Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research
Publishing protocols is a crucial element of the process of producing Cochrane Reviews. PROSPERO, the international prospective register of systematic reviews in health and social care now provides a place to register protocol information for all such reviews.
PROSPERO is web-based, free to search and open for free registration to anyone undertaking a systematic review with a health-related outcome. Launched in February 2011, PROSPERO, now contains registrations of over 2,300 reviews being undertaken in 63 different countries.
There exists a close relationship between the CRD databases and The Cochrane Library. The CRD databases (DARE, NHS EED and the HTA database) are a component part of The Cochrane Library. In addition to quality assessed reviews DARE contains details of all Cochrane reviews and protocols.
The Cochrane review process and PROSPERO also share common aims: to help avoid unplanned duplication of reviews and minimise the risk of bias by making the production of reviews transparent.
From the inception of PROSPERO, The Cochrane Collaboration has been a strong supporter of the principle of registration of protocols for all systematic reviews. This support has been mobilised in the agreement that new Cochrane protocols are to be included in PROSPERO, and the subsequent joint work to make this happen.
We have now completed work to deliver an automated upload of key features from new Cochrane protocols for intervention and diagnostic test accuracy reviews. There is a good match between the fields in Archie and those in the PROSPERO registration form. Records will be published to PROSPERO and an email sent to the lead author on the Cochrane review to let them know. If there are any queries the lead author can contact the PROSPERO administration staff.
As more and more new Cochrane protocols are included in PROSPERO, we look forward to seeing not only the direct benefits of facilitation of efficient use of research funding and safeguarding against bias, but also the indirect benefits from nudges to improve the quality of systematic reviews and the decisions that rely upon them. We would like to thank everyone for their help and cooperation in putting the Cochrane icing on the PROSPERO cake.
David Tovey, Editor in Chief, The Cochrane Library (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alison Booth and Lesley Stewart, NIHR Centre for Reviews and Dissemination University of York YORK, (email@example.com)
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