Cochrane News

What is an infodemic and how can we prevent it?: a Lifeology and Cochrane collaboration

4 days 12 hours ago

In this free Lifeology course, learn what an infodemic is and what you can do to slow and prevent the spread of misinformation. 

Lifeology’s tagline is ‘The place where science and art converge’. They offer a platform that brings together scientists, artists, and storytellers to help people better understand and engage with science and health information and research. One of the main ways they meet their objectives is through beautifully illustrated, science-backed, bite-sized ‘flashcard’ courses about science and health-related topics aimed at the general public and students.

Image from the Lifeology's 'What is an infodemic and how can we prevent it?' course

For World Evidence-Based Healthcare (EBHC) Day, with the 2021 campaign theme of  'the role of evidence in an infodemic', they collaborated with Cochrane to create a free course. The 41 slides walk the user through the  story of Ronald who has been misguided by misinformation and teaches what an infodemic is and how to slow the spread of misinformation.

Image from the Lifeology's 'What is an infodemic and how can we prevent it?' course

Paige Jarreau, co-founder of Lifeology, said "At Lifeology, we believe that science communication in any format, including our flashcard courses, is far better when it is the product of collaboration between scientists and professional creatives like storytellers and artists. We were pleased to be able to work closely with people from Cochrane to create this course on infodemics. We've produced a beautifully illustrated free course that is practical in its tips to combat misinformation and accessible through its plain language, empathetic storytelling and relatable imagery  - it's also available in English, Malay, and Spanish !"

Image from the Lifeology's 'What is an infodemic and how can we prevent it?' course

Jordan Collver, the illustrator of the Lifeology course, said "This was an exciting project to work on. We had some fun with metaphors and with well known memes in this course while keeping the story empathic and relatable in a global context.'

  • View the Lifeology course 'what is an infodemic and how we can prevent it?' in English, Malay, or Spanish

Learn more about Lifeology: 

Friday, January 21, 2022
Muriah Umoquit

What's the accuracy of crowdsourcing the screening of search results? Help Cochrane find out!

1 week 4 days ago

Cochrane Crowd is a citizen science platform  where a global community of volunteers help to classify the research needed to support informed decision-making about healthcare. Cochrane Crowd volunteers review descriptions of research studies to identify and classify clinical trials.

 A new task has just gone live on Cochrane Crowd. It is a citation screening task that we are doing in partnership with The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute (THIS Institute).

It forms a part of a methodological study that aims to assess the accuracy of crowdsourcing the screening of search results. Unlike some of the previous studies we’ve done, this one is a little bit different. Instead of asking you to assess a record for possible relevance, we want you to assess it for irrelevance! Our hypothesis is that a crowd can still make a big difference in weeding out the obviously irrelevant records, and that by framing the task in this way, we will reduce the chances of possibly relevant records being rejected.

Are you up for joining this task? If so, head to and log in. On your tasks page you should see a task called: Training for healthcare professionals in electronic fetal monitoring using cardiotocograph.

We are going to run this study as a randomised study. When you click on the training module, you will be randomised to one of three tasks. Each of the three tasks will look exactly the same. The difference between the three tasks is the agreement algorithm in the background. This algorithm provides a ‘final’ classification on a record based on a certain number and order of individual classifications made by contributors. We are testing three different agreement algorithms as part of this methodological study.

There is of course a training module. It should only take around 10-15 minutes to complete. Once done you will be able to screen some ‘real’ records. Do as many as you like. If you manage to do 250 or more, you will get named acknowledgement in any write-ups of this methods study and be able to download a certificate.

As always, this kind of work would not be possible without the help of this fantastic community. If you are able to take part, then thank you very much indeed from the teams at THIS Institute and Cochrane Crowd.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me:

With best wishes to all and happy citation screening!

Anna and Sarah

Friday, January 14, 2022
Lydia Parsonson

Cochrane seeks Chief Executive Officer

1 week 5 days ago

Location: UK based role with occasional global travel
Salary: £110-120,000 per annum
Contract type: Permanent
Date closing: 06/02/2022

Cochrane is a global independent community of more than 100,000 people who search for and summarize the best evidence from health and care research to help our beneficiaries make informed choices about health and care.  

Our members and supporters come from more than 220 countries worldwide including researchers, health professionals, patients, carers, and people passionate about improving health and care outcomes for everyone, everywhere.

