About The Cochrane Library

The Cochrane Library is a collection of six databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making, and a seventh database that provides information about groups in The Cochrane Collaboration.

Editor in Chief

Dr David Tovey is the first Editor in Chief of The Cochrane Library (since 2009) and oversees the CDSR content.

Dr Tovey is based in the Cochrane Editorial Unit, along with Dr Harriet MacLehose (Senior Editor) and Mr Toby Lasserson (Scientific Editor). You can contact the Editor in Chief via email at editorial-unit@cochrane.org. Other contact details are available on the Cochrane Editorial Unit website.


John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. publishes The Cochrane Library. Deborah Pentesco-Gilbert, publisher, can be contacted at:

John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, UK. Email: dpentesc@wiley.com.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) is the leading resource for systematic reviews in health care.

The CDSR includes all Cochrane Reviews (and protocols) prepared by Cochrane Review Groups in The Cochrane Collaboration. Each Cochrane Review is a peer-reviewed systematic review that has been prepared and supervised by a Cochrane Review Group (editorial team) in The Cochrane Collaboration according to the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions or Cochrane Handbook for Diagnostic Test Accuracy Reviews. Find out more about Cochrane Reviews and Protocols.

Impact factor

The CDSR has an impact factor of 5.653 for 2009 and is ranked 11th in the “Medicine, General & Internal” category. Download a fact sheet on the impact factor and how it is calculated.

Cochrane Review Groups

The Cochrane Reviews in the CDSR are prepared by authors who register titles with one of the 53 Cochrane Review Groups. Each Cochrane Review Groups focuses on a specific topic area and is led by a Co-ordinating Editor(s) and an editorial team including a Managing Editor and Trials Search Co-ordinator. The Cochrane Review Groups provide authors with methodological and editorial support to prepare Cochrane Reviews, and manage the editorial process, including peer review.

