We were recently informed that all core NIHR infrastructure funding for UK Cochrane Review Groups would cease on 31 March 2023, which includes PaPaS. This is clearly disappointing news, and comes at a time when Cochrane itself is also undergoing significant change and re-organisation. We are busy investigating alternative funding arrangements and opportunities, although it is early days and we cannot be sure of the plans for the future of PaPaS at this time. It is likely that the structure of any 'PaPaS Version 2' will look very different to the PaPaS of the past 23 years.
For authors of protocols, reviews and updates already in development
We are committed to continuing to support all titles already agreed and in process, through to publication. As we are not certain of our place as an editorial unit beyond 31 March 2023, we would ideally like to see all active titles published in the Cochrane Library by that date. However, we understand that this may not be feasible, and we would like to reassure our author teams that there will always be a route to publication for high quality Cochrane Reviews. We are here to provide guidance to any authors whose reviews need to be supported into April 2023 and beyond.
For authors of reviews that are due to be (re)assessed for updating
Unfortunately, we are no longer able to routinely commit to assessing reviews for updating, as we would do under normal circumstances. However, we are open to discussion with author teams if there is a strong reason for updating, for example there is new evidence which may change the conclusions in a high priority review, an experienced author team who can complete the update to a high standard, and secure funding to support the update. In these circumstances, we would be very happy to discuss the future of a particular title.
For authors planning on proposing a new title
We are committed to supporting our existing titles while we have capacity. If you would like to propose a new high priority review that can be completed to a high standard in a timely manner, we are open to considering your proposal (see information about proposing a title with PaPaS here).
We are committed to finding a new funding stream to continue our important work and to contribute to better health in our communities beyond March 2023. We are engaging with our Cochrane colleagues regarding the future restructuring of evidence synthesis within the organisation (see here for more information). We are also fortunate and grateful to have an expert Editorial Board providing invaluable support as we find our way forward.
If you have any concerns or questions, about particular reviews or any other issue raised here, please do Contact Us at any time.
A statement from Cochrane
In August 2021, Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs) in the UK received confirmation from the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) informing them about the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) decision to cease all funding at the break-point in the current contract at the end of March 2023.
Cochrane has benefited for many years from stable and committed funding in the UK, and for this we are extremely grateful to the NIHR and DHSC. We also appreciate the extended notice period that the NIHR has given Cochrane for this contract change, which allows us certainty on funding until that time.
The world is changing in many ways, and Cochrane’s work is more important than ever. There is much to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic about how our community responded, but we also need to identify new ways to generate income so that we can remain sustainable in the context of increased competition and funding challenges.
Cochrane has therefore launched a programme of transformation for how we develop and publish evidence syntheses, and you can access recordings from a workshop series to explore a proposed new model. This programme aims to ensure that Cochrane can deliver evidence syntheses that:
- meet the policy and practice priorities of key evidence-users and policy makers across health and social care;
- are produced in an agile and flexible way, and respond to the evolving and changing needs of key evidence-users and policymakers;
- deliver the required evidence in a timely manner;
- are aligned with Cochrane’s Strategy for Change.
An updated plan on Cochrane’s future of evidence synthesis, that considers all information gathered during the consultation phase, will be published in early 2022.
During this period of transition for Cochrane, we would like to reassure all authors and editors involved in the production of Cochrane Reviews that our publication pipeline remains secure. We encourage all prospective authors interested in producing Cochrane Reviews to continue to submit new proposals and expressions of interest in updating reviews.
Cochrane’s current NIHR funding remains in place until the end of March 2023 and we will continue to fulfil our obligations to the funder by continuing to undertake high-quality systematic reviews to inform decision making. We are currently reviewing our pipeline of reviews in development and will be in touch with any authors where changes to existing arrangements for reviews are required. We also appreciate and would like to pass on our grateful thanks for the continued support from our Cochrane Review Group editors during this time of transition.
Cochrane remains a strong and vibrant global community delivering high quality evidence. We are changing to ensure we can continue to do that into the future, responding to key health and care questions and improving health outcomes for all.