Chief Executive
£110, 120,000 per annum
UK based role with occasional global travel

Cochrane’s work providing accessible, credible information to improve global health - has never been more important or relevant than it is today.

This Chief Executive role is an extraordinary opportunity for an inspirational, experienced and authentic leader, passionate about evidence and health care, to join Cochrane and work with a highly committed and engaged Board and talented staff team to lead the development of a new long-term strategy.

We are seeking someone with experience working in a multi-stakeholder environment, ideally in a global context, with exceptional interpersonal and communication skills with proven capacity to develop influential internal and external relationships.  Thoughtful, curious, and with a supportive leadership style; you will bring a strong track record of leading teams; fostering a high-performing culture; driving organisational change and growing income.  Critically, you will share our vision of a world of better health for all people where decisions about health and care are informed by high-quality evidence.

Cochrane is a global community and we value the diverse range of experience that this brings.  We strive to be an equal opportunities employer and welcome application from people from all races, religions, genders, sexual orientation, lived experience or ability.

  • For further information, the role and how to apply please download the full appointment brief here  
  • Closing Date: Sunday 6th February 2022
  • If you require this document in an alternative format, please contact or call 020 7691 1920
Thursday, January 13, 2022 Category: Jobs
Lydia Parsonson

Research Integrity: making sure medical trials reported in the scientific literature are real

1 week 5 days ago

Senior Research Integrity Editor, Lisa Bero, discusses this subject in a recent Nature article.

Never has it been more important to foster trust in scientific evidence than in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Cochrane is committed to independence, transparency, and integrity in healthcare research. The Research Integrity Team works to support and strengthen this commitment through research, policy development and implementation, advocacy and community outreach.

Recently, Senior Research Integrity Editor, Lisa Bero, has written a World View in Nature on the topic of working together to tackle the issue of problematic studies – studies where there are serious concerns about the trustworthiness of the data or findings. In the article she explains the tools and resources Cochrane uses as described in its policy for ‘Managing potentially problematic studies’, to empower reviewers to act when they suspect an issue. 

Research Integrity Editor, Stephanie Boughton, says “It was great to highlight Cochrane’s leading work in this area. We are building upon Cochrane’s strong history of conducting meta-research to detect research integrity problems. I hope all systematic review authors take up Lisa’s call to action and use tools described in Cochrane’s policy for ‘Managing potential problematic studies’ when they suspect an issue.”

Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Lydia Parsonson

Cochrane UK seeks a Transition Support Project Manager

2 weeks 1 day ago

Specifications:  Part Time, 1 day per week
Location: UK based (remote)
Application Closing Date: 25 January 2022

Cochrane UK is seeking a dynamic, self-motivated Transition Support Project Manager to lead and manage a support service for UK-based Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs) and those who work with them during a period of transition to a new review production model. 

You will join a small and friendly team at Cochrane UK and will work closely with the UK-based CRGs, Cochrane’s Editorial and Methods Department (EMD) and Cochrane Support Service to develop and operate processes to minimize disruption during the transition period.   

You will have in-depth knowledge and understanding of the existing Cochrane publication model and editorial processes.  You will have experience of the processes involved in conducting and editing systematic reviews and submitting funding bids.  You will have excellent communication and project management skills with the ability to build effective stakeholder relationships.

The role will be for 1 day per week with the potential to increase if, and when,  the requirements of the project change over the next 12 months.   

This role can be arranged either as a secondment (with your employer’s permission) or with you working as a self-employed contractor. 

If you would like more information please contact Therese Docherty, Business & Programme Manager ( for the full job description and person specification.

Deadline for applications: 25 January 2022.

Monday, January 10, 2022 Category: Jobs
Muriah Umoquit

Cochrane seeks Business Analyst - Deadline extended

1 month 1 week ago

Location: Flexible location (remote working) in the UK.
Specifications: Permanent contract.
Hours: Full-time week (flexible working considered) – 37.5 hours.
Salary: £40,000 per annum.
Application Closing Date: Monday 31 January (Midnight GMT).

This role is an exciting opportunity to use your problem-solving skills to make a difference in the field of health care research.  

As the Cochrane Library Business Analyst, you will gather, investigate, validate, and document business requirements using workshops, user research, user cases, and task and workflow analysis. You will ensure requirements are sufficiently detailed, reviewed, signed off, and kept up-to-date and are fully traceable. You will create and manage functional specifications, and contribute to identifying and validating appropriate solutions to support business objectives.

