COVID-19 Study Register: Cochrane’s curated collection for global researchers passes more than 20,000 references...and counting!

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Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register gains support from Cochrane Crowd and Elsevier to add Embase.com records as it passes a new significant milestone -  publishing 20,000 primary study references on COVID-19. 

The Study Register was launched in April 2020 with the aim of supporting rapid and living evidence synthesis by systematic review producers and researchers across the world as well as Cochrane's own work on COVID-19-related Rapid Reviews, Systematic Reviews and Network Meta-Analyses. Five months on, it’s been a source of studies in twelve published Cochrane Reviews, the Australian National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce’s living guidelines and 15 other systematic reviews on COVID-19. 

 It provides a curated collection for researchers to access all relevant primary studies being published related to COVID-19. Study references are pre-evaluated to meet eligibility for COVID-19 reviews, reducing searching and screening time for author teams. The Register helps systematic reviewers prioritize topics, identify available evidence and produce urgently needed reviews for front-line health professionals, public health policymakers and research teams developing new therapeutic, diagnostic and preventive interventions for COVID-19. 

Since it was set up, new functionality and enhancements have been added to the Register, which now includes: 

  • Increased coverage with >1300 preprint records;
  • Enhanced searching with new filters for publication type filters and studies reporting results; 
  • Automated PubMed search, which now updates daily; and 
  • A pilot Crowd task to screen and describe eligible studies.

 In July, Elsevier and Cochrane partnered to add Embase.com records to the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, helping to increase the register’s coverage of MECIR mandatory databases and making the register a comprehensive source of studies for review production. 

Cochrane’s Head of Information Technology, Chief Information Officer and project lead, Chris Mavergames, said: “COVID-19 continues to present a formidable challenge for global health researchers. We are pleased to report that our data curation and synthesis tools are now being using in practice to assist in rapidly addressing the most important questions for global decision-makers and our Study Register represents a key pillar in that effort. We are also pleased to announce that, following from our successful pilot Crowd task, today we have launched a new Cochrane Crowd task, COVID Quest, to help identify eligible COVID-19 studies from Embase.com.”

Steve McDonald, senior search specialist with Australia’s National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce, said “The acceleration in research on COVID-19 presents us with many challenges. As a group committed to publishing living guidelines, updated weekly, for the clinical care of people with COVID-19, not only are we confronted with a rapid rate of new research, but also the importance of preprints as a new but vital source of research evidence. Cochrane’s COVID-19 Study Register is an essential resource, enabling us to quickly and efficiently identify a broad range of studies that might be relevant, particularly when evidence from randomised studies is still relatively limited. The daily updates to the Register, plus the breadth of sources covered and its annotation and report-linking features, enhance the value of the Register as information resource for our guidelines.”

Wednesday, September 30, 2020
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