The task which the Cochrane Collaboration has undertaken will be achieved as people of goodwill* offer their skills and time. Already several thousand people around the world have become involved in one of the following ways:
If you have expertise in some aspect of healthcare, consider joining the relevant Cochrane Review Group. If there is not yet a group which covers your specialty, register your interest in being part of a new group. Being part of a Cochrane review group provides the support, resources and training to tackle a systematic review, and an international audience when your work is published in The Cochrane Library.
To get involoved as a Systematic Reviewer, choose the Review Group that best matches your field of interest, then contact the Review Group Coordinator.
Each review group has an editorial team which provides support for reviewers to ensure the highest quality in their work. Some editors need content/topic expertise, others need methodological expertise and an editor's eye for detail, consistency and good expression.
To get involved as an Editor, contact the Review Group Coordinator at the Review Group that best matches your area of interest/expertise.
Fields are Cochrane groups that focus on dimensions of health care other than health problems, such as the setting of care (e.g. primary care), the type of consumer (e.g. older people), the type of provider (e.g. nurses) or the type of intervention (e.g. physical therapies). People working in fields handsearch specialist journals, help to ensure that priorities and perspectives in their field of interest are reflected in the work of Cochrane review groups, compile specialist databases of reviews, coordinate activities with relevant agencies outside the Collaboration, and comment on systematic reviews relating to their particular area.
To participate as a Field Member, contact the Field Coordinator in the Field that best matches your area of interest.
Every Cochrane review group aims to have members who will represent the consumer's (ie, recipients of healthcare) viewpoint in deciding which reviews are done, what questions they focus on, and how the results are presented. The Cochrane Consumer Network coordinates the involvement of consumers within the Collaboration.
To get involved as a consumer, please read more about the various Cochrane Consumer groups and contact a consumer coordinator.
If you have expertise in statistics or other methodological aspects of systematic reviews, you can contribute through one of the Cochrane Methods Groups. Such involvement can enhance your own work through collaboration with an international team.
To get involved as a Methodology expert, contact a coordinator at one of the Cochrane Method Groups.
This involves the task of manually searching through medical journals for accounts of controlled trials which are not yet indexed in the major electronic databases like MEDLINE and EMBASE. Less than a third of the world's medical journals are routinely indexed in the major electronic databases. Most review groups and Centers are seeking volunteer handsearchers and will provide the necessary training and support. Handsearching of journals is coordinated by the US Cochrane Center.
The language of the Collaboration and of The Cochrane Library is English, but reports of medical trials are often published in other languages. The Italian Cochrane Centre coordinates the efforts of people willing to translate reports of medical trials on behalf of those preparing Cochrane reviews.
*NOTE: Membership in a Cochrane group is not based on formal qualifications. There are no membership fees. The key requirements are that you:
- Have suitable skills (and willingness to learn new ones);
- Can volunteer some of your time over an extended period;
- Work as part of a team;
- Support the aims of the Collaboration; and
- Share the Collaboration's goals and spirit of goodwill
How to register your interest in becoming involved
- Decide on the role that suits your skills (reviewer, handsearcher, translator, etc. See above for more detail)
- Choose the Cochrane group (ie, health care area) you wish to work with. Browse the lists of Cochrane review groups, Methods Groups, Fields, and the Consumer Network. The reviews and protocols produced by Review Groups will indicate the scope of their work.
- Contact the group by email, phone or fax. Briefly state your background and the way you wish to become involved. Contacts details for Cochrane Groups
- If you can't decide which is the most suitable group, contact your nearest Cochrane Center. Explain your interest and background. Their staff will help you decide which is the most suitable Cochrane group to work with.