Who we are
Cochrane is a global independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making the vast amounts of evidence generated through research useful for informing decisions about health. We are a not-for-profit organisation with collaborators from over 120 countries working together to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest.
Our vision is a world of improved health where decisions about health and health care are informed by high-quality, relevant and up-to-date synthesised research evidence.
Our mission is to promote evidence-informed health decision-making by producing high-quality, relevant, accessible systematic reviews and other synthesised research evidence.
Our work is internationally recognised as the benchmark for high quality information about the effectiveness of health care.
We believe in equal partnerships
Cochrane believes that effective health care is created through equal partnerships between researcher, provider, practitioner and patient.
Cochrane Reviews are unique because they are both produced by, and are relevant to, everyone interested in the effects of human health care. Based on the best available evidence, healthcare providers can decide if they should fund production of a particular drug. Practitioners can find out if an intervention is effective in a specific clinical context. Patients and other healthcare consumers can assess the potential risks and benefits of their treatment.
“The Cochrane Collaboration has a special interest in involving people from all walks of life to participate in its activities and provides considerable support to enable this. This heady mix of social relevance, good science, altruism and global partnership makes The Cochrane Collaboration one of the most valuable and exciting enterprises in the world today.”
- Prathap Tharyan, Director of the South Asian Cochrane Centre and Network, Vellore, India
We have no geographical boundaries
Cochrane’s contributors are a mix of volunteers and paid staff who are affiliated to the organisation through Cochrane groups: healthcare subject-related review groups, thematic networks (called 'fields'), groups concerned with the methodology of systematic reviews, and regional centres.
Many are world leaders in their field of medicine, health policy, research methodology or consumer advocacy, and our groups are situated in some of the world’s finest academic and medical institutions.
It is possible to think of Cochrane not just as a material organisation, but also as an ideology to which people align themselves.
“Being part of The Cochrane Collaboration is more than a publication or a job. It's a network of colleagues, advisors and friends that spans the globe - an incomparable opportunity to learn, collaborate and share with some amazing people.”
- Miranda Cumpston, Cochrane Training Co-ordinator, based at the Australasian Cochrane Centre
There is no one place or office that is 'Cochrane'. Our contributors and groups are based all around the world and the majority of our work is carried out online. Each group is a ‘mini-organisation’ in itself, with its own funding, website and workload. Contributors affiliate themselves to an group, or in some cases several groups, based on their interests, expertise and/or geographical location.
We are independent
Cochrane is named after Archie Cochrane (1909-1988), a British epidemiologist, who advocated the use of randomised controlled trials as a means of reliably informing healthcare practice. We are an independent, not-for-profit organisation, funded by a variety of sources including governments, universities, hospital trusts, charities and personal donations.
Find out more about Cochrane’s funding here.
We are democratically led
Cochrane is registered as a charity in the United Kingdom. To tie the organisation together, we have a number of overarching structures, led by the Steering Group, which provides policy and strategic leadership for the organisation. Members of this group are democratically elected from, and by, our contributors.
We also have a Central Executive Team, which manages the financial, legal and administrative work of the organisation, led by Cochrane's Chief Executive Officer; and an Editorial Unit, which supports Cochrane Review production, editorial processes, and training and methods development, led by the Editor in Chief of The Cochrane Library.
"The Cochrane Collaboration is a recognised leader in its field, with a global reputation for the quality and integrity of its work in promoting evidence-based health care."
- Mark Wilson, Cochrane's CEO
We hold annual conferences, known as ‘Colloquia’, which are open to everyone. Colloquia are designed to bring people together in one place to discuss, develop and promote our work, and to shape the organisation’s future direction. The 2013 Cochrane Colloquium was held in Quebec City, Canada, in September.
We advocate evidence-based decision-making
In addition to our core mission of producing Cochrane Reviews, our contributors are involved in a number of related activities, including advocacy for evidence-based decision-making, providing training in Cochrane Review preparation, developing the methodology for preparing reviews, and translating them from English into a variety of different languages.
Find out more about the Cochrane’s structure and management here.
“The Cochrane Collaboration is a place for you to look for healthcare information, share ideas, contribute time, and find friends. Wherever you are from, whatever language you speak, The Cochrane Collaboration welcomes your participation!”
- Maoling Wei, Review author, and member of the Consumer Network, Chengdu, China
We hold Official Relations with the WHO
In January 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) awarded Cochrane a seat on the World Health Assembly. This provides Cochrane an opportunity to promote evidence-based health care at the highest levels of international health care policy-setting. Read more, here.
The Cochrane20 Video series
As part of a series of events to mark our 20th Anniversary in 2013, twenty-four videos - the Cochrane20 Video Series - were created focusing on the ideas, achievements and people that have contributed to its growth since 1993. The complete playlist can be found on our 20th Anniversary website and on YouTube.