Pre-symposium Cochrane Editors’ Workshop

Tuesday 21 November, 11am to 5pm, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Members of Cochrane editorial teams are invited to come together for a productive and interactive working day. Topics for discussion include the CRG Transformation Programme, Cochrane Library content and open access strategies, and plans for editor training and support in 2018, including new core competencies. The day will include training in new editorial policies on rejection, appeals and peer review; Risk of Bias 2.0; and RevMan Web. Sessions will be presented by David Tovey, Editor in Chief, and Miranda Cumpston, Head of Learning & Support, and other members of the community, with a focus on sharing experience and expertise across Groups. The workshop is open to Editors, Managing Editors, Co-ordinating Editors and other members of the editorial team of any Cochrane Review Group.

This is a free event for Cochrane editors and members of Cochrane editorial teams.


Day 1 – Wednesday 22 November

10.00 – Registration and morning tea

10.30 – Opening session: Making evidence count: evolution and revolution in Australian health care

Several leading voices in Australian health care will present on contemporary issues faced by the health system in putting evidence at the heart of decision-making. The session will feature presentations on the part played by evidence in the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review; the recently announced initiatives from NHMRC, including around funding for clinical trials and cohort studies; how Wiser Healthcare is leading efforts in Australia to address the health system implications of the complex and pressing global issue of overdiagnosis; and finally, how does big data fit into all this. In response to the presentations by those most closely involved in these various initiative, a senior member of Cochrane in Australia will reflect on the impact and opportunities for Cochrane and others.

Speakers: Alexandra Barratt, Rachelle Buchbinder, Davina Ghersi, Jonathan Craig, Megan Keaney, David Henry, Julian Elliott
Chairs: Christina Mitchell and David Tovey

12.30 – Lunch

1.30 – Workshops


Presenters: Joanne McKenzie, Sue Brennan and Rebecca Ryan

The next edition of the Cochrane Handbook will include a new chapter on the methods that can be used when meta-analysis of effect estimates is inappropriate or not possible. This workshop will cover the essentials of the new guidance, including how planning ahead for narrative synthesis can ensure that reviewers make best use of available data and produce more useful syntheses for decision-makers.


Presenter: Matthew Page

The revised Cochrane risk of bias tool, including extensions for cluster and crossover trials, was launched in October 2016. This workshop will cover the key innovations in the RoB 2.0 tool and outline measures in place for Cochrane authors to use the new tool in their reviews.


Presenters: Alexandra Barratt, Rachelle Buchbinder, David Tovey

Following the presentation in the opening plenary, this workshop will provide a forum for an in-depth discussion of the issues raised. We will look at the evidence base for the drivers of and solutions to overtesting, overdiagnosis and overtreatment; provide local examples of where progress has been made; consider the National Action Plan to Prevent Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment in Australia; and explore what Cochrane’s role might be in addressing the problem.

Presenter: Frances Pienkos

An opportunity to get up to speed with a core piece of Cochrane’s review production toolkit. Covidence is now a widely used platform across many organisations for improving the efficiency and experience of producing reviews. Learn about recent developments and new features, including data extraction, risk of bias assessments and reference handling. The workshop will combine real-time demonstrations with time for hands-on experience.

3.00 – Afternoon tea

15.30 – Plenary session 2: Making it worthwhile: ensuring Cochrane’s evidence is used

Cochrane’s vision is a world of improved health where decisions about health and health care are informed by high quality, relevant and up-to- date synthesized research evidence. Realisation of this vision relies both on production of Cochrane Reviews, and on effective strategies to facilitate their use. This session will highlight some of the new initiatives and current thinking in facilitating and supporting the use of Cochrane Evidence. We will reflect on Cochrane’s new framework for Knowledge Translation, explore strategies for presenting our evidence to healthcare consumers, look to the role of linked data in enabling evidence use and learn from the experience of Cochrane leadership.

Speakers: Sally Green, Nancy Santesso, Julian Elliott, Lisa Bero

Chairs: Davina Ghersi and Sophie Hill

5.00 – Close

Day 2 – Thursday 23 November

9.00 – Plenary session 3: Making it relevant: ensuring Cochrane continues to produce useful, reliable evidence

The presentations in this session will explore what Cochrane is doing both to improve how reviews are currently being produced and to position itself so that its outputs remain relevant and useful as the needs of users change. We will hear about the tools (RevMan Web), methods development (new Handbook guidance), and support and training (quality agenda) being provided to authors and editorial staff. Cochrane’s focus on future directions includes expanding the types of reviews it produces and integrating new and diverse types of data. One area of significant activity is living systematic reviews and we’ll hear about the publication of these reviews in the Cochrane Library and provide a local case study.

