Cochrane Library

The Cochrane Library is an evidence-based medicine supporting information portal for doctors, patients and researchers.

As an institution of the Cochrane Collaboration, it offers its readers in six databases information about systematic reviews and controlled clinical trials. The reputation of the summaries, so-called abstracts, this is free. The Cochrane Library is updated quarterly and published by the British Wiley Interscience both online edition as well as a CD -ROM.

The 2008 Impact Factor published by the Cochrane Library from 2006/2007 is 4,654.


The beginnings which led to establishment of the Cochrane Library, date back to 1974, when there were attempts to create a database of clinical trials, especially those of neonatal medicine. The beginnings of the Cochrane Library are poorly documented, there was initially no specific plan. The development has been driven by advances in science and information technology.

In subsequent years, the first meta-analyzes have been created and developed the software.

In 1988, under the title Oxford Database of Perinatal Trials ( ODPT ) the first overview series.

In 1993, the new edition of the ODPT was presented as an electronic journal under the name The Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Database ( CCPC ) to the public by means of an updated software. In the same year was called to Oxford on the first Cochrane Colloquium, the Cochrane Collaboration to life.

1994 was presented with an improved software, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

In 1995 the British Minister of Health officially announced the establishment of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. In addition, the Cochrane Collaboration was registered as a non-profit company with no financial interests in the public register and is therefore subject to English law.

A year later, finally gave birth to the Cochrane Library, as the new software for the first time appeared on a revised CD -ROM, updated quarterly in the following period. In addition to the systematic reviews ( "Reviews" ), which comprised, among others, a database of statements ( " abstracts " ) for the reviews, in which statements about the evidence have been taken.

In 1998, the Cochrane Library was made available on the internet. The Dutch company Ovid Technologies, headquartered in New York, which has a large collection of paid databases, introduced at the same time so-called Evidence Based Medicine Reviews and added the Cochrane reviews added this product.

In 2002, the access to the Library through the sale of licenses of the country 's population of Australia, Finland, the UK and other countries has been made available free of charge.

2003 closed the Cochrane Collaboration into an agreement with " John Wiley & Sons " ( " Wiley " ), and thus opened the commercial market, but remains a non-profit oriented. WILEY markets since the charge the Cochrane Library.

Cochrane Reviews

Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews in which the effectiveness and suitability of medical treatment methods are investigated. The focus of the review articles is a clear question, for example: "Are antibiotics in children with acute otitis helpful " Starting from this question, relevant research results and studies are selected, evaluated, summarized and published as Reviews in the Cochrane Library. All reviews include a summary of the conclusions freely viewable and are subject to a formal and structural standard. They are established systematic reviews of Cochrane Review Groups. These groups are made up of authors from different fields and disciplines (such as specialist doctors, epidemiologists, statisticians ). The aim of the Cochrane reviews is to ensure the reader an overview of research findings. Especially for patients about 700 of a total of 3,000 review articles in layman understandable language were translated into German.

Hosted databases

Cochrane Reviews

( Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, CDSR )

CDSR contains about 5,300 systematic reviews that deal with a specific medical question (see above ) deal or methodological aspects.

Other Reviews

( Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, DARE )

Approximately 8,000 summaries of systematic reviews that have not been written by the Cochrane Collaboration, found in the database and thus serve as a supplement to the Cochrane Reviews. DARE is run by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD ) in York, UK.

Clinical Trials

( Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CENTRAL)

CENTRAL contains about half a million entries with previously published controlled clinical trials including bibliographic details and possibly a short summary. Much of the entries come from the medical databases MEDLINE and EMBASE, added but still the results of the so-called operated by Cochrane hand search that searches in some cases several decades old journals according to clinical studies that if they meet defined quality criteria included in CENTRAL be. The aim is the amount of studies on which you can rely for research in the context of evidence-based medicine to enlarge as much as possible.

Methods Studies

( Cochrane Methodology Register, CMR)

Technology Assessments

( Health Technology Assessment Database, HTA)

HTA currently includes 7,500 reports of studies that deal with health- technical aspects and processes in order to optimize the health care system and is also managed by the CRD.

Economic Evaluations

(NHS Economic Evaluation Database, NHS EED)

Also provided by the CRD, the articles deal in this database with the analysis of economic aspects of various medical therapies to enable better cost - benefit analysis.

( As at 25 June 2008)


About the British Wiley Interscience a paid access to the full Cochrane Library is made available. Some countries fund a national access, so that the population can access openly on the database. Members of the German Network for Evidence -based Medicine eV and various universities in Germany have also free access because the respective institutions have purchased a license. The medical associations Rhine, the Saarland and Schleswig -Holstein allow free access to the Cochrane Library since 2008 its members. Other portals provide access to parts of the database. Abstracts of Cochrane Reviews are free of cost. There you will also partially translated into German amateur understandable summaries.

Petition for EU - wide access

Since 5 December 2007 EU-wide petition runs with the aim of making the Cochrane Library for all EU Member States, available free to. Until the end of June 2008, around 12,000 people have already submitted their signature.