Formation1993; 31 years ago (1993) (as Cochrane Collaboration)
TypeCharity in UK
PurposeIndependent research into data about health care
HeadquartersLondon, England[1]
Region served
Official language
Key people
  • Tracey Howe
  • Catherine Marshall
Over 37,000 (2015)[2] Edit this at Wikidata
Formerly called
Cochrane Collaboration

Cochrane is a British[1] international charitable organisation formed to synthesize medical research findings to facilitate evidence-based choices about health interventions involving health professionals, patients and policy makers.[3][4] It includes 53 review groups that are based at research institutions worldwide. Cochrane has over 37,000[2] volunteer experts from around the world.[5]

The group conducts systematic reviews of healthcare interventions and diagnostic tests and publishes them in the Cochrane Library.[6][3] According to the Library, articles are available via one-click access, but some require paid subscription or registration before reading.[7][8] A few reviews, in occupational health for example, incorporate results from non-randomised observational studies[6] as well as controlled before–after (CBA) studies and interrupted time-series studies.[9]



Cochrane, previously known as the Cochrane Collaboration, was founded in 1993 under the leadership of Iain Chalmers.[10] It was developed in response to Archie Cochrane's call for up-to-date, systematic reviews of all relevant randomised controlled trials in the field of healthcare.[11][12][13]

In 1998, the Cochrane Economics Methods Group (CEMG) was established to facilitate the basing of decisions on health economics, evidence-based medicine, and systematic reviews.[14]

Cochrane's suggestion that methods used to prepare and maintain reviews of controlled trials in pregnancy and childbirth be applied more widely was taken up by the Research and Development Programme, initiated to support the National Health Service. Through the NHS research and development programme, led by Michael Peckham,[15][when?] funds were provided to establish a "Cochrane Centre", to collaborate with others, in the UK and elsewhere, to facilitate systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials across all areas of healthcare.[16][when?]

In 2004, the Campbell Collaboration joined with the CEMG to form the Campbell & Cochrane Economics Methods Group (CCEMG).[17][18]

In 2013 the organization published an editorial describing its efforts to train people in developing nations to perform Cochrane reviews.[19] A 2017 editorial briefly discussed the history of Cochrane methodological approaches, such as including studies that use methodologies in lieu of randomised control trials and the challenge of having evidence adopted in practice.[9]

During its 2018 annual meeting, the Cochrane board expelled Peter C. Gøtzsche, board member and director of Cochrane's Nordic center, from the organization, telling Nature that it had received "numerous complaints" about Gøtzsche after he co-authored an article in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine alleging bias in Cochrane's May 2018[20] review of HPV vaccines. Gøtzsche's expulsion led four elected board members to resign in protest, which in turn led the board to cut two appointed members in order to comply with the ratio of elected to appointed members required by the organization's charter.[21] Gøtzsche announced that this had happened via an open letter, in which he said there is a "growing top-down authoritarian culture and an increasingly commercial business model" taking root at Cochrane that "threaten the scientific, moral and social objectives of the organization". Gøtzsche remains an outspoken critic of Cochrane's relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. The Cochrane board stated that Gøtzsche was expelled for his behavior, which had been reviewed by an independent counsel hired by Cochrane.[21]



A 2004 editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal noted that Cochrane reviews appear to be more up to date and of better quality than other reviews, describing them as "the best single resource for methodologic research and for developing the science of meta-epidemiology" and crediting them with leading to methodological improvements in the medical literature.[22]

Studies comparing the quality of Cochrane meta-analyses in the fields of infertility,[23] physiotherapy,[23][24] and orthodontics[25] to those published by other sources have concluded that Cochrane reviews incorporate superior methodological rigor. A broader analysis across multiple therapeutic areas reached similar conclusions but was performed by Cochrane authors.[26] Compared to non-Cochrane reviews, those from Cochrane are less likely to reach a positive conclusion about the utility of medical interventions.[27]

