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Barriers and facilitators to completing a Cochrane Review: A survey of authors in the African region

Date and Location




Monday 23 September 2013 - 13:30 - 15:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Joy Oliver

Contact person

Joy Oliver
Abstract text
Background: Cochrane Centres provide support and training to authors to complete and update their Reviews. Despite this, many authors face challenges, resulting in stalled reviews. In order for the South African Cochrane Centre (SACC) to respond appropriately, an assessment of support activities was required. Objectives: Identify the barriers and facilitators to timely completion of Cochrane Reviews for authors based in countries for which the SACC is the reference Centre. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in November 2012. Eligible participants included Cochrane Review contact authors based in countries for which we are the reference Centre. Archie, the Cochrane Collaboration’s contact database was searched identifying 183 eligible authors. Participants were invited to participate in the anonymous web-based survey. Participation was voluntary and informed consent was obtained electronically. Data was analysed in Microsoft Excel and open-ended responses were thematically categorized. Results: Fifty-two (28%) authors responded to the survey. Most respondents were from South Africa (19/52) and Nigeria (16/52). Eighty-four percent were employed full-time and fifty-eight percent worked on their Cochrane Reviews after hours. The majority (46/49) knew who to contact about training and (41/45) received face-to-face training. Two-thirds (30/45) of respondents used the Cochrane Handbook or RevMan help function and had received support from Centre staff. Respondents identified limited time; limited or costly internet access; little or no support from employer; lack of financial support; unreliable power supply and coordinating and communicating with authors as the main barriers to review completion. Activities that would facilitate review conduct included: face-to-face training; regular meetings with co-authors; assignment of an experienced author and dedicated time away from work. Conclusions: This study found that although the majority of respondents received face-to-face training, additional support, including time-out and mentoring from experienced authors, is required to ensure timely completion of their Reviews.