Future of Evidence Synthesis in Cochrane
In August 2021, Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs) in the UK received confirmation from the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) informing them about the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) decision to cease all funding at the break-point in the current contract at the end of March 2023.
Cochrane has benefited for many years from stable and committed funding in the UK, and for this we are extremely grateful to the NIHR and DHSC. We also appreciate the extended notice period that the NIHR has given Cochrane for this contract change, which allows us certainty on funding until that time.
The world is changing in many ways, and Cochrane’s work is more important than ever. There is much to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic about how our community responded, but we also need to identify new ways to generate income so that we can remain sustainable in the context of increased competition and funding challenges.
Cochrane has therefore launched a programme of transformation for how we develop and publish evidence syntheses, and you can access recordings from a workshop series to explore a proposed new model. This programme aims to ensure that Cochrane can deliver evidence syntheses that:
• meet the policy and practice priorities of key evidence-users and policy makers across health and social care;
• are produced in an agile and flexible way, and respond to the evolving and changing needs of key evidence-users and policymakers;
• deliver the required evidence in a timely manner;
• are aligned with Cochrane’s Strategy for Change.
An updated plan on Cochrane’s future of evidence synthesis, that considers all information gathered during the consultation phase, will be published in early 2022.
During this period of transition for Cochrane, we would like to reassure all authors and editors involved in the production of Cochrane Reviews that our publication pipeline remains secure. We encourage all prospective authors interested in producing Cochrane Reviews to continue to submit new proposals and expressions of interest in updating reviews.
Cochrane’s current NIHR funding remains in place until the end of March 2023 and we will continue to fulfil our obligations to the funder by continuing to undertake high-quality systematic reviews to inform decision making. We are currently reviewing our pipeline of reviews in development and will be in touch with any authors where changes to existing arrangements for reviews are required. We also appreciate and would like to pass on our grateful thanks for the continued support from our Cochrane Review Group editors during this time of transition.
Cochrane remains a strong and vibrant global community delivering high quality evidence. We are changing to ensure we can continue to do that into the future, responding to key health and care questions and improving health outcomes for all.
Message from the Editorial Board of the Cochrane CFGD Group
We are not certain what the future holds, but unfortunately we do not expect there to be a designated group of people employed to work on supporting and publishing Cochrane Reviews for cystic fibrosis, haemoglobinopathies, coagulopathies or inborn errors of metabolism after the end of March 2023. We are developing a plan to fulfil our obligations to the NIHR and also to produce the best reviews that we can for the public in the time we have left.
We will be working on producing a number of high-priority reviews and updates, and we will prioritise the completion of those that are already in development. We will contact lead authors of these reviews soon.
The Editorial Board have also decided that we will not register any new review titles to new author teams. Although we may make a small number of exceptions for author teams with a proven track record who propose to complete priority reviews, and who can demonstrate they have adequate support and a sensible timeline for delivery