You will act as a key liaison between the relevant Cochrane stakeholders and departments, our publisher and their outsourced development vendor, to gather requirements, ensure that technical needs are well defined, that feature implementation goals are met, and that go-to-market activities are successfully performed.

Cochrane is a global, independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesizing research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm and where more research is needed. Our work is recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

  • For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here
  • The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples. Note that we will assess applications as they are received, and therefore may fill the post before the deadline.
  • Deadline for applications: Monday 31 January (Midnight GMT).
Tuesday, January 11, 2022 Category: Jobs
Lydia Parsonson

Measures implemented in the school setting to contain the COVID-19 pandemic: a rapid review

2 months 2 weeks ago

This review provides insight into the effectiveness of measures implemented in the school setting to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

While there are limitations to this review, the review demonstrates that a range of different measures can be effective at reducing COVID-19 transmission, especially when multiple interventions are implemented together. Importantly, the review demonstrates that schools can stay open (or reopen) safely when prevention measures are implemented effectively. The effectiveness of interventions is influenced by many things, including the levels of community transmission. Given the rapid and widespread advancements in prevention and containment measures, most notably, the COVID-19 vaccines and increases in testing capacity, as well as the rise of more transmissible variants of the virus, an update to this review may yield very different results.

What was studied in the review?
In order to reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, many governments and societies put mitigation measures in place in schools. However, we do not know whether these measures work with regards to reducing the spread of the virus, or how these measures affect other aspects of life, such as education, the economy or society as a whole.

Key messages
Reopening schools or keeping schools open while having a broad range of measures in place can reduce transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. Such measures can also reduce the number of people who will need to go to hospital due to developing COVID-19. However very little is known about other consequences of these measures, such as those linked to education, resources, and physical or mental health, as this knowledge is mostly based on studies modelling the real world. More studies set in the real world using real-world data are needed.

Lead author Shari Krishnaratne explains:

“This review provides insight into the effectiveness of measures implemented in schools to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst the review addresses a very important question there are limitations to the evidence it provides. We searched for studies for the review in December 2020, at a time when there was a lack of real-world evidence. As such, most of the studies included in this review use modelling. This review therefore shows an overall absence of real-world evidence about the effectiveness of these measures. However, there is enough evidence from the modelling studies and in other reviews such as one on travel measures for us to have some confidence that there is likely to be a positive effect on transmission, but how an intervention works in one location might not be the same as in another.
There are limitations to the evidence, but it does suggest that schools can stay open (or reopen) safely when prevention measures are implemented effectively. The effectiveness of interventions is influenced by many things, including the levels of community transmission. Given the rapid and widespread advancements in prevention and containment measures, most notably, the COVID-19 vaccines and increases in testing capacity, as well as the rise of more transmissible variants of the virus, an update to this review may yield very different results.”

What are measures implemented in the school setting?
Measures in the school setting can be grouped into the following four broad categories.

  1. Measures reducing the opportunity for contacts: by reducing the number of students in a class or a school, opening certain school types only (for example primary schools) or by creating a schedule by which students attend school on different days or in different weeks, the face-to-face contact between students can be reduced.
  2. Measures making contacts safer: by putting measures in place such as face masks, improving ventilation by opening windows or using air purifiers, cleaning, handwashing, or modifying activities like sports or music, contacts can be made safer.
  3. Surveillance and response measures: screening for symptoms or testing sick or potentially sick students, or teachers, or both, and putting them into isolation (for sick people) or quarantine (for potentially sick people).
  4. Multicomponent measures: measures from categories 1, 2 and 3 are combined.

What is the aim of the review?
The authors aimed to find out which measures implemented in the school setting allow schools to safely reopen, stay open, or both, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What did we do?
They searched for studies that looked at the impact of these types of measures in the school setting on the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, the impact on the healthcare system (i.e. how many hospital beds are needed), as well as important social aspects (i.e. how often students attended school). The studies could focus on students, teachers and other school staff, as well as on families and the whole community. They could use real-life data (observational studies) or data from computer-generated simulations (modelling studies).

View the video in German, French, or Spanish

What are the main results of the review?
The authors found 38 relevant studies. Most of these were modelling studies (33 studies). Five studies used real-world data. Twenty studies were conducted in North or South America, 16 in Europe and two in China.

Below we summarise the main findings by category.

  1. Measures reducing the opportunity for contacts
    The authors found 23 modelling studies assessing measures to reduce the opportunity for contacts. All studies showed reductions in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and the use of the healthcare system. Some studies also showed a reduction in the number of days spent in school due to the intervention.
  2. Measures making contacts safer
    The authors found 11 modelling studies and two real-world studies looking at measures, such as mask wearing in schools, cleaning, handwashing, and ventilation. Five of these studies combined multiple measures, which means we cannot see which specific measures worked and which did not. Most studies showed reductions in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19; some studies, however, showed mixed or no effects.
  3. Surveillance and response measures
    We found 13 modelling studies and one real-world study assessing surveillance and response measures. Twelve studies focused on mass testing and isolation measures, while two looked specifically at symptom-based screening and isolation. Most studies showed results in favour of the intervention, however some showed mixed or no effects
  4. Multicomponent measures
    They found three studies that looked at multicomponent interventions, where it was not possible to determine the effect of each individual intervention. These included one modelling study and two real-world studies. These studies assessed physical distancing, modification of activities, cancellation of sports or music classes, testing, exemption of high-risk students, handwashing, and face masks. Most studies showed reduced transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19, however some showed mixed or no effects.

How confident are we in the findings of this review?
Confidence in these results is limited. Most studies used models, that is, they estimated the effects of the interventions rather than observing outcomes. As the models are built on assumptions about how the virus spreads and how people behave, we lack real-world evidence. Many studies were published as 'preprints' without undergoing rigorous checks of published studies, which further limits confidence. Also, the studies were very different from each other (for example, with regards to the levels of transmission in the community).

How up to date is this evidence?
The evidence is up-to-date to December 2020. It is expected this review will be updated in Spring 2022.

Monday, January 17, 2022
Lydia Parsonson

Cochrane Clinical Answers related to COVID-19

2 years 9 months ago

Readable, clinically-focused, actionable answers to inform point-of-care decision-making for health professionals. 

Cochrane Clinical Answers (CCAs) provide a readable, digestible, clinically-focused entry point to rigorous research from Cochrane Reviews. They are designed to be actionable and to inform point-of-care decision-making. Each CCA contains a clinical question, a short answer, and data for the outcomes from the Cochrane Review deemed most relevant to practicing healthcare professionals. The evidence is displayed in a user-friendly tabulated format that includes narratives, data, and links to graphics.

Read the CCAs for the following Special Collections:

The Following CCAs are free as part of the Special Collection on support for evidence relevant to clinical rehabilitation.

The following CCAs are free as part of the Special Collection on support for wellbeing in the healthcare workforce.

The following CCAs are free as part of our Special Collection on the remote care through telehealth.

The following CCAs are free as part of our Special Collection on the effective options for quitting smoking during the pandemic


The following CCAs are free as part of our Special Collection on infection control and prevention measures

The following CCAs are free as part of our Special Collection on  evidence relevant to critical care

The following CCAs are free as part of our Special Collection on regional anaesthesia to reduce drug use in anaesthesia and avoid aerosol generation

The following CCAs are free as part of our Special Collection on optimizing health in the home workspace


Get involved: The clinical answer is written either by a practicing clinician or by a CCA Editor, with the answer being peer-reviewed by a practicing clinician. If you would like to join the Clinical Answers authoring team, please contact the team at We are specifically looking for clinicians in the following areas: respiratory medicine; care of the elderly; cardiovascular medicine; pregnancy and childbirth; neurology - especially epilepsy; infectious disease; paediatrics; rheumatology; ENT; and urology.

Learn more about Cochrane Clinical Answers and how they are created

Browse all Cochrane Clinical Answers

Read more about Cochrane's response to COVID-19 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Muriah Umoquit

VIDEO: What are systematic reviews?

3 years ago

A systematic review attempts to identify, appraise and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a specific research question. Researchers conducting systematic reviews use explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view aimed at minimizing bias, to produce more reliable findings to inform decision making. 

Here is a video from Cochrane Consumers and Communication that explains what a systematic review is clearly and simply for people who may not be familiar with the concepts and terminology of systematic reviews: what they are, how researchers prepare them, and why they’re an important part of making informed decisions about health - for everyone. 

Cochrane evidence provides a powerful tool to enhance your healthcare knowledge and decision making. This video from Cochrane Sweden explains a bit about how we create health evidence, including systematic reviews, and other activities of Cochrane. 

Thursday, January 13, 2022
16 hours 56 minutes ago
Subscribe to Cochrane News feed