Welcome to the first annual report for Methods Groups and other methods-related activities in Cochrane. From 2010 to 2016 methods activity was reported in Cochrane Methods a supplement of the Cochrane Library (back issues). We stopped producing Cochrane Methods because we planned to publish peer reviewed methods articles with other related content in the CDSR. Unfortunately, the new Cochrane Library platform needed for these articles is delayed. We look forward to making progress with the new format in 2018-19.
Cochrane Review methods need updating and innovation. Research synthesis experts in Cochrane communicate through the "Methods Group" forum. The Methods Groups focus on aspects of methodology by analysis (network meta-analysis), data type (non-randomized, qualitative, economic), review question or type (diagnostic tests, prognosis, rapid review), core methods (statistics, information retrieval, bias assessment, grading the evidence) or special issues (adverse effects, equity and specific populations). These Groups provide important support to Cochrane through expert advice including on specific reviews, training, guidance development and research evaluating methods. Also included is the development of the highly-cited Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.
Cochrane relies on the volunteer support of these Groups. This year we say thank you to David Moher of the Bias Methods Group who stepped down as Convenor and welcome his replacement Matthew Page. We thank Paul Good, Program Manager for the Cochrane Diagnostic Test Accuracy Editorial Unit, who retired and welcome his replacement Susi Wisniewski. We thank Janet Harris who resigned from the Qualitative and Implementation Group to focus on a UK NIHR Knowledge Mobilization Fellowship. Finally, we welcome Sarah Culgin and Laura Fullerton newly appointed Research Co-ordinators for Cochrane GRADEing.
Over the last 3-4 years Cochrane has carried out a strategy to create an organisation that can meet the increasingly complex needs for research synthesis by its stakeholders. Part of this strategy sought to transform the organisational structure and its functions to build a future-proof and sustainable organisation. As part of this re-structure we need to update Methods Groups and the methods infra-structure to introduce greater flexibility. This will meet the needs of both the new Cochrane Review Networks and individual methodologists' capacity to contribute to Cochrane.
Methods Groups have been very active this year. Their work is summarised in the pages listed on menu above left.