First and foremost, we acknowledge the invaluable contribution made by Chris Silagy (deceased), former Director of the Australasian Cochrane Centre, and the first Field Co-ordinator of the Primary Health Care Field. For an appreciable time this was the only Field registered with The Cochrane Collaboration. That the Collaboration continues to be active in dimensions of health care broader than those problem areas described by the refined scope statements of its Cochrane Review Groups was, to a great extent, due to Chris.
Chris was the editor of ‘Representing the Interests of Fields’, Section 3 of the original Cochrane Handbook (a weighty tome published c.1994 which preceded the current Manual). The ideas and material he presented there form the basis of much of the above text.
Thanks are also due to all the members of the registered Cochrane Fields who were kind enough to take time to comment on the initial draft of this document, to members of the Steering Group who suggested improvements to earlier drafts and, lastly, to the continuous encouragement from other sectors of The Cochrane Collaboration that we should answer the question “What exactly do Fields do?”