Cochrane is improving the way we manage and share the data associated with our reviews

Person looking at data from Cochrane Reviews

 At Cochrane, we aim to collaborate and create reliable synthesized evidence, making it accessible to all. We are dedicated to promoting access and the widest possible dissemination of our valuable evidence.

We're now making some big improvements to help continue that mission, by changing the way we share the data that is associated with Cochrane Reviews. Making data available to everyone is at the heart of our core principles. It opens opportunities for collaboration, reduces research waste, makes systematic reviewing more efficient, and ensures transparency and quality.

We are confident that these changes will improve the systematic review process by enabling easier re-use of data across Cochrane Reviews, meaning less time and effort being duplicated. It will also make it easier for users and decision-makers to access and examine the relevant data they need and use it to impact policy.

"I am confident that improving how we share data will appeal to our community of rigorous, passionate researchers. By embracing these new changes, we can to maximise the benefits from the investment in developing Cochrane Reviews, for both authors and users of our evidence .”

- Ella Flemyng, Cochrane Editorial Product Lead


“This is a really exciting milestone for Cochrane. This new data format facilitates data re-use, not only in RevMan but other tools too, such as Excel and different statistical packages. It also opens up opportunities for how we can use the data to innovate to best meet our stakeholder needs."

Gert van Valkenhoef, Head of IT Development and Infrastructure


  • Cochrane is changing the way we share data in a bid to promote collaboration, reduce research waste and ensure quality by making Cochrane Review data more accessible. 
  • From 25 April, data associated with Cochrane Reviews can be downloaded from RevMan Web in standard formats, such as CSV and RIS.
  • This new data package will include not only analysis data but also all other data associated with the Review related to the included studies, risk of bias assessments, and references.
  • As Reviews with this data package are published, it will increase the impact of Cochrane’s Reviews and allow researchers, policymakers, practitioners and others to access and use Cochrane evidence more easily.
  • We plan to continue making changes and improvements to pave the way for further innovation, with the potential to improve evidence and patient care.

 What is changing?

From 25 April, changes to RevMan Web mean that authors will be able to download all available data files associated with a Cochrane Review in user-friendly formats like CSV and RIS. These downloadable files will include the Review's analyses data, along with other data associated with the Review - such as study characteristics, study data, risk of bias data and references. But that’s not all – once published, readers of the Cochrane Library will also be able to explore the data associated with the Review. All you have to do is select the 'Download statistical data' option on published Reviews and you'll have all the information you need at your fingertips.

Going forward, this data package will be available with new publications on the Cochrane Library under the same license as the associated Review (‘green’ or ‘gold’). This will of course be reassessed as part of Cochrane’s commitment to move to full open access by 2025.

For Cochrane Reviews published before this change, a conversion service will be available to convert the current downloadable RevMan 5 analyses files into the standard, easily reusable format.

What does it mean for you? 

Authors: We believe these changes are good news for Cochrane authors because they mean that your published Reviews are going to have an even bigger impact. According to extensive research, sharing data leads to increased visibility, usage and impact of your research. This will help your hard work be seen and heard by everyone out there. We also know from our funders that better data sharing is increasingly becoming a key requirement in this area. And this way, RevMan automatically structures and organizes the data so you don’t have to.

Readers and end users: Unlocking data and information has now been made even easier for our users by our new shareable data. With our more streamlined and accessible Reviews, researchers, policymakers, practitioners and other user groups are now able to find the information they need to make impactful decisions.

What’s next?

With this new approach, we aim to make reusing Cochrane Reviews more efficient and effective. Our mission is to increase the visibility and discovery of research data, promote transparency and ensure our information and data can be reproduced. It is the start of Cochrane’s journey towards FAIR principles - Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reuse - of data, which will open up new opportunities for how we can innovate with Cochrane evidence.

Further information:

Thursday, May 4, 2023