Priority setting project

In order to be relevant to the needs of users, Cochrane evidence needs to respond to national, regional, and global health priorities. We initiated an ambitious priority setting plan in 2019 to identify the priority review questions for PaPaS in the next few years. Our plans involve working with our Editorial Board and external stakeholders to identify priority reviews for updating, and any new Cochrane Reviews that are needed. This will be achieved by assessing our current portfolio of existing reviews, identifying priority setting work from other organizations, and engaging with external stakeholders via surveys. Our stakeholders include patients and carers; clinicians and health professionals; researchers; policy makers and guideline developers; charities, groups and organizations.

We plan to complete a full priority setting process for each topic within our scope: chronic pain; acute pain; palliative care; headache and migraine. We will continue to assess the priorities regularly to ensure our reviews remain relevant and up to date.

The PaPaS prioritisation projects are led by Managing Editor Anna Erskine.

Aims and objectives of our priority setting project

  • Adhere to the mandatory standards for prioritisation of Cochrane Reviews
  • Assess our existing portfolio and identify reviews to be stabilised, updated, or amended (e.g. superseded, withdrawn, split/merged). Allocate ‘main topics’ to our portfolio, and consider any evidence gaps.
  • Add up to three new priority reviews per topic
  • Update our topics list in Archie and on the Cochrane Library to increase the accessibility of our reviews
  • Build and sustain relationships with high quality, multidisciplinary, international author teams
  • Seek additional funding to support production of priority reviews
  • Focus editorial resources on priority topics
  • Build and sustain strong relationships with national and international stakeholders, e.g. funders, policy makers, patients
  • Inform guidelines and/or clinical trials
  • Work with other Cochrane Groups, Networks and Fields
  • Meet the expectations of Cochrane, NIHR, and users of our reviews
  • Reassess our priorities at least every five years

Steering Groups and contributors

We would like to thank the following members of the Steering Groups.

Palliative care

  • Joanne Abbott (PaPaS Information Specialist)
  • Hayley Barnes (Editor)
  • Chris Eccleston (Editor)
  • Emma Fisher (Editor)
  • Kerry Harding (Assistant Managing Editor)
  • Winfried Hauser (Editor)
  • Hopin Lee (Editor)
  • Neil O'Connell (Co-ordinating Editor)
  • Roses Parker (Network Support Fellow)
  • Kate Seers (Editor)
  • Adrian Tookman (Editor)
  • Amanda Williams (Editor)

Headache and migraine

  • Joanne Abbott (PaPaS Information Specialist)
  • Chris Eccleston (Editor)
  • Emma Fisher (Editor)
  • Kerry Harding (Assistant Managing Editor)
  • Winfried Hauser (Editor)
  • Hopin Lee (Editor)
  • Neil O'Connell (Co-ordinating Editor)
  • Nick Wilkinson (Editor)
  • Amanda Williams (Editor)


With special thanks to the following colleagues and volunteers who have supported the project at various stages.

  • Maria J. Armas (translations support)
  • Yuan Chi (translations support; Centre for Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China)
  • Jose L. Flores-Guerrero (translations support)
  • Maria Carolina Fra (translations support)
  • Peter Goadsby (headache and migraine editorial advisor)
  • Cindy Denisse Leyva De los Ríos (translations support)
  • Laura Martín Losada (translations support)
  • Andrew Moore (former Senior Editor)
  • Richard Morley (Cochrane Consumer Engagement Officer)
  • Luis Rafael Moscote-Salazar (translations support)
  • Ana Beatriz Pizarro (translations support; Facultad de Enfermeria, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia)
  • Fabian C. Rodriguez (translations support)
  • Ana María Rojas Gómez (translations support)
  • and, The Cochrane Knowledge Translation team

Project milestones and timeline

Stage 1: Assess current status

  • Completed March 2019

Stage 2: Gather feedback from Steering Group (for one/two priority topics)

  • In 2020, we created Steering Groups within our editorial board for the topics: Headache and Migraine; Palliative and Supportive Care. We held a series of meetings to discuss: 'gap map analyses' of our existing portfolio, including identifying existing reviews that require updating; existing prioritisation work that can inform any new Cochrane Reviews; identifying the relevant key stakeholders; available funding opportunities to complete priority titles.

Stage 3: Gather feedback from external stakeholders: palliative care; headache and migraine

Palliative care

  • At end 2020, the Steering Group finalised a list of titles for consultation; survey in preparation so the community can rank the list of titles and provide their own priorities. The survey will be launched in January 2021.
  • January 2021: adult palliative care prioritisation survey closed 28 February 2021; in March 2021, all responses translated; April - May, data analysed and final report in preparation.
  • Ongoing: children and adolescents survey in preparation.

Headache and migraine

  • At end 2020, the Steering Group has finalised a list of titles for consultation.
  • Ongoing: survey in preparation.

Stage 4: Identify priority titles

  • In 2021, the priority titles were approved and two (combining three priority questions) are now registered and in progress. Funding is being sought for the remaining two titles.

Stage 5: Dissemination and promotion