Note: Striking letter below from Dr. Peter Gotzsche, Director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre. Please see the original pdf letter here. Background: What is Cochrane?
The Cochrane Collaboration is a global independent network of researchers, health professionals, patients, carers, and other people interested in health. Cochrane contributors, from more than 130 countries, work together to produce reliable systematic reviews of the benefits and harms of healthcare interventions that are free from commercial sponsorship. These reviews are recognised as representing an international gold standard for high quality, trusted information. Many of our contributors are world leaders in their fields and our groups are situated in some of the world’s most respected academic and medical institutions.
Contributors are affiliated with the organisation through Cochrane groups, which are healthcare related review groups, thematic networks, groups concerned with the methodology of systematic reviews, and regional centres. There is no one place or office that is 'Cochrane'. Our contributors and groups are based all around the world. Each group is a 'mini-organization' in itself, with its own funding, website, and workload.
The Nordic Cochrane Centre
The Nordic Cochrane Centre was established in 1993, the same year as the Cochrane Collaboration. The centre has contributed substantially to Cochrane, particularly within research and IT development. We also co-author guidelines on standards for good reporting of research: CONSORT for transparent reporting of trials, STROBE for observational studies, PRISMA for systematic reviews and SPIRIT for trial protocols. These standards have been endorsed by many prominent scientific journals.
Cochrane reviews are being widely used in the area serviced by the Nordic Cochrane Centre and associated centres, with over 449,000 articles downloaded in 2016. This is an increase of 32% since 2015.
The Nordic Cochrane Centre has also worked closely with the Danish National Board of Health in producing evidence-based national clinical guidelines. The centre is primarily funded by the Danish Government, who also fund the national subscription to the Cochrane Library, ensuring free access for all people living in Denmark. If you would like to know more about our most downloaded reviews, please see our information about the Cochrane Library.
Director of The Nordic Cochrane Centre
Professor Peter C Gøtzsche graduated as a Master of Science in biology and chemistry in 1974 and as a physician 1984. He is a specialist in internal medicine; worked with clinical trials and regulatory affairs in the drug industry 1975-1983, and at hospitals in Copenhagen 1984-95. With about 80 others, he helped start The Cochrane Collaboration in 1993 with the founder, Sir Iain Chalmers, and established The Nordic Cochrane Centre the same year. He became a professor of Clinical Research Design and Analysis in 2010 at the University of Copenhagen. In 2017, he was elected to the Cochrane Governing Board, the Cochrane Collaboration's uppermost authority.
Peter has published more than 70 papers in "the big five" (BMJ, Lancet, JAMA, Ann Intern Med and N Engl J Med) and his scientific works have been cited 30,000 times (his H-index is 63 according to Web of Science). Peter is author of:
- Deadly psychiatry and organised denial (to appear in September 2015)
- Deadly medicines and organised crime: How big pharma has corrupted health care (2013)
- Mammography screening: truth, lies and controversy (2012)
- Rational diagnosis and treatment: evidence-based clinical decision-making (2007)
Peter has an interest in statistics and research methodology. He is a member of several groups publishing guidelines for good reporting of research and has co-authored CONSORT for randomised trials (www.consort-statement.org), STROBE for observational studies (www.strobe-statement.org) and SPIRIT for trial protocols (www.spirit-statement.org). Peter was one of the editors of the Cochrane Methodology Review Group 1997-2014.
His letter is below.
Trusted evidence. Informed decisions. Better health.
Nordic Cochrane Centre
Rigshospitalet, Dept. 7811
2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
Tel: +45 35 45 71 12
A moral governance crisis: the growing lack of democratic collaboration and scientific pluralism in Cochrane
I regret to inform you that I have been expelled from membership in the Cochrane Collaboration by the favourable vote of 6 of the 13 members of the Governing Board. No clear reasoned justification has been given for my expulsion aside from accusing me of causing “disrepute” for the organization. This is the first time in 25 years that a member has been excluded from membership of Cochrane.
This unprecedented action taken by a minority of the Governing Board is disproportionate and damaging to Cochrane, as well as to public health interests. As a result of this decision, and a number of broader issues concerning the inadequate governance of Cochrane, in accordance with its principles and objectives, four other members of the Board have resigned.
As a result, the Cochrane Collaboration has entered an unchartered territory of crisis and lack of strategic direction. A recovery from this dire situation would call for the dissolution of the present board, new elections and a broad based participatory debate about the future strategy and governance of the organization.