International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care

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International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care (2009), 25:182-195 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009
doi:10.1017/S026646230909062X

General Essays

The origins, evolution, and future of The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews


Mark Starra1, Iain Chalmersa2, Mike Clarkea3 and Andrew D. Oxmana4

a1 Update Software Ltd
a2 James Lind Library
a3 UK Cochrane Centre
a4 Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services
Article author query
starr m [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
chalmers i [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
clarke m [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
oxman ad [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]

Abstract

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) evolved in response to Archie Cochrane's challenge to the medical profession to assemble “a critical summary, adapted periodically, of all . . . relevant randomized controlled trials”. CDSR has been an electronic publication from its inception and this has meant that Cochrane reviews (i) need not be constrained by lack of space; (ii) can be updated as new information becomes available and when mistakes or other ways of improving them are identified; and (iii) can be cross-linked to other, related sources of relevant information. Although CDSR has become widely cited, it must continue to evolve in the light of technological and methodological developments, and in response to the needs of people making decisions about health care.

Keywords:Cochrane Collaboration; The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews; Health care; Randomized controlled trials