The Consumer's Role in Cochrane

The most common role for consumers in Cochrane is the Consumer Referee. The consumer referee improves the quality of Cochrane Reviews by:

  • Providing a consumer perspective by commenting on the "Plain Language Summary" of the review
  • Commenting on a Cochrane review of the best evidence on a healthcare intervention, prior to publication
  • Commenting on protocols (the road map as to how the review is to be done) to ensure that outcomes relevant to consumers are included
  • Preparing review summaries in plain language

To get involved as a Consumer Referee, simply join the Cochrane Consumer Network.  You will be added to a consumer email list through which you will receive invitations to become a consumer referees.  

If you'd like more information on the how a Consumer Referee participates in Cochrane, download The Consumer's Role in the Cochrane Collaboration [ebook] [PDF]. This document is relevant for consumers who are interested in participating in the review process and it provides specific information on how to comment on systematic reviews. 

Initially, most consumers get involved as Consumer Referees.  However there are other roles available to consumers. These include:

  • Raising people’s awareness about evidence-based health care
  • Recruiting other consumers to help with the work of Cochrane
  • Disseminating information about particular Cochrane reviews
  • Co-authoring systematic reviews of best evidence
  • Searching journals
  • Translation of reviews and plain language summaries

Ready to be a Consumer Referee?  Learn more on our Consumer Learning pages.

If you prefer to comment on reviews for a specific topic, we recommend that you also e-mail the contact person for the Cochrane Review Group in your area of interest.