2.1.8 Policy on the granting of endorsements
1. From time to time The Cochrane Collaboration is asked to give its endorsement to activities, training programmes, work groups, policies, organisations, conferences, journal articles and such like. Such endorsement might range from use of the Collaboration’s logo to a statement of support. In the past the Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group has granted endorsements on an ad hoc basis, following no explicit criteria or guidelines. Following the promulgation of the Collaboration’s tightened policy on commercial sponsorship (April 2004, as amended, to be found at www.cochrane.org/docs/commercialsponsorship.htm), the Steering Group at its April 2005 meeting in Providence, USA, approved the following policy, criteria and guidelines by which applications for endorsement should be processed and assessed.
2. This paper sets out the policy, criteria and guidelines for processing and assessing applications for endorsement made to The Cochrane Collaboration. (Individual entities may wish to follow similar procedures for entity endorsements where these do not impinge on the Collaboration’s over-arching responsibility.) It does not replace the policy for the use of the Cochrane logo (www.cochrane.org/logo/), but the checklist will be used when assessing requests to use the logo.
3. The Steering Group has adopted the policy, criteria and guidelines as set out below, and as summarised in the checklist attached at Annex 2.1.8.A.
4. Endorsement – the act of giving moral support to or approval of something, generally involving the use of a statement, logo, or recognised symbol. Expression of support: an act of support or approval falling short of full endorsement, and which might entail the setting by The Cochrane Collaboration of specific conditions or limitations.
Policy, criteria and guidelines
5. The policy of The Cochrane Collaboration is that:
- Endorsements and expressions of support, including affiliations, (‘endorsements’) may serve the best interests of The Cochrane Collaboration and its members where the aims of the activities or organisations to be endorsed are aligned with its aims and purposes; and as such endorsements may be sought for such activities and organisations.
- Endorsements may relate, but need not be limited, to activities, conferences, meetings, training events and programmes, published material, and to organisations or groups as specific entities.
- Not-for-profit groups or organisations may seek endorsements.
- Except in exceptional circumstances (such as co-sponsorship of an event with not-for-profit or charitable purposes) no application for endorsement will be accepted from for-profit groups or organisations, by political parties and related interest groups, or by organisations or groups whose endorsement might contravene The Cochrane Collaboration’s charitable purposes, as defined in its Memorandum and Articles of Association (www.cochrane.org/admin/artassoc.htm).
- Individuals may not seek personal endorsement of themselves, except in pursuance of The Cochrane Collaboration’s aims and purposes and for a specific intent (such as endorsing an individual’s candidature to represent The Cochrane Collaboration on an external working group or committee).
- Where endorsement is sought and the proposal does not meet the full criteria, but nonetheless is felt to have merit, an expression of support may be offered that does not imply full endorsement, and may entail the setting of specific conditions or limitations (such as not approving use of the Cochrane logo).
- Endorsement where given will usually be for specific articles, events or activities that are by definition time-limited. However, consideration will be given to endorsements for longer periods up to three years, after which the endorsement will automatically lapse and renewal if required must be sought.
- The Cochrane Collaboration may impose a non-returnable fee for administering endorsement requests.
- The final decision to give endorsement rests with the Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group (as delegated in this policy document); where an endorsement is rejected The Cochrane Collaboration gives no undertaking to provide feedback.
Criteria for assessing applications for endorsement
6. The following criteria will be used when assessing applications for endorsement:
- Policy: Does the requested endorsement breach any point of The Cochrane Collaboration’s policy for endorsement? For example, a proposal from a for-profit medical devices company would normally be rejected.
- Alignment: Are the aims of the proposed activity, and of the responsible body, aligned with those of The Cochrane Collaboration? For example, if an evidence-based healthcare workshop is proposed for endorsement, and the aims and principles of the organisation running and/or promoting the workshop, and the material that is to be endorsed are aligned with The Cochrane Collaboration’s aims and purposes, approval would normally be given.
- Relevance: The item for which endorsement is requested should be relevant to the place in which The Cochrane Collaboration’s endorsement will appear. For example, if an evidence-based healthcare workshop is proposed for endorsement, the Cochrane logo may appear on the workshop’s advertising and course materials, but not in some other place such as on an unrelated part of the promoter’s website homepage, or the workshop’s sponsors’ materials, or other unrelated material, without explicit permission.
- Conflict: Endorsement will not be given to organisations or activities where this would create conflict with The Cochrane Collaboration’s commercial sponsorship policy. For example, if a not-for-profit university medical school was to seek endorsement for an evidence-based healthcare conference this might be approved, but if the conference had a for-profit pharmaceutical company as a major sponsor this would usually lead to the request being rejected.
- Positioning: The positioning of The Cochrane Collaboration’s endorsement in relation to other logos, brand or company names, photographs, etc. should not infer any implied endorsement. For example, if the Cochrane logo were to be placed next to the name of a for-profit pharmaceutical company the request would be rejected.
- Publicity: What type of publicity is The Cochrane Collaboration’s endorsement likely to generate, and for whom? For example, if publicity arising from endorsement would be likely to harm The Cochrane Collaboration’s reputation, such endorsement would be rejected.
Guidelines for processing applications for endorsement
7. Requests for endorsement will be processed as follows:
- Requests for endorsement should be submitted through the e-mail address of the Cochrane Operations Unit(firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Requests should contain sufficient material to allow a proper assessment to be made. Material showing the way in which the endorsement is to be used should be provided. Clarification may be requested.
- The Cochrane Collaboration’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will undertake initial assessment of requests using the criteria shown above. In the CEO’s absence for protracted periods (such as annual leave), and when there is urgency to the request, the Administrator may make the initial assessment.
- If a request substantially meets the criteria, it will be submitted to the next appropriate meeting of the Steering Group. If a request relates solely to the use of the Cochrane logo, and in straightforward circumstances, the decision may be made by the CEO alone.
- The Steering Group may approve or reject the request, or seek further information to enable it to come to a decision.
- The originator of the request will be informed of the Steering Group's decision within fifteen working days of its meeting.
- Feedback will not be provided.
- A decision table for considering requests is shown at Annex 2.1.8.B.
Use of the ‘Cochrane Inside’ logo
8. A form of endorsement suitable for material containing or derived from Cochrane Collaboration outputs is the ‘Cochrane Inside’ logo. People or organisations wishing to use this logo should follow the same procedure as outlined in this document, with the additional criterion as to whether the item to be endorsed with the ‘Cochrane Inside’ logo contains or substantially derives from Cochrane Collaboration output’. Where this criterion is not met, use of the ‘Cochrane Inside’ logo will be denied. Unlike the ‘Cochrane’ logo, the ‘Cochrane Inside’ logo will not be available for use from the Cochrane website, but should be requested from the Cochrane Operations Unit (email@example.com).
9. A licensing fee and further conditions may be imposed for use of the ‘Cochrane Inside’ logo.
Contact for further information
10. If you wish to discuss the issues outlined in this paper, or an application for endorsement, please contact the Chief Executive Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone +44 (0)1865 310138.