|The Cochrane Collaboration|
|Motto||Working together to provide the best evidence for health care|
|Purpose/focus||Independent research into data about health care|
|Steering Group Co-Chairs||Jeremy Grimshaw,
|Volunteers||Over 28,000 as of 2011|
The Cochrane Collaboration is an independent nonprofit organization consisting of a group of over 28,000 volunteers in more than 100 countries. The collaboration was formed to organize medical research information in a systematic way in the interests of evidence-based medicine.
The group conducts systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials of health-care interventions, which it publishes in the Cochrane Library. A few reviews (in fields such as occupational health) have also studied the results of non-randomized, observational studies.
The collaboration formed an official relationship in January 2011 with the World Health Organization as a partner NGO, with a seat on the World Health Assembly to provide input into WHO resolutions.
The Cochrane Collaboration was founded in 1993 under the leadership of Iain Chalmers. It was developed in response to Archie Cochrane's call for up-to-date, systematic reviews of all relevant randomized controlled trials of health care. Cochrane's suggestion that the methods used to prepare and maintain reviews of controlled trials in pregnancy and childbirth should be applied more widely was taken up by the Research and Development Programme, initiated to support the United Kingdom's National Health Service. Through the NHS R&D programme, led by the first Director of Research and Development Professor Michael Peckham, funds were provided to establish a 'Cochrane Centre', to collaborate with others, in the UK and elsewhere, to facilitate systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials across all areas of health care.
In October 1995, The Collaboration formed the Cochrane Consumer Network to incorporate patient perspectives into the review process. Shortly thereafter, new 'plain language summaries' provided users with a jargon-free synopsis of each systematic review.
The logo of the Cochrane Collaboration illustrates a meta analysis of data from seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs), comparing one health care treatment with a placebo in a forest plot. The diagram shows the results of a systematic review and meta analysis on inexpensive course of corticosteroid given to women about to give birth too early – the evidence on effectiveness that would have been revealed had the available RCTs been reviewed systematically a decade earlier. This treatment reduces the odds of the babies of such women dying from the complications of immaturity by 30–50%. Because no systematic review of these trials had been published until 1989, most obstetricians had not realised that the treatment was so effective and therefore many premature babies have probably suffered or died unnecessarily.
A 2004 editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal noted that Cochrane reviews appear to be more updated and of better quality than other reviews and due to their standardized methodologies, was "the best single resource for methodologic research and for developing the science of meta-epidemiology." Their work has also led to methodological improvements in the medical literature. However, the editorial also noted areas for improvement remained, including adequately assessing potential harms from medical interventions and providing a more user friendly format as well as promoting international collaboration.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), to disclose possible conflicts of interest in underlying research studies used for medical meta-analyses, reviewed 29 meta-analyses and found that conflicts of interest in the studies underlying the meta-analyses were rarely disclosed. The 29 meta-analyses included 11 from general medicine journals; 15 from specialty medicine journals, and 3 from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. The 29 meta-analyses reviewed an aggregate of 509 randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Of these, 318 RCTs reported funding sources with 219 (69%) industry funded. 132 of the 509 RCTs reported author conflict of interest (COI) disclosures, with 91 studies (69%) disclosing industry financial ties with one or more authors.
The information regarding financial ties was, however, seldom publicly acknowledged in the meta-analyses. Only two (7%) reported RCT funding sources and none reported RCT author-industry ties. The authors of the JAMA study concluded “without acknowledgement of COI due to industry funding or author industry financial ties from RCTs included in meta-analyses, readers’ understanding and appraisal of the evidence from the meta-analysis may be compromised.” Noting that most assessment tools for meta-analysis do not include a domain for study funding source the authors state, “Currently, The Cochrane Collaboration’s Risk of Bias tool includes an optional 'other sources of bias' domain, which meta-analysts could use to include information on COIs. We recommend that The Cochrane Collaboration consider formalizing the requirement to assess potential bias from COIs.”
See also 
- The Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group & Subgroups. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
- The Cochrane Collaboration – Newcomers' Guide. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
- "The Cochrane Collaboration: International activity within Cochrane Review Groups in the first decade of the twenty-first century.". J Evid Based Med. 2011-01-27. doi:10.1111/j.1756-5391.2011.01109.x. PMID 21342476.
- "Cochrane Principles". Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- Hill GB (December 2000). "Archie Cochrane and his legacy. An internal challenge to physicians' autonomy?". J Clin Epidemiol 53 (12): 1189–92. doi:10.1016/S0895-4356(00)00253-5. PMID 11146263.
- Scholten RJ, Clarke M, Hetherington J (August 2005). "The Cochrane Collaboration". Eur J Clin Nutr 59 (Suppl 1): S147–9; discussion S195–6. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602188. PMID 16052183.
- "NGOs-in-Official-Relations-with-WHO-2011_16-Mar-2011". World Health Organization. March 16, 2011.
- "64th World Health Assembly: List of Participants". World Health Organization.
- Peckham M (August 1991). "Research and development for the National Health Service". Lancet 338 (8763): 367–71. doi:10.1016/0140-6736(91)90494-A. PMID 1677710.
- "Chronology of the Cochrane Collaboration". Cochrane.org. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- "About the Cochrane Consumer Network". cochrane.org. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- "Plain language summary". Cochrane.org. 2010-04-06. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- "Cochrane Collaboration Logo". Cochrane.org. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- Grimshaw J (September 2004). "So what has the Cochrane Collaboration ever done for us? A report card on the first 10 years". CMAJ 171 (7): 747–9. doi:10.1503/cmaj.1041255. PMC 517860. PMID 15451837.
- "How Well Do Meta-Analyses Disclose Conflicts of Interests in Underlying Research Studies". Cochrane.org. Retrieved 2012-08-15.