The task which the Cochrane Collaboration has
undertaken is enormous. It 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
If you have expertise in some aspect of healthcare, consider
joining the relevant Cochrane Collaborative 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.
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
Fields are Cochrane groupings 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 collaborative review groups,
compile specialist databases of reviews, co-ordinate activities
with relevant agencies outside the Collaboration, and comment
on systematic reviews relating to their particular area.
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.
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
This involves the laborious task of 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 Centres 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 is coordinating
the efforts of people willing to translate reports of medical
trials on behalf of those preparing Cochrane reviews.