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Box 9.8.a: The Cochrane Statistical Methods Group

Statistical issues are a core aspect of much of the work of the Cochrane Collaboration. The Statistical Methods Group (SMG) is a forum where all statistical issues related to the work of The Cochrane Collaboration are discussed. It has a broad scope, covering issues relating to statistical methods, training, software and research. It also attempts to ensure that adequate statistical and technical support is available to review groups.


The SMG dates back to 1993. Membership of the SMG is currently through membership of the group’s email discussion list. The list is used for discussing all issues of importance for the group, whether research, training, software or administration. The group has over 130 members from over around 20 countries. All statisticians working with Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs) are strongly encouraged to join the SMG.


Specifically, the aims of the group are:

  1. To develop general policy advice for the Collaboration on all statistical issues relevant to systematic reviews of healthcare interventions.

  2. To take responsibility for statistics-orientated chapters of this Handbook.

  3. To co-ordinate practical statistical support for CRGs.

  4. To conduct training workshops and workshops on emerging topics as necessary.

  5. To contribute to and review the statistical content of training materials provided within the Collaboration.

  6. To develop and validate the statistical software used within the Collaboration.

  7. To generate and keep up-to-date a list of the Statistical Methods Group, detailing their areas of interest and expertise, and maintain an email discussion list as a forum for discussing relevant methodological issues.

  8. To maintain a research agenda dictated by issues important to the present and future functioning of the Collaboration, and to encourage research that tackles the agenda.


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