220.127.116.11 Ensuring proper representation on Cochrane Review Groups
Ensuring that Cochrane Review Groups covering areas of health care of interest to their Field have sufficient editors or authors, and that their Field is properly represented, are important and ongoing responsibilities of Fields. For example, the Primary Health Care Field has ensured that there is appropriate representation of general practitioners within the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group; the interests of the Rehabilitation and Related Therapies Field are similarly represented within the Cochrane Stroke Group. Fields should continuously seek to identify opportunities for individuals working within their area of care, or consumers who have an interest in the area, to become contributors to Cochrane Review Groups. In order to do this effectively, Field Co-ordinators need to be familiar with the Scope statements and Topic Lists of all registered and possible Cochrane Review Groups so that they know which Groups will be producing systematic reviews relevant to their Field.
Where the appropriate Cochrane Review Groups either have not yet been formed, or are in the process of forming, the Field acts as a source of support and encouragement. One of the first acts of a Field is the creation and maintenance of a database of individuals and organisations that have already expressed an interest in supporting the preparation, maintenance or dissemination of Cochrane reviews relevant to the dimension of care the Field represents. This allows the Field to identify like-minded individuals who share a common interest in a particular set of health care problems. By organising, or helping to initiate one or more pre-Exploratory meetings and supplying the necessary materials and guidance, a Field can make a useful contribution to individuals wishing to form a Cochrane Review Group. For example, the Cochrane Cancer Network has helped six Cochrane Review Groups to form in this way. Whenever possible, relevant Fields should be represented at the Cochrane Review Group’s Formal Exploratory Meeting.
Once a new Cochrane Review Group is registered with The Cochrane Collaboration, a Field may continue to support its development, using its knowledge of The Cochrane Collaboration and its experience gained with other Groups for the benefit of the new Cochrane Review Group. It may help to identify and meet some of the training needs of members of the new Group. If resources permit, it might also be able to offer office space temporarily to individual authors.