Cochrane Review Group Co-ordinating Editor(s) Contact
Acute Respiratory Infections Prof Chris Del Mar Details in 'About' database
Airways Dr Chris Cates Website | Details in 'About' database
Anaesthesia Prof Anne Merete Møller Website | Details in 'About' database
Back Dr Claire Bombardier,
Prof Maurits W van Tulder
Website | Details in 'About' database
Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Dr Helen HG Handoll,
Prof Rajan Madhok
Website | Details in 'About' database
Breast Cancer Ms Davina Ghersi,
Dr Nicholas Wilcken
Website | Details in 'About' database
Childhood Cancer Dr Leontien CM Kremer Website | Details in 'About' database
Colorectal Cancer Prof Richard L Nelson,
Peer Wille-Jørgensen
Website | Details in 'About' database
Consumers and Communication Dr Sophie Hill Website | Details in 'About' database
Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Dr Alan R Smyth Website | Details in 'About' database
Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Dr Jenny McCleery,
Dr Rupert McShane
Details in 'About' database
Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Dr Rachel Churchill Details in 'About' database
Developmental, Psychosocial and Learning Problems Prof Geraldine Macdonald Website | Details in 'About' database
Drugs and Alcohol Dr Marina Davoli Website | Details in 'About' database
Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders Mr Martin J Burton Website | Details in 'About' database
Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Prof Jeremy Grimshaw Website | Details in 'About' database
Epilepsy Prof Anthony G Marson Website | Details in 'About' database
Eyes and Vision Mr Richard Wormald Website | Details in 'About' database
Fertility Regulation Prof Frans M Helmerhorst Website | Details in 'About' database
Gyneacological Cancer Dr Chris Williams Website | Details in 'About' database
HIV/AIDS Dr George W Rutherford,
Dr Nandi Siegfried
Website | Details in 'About' database
Haematological Malignancies Prof Andreas Engert Website | Details in 'About' database
Heart Dr Juan-Pablo Casas,
Prof Shah Ebrahim
Website | Details in 'About' database
Hepato-Biliary Dr Christian Gluud Website | Details in 'About' database
Hypertension Dr James M Wright Website | Details in 'About' database
Incontinence Prof Cathryn MA Glazener Website | Details in 'About' database
Infectious Diseases Prof Paul Garner Website | Details in 'About' database
Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Functional Bowel Disorders Dr Brian G Feagan Website | Details in 'About' database
Injuries Dr Pablo Perel,
Prof Ian Roberts
Website | Details in 'About' database
Lung Cancer Dr Fergus MacBeth,
Dr Sera Tort
Website | Details in 'About' database
Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Prof Cindy Farquhar Website | Details in 'About' database
Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders Prof Bernd Richter Website | Details in 'About' database
Methodology Review Prof Mike J Clarke,
Dr Andrew D Oxman
Details in 'About' database
Movement Disorders Prof Cristina Sampaio Website | Details in 'About' database
Multiple Sclerosis Dr Roberto D'Amico,
Dr Graziella Filippini
Website | Details in 'About' database
Musculoskeletal Prof Rachelle Buchbinder,
Dr Peter Tugwell
Website | Details in 'About' database
Neonatal Dr Roger Soll Website | Details in 'About' database
Neuromuscular Disease Prof Richard AC Hughes,
Dr Michael PT Lunn
Website | Details in 'About' database
Occupational Safety and Health Dr Jos Verbeek Website | Details in 'About' database
Oral Health Dr Jan E Clarkson,
Prof Helen V Worthington
Website | Details in 'About' database
Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care Prof Christopher Eccleston Website | Details in 'About' database
Peripheral Vascular Diseases Prof Gerry Fowkes Website | Details in 'About' database
Pregnancy and Childbirth Prof Zarko Alfirevic,
Prof James P Neilson
Website | Details in 'About' database
Prostatic Diseases and Urologic Cancers Dr Mike Shelley,
Dr Timothy J Wilt
Details in 'About' database
Public Health Prof Elizabeth Waters Website | Details in 'About' database
Renal Prof Jonathan C Craig,
Dr Angela C Webster
Website | Details in 'About' database
Schizophrenia Prof Clive E Adams Website | Details in 'About' database
Sexually Transmitted Diseases See HIV/AIDS See HIV/AIDS
Skin Prof Hywel C Williams Website | Details in 'About' database
Stroke Prof Peter AG Sandercock Website | Details in 'About' database
Tobacco Addiction Dr Tim Lancaster Website | Details in 'About' database
Upper Gastrointestinal and Pancreatic Diseases Prof David Forman,
Dr Grigorios I Leontiadis,
Prof Paul Moayyedi
Website | Details in 'About' database
Wounds Prof Nicky A Cullum Website | Details in 'About' database

Publication Frequency

The Cochrane Library databases are either published monthly or quarterly according to a regular schedule, with quarterly DVDs.


All Cochrane Reviews are published in the CDSR. The CDSR is published online monthly (from 2010) with quarterly DVDs. As outlined on the access page, access is free for many people in low-income and middle-income countries via a number of initiatives. This is in addition to general access options, including national licenses (eg such as in the United Kingdom) and subscriptions.

For authors

Authors of registered Cochrane Reviews should contact their Cochrane Review Group for support, information about editorial processes, and information about editorial deadlines.

Authors interested in preparing a Cochrane Review should contact the Cochrane Review Group that covers the area of interest for information about the registration process. Prospective authors should first browse the CDSR to identify whether the topic of interest is already covered by an ongoing protocol or review.
View “How to prepare a Cochrane Review” for further information, including author resources and training information.

