Cochrane Statistical Methods Group

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

New group co-ordinator

We welcome Adriani Nikolakopoulou [nikolakopoulou.adriani@gmail.com] as our new group co-ordinator since October 2014. She follows Orestis Efthimiou who started as a group co-ordinator in October 2013. We thank Orestis for his contribution in helping to organise convenors' teleconferences.

History of the Cochrane Statistical methods group

The Statistical Methods Group was created in 1993 at the UK Cochrane Centre. It merged with the Reporting and Quality Assessment of RCT’s Methods Group in 1997 and retained the name SMG. Membership has been steadily increasing over the years from a membership of 80 in 2001. The group has evolved in response to the demands for methods to resolve key statistical issues in review methodology. In 2000, for example nine topic action groups were formed to address issues such as Bayesian methods of meta-analysis, meta-analysis of continuous data, computing study weights in meta-analysis, and heterogeneity, subgroups and meta-regression. Special meetings have been organised to cover specialised statistical concepts and methods, e.g. analysis of ordinal data and analysis of cluster randomized trials. Advanced statistical training has also been supported by  Cochrane to increase statistical expertise within the Cochrane Review Groups. Over the years other groups have evolved to specialise in particular aspects of methodology such as bias, individual participant data and prospective meta-analysis.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the group in 2013, a paper "Meta-analysis and Cochrane: 20 years of the Cochrane Statistical Methods Group" was published, see here.

Meeting of the SMG - 23 September 2013

Minutes (pdf)


Elie Akl and Shanil Ebrahim: Addressing missing trial participant data in Cochrane systematic  reviews: Update on a Methods Innovation Fund Project (pdf)
Argie Veroniki: Estimating the heterogeneity variance and inference on the meta-analysis summary effect (pdf)
Marialena Trivella: New statistical methods in RevMan 6 (A few slides): Marialena asks urgently for volunteers to help with the statistical coding for the new RevMan items. If you feel able and willing to help, please write to [mtrivella@cochrane.org].


Cochrane Methods Symposium - 24 September 2013

Data, Outcomes, Uncertainty and Graphs: Advances and Limitations in Trials, Meta-Analysis, and Novelties

The Cochrane Methods Symposium celebrated Professor Doug Altman’s twenty years as convenor of the Statistical Methods Group, and took place amidst the 20th anniversary celebrations of Cochrane in Quebec. The slides of the talks on topics about statistics, bias and transparency of research are available at: http://methods.cochrane.org/node/56

Cochrane Colloquium 2016 - Seoul