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C4O2 | Testing selective responses of Cochrane groups to the request of conducting a Cochrane systematic review: A Crossover Randomized Controlled Trial

Abstract text
Thousands of people from around the world contribute to The Cochrane Collaboration. Although there are a number of steps that need to be follow to register a review, titles are accepted at the discretion of each Collaborative Review Groups (CRGs) and criteria for accepting those titles are not explicit1. Previous studies found that authors reported having problems in getting titles registered2,3.

To assess if the first language or country location of ‘simulated newcomers’ influence the response patterns to register titles in CRGs.

Two hypotheses were addressed: 1) native English speaker (NES) receive more positive responses (+R) than non-NES (NNES); 2) responses will not differ by country income (low income countries-LMC vs. High Income Countries-HIC). After ethic committee approval, we emailed substantially identical versions of title request (Table-1) to 53 CRG written by: ‘NES-LIC’, ‘NES-HIC’, ‘NNES-LIC’ and ‘NNES-HIC’. In this crossover RCT (one month of washout period), CRGs were randomized centrally by computer software. The answers were independently classified as ‘positive’ (offer review titles/updates, specific topics or mentors); ‘negative’ (explicit -R or requirements without help offer) or ‘neutral-R’ (the others) by two assessors blinded to interventions and e-mails’ senders/recipients.

No response was obtained in 23/106 (21%) of emails. The patterns of responses were: 24% positive, 40% neutral and 36% negative. NES received significant more +R than NNES (p=0.031) as well as HIC than LIC (p=0.031), being worst for NNES-LIC and best for NES-HIC (Table-2; Figure-1). Besides no response, frequent barriers were: requesting curriculum vitae and newcomer’s publication list. Some groups had very positive, warm and collaborative responses.

Although CRGs should focus on potential authors that will produce high quality and timely protocols and reviews, criteria for registering titles should be explicit and standardized. The Cochrane Collaboration should consider consistent ways of supporting authors from NNES-LIC.
Ciapponi A1, Glujovsky D1, Rey Ares L1, García Martí S1, Reveiz L2
1 IECS, Institute for Clinical Effectiveness and Health Policy Buenos Aires. Argentina
2 Andean Cochrane Branch of the Ibero-American Cochrane Center
Presenting author and contact person
Presenting author: 
Agustín Ciapponi
Contact person: 
Agustín Ciapponi (Contact this person)
Date and Location
Oral session C4O2
Saturday 22 October 2011 - 11:35 - 12:05