Key criticisms that have been directed at Cochrane's studies include a failure to include a sufficiently large number of unpublished studies, failure to pre-specify or failure to abide by pre-specified rules for endpoint[28] or trial[29] inclusion, insufficiently frequent updating of reviews, an excessively high percentage of inconclusive reviews,[30] and a high incidence of ghostwriting and honorary authorship.[31][32] In some cases Cochrane's internal structure may make it difficult to publish studies that run against the preconceived opinions of internal subject matter experts.[33]



World Health Organization


Cochrane maintains an official relationship with the World Health Organization[34] that affords Cochrane the right to appoint nonvoting representatives to WHO meetings, including sessions of the World Health Assembly, and make statements on WHO resolutions.[35]



In 2014, the Cochrane-Wikipedia partnership was formalised. This supports the inclusion of relevant evidence within all Wikipedia medical articles, as well as processes to help ensure that medical information included in Wikipedia is of the highest quality and accuracy.[36] Wikipedia and Cochrane collaborate to increase the incorporation of Cochrane research into Wikipedia articles and provide Wikipedia editors with resources for interpreting medical data.[37] Cochrane and John Wiley and Sons, publisher of Cochrane reviews, make one hundred free Cochrane accounts available to Wikipedia medical editors—the financial value of which has been estimated by Cochrane at between thirty thousand and eighty thousand US dollars per annum—and pay a nominal stipend and travel expenses to support a Wikipedian in Residence at Cochrane.[38]

In 2014, the Cochrane blog hosted a rebuttal, written by four Wikipedia medical editors, of an article published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association that was critical of the accuracy of Wikipedia medical content.[39][40]

Funding partners


Cochrane receives funding from governments, supranational organizations, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, hospitals, and foundations, while avoiding funding from corporate interests.[41] Primary government donors include the United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), the Danish Health Authority, the Federal Ministry of Health (Germany), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Academic funders include McMaster University, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Kazan Federal University, and University of Copenhagen, among others. Funding from foundations includes the National Research Foundation (South Africa) and the Gerber Foundation.

Public involvement


Cochrane involves patients and the public via community curation, to produce systematic reviews and other outputs. Tasks can be organised as 'entry level' or higher. Tasks include:

A recent systematic review of how people were involved in systematic reviews aimed to document the evidence-base relating to stakeholder involvement in systematic reviews and to use this evidence to describe how stakeholders have been involved in systematic reviews.[43] Thirty per cent involved patients and/or carers.

While there has been some criticism of how Cochrane prioritises systematic reviews,[44] a recent project involved people in helping identify research priorities to inform future Cochrane Reviews.[45]

The representation of women as editors in Cochrane was found to be better than that of other organizations.[46]

