Policies for our members help our global community to understand their roles and responsibilities to the organization and their colleagues; and to ensure that Cochrane complies with the highest standards of governance.
All of Cochrane’s policies and positions statements are published and publicly available on our Community website.
Open Access to Cochrane Reviews
Open Access (OA) is a concept about making online research outputs free of restrictions on access and free of many restrictions on use.
“We're enormously proud of the Open Access offering that we've established over the last five years, which will make an ever-larger proportion of Cochrane Reviews universally accessible in the future. We plan to review our Open Access policy regularly after 2020 with our publishing partners to ensure we balance Cochrane's financial viability with our long-term goal of providing immediate free access to Cochrane Reviews for the whole world.”
Mark Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Cochrane
Since 2013, Cochrane is proud to have:
- Provided free access to new and updated Cochrane Reviews for all readers worldwide 12 months after publication, under our 'green' Open Access scheme. Over half of all Cochrane Reviews are now available this way. All green Open Access Cochrane Reviews are available in the Cochrane Library and deposited in PubMed Central.
- Provided Cochrane author teams with the option to pay an Article Publication Charge to make their new and updated reviews freely available worldwide on publication, and to take up other benefits of a Creative Commons licence, via a 'gold' Open Access option. Gold open access articles will normally be deposited automatically in PubMed Central, and other repositories as determined by funder mandates.
- Made all Abstracts and Protocols free to access immediately upon publication, as well as Plain Language Summaries, which describe the findings from reviews in everyday language.
- We have several access programmes, including national provision funded access which enables all residents of a country to gain immediate access to the Cochrane Library as well as philanthropic access which together cover over 100 countries and over 3.66 billion people.
We're also thinking about the wider definition of accessibility and are making significant investments in improving the design and usability of our evidence for health decision-making. Find out more about our Knowledge Translation work, here.
Nevertheless, we want to do more. Our Strategy to 2020 aims to put Cochrane evidence at the heart of health decision-making all over the world by making it accessible and useful to everybody. Our long-term ambition beyond 2020 is to achieve universal Open Access to Cochrane Reviews immediately upon publication for both new and updated reviews, and the archive of existing published reviews, when we can balance this with long-term financial sustainability for Cochrane.
To accomplish this, we're working hard with our partners and the Cochrane Library's publisher to add new features and content to the Cochrane Library so that it continues to offer great value to those who subscribe to it.
For more information on access options to the Cochrane Library, please visit cochranelibrary.com.
Conflict of Interest Policies
Cochrane’s work is internationally recognized as the benchmark for high-quality information about the effectiveness of health care. We strive to maintain our reputation for independence and credibility through the core values of transparency and research integrity which include, among other things, minimizing the effects that conflicts of interest (CoI) could have on our research and our organization. We do this by adhering to rigorous policies about conflicts of interest. Our CoI policy is a strong one, not only requiring interests to be declared, but also mandating that some conflicts will prevent people from contributing to Cochrane Reviews.
The revised Conflict of Interest Policy for Cochrane Library Content came into effect on October 14, 2020, but at that time, many Cochrane Reviews were already underway. So, to apply the policy retrospectively would have created a significant burden for Cochrane Review Groups and was considered to be unfair to existing author teams. Therefore the 2014 Commercial Sponsorship Policy will be applied to the reviews and updates that had started before implementation of the 2020 policy. We also have a Conflict of Interest Policy for Cochrane Groups, which is still valid, but will be reviewed and revised during 2020, following the launch of the revised policy for Cochrane Library content.