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1.4  Contributors to the Handbook

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”

– Isaac Newton


This Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (Version 5) is a major revision of a document that has evolved over time since the early days of The Cochrane Collaboration.  Many chapters build on previous versions of the Handbook, and others are newly authored for Version 5. It is a truly collaborative effort, reflecting the principles of The Cochrane Collaboration. Many people have contributed directly to this revision, as chapter authors, chapter editors, peer reviewers, members of the Cochrane Handbook Advisory Group, and in numerous other ways. The Handbook also reflects the invaluable contributions of previous editors, past and present members of Cochrane Methods Groups, review authors, Cochrane Review Groups, the RevMan Advisory Group, Cochrane Centres and Cochrane Fields.


The initial methodological guidance for Cochrane review authors was developed by Andy Oxman, Iain Chalmers, Mike Clarke, Murray Enkin, Ken Schulz, Mark Starr, Kay Dickersin, Andrew Herxheimer and Chris Silagy, with administrative support from Sally Hunt. It was published in March 1994 as Section VI: Preparing and maintaining systematic reviews (‘The Cochrane Collaboration Tool Kit’) of a comprehensive handbook for the Collaboration.  It described the original structured format of a Cochrane review, which was developed by Mike Clarke, Murray Enkin, Chris Silagy and Mark Starr, with input from many others. The guidance became a stand-alone document in October 1996 as the Cochrane Collaboration Handbook (Version 3), under the editorship of Andy Oxman and Cynthia Mulrow, supported by the newly formed Handbook Advisory Group. Version 4, named the Cochrane Reviewers’ Handbook, was released in 1999 to coincide with the launch of RevMan 4 and was edited by Mike Clarke and Andy Oxman from 1999 until December 2003, when Phil Alderson, Julian Higgins and Sally Green became editors (from Version 4.2.1). The introduction of Cochrane Diagnostic test accuracy reviews and the need for a new handbook specific to those reviews prompted, from Version 4.2.4 in March 2005, the change in title to the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, edited by Julian Higgins and Sally Green.


During the development of this Handbook the editors were supported by advice from the Handbook Advisory Group: Lisa Askie, Chris Cates, Jon Deeks, Matthias Egger, Davina Ghersi, Donna Gillies, Paul Glasziou, Sally Green (Co-Convenor), Andrew Herxheimer, Julian Higgins (Co-Convenor), Jane Lane (Administration), Carol Lefebvre, Harriet MacLehose, Philippa Middleton, Ruth Mitchell, David Moher, Miranda Mugford, Jane Noyes, Donald Patrick, Jennie Popay, Barney Reeves, Jacob Riis, Ian Shemilt, Jonathan Sterne, Lesley Stewart, Jessica Thomas, Jayne Tierney and Danielle Wheeler. In 2010, The Cochrane Collaboration established a Methods Board, which took over responsibility for developing methodological guidance for the preparation of Cochrane reviews. The editors are now supported by a Handbook Editorial Advisory Panel: Sonja Henderson, Toby Lasserson, Philippa Middleton, Jonathan Sterne and Lesley Stewart.


In addition to the previous editors, named above, the following have made substantial contributions to previous versions of the Handbook: Christina Aguilar, Doug Altman, Bob Badgett, Hilda Bastian, Lisa Bero, Michael Brand, Joe Cavellero, Mildred Cho, Kay Dickersin, Lelia Duley, Frances Fairman, Jeremy Grimshaw, Gord Guyatt, Peter Gøtzsche, Jeph Herrin, Nicki Jackson, Monica Kjeldstrøm, Jos Kleijnen, Kristen Larson, Valerie Lawrence, Eric Manheimer, Rasmus Moustgaard, Melissa Ober, Drummond Rennie, Dave Sackett, Mark Starr, Nicola Thornton, Luke Vale and Veronica Yank.