See also



  1. ^ a b "The Cochrane Collaboration". Charity Commission. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b "About us | Cochrane". Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Public Health Guidelines". NIH Library. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Sepkowitz, Kent A. (14 May 2014). "Looking for the Final Word on Treatment". The New York Times.
  6. ^ a b Kongsted, Hans; Konnerup, Merete (2012). "Are more observational studies being included in Cochrane reviews?". BMC Research Notes. 5 (1): 570. doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-570. PMC 3503546. PMID 23069208. Open access icon
  7. ^ "Access Options for the Cochrane Library". Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  8. ^ "How to order the Cochrane Library". Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  9. ^ a b Ruotsalainen, Jani; Sauni, Riitta; Verbeek, Jos (2017). "Cochrane Work—championing facts since 2003". Occupational Medicine. 67 (7): 504–506. doi:10.1093/occmed/kqx073. PMID 29048596.
  10. ^ Ault, Alicia (27 June 2003). "Clinical research. Climbing a medical Everest". Science. 300 (5628): 2024–2025. doi:10.1126/science.300.5628.2024. PMID 12829761. S2CID 70623338.
  11. ^ Thomas, Katie (29 June 2013). "The Cochrane Collaboration". The New York Times.
  12. ^ Chalmers, I; Dickersin, K; Chalmers, TC (1992). "Getting to grips with Archie Cochrane's agenda". BMJ. 305 (6857): 786–788. doi:10.1136/bmj.305.6857.786. PMC 1883470. PMID 1422354.
  13. ^ Winkelstein, W Jr. (September 2009). "The Remarkable Archie: Origins of the Cochrane Collaboration". Epidemiology. 20 (5): 779. doi:10.1097/EDE.0b013e3181aff391. PMID 19680039.
  14. ^ "Evidence-based Health Economics" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 August 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  15. ^ 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. S2CID 38306406.
  16. ^ Dickersin K, Manheimer E (1998). "The Cochrane Collaboration: evaluation of health care and services using systematic reviews of the results of randomized controlled trials". Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology. 41 (2): 315–331. doi:10.1097/00003081-199806000-00012. PMID 9646964.
  17. ^ Shemilt, I; Mugford, M; Drummond, M; Eisenstein, E; Mallender, J; McDaid, D; Vale, L; Walker, D; The Campbell & Cochrane Economics Methods Group (CCEMG) (2006). "Economics methods in Cochrane systematic reviews of health promotion and public health related interventions". BMC Medical Research Methodology. 6: 55. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-6-55. PMC 1660547. PMID 17107612.
  18. ^ "Welcome".
  19. ^ Young T, Garner P, Kredo T, Mbuagbaw L, Tharyan P, Volmink J (2013). "Cochrane and capacity building in low- and middle-income countries: where are we at? [editorial]". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 11 (11): ED000072. doi:10.1002/14651858.ED000072. PMC 10846367. PMID 24524153.
  20. ^ Jørgensen, Lars; Gøtzsche, Peter C.; Jefferson, Tom (2018). "The Cochrane HPV vaccine review was incomplete and ignored important evidence of bias". BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine. 23 (5): 165–168. doi:10.1136/bmjebm-2018-111012. PMID 30054374.
  21. ^ a b Vesper, Inga (17 September 2018). "Mass resignation guts board of prestigious Cochrane Collaboration". Nature. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06727-0. S2CID 81243500. Open access icon
  22. ^ Grimshaw, J. (2004). "So what has the Cochrane Collaboration ever done for us? A report card on the first 10 years". Canadian Medical Association Journal. 171 (7): 747–749. doi:10.1503/cmaj.1041255. PMC 517860. PMID 15451837.
  23. ^ a b Windsor B, Popovich I, Jordan V, Showell M, Shea B, Farquhar C (December 2012). "Methodological quality of systematic reviews in subfertility: a comparison of Cochrane and non-Cochrane systematic reviews in assisted reproductive technologies". Hum. Reprod. 27 (12): 3460–6. doi:10.1093/humrep/des342. PMID 23034152.
  24. ^ Moseley, Anne M.; Elkins, Mark R.; Herbert, Robert D.; Maher, Christopher G.; Sherrington, Catherine (October 2009). "Cochrane reviews used more rigorous methods than non-Cochrane reviews: survey of systematic reviews in physiotherapy". Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 62 (10): 1021–1030. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.09.018. PMID 19282144.