History and milestones

1972                Publication of Archie Cochrane's 'Effectiveness and Efficiency: random reflections on health services' , which drew attention to our collective ignorance about the effects of health care
1974 Identification of controlled trials in perinatal medicine begins in Cardiff, Wales, UK
1979 Archie Cochrane publishes an essay in which he suggests that "It is surely a great criticism of our profession that we have not organised a critical summary, by specialty or subspecialty, adapted periodically, of all relevant randomised controlled trials." He also designates obstetrics the least scientific medical specialty
1985 Publication of classified bibliography of 3500 reports of controlled trials in perinatal medicine published between 1940 and 1984
1989 to 1992 Maintenance of systematic reviews of controlled trials of perinatal care in six-monthly disk issues of an electronic journal, The Oxford Database of Perinatal Trials (ODPT)
October 1992 The first Cochrane Centre opened (in the UK) and the first Cochrane Review Groups were registered (Pregnancy and Childbirth Group, and the Subfertility Group)
April 1993 Update Software reissues The Oxford Database of Perinatal Trials (ODPT) as a redesigned pilot electronic journal entitled The Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Database (CCPC)
August 1993 Formal launch of The Cochrane Collaboration at the 1st Cochrane Colloquium, in Oxford, UK
October 1994 First public demonstration of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR), designed and published by Update Software
February 1995 CDSR launched in London by the English Minister for Health
March 1996 The Cochrane Library launched by Update Software as a quarterly publication on CD-ROM and disk, incorporating the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR), Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, and Cochrane Review Methodology Database
August 1996 CDSR available on the World Wide Web
April 1997 Electronic Comments and Criticisms System launched within the CDSR
January 2001 One thousandth Cochrane Review published
April 2002 The Cochrane Library made free at the point of use for access under via HINARI
October 2002 John Wiley and Sons Limited publish The Cochrane Library
October 2003 Launch of La Cochrane Library Plus en español
June 2008 First impact factor: 4.654 for 2007; ranked 14 out of 100 worldwide journals in the Medicine, General and Internal category
January 2009 First Editor in Chief of The Cochrane Library, Dr David Tovey
Number of published Cochrane Reviews and Protocols reaches 5676 in Issue 1, 2009
January 2010

CDSR moves to monthly publication

How to submit feedback

Feedback on individual Cochrane Reviews is welcomed, and there is a dedicated process for this. Readers of a review or protocol can do this by clicking on the “submit feedback” button on the left-hand menu for the review.

Number of included protocols and reviews

As of Issue 12, 2010, the CDSR includes 6447 articles: 4476 reviews; and 1971 protocols. Issue 12, 2010 includes 44 new reviews, 40 updated reviews (28 with a new search and 12 with changed conclusions), 53 new protocols and 3 updated protocol. There are also 3 withdrawn reviews and protocols.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects

The Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) is the only database to contain abstracts of systematic reviews that have been quality-assessed. Each abstract includes a summary of the review together with a critical commentary about the overall quality.

DARE is a key resource for busy decision-makers and can be used for answering questions about the effects of specific interventions, whether such questions arise from practice or when making policy. DARE covers a broad range of health related interventions and thousands of abstracts of reviews in fields as diverse as diagnostic tests, public health, health promotion, pharmacology, surgery, psychology, and the organization and delivery of health care.

DARE complements the CDSR by quality-assessing and summarizing reviews that have not yet been carried out by The Cochrane Collaboration.

DARE is produced by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) at the University of York, UK.

Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials

The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) includes details of published articles taken from bibliographic databases (notably MEDLINE and EMBASE), and other published and unpublished sources. CENTRAL records include the title of the article, information on where it was published (bibliographic details) and, in many cases, a summary of the article. They do not contain the full text of the article.

About three-fifths of the records in CENTRAL are taken from MEDLINE. Also, each Cochrane Review Group maintains and updates a collection of controlled trials relevant to its own area of interest, these are called ‘Specialized Registers’. Each Cochrane Review Group may also collect items that are not relevant to its own field of interest; these are known as ‘Handsearch Results’.

All Cochrane Review Groups’ Specialized Registers, the handsearch results register, relevant records retrieved from MEDLINE, and relevant records retrieved from EMBASE, are merged as described here and published as CENTRAL.

The Publishers, John Wiley & Sons Ltd acknowledges the contribution made by Elsevier to CENTRAL by the provision of EMBASE records (Copyright © 2008 Elsevier B.V., Amsterdam. All Rights Reserved). EMBASE records can be identified by a sole EMBASE ID in the Accession Number field. Wiley also thanks Update Software for the continued use of their data formats in CENTRAL.

