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326 What are the most important questions to answer? – experiences in priority setting in cochrane work review group
  1. Jani Ruotsalainen,
  2. Jos Verbeek
  1. Cochrane Work, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Kuopio, Finland


Introduction Conducting Cochrane reviews and updating them regularly requires a considerable investment from authors and the editorial base alike. It is therefore important to focus on those topics for which we think reviews are most important. Therefore, we wanted to prioritise the review titles that we have in our editorial process.

Methods In the spring of 2016, we asked our editorial board members to rank all 55 titles of Cochrane Work reviews according to how important they think each title is. The editors could choose one of five response options for each title:

  1. Highest priority (invest editorial resources in updating),

  2. Quite important (encourage authors to update),

  3. Good topic (do not actively seek update),

  4. Not really that important (never update), and

  5. Lowest priority (consider deregistering).

Responses were weighted so that option 1 got three points, 2 got two points, 3 got one point and 4 as well as 5 got zero points.

Result Fifteen Cochrane Work editors participated in this survey. Interestingly, the spread of votes was very even. The titles: ‘Adaptation of shift work schedules for preventing and treating sleepiness and sleep disturbances caused by shift work’ and ‘Interventions to prevent injuries in construction workers’ were ranked as the most important, both with a mean score of 2.27 (SD 3.08).

Discussion Priority setting for systematic review topics is complex. Cochrane Work review group editors judged prevalence, impact on patient/worker, impact on employer/society, costs, and relevance for their own jurisdiction to be important reasons to assign high priority. However, these factors varied across assessors leading to little variation in priorities.

  • Occupational Health
  • Priority Setting
  • Systematic Reviews

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