Speakers: David Tovey, Miranda Cumpston, Steve McDonald, Anneliese Synnot, Rebecca Hodder
Chair: Cindy Farquhar and Vanessa Jordan

11.00 – Morning tea

11.30 – Workshops and papers


Presenters: Miranda Cumpston and Joanne McKenzie

Over the years that the Cochrane Editorial Unit has been screening reviews, many issues have cropped up that have proved regular tripping hazards for reviewers. In this workshop we explore some of the key areas that require particular attention from authors, including consistency of reporting across reviews and statistical errors. Examples of good and bad practice will illustrate what authors should and should not be doing.


Presenters: Shauna Hurley and David Tovey

This workshop will look at both conventional and creative ways to ensure your research findings reach audiences of all kinds. Cochrane Editor-in-Chief David Tovey and Cochrane Australia’s Communications Manager, Shauna Hurley,  will offer a mix of perspectives, presentations and practical exercises focused on defining your audiences, developing engaging key messages, and finding the most effective ways to spark broader discussion about your work within and beyond the bounds of academia


Presenters: Sue Brennan, Nancy Santesso and Rebecca Ryan

As a follow-on from the narrative synthesis workshop, this workshop will provide guidance on how to apply GRADE to reviews where there is no quantitative estimate of effect. Although the principles of assessing domains such as inconsistency, imprecision and indirectness still apply to these reviews, preparing summary of findings (SoF) tables can be challenging. The workshop will use examples of narrative reviews that have used SoF tables to highlight and identify challenges in the appropriate application of GRADE domains.

Presenters: Barbara Mintzes and Lisa Bero

ROBINS-E is a risk of bias tool recently developed to assess non-randomised studies of exposures. It is closely related to ROBINS-I, which assesses risk of bias in non-randomised studies of interventions. In this workshop, we will introduce ROBINS and discuss our experience with assessments using ROBINS-E for studies of environmental risks; public health; nutrition; and harmful effects of medicines. The aim is to highlight the experience thus far in a variety of contexts and to stimulate a discussion among workshop participants on what is needed in a tool to evaluate risk of bias in observational studies of exposure.


1.00 – Lunch

2.00 – Closing session: Countering quackery, raising health literacy: the increasingly important role of researchers and the media

We’ve all heard the influential pronouncements of assorted celebrities and ‘wellness’ gurus offering evidence-free opinions and advice on all things health. So how do we counter increasingly popular and problematic quackery and arm people with the knowledge and know-how they need to question the veracity of  such claims, and instead find accessible and trustworthy evidence on which to base their decisions. This lively panel session brings together three prominent Australian print and broadcast journalists to help us explore the current state of health reporting and media coverage, the essentials of good science communication and the different ways researchers and journalists can work together to raise health literacy for people from all walks of life.

Speakers: Lindy Burns (ABC Radio 774), Melissa Davey (The Guardian), Brigid O’Connell (The Herald Sun), Paul Glasziou
Chair: Shauna Hurley

3.15 – Close and afternoon tea

Lunchtime and breaks

During the breaks there’ll be opportunities to see demos and hear about many of the latest Cochrane tools and innovations, including Covidence, RevMan Web, Classmate, Cochrane Interactive Learning, TaskExchange and Cochrane Crowd.

Medicine and the Media Course

When:    Saturday 25 November
Time:     9am till 4.30pm
Where:  553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Cost:      $299 (incl GST)

The Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine is running a Medicine in the Media Course on Saturday 25 November, which is open to all symposium participants with an interest in this area. In this one-day interactive course, participants from both academic and journalism backgrounds will work together to identify important barriers to communicating health research findings to the general public. The paradigm of evidence-based medicine and how it can be used to enhance reporting will be highlighted, using recent case studies of optimal and imbalanced reporting. Small group sessions will engage journalists in tasks designed to explore evidence-based approaches to reporting, while researchers and academics will cover tips for better engagement with media such as how to stay on message, avoid being misquoted and steer away from difficult areas.

Mock interviews of academics by a prominent health journalist will be staged to demonstrate useful media techniques, and safe and effective use of social media tools to convey your message will also be discussed.

For more information and registration visit Monash short courses