  25. ^ Fleming PS, Seehra J, Polychronopoulou A, Fedorowicz Z, Pandis N (April 2013). "Cochrane and non-Cochrane systematic reviews in leading orthodontic journals: a quality paradigm?" (PDF). Eur J Orthod. 35 (2): 244–8. doi:10.1093/ejo/cjs016. PMID 22510325.
  26. ^ Olsen O, Middleton P, Ezzo J, et al. (October 2001). "Quality of Cochrane reviews: assessment of sample from 1998". BMJ. 323 (7317): 829–32. doi:10.1136/bmj.323.7317.829. PMC 57800. PMID 11597965.
  27. ^ Tricco AC, Tetzlaff J, Pham B, Brehaut J, Moher D (April 2009). "Non-Cochrane vs. Cochrane reviews were twice as likely to have positive conclusion statements: cross-sectional study". J Clin Epidemiol. 62 (4): 380–386.e1. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.08.008. PMID 19128940.
  28. ^ Tendal B, Nüesch E, Higgins JP, Jüni P, Gøtzsche PC (2011). "Multiplicity of data in trial reports and the reliability of meta-analyses: empirical study". BMJ. 343: d4829. doi:10.1136/bmj.d4829. PMC 3171064. PMID 21878462.
  29. ^ Hutton P, Morrison AP, Yung AR, Taylor PJ, French P, Dunn G (July 2012). "Effects of drop-out on efficacy estimates in five Cochrane reviews of popular antipsychotics for schizophrenia" (PDF). Acta Psychiatr Scand. 126 (1): 1–11. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.2012.01858.x. PMID 22486554. S2CID 19932147.
  30. ^ Green-Hennessy S (January 2013). "Cochrane systematic reviews for the mental health field: is the gold standard tarnished?". Psychiatr Serv. 64 (1): 65–70. doi:10.1176/ PMID 23117176. S2CID 25947949.
  31. ^ Mowatt, G; Shirran, L; Grimshaw, JM; Rennie, D; Flanagin, A; Yank, V; MacLennan, G; Gøtzsche, PC; Bero, LA (5 June 2002). "Prevalence of honorary and ghost authorship in Cochrane reviews". JAMA. 287 (21): 2769–71. doi:10.1001/jama.287.21.2769. PMID 12038907.
  32. ^ Tisdale JE (November 2009). "Integrity in authorship and publication". Can J Hosp Pharm. 62 (6): 441–7. doi:10.4212/cjhp.v62i6.840. PMC 2827013. PMID 22478931.
  33. ^ "" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 September 2014.
  34. ^ "Non-State actors in official relations with WHO". World Health Organization. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  35. ^ "World Health Organization | Cochrane". Retrieved 17 October 2015.[permanent dead link]
  36. ^ "The Cochrane-Wikipedia partnership in 2016". Cochrane. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  37. ^ Mathew, Manu; Joseph, Anna; Heilman, James; Tharyan, Prathap (2013). "Cochrane and Wikipedia: the collaborative potential for a quantum leap in the dissemination and uptake of trusted evidence[editorial]". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 10 (10): ED000069. doi:10.1002/14651858.ED000069. PMC 10846362. PMID 24475488.
  38. ^ Orlowitz, Jake (5 May 2014). "Cochrane Collaboration recruits talented Wikipedian In Residence". Cochrane. Archived from the original on 5 October 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015 – via Wikimedia Foundation.
  39. ^ Chatterjee, Anwesh; Cooke, Robin Michael Todd; Furst, Ian; Heilman, James (23 June 2014). "Is Wikipedia's medical content really 90% wrong?". Cochrane. Archived from the original on 4 March 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  40. ^ Hasty RT, Garbalosa RC, Barbato VA, et al. (May 2014). "Wikipedia vs peer-reviewed medical literature for information about the 10 most costly medical conditions". J Am Osteopath Assoc. 114 (5): 368–73. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2014.035. PMID 24778001.
  41. ^ "Our funders and partners". Cochrane. Archived from the original on 11 June 2022. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  42. ^ "Cochrane crowd". Retrieved 14 February 2019.
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  44. ^ Newman M (January 2019). "Has Cochrane lost its way?". BMJ. 364: k5302. doi:10.1136/bmj.k5302. PMID 30606713. S2CID 58623482.
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  46. ^ Bhaumik, Soumyadeep; Mathew, Rebecca Joyce (December 2014). "Representation of women as editors in the Cochrane collaboration". Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine. 7 (4): 249–251. doi:10.1111/jebm.12123. ISSN 1756-5391. PMID 25586454. S2CID 41957630.