Call for nominations: Bill Silverman Prize 2012
William (Bill) Silverman (1924-2004) was one of the founders of American neonatal medicine. He was honoured repeatedly as one of the pioneers in his specialty; however, he often evoked somewhat mixed responses amongst
his colleagues because he was in the habit of raising troubling questions about the scientific basis and ethics of his and their practices. Like many of the people who have helped to establish The Cochrane Collaboration, Bill Silverman could be regarded as a 'troublemaker'. As he reiterated frequently, however, criticism is a form of troublemaking that can help to drive progress. Furthermore, criticism should not be limited to examining the work of others, but should also include self-criticism.
The Bill Silverman Prize acknowledges explicitly the value of criticism of The Cochrane Collaboration, with a view to helping to improve its work, and thus achieve its aim of helping people make well-informed decisions about health care by providing the best possible evidence on the effects of healthcare interventions. The establishment of the Prize was approved by the Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group in 2007, and awarded for the first time in 2008.
The Prize is offered annually and the authors of a piece of research published or presented in the preceding twelve months (i.e. from July 1 in the previous year to June 30 in the current year) will be eligible. The criteria for the Prize are that the publication or presentation evaluated any aspect of the preparation, maintenance or dissemination of
Cochrane reviews or the work of The Cochrane Collaboration more generally, and: was of high quality; was accompanied by constructive suggestions on how the relevant aspects of the work of The Cochrane Collaboration could be improved; has had, or is likely to have, a positive impact on the scientific quality, relevance and use of Cochrane Reviews.
Note: This Prize is not for the preparation of a Cochrane systematic review; rather, it is for a piece of published or presented research which demonstrates critical thinking, either about systematic reviews or about the work of The Cochrane Collaboration more generally. The Prize recipients are announced at the Cochrane Colloquium each year. The prize comprises a cash award of 1000 US dollars and a certificate. (Additional funds are not available from the Prize fund for the recipients to attend the Cochrane Colloquium.) The cash award goes to the corresponding
author of the selected publication or presentation, and it is this person's responsibility to distribute the award in a fair way to her/his co-authors.
Nominations can be made by anyone, including the authors of the publication or presentation being nominated. Nominations should be e-mailed to the committee co-chairs (see below) with 'Bill Silverman Prize' in the subject heading, the citation for the publication or presentation, and a brief explanation of how it meets the criteria for
the Prize. Nominations must be accompanied by the publication or presentation. The deadline for receipt of nominations is 31 August 2012.
Nominations should be sent to Jini Hetherington at the Cochrane Operations Unit (email@example.com).
Announcement made on behalf of David Moher and Bill Summerskill, Co-Chairs of the 2012 Bill Silverman Prize Committee
Professor David Moher
Ottawa Methods Centre/Clinical Epidemiology Program Ottawa Hospital
401 Smyth Road
6th floor of Critical Care Wing, Room W6112 Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1H
Tel: +1 613 737 8899, 79424
Dr Bill Summerskill
Senior Executive Editor
32 Jamestown Road
London NW1 7BY
Tel +44 (0) 20 7424 4920