The Cochrane Information Retrieval Methods Group (IRMG) was formed in 2004. Its remit is to provide advice to Cochrane on information retrieval policy and practice, to provide training and support, to conduct empirical research (including systematic reviews) into information retrieval methods, to help monitor the quality of searching techniques employed in systematic reviews and to serve as a forum for discussion. The Group currently has over 300 members on its discussion list.
Group members are involved in a range of research and methodological development in relation to information retrieval within the context of systematic reviews. Descriptions of some selected recent and current projects are provided below.
- Alison Weightman (University of Cardiff), is leading a project which will determine the importance of a multi-database search in addition to the use of supplementary methods for public health reviews.
- A project led by Tom Jefferson (ARI Group) and involving IRMG members is assessing under what circumstances clinical study reports (CSRs) of drug therapies should be used as the evidence base for Cochrane Reviews.
- IRMG members are working on a major revision of the Cochrane Handbook chapter on searching (due for publication in 2016/7).
- Julie Glanville (York Health Economics Consortium), Anna Noel-Storr (Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group (CDCIG)), Gordon Dooley (Metaxis) and Ruth Foxlee (Cochrane Central Executive Team (CET)) have developed a Cochrane Highly Sensitive Search Strategy for identifying RCTs in Embase and which will be used to identify reports of trials which will then be included in the Central database of the Cochrane Library.
- During 2015 IRMG members provided feedback on the document that will form MECIR standards on updating Cochrane Reviews.
- The Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies (PRESS) checklist will be updated as a guideline by a team led by Jessie McGowan (Institute of Population Health, Ottawa), Carol Lefebvre (Independent Information Consultant)) and Margaret Sampson (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario). All IRMG members were invited to contribute to this project by responding to a survey.
- Su Golder (University of York) and colleagues have been surveying systematic reviews of adverse effects and looking at the reporting of search strategies and sources used compared to intervention reviews.
- For the Cochrane Linked Data Project IRMG will be supporting the Cochrane Informatics & Knowledge Management Department (IKMD) by helping to test the annotation tool that they have built to annotate or tag PICO to support the Cochrane Linked Data Project (http://data.cochrane.org/linked-data-project/models-and-ontologies).
- Julie Glanville (York Health Economics Consortium) and colleagues are exploring text mining for the identification of economic evaluations.
If you are interested in joining IRMG please contact Bernadette Coles, IRMG Co-ordinator, to join (Colesbm@cardiff.ac.uk), or sign up via our email discussion list (https://lists.cochrane.org/mailman/listinfo/irmg).
Julie Glanville, Carol Lefebvre, Jessie McGowan, Alison Weightman (Co-Convenors) and Bernadette Coles (Co-ordinator)