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Jeremy Grimshaw #FBPE @GrimshawJeremy
, 21 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
0. Why should individuals (in general) trust Cochrane reviews? @JuanGrvas tweeted 'I used to have blind faith in the Cochrane Library reviews until they kicked Peter Gotzche out. My response. (Longish thread - apologies). Bottom line - trust the quality of the reviews!
1. So OK I do not read Spanish and so my response is to the English language cartoon. IMHO the issue relating to Peter Gotzche should not undermine faith in Cochrane reviews (with one proviso see #18).
2. The issue relating to Peter Gotzche was not about the quality of Cochrane reviews but according to the Statement of the Board was because of ‘repeated bad behaviour over many years’.
3. At this moment in time, we are waiting further information and so should be cautious about rushing to judgement. All stories have (at least) two sides.
4. Why should individuals (in general) trust Cochrane reviews? Cochrane has a very robust quality assurance system. a. Review authors are supported by Cochrane review groups who have the necessary content and specialist expertise to help guide authors.
5. Cochrane has a very robust quality assurance system. b. The Cochrane Handbook provides clear guidance on the conduct of systematic reviews to minimise the risk of bias. Cochrane Methods Groups continue to make major contributions to the science of systematic reviews.
6. Cochrane has a very robust quality assurance system. c. Review authors are asked to publish a protocol before conducting their review. According to Page’s methodological review in PLOS Medicine ( only 11% of non Cochrane reviews do this.
7. Cochrane has a very robust quality assurance system. d. It provides a software platform to support the conduct of reviews and standard structure for reporting.
8. Cochrane has a very robust quality assurance system: e. Cochrane reviews require GRADE which makes explicit the decision making about the certainty of evidence.
9. Cochrane has a very robust quality assurance system. f. Cochrane reviews undergo rigorous pre-publication peer review and Cochrane reviews are expected to meet MECIR (minimum conduct and reporting standards (
11. Cochrane has a very robust quality assurance system: h. Cochrane has recently appointed 8 Senior Editors who will work with Cochrane Review Groups to further improve the quality of Cochrane reviews.
12. Cochrane has a very robust quality assurance system. i. Cochrane is committed to constantly improving the robustness and trustworthiness of its reviews and will learn from identified problems.
13. Cochrane has a very robust conflict of interest policy: A. Cochrane has the most robust conflict of interest policy of any journal. This was the result of an intensive consultation process in Cochrane – some members think it is TOO RESTRICTIVE, others think it is TOO lax.
14. Cochrane has a very robust conflict of interest policy. B. Cochrane polices its strategy through the Funding Ombudsman.
15. Cochrane has a robust conflict of interest policy. C. It periodically reviews its policy to ensure that it is in line with best global practices. At the Cochrane Annual General meeting, the Cochrane Council announced that there will be another review in the next 12 months.
16. Repeated studies demonstrate that Cochrane reviews are of higher quality than non Cochrane reviews (eg So if you are evidence based, you should trust Cochrane reviews (this does not deny that there are lots of excellent non Cochrane reviews).
17. I hope that these policies and processed will keep your faith in Cochrane. Perhaps the strongest quality assurance that we have is the commitment of review authors, consumers, editorial teams who are committed to producing best evidence to support health decisions.
18. My proviso – despite all of the above, there remain some quality problems with Cochrane reviews (eg so the reader should never blindly trust a review from any source.
19. If you are Spanish speaking and interested in accessing high quality evidence, the full text Cochrane reviews are available in Spanish in La Biblioteca Cochrane Plus (
20. My last personal comment (1) – there are 10,000s of individuals who have contributed to Cochrane over the last 25 years. These individuals share Cochrane values and work generously to conduct, publish and disseminate high quality reviews. .....
21. My last personal comment (2) - The current hysterical tone around the Gotzche issue and suggestion that Cochrane is in crisis is demeaning to these individuals. Let's please wait until we have the full story.
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