic. We are so pleased to support the Harding prize in celebrating the individuals who have sought to equip people with the means to be part of those debates."

Fiona Fox, Chief Executive of the Science Media Centre, said: “These are fantastic winners. The brilliant thing about the ONS survey is that it was communicated independently from the government communications machine so that the media and the public got to see the numbers every week free from government messaging.  And in the middle of an ‘infodemic’ where 1000s of scientific papers of variable quality were circulating, Cochrane’s high quality review summarising where the best evidence lay on a much-hyped treatment undoubtedly saved lives.”

Emma Rourke, Director of health analysis and pandemic insight at ONS, said: :The Covid Infection Survey has required the skill and perseverance of a large and multi-talented team. At our core has been the need to communicate such an important and sensitive issue accurately to a diverse audience, and be trusted to do so. We are delighted with this award, and are gratified that the information we have provided has proved valuable to expert users and influential on policy, but also understood clearly by the public."

Monday, March 14, 2022 Category: The difference we make
Katie Abbotts

Cochrane Library Editorial: Protecting human health in a time of climate change

1 year ago

A new Cochrane Library editorial has published 'Protecting human health in a time of climate change: how Cochrane should respond.' 

Researchers and methodologists have an important contribution to make to the response to climate change, by producing and synthesizing evidence relevant to climate-health impacts. While Cochrane has identified climate change as a key issue in its strategic plans, this editorial explores how to translate that high-level awareness into action and what work is needed.

This webinar recording  from Denise Thomson, founder and convenor of the Cochrane Climate-Health Working Group, explains the group’s work and why they believe that evidence synthesis and knowledge translation are so important in tackling climate change. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022
Muriah Umoquit

Winning designs from the International Women's Day #SciArt challenge added to Cochrane Store

1 year ago

Cochrane US and Lifeology hosted an International Women's Day themed #sciart challenge. The two winning designs have been selected and added to the Cochrane Store. 

For International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th, Cochrane hosted several free events, including an art and graphic challenge with Cochrane US and Lifeology to illustrate the theme of IWD for 2022: #BreakTheBias. The art or graphic had to be related to healthcare and/or evidence synthesis.

Two amazing designs were selected and we spoke to the artists to learn more about the meaning behind the designs. 

This pen and ink piece has to do with the personal geographies of women navigating their own bodies, health science, and economic access within what seems at times like an ocean wave or radio wave of fluidity. It represents the collaborative of women, building on each other's successes, and rising to higher peaks of understanding.

Shauna Lee Lange is the founder of Steam Creatives. She is an artist, analyst, and advisor with over 30 years experience in creative industries and government regulatory oversight. In 2005, she combined work in both fields to concentrate on a range of activities from self-taught professional artist, curator, and show producer to inside art influencer in the global art market. The digital component of her expert art advisory services known as Metaverse Watchdogs tracks the NFT, NFT art, crypto art, and blockchain art spaces. Steam Creatives was born out of a need to find a home for art that centered on visual communication within science and technology. Lange makes her home on Central California's coast, a place of much untouched natural beauty. You can view more of Shauna's work on the Steam Creatives website:

Three women from diverse backgrounds strike the "Break the Bias pose". Each of the women are stacked on top of one another so their crossed arms form the crossings of a double helix. The rest of the DNA strands are filled with small science-themed doodles coloured in black.

Abbey Morris is a recent graduate from the Master of Science Communication program at Laurentian University in Canada. She loves science communication because it allows her to bridge her interests in art, science, and social justice. Abbey strives to make scicomm a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive space for people to share their passion for science in creative and engaging ways. You can find more of Abbey's work on her website: 

Lina Cellante is a medical biotechnologist currently cutting her teeth in the medical writing world. In her previous life she was a researcher dealing with drug delivery and nanoparticles to fight brain cancer. During the years spent in the lab, she felt a growing need to better communicate her daily work and to find a way to interact more effectively with other scientists. After her Master's degree, she graduated in Journalism and Science communication and worked at the European Commission as a scientific communication officer. She has always been passionate about writing and her interests are nutrition, its positive influence on body health and mind, and how to make the most out of the technology we have to stimulate curiosity and convey positive messages. You can find more of Lina's work on her Lifeapp space:

These designs are now available for a limited time in the Cochrane Store - on totes, t-shirts, and mugs! 

Friday, March 25, 2022
Muriah Umoquit
17 hours 24 minutes ago
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