Cochrane Methodology Register

The Cochrane Methodology Register (CMR) is a bibliography of publications that report on methods used in the conduct of controlled trials. It includes journal articles, books, and conference proceedings, and the content is sourced from MEDLINE and hand searches. CMR contains studies of methods used in reviews and more general methodological studies that could be relevant to anyone preparing systematic reviews. CMR records contain the title of the article, information on where it was published (bibliographic details), and, in some cases, a summary of the article. They do not contain the full text of the article.

The CMR is produced by the UK Cochrane Centre, on behalf of the Cochrane Methodology Review Group.

Further information on using CMR can be viewed here.

The Publishers, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, thanks Update Software for the continued use of their data formats in the Cochrane Methodology Register (CMR).

Health Technology Assessment Database

The Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Database brings together details of completed and ongoing health technology assessments (studies of the medical, social, ethical, and economic implications of healthcare interventions) from around the world. The aim of the HTA Database is to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care.

The HTA database is produced by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) at the University of York, UK, using information obtained from members of International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) and other health technology assessment organizations.

NHS Economic Evaluation Database

As healthcare resources are finite, information about both costs and effects are essential to making evidence-based decisions about competing healthcare interventions. But information about cost-effectiveness can be difficult to identify, appraise and interpret.

The NHS Economic Evaluation Database (EED) assists decision-makers by systematically identifying economic evaluations from around the world, appraising their quality, and highlighting their relative strengths and weaknesses.

NHS EED is produced by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) at the University of York, UK.

About The Cochrane Collaboration database

The About The Cochrane Collaboration database contains information on the 80 groups (Issue 12, 2010) that make up The Cochrane Collaboration.

You will find contacts and information on the aims and scope of the Cochrane Review Groups, Methods Groups, Fields, and Networks, along with details of your nearest Cochrane Centre as well as the Cochrane Editorial Unit and Cochrane Collaboration Secretariat.

The Publishers, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, thanks Update Software for the continued use of their data formats for other Cochrane groups (other than Cochrane Review Groups) in this database.

Number of published articles in the cochrane library

All Databases: total

Database Total published articles
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews* 6447
Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects 13521
Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials 635167
Cochrane Methodology Register 13721
Health Technology Assessment Database 8908
NHS Economic Evaluation Database 28991
About The Cochrane Collaboration** 80

* Comprises 4432 published reviews and 1973 protocols, of which 25 are new reviews, 41 updated reviews (comproses 36 new search and 3 conclusions changed), 53 new protocols, and zero updated protocol. There are also 19 withdrawn reviews and protocols.

** The Cochrane Collaboration: 1; Cochrane Editorial Unit: 1; Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs): 53; Fields: 10; Methods Groups: 15. There are also 13 Centres (some with specific Branches). Links to their individual websites can be found here.

Cochrane database of systematic reviews: in 2010

Published Articles Iss 1 Iss 2 Iss 3 Iss 4 Iss 5 Iss 6 Iss 7 Iss 8 Iss 9 Iss 10 Iss 11 Iss 12
New reviews 98 27 34 31 30 34 28 22 41 35 25 43
Updated reviews 136 36 57 26 28 26 54 23 36 41 41 40
   New search 116 34 43 21 22 21 46 17 30 31 36 28
   Conclusions changed 20 2 14 5 6 5 8 6 6 10 3 12
New protocols 141 41 43 46 23 35 57 26 59 55 53 53
Updated protocols 2 0 0 1 3 2 1 1 1 4 0 3
Withdrawn reviews 12 6 0 1 5 5 0 0 3 4 4 3
Withdrawn protocols 17 14 5 17 7 4 8 3 11 17 15 3
Total in CDSR 6049 6076 6110 6153 6162 6191 6244 6264 6322 6369 6405 6447

The Cochrane Library - Independent high-quality evidence for health care decision making

Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved