Proposing or dissolving a Cochrane Methods Group

Establishing a Cochrane Methods Groups is a major undertaking. It is important, therefore, that there is a clear process for assessing applications, so Cochrane can be assured that new Groups have the necessary resources, skills and credibility to be successful, and new Groups understand the support they can expect to receive from Cochrane.

All decisions to establish new Methods Groups, or dissolve current Methods Groups, are made by the Editor-in-Chief following advice from the Methods Executive. The Editor-in-Chief has line responsibility for all of the activities of these Groups, however, in most cases the direct oversight, management and support of Methods will be provided by the Methods Executive. 

The Methods Executive supports the Methods Groups and wider methods community in Cochrane.  The Methods Executive is a conduit for communication and information flow between the Methods Group Convenors and the Editor-in-Chief, Editorial Board, Scientific Committee, Cochrane Council and Cochrane Central Executive.

Step 0: Expression of Interest

If you are interested in establishing a Cochrane Methods Group, please familiarise yourself with the document Methods Groups Overview: How to manage and develop Cochrane Methods Groups (available on the Methods Group resources page). 

Once familiar with the commitment for managing and developing the Group, please contact Ella Flemyng (eflemyng@cochrane.org) in the Cochrane Editorial and Methods Department, to start an informal discussion on possible opportunities. This initial phase is important, as it will help develop linkages to existing Methods Groups and members of the Cochrane methods community from the beginning, which may also help explore other collaborative opportunities instead of (or in addition to) new Group registration.

Step 1: Application

Once a decision has been taken to go for a formal new Group registration process, the first step is to:

  1. Complete an Application Form: Template for Methods Group
  2. Develop a Strategic Plan: Template for Methods Group Strategic Plan
  3. Declaration of interest form for Methods Group staff

Completed application forms and strategic plans need to be sent to Ella Flemyng (eflemyng@cochrane.org) in the Cochrane Editorial and Methods Department.

Step 2: Assessment

The Editorial and Methods Department will review the application, check its completeness, provide feedback and work with the submitting Group to complete the application as appropriate.

Following review by the Editorial and Methods Department, all applications will also be reviewed by the Methods Executive, and comments and feedback will be shared through the Editorial and Methods Department with the applicant.

Formal Methods Groups are not the only option for methodologists within Cochrane.  Project-based Working Groups  may be more appropriate for the reasons you are proposing a new Methods Group, which will be considered during the assessment step.

Step 3: Approval/Rejection

Applications to register a Methods Group requires the Editor-in-Chief’s approval only.

Step 4: Set-up and Launch

Following application approval, the applicant will be contacted by Ella Flemyng (eflemyng@cochrane.org) from the Editorial and Methods Department, to start the formal registration process. During this phase, all the behind-the-scenes work needs to be done to make the new Group, or a change in existing Group status, official.

The phase entails three steps:

  1. Establishing the Group in Archie:
  2. Website/Branding/promotion:
    • You will be put in contact with Cochrane website support staff to help you setting up your website.
    • You will receive brand guidelines and put in contact with our Brand Team to receive your personalised logo.
    • You will be sent a promotion form to complete and a launch date will be agreed.
  3. Launch:
    • For the official launch, a news item may be published on Cochrane Methods website and the cochrane.org or Cochrane Community website, and will be promoted through Cochrane’s relevant communication channels. 

Dissolving Methods Groups

Some Methods Groups may feel they have achieved what they set out to, for example, the methods are now core with no further development needed, and would like to propose that the Methods Group is dissolved. Proposals to dissolve a Methods Group need to be sent to Ella Flemyng (eflemyng@cochrane.org) in the Editorial and Methods Department, and include details on why you feel the Methods Group should be dissolved.  

The Editorial and Methods Department will review the proposal and may ask for further details or clarifications. Following review by the Editorial and Methods Department, all proposals to dissolved Methods Groups will also be reviewed by the Methods Executive, and comments and feedback will be shared through the Editorial and Methods Department with the Methods Group.

Final decisions to dissolve current Methods Groups are made by the Editor-in-Chief. 

If the Editor-in-Chief disagrees with the proposal to dissolve the Methods Group, e.g. the method is high-priority for Cochrane, discussions with the current Convenors of the Methods Group will be held to confirm how to proceed.

If the Editor-in-Chief agrees with the proposal to dissolve the Methods Group, the Editorial and Methods Department will work with the Convenors and other members of the Methods Group to ensure their Membership and Task Exchange profiles are up-to-date, so they can continue to contribute to Cochrane for ad-hoc tasks, if appropriate.

If you have any questions on Methods Groups, please contact Ella Flemyng (eflemyng@cochrane.org) from the Editorial and Methods Department.