Cochrane Information Specialist Support Team digest
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Issue 29 | October 2017

Welcome to our October edition! Sam and Anne attended a course at the York Health Economics Consortium on searching trials registers and regulatory agency sources on 11 October. We have lots of new tips to share in this special issue! If you have any thoughts on this or anything else CIS-related, get in touch with the Support Team at
Trials Registers / Regulatory Documents and Searching
Anne and Sam recently attended a course at the York Health Economics Consortium (YHEC) on Searching Trials Registers and Regulatory Agency Sources. It was led by Carol Lefebvre, Mick Arber and Hannah Wood, who have kindly given us permission to pass on some of the really useful hints and tips we picked up on the day. Incidentally, if this course runs again in future we highly recommend it!

Trials Registers Website

We've featured this in the newsletter before, but just to remind you that there is a website hosted by YHEC which lists trials registers with hints and tips on how to search them. It tells you which registers support Boolean search, truncation and phrase searching, and whether they are part of the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform. Access it here. If there is a resource you're aware of that isn't featured, then you can get in touch with the team here and let them know.

Expert Search and other tips

Mick Arber introduced us to a third way of searching You will know about Basic and Advanced search, but did you know that there is a "hidden" third way of searching for trials: Expert Search? The benefit of Expert Search is that it has no limit on the number of characters. To find Expert Search you have to execute a search, and then click "Advanced Search". Expert Search will then appear as an option in the top right of the screen. If you click this, you will get a freetext search box. 

Carol Lefebvre also showed us how to find all studies with results posted to In the Search / Other terms box, you can enter the command: (NOT NOTEXT) [FIRST-RECEIVED-RESULTS-DATE] to retrieve these studies. You can also find the trials which have linked citations by searching (NOT NOTEXT) [CITATIONS], also in the Search / Other terms box. Find out more here

Regulatory Agencies

Carol told us about a project she is involved with that was funded (in part) by the Cochrane Methods Innovation Fund. The project is to draft interim guidance on whether to include data from Clinical Study Reports and other regulatory documents in Cochrane reviews. The report is due in early 2018, so keep an eye out for this!

The course focused on two data sources for regulatory agencies: the EU Clinical Trials Register and Drugs@FDA.

The EU Clinical Trials Register has protocol and results information on interventional clinical trials on medicines conducted in the EU, if they started after 1 May 2004. There are currently 50,000 clinical trials included. Read more here.

Also see: Drugs@FDA includes information about FDA-approved brand name and generic prescription and over-the-counter human drugs and biological therapeutic products available for sale in the US. It gives access to documents such as patient information, reviews, approval letters, labels. Read more here

Also see:

Trials Access Initiatives

Hannah took us through many of the more recent developments in access to clinical trials.

Trials Tracker came out of the AllTrials campaign. It ranks trial sponsors according to whether they have reported the results of the trials they have registered on It's most recent findings suggest that almost half are missing their results.

CrossMark displays all trial registry entries relating to an electronic journal article, and all other articles related to those clinical trials, using the trial registration number and DOI to connect them. One drawback is that only a few publishers have signed up so far (any NIHR funded research, PLoS, Biomed Central, are all part of the initiative). 

OpenTrials aims to consolidate and link all structured data and documentation linked to clinical trials. It gathers a wide range of documents, including regulatory data, data from systematic reviews, ethics approval documents and clinical study reports. It has a sister website, OpenTrialsFDA, which aims to make trial data from the FDA more accessible. These initiatives are currently on pause as more funding is sought, and are only in Beta phase at the moment. 
News from the Global Evidence Summit

Decisions from the Governing Board Meeting

A reminder that you can find the decisions from the Governing Board Meeting in Cape Town summarised here. More information will be available soon. In the meantime, you can contact any member of the Board, or Lucie Binder in the CEO's office if you have any questions.

The Agenda and open access papers are available here on the Community site. The Minutes will be available soon.

One of the decisions ratified by the Board was to move forward with the Structure and Function Review. If you have any questions or issues you want to raise around this, you can get in touch with the Structure and Function team at this email address: You can also contact the Information Specialists' Executive or CIS Support if you would like us to raise an issue on your behalf.
Cochrane Style Manual

Updates to the Style Manual

There have been some recent additions to the Cochrane Style Manual, including: See Latest changes for a complete list of major changes. 

Covidence Update

Covidence has recently been updated, and there have been some improvements to import. 

These include:
  • You can now view your import history directly from the review dashboard
  • Improved import history, with more information about duplicate removal
  • Faster and more stable imports due to updates to the structure of the importer.
For more on this and other Covidence developments, see here.

Items for your reading list

There was a discussion on the email list recently about Emtree, and Robin Featherstone sent around a link to this article on focusing the terms:

Glanville J, Kaunelis D, Mensinkai S, Picheca L. Pruning Emtree: does focusing Embase subject headings impact search strategy precision and sensitivity? [Internet]. Ottawa: CADTH, 2015 Apr. 

Anne Eisinga got in touch with the following papers which may be of interest:

McGrath TA, Alabousi M, Skidmore B, Korevaar DA, Bossuyt PMM, Moher D, Thombs B, McInnes MDF. Recommendations for reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of diagnostic test accuracy: a systematic review. Systematic Reviews 2017;6:194.

Golder S, Wright K, Loke YK. The feasibility of a search filter for the adverse effects of non-drug interventions in MEDLINE and Embase. Res Syn Meth 2017 (NOT OPEN ACCESS)

Brueton V, Tierney JF, Stenning S, Rait G. Identifying additional studies for a systematic review of retention strategies in randomised controlled trials: making contact with trials units and trial methodologists. Syst Rev 2017;6(1):167. doi: 10.1186/s13643-017-0549-9. 

Many thanks to Anne and Robin for keeping us in the loop!

EAHIL - Call for Abstracts

The deadline for abstracts for the European Association for Health Information and Libraries Conference is 27 October 2017, so there is still just about time to submit!

The EAHIL Conference will take place in Cardiff, Wales, 9-13 July 2018. Find out more here.

Vacancies at Cochrane Common Mental Disorders 

Cochrane Common Mental Disorders is based at the University of York, and is currently advertising for an information specialist. The post is part-time, 0.5 FTE. The closing date for applications for this post is 3 November 2017: The group is also seeking a Research Fellow and a Managing Editor, the closing date for these posts is slightly earlier - 29 October 2017:
Contact us...
Don't forget, previous editions of the Cochrane Information Specialist Support Team digest are available on the CIS Portal

Contact the Support Team for help with any Cochrane Information Specialist related issue (including CRS technical support):
The Cochrane Information Specialist Support Team:
Charlene Bridges | Sam Cox I Ruth Foxlee
Anne Littlewood I Doug Salzwedel

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