Cochrane’s Future Publishing and Open Access Arrangements

Cochrane’s Future Publishing and Open Access Arrangements

Today Cochrane announces important decisions on its future publishing and open access arrangements, part of its commitment of making Cochrane evidence freely and openly accessible to everyone all over the world.

Cochrane has agreed improved terms and a two-year extension of its existing publishing agreement with John Wiley & Sons, Limited, which means Wiley will continue to publish the Cochrane Library until 31st December 2020. In June 2018 the enhanced Cochrane Library will be launched on a new publishing platform (built by the specialist third party HighWire), allowing many new features to be developed and launched over the next two years that will offer increasing value for Cochrane Library subscribers.

Cochrane will also open and run a competitive tender process in 2019 to establish who will publish the Cochrane Library from 1st January 2021. Future publishers will be required to show how they plan to partner with Cochrane to develop the Library so that it becomes the ‘Home of Evidence’ at the heart of health decision making around the world; whilst also maintaining and expanding Cochrane Library revenues. Royalties from sales of the Cochrane Library are the major source of funds for the charity – over £6 million in 2017 – despite 3.66 billion people around the world having one-click access to the Library either through highly-subsidised national licences (for 1.5 billion) or free provision for populations in low- and middle-income countries eligible under the WHO’s HINARI initiative (2.1 billion).

This is part of Cochrane’s extensive commitment in its Strategy to 2020 that aims to put Cochrane evidence at the heart of health decision-making all over the world.

Since February 2013, when the current contract with Wiley was signed, 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.
  • Deposited all Cochrane Reviews in PubMed Central for open access publication 12 months after publication (started September 2016).
  • Made all Cochrane Review protocols freely available on publication (since February 2016).
  • Provided Cochrane author teams with the option to pay an Article Publication Charge in order 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.

Cochrane’s Governing Board has decided to continue these policies under the post-2020 publishing arrangements, but to postpone implementation of the target set out in Strategy to 2020 to make all Cochrane Reviews open access ‘immediately upon publication’. This remains Cochrane’s long-term ambition, but it will be implemented only when the Governing Board are confident that it will not undermine Cochrane’s future sustainability and, therefore, its ability to meet other strategic goals. 

Cochrane’s Governing Board Co-Chair, Martin Burton said: “Extending our already very successful partnership with Wiley until the end of Strategy to 2020 will give us the time to develop exciting new products and features in the Cochrane Library, focus on the transformative organizational changes we need to deliver in the next two years, provide us with a stable and more predictable financial base, whilst also allowing us adequate time to choose our future publishing partners.” Cochrane’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Wilson added: “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.”

For more information on access options to the Cochrane Library, please visit

Monday, April 30, 2018