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Remit of the EMAG

Remit and responsibilities of the Editorial Management Advisory Group (EMAG)

[last edited 8 April 2004]


The purpose of the Editorial Management Advisory Group (EMAG) is to contribute to the formation of a comprehensive strategy for the development of Cochrane Collaboration software. It is one of the three Advisory Groups reporting to the Information Management Systems Group (IMSG); the other two are the RevMan Advisory Group and the Technical Advisory Group.

  1. To provide advice on the structure, content and management of a CRG editorial module (1); on the tracking of the editorial process for preparing and updating reviews; and the development of associated products (for example, Editorial Module Guidelines. This includes:
    • reviewing options for the strategic development of the centralised software and systems;
    • reviewing priorities for the functional enhancement of editorial module management and tracking software or provision of new services;
    • reviewing those operational and procedural aspects of editorial module management software on which the Information Management Systems Group (IMSG) seeks advice;
    • considering such other matters as may be referred to it for specific advice by the IMSG from time to time.
  2. To produce written minutes of meetings and related documentation. These should contain the Group's advice on the development of the relevant system(s) and should be submitted to the IMSG, and circulated to other entities as appropriate.

The Group does not have the authority to determine Collaboration policy with respect to editorial module management software or related issues. Instead it can influence and strongly recommend the adoption of a policy when it reports to the IMSG.


EMAG is accountable to the IMSG.


  • The Convenor of EMAG will serve as Chair of the Group.
  • A member of the Cochrane Collaboration Secretariat will prepare the minutes of meetings. If someone from the Secretariat is not available, the Convenor may designate a willing member of the Group who will prepare the minutes for that particular meeting.
  • Members should provisionally approve minutes within two weeks of the release of the first draft. The first draft should be prepared as soon as possible after the meeting.
  • After the minutes of the EMAG meeting have been provisionally approved, the Convenor will arrange for them to be posted on the IMSG web site (http://www.cc-ims.net/IMSG) and will notify the constituents represented by the Group's membership, drawing their attention to important issues and inviting comment.
  • Final approval of the minutes will be agreed at the subsequent EMAG meeting.

Meetings and communication

  • One face-to-face meeting per year
  • E-mail discussion list
  • Ad hoc telephone conferences

At least one face-to-face meeting will be held annually at a location most convenient to the attending members, and scheduled at a time agreeable to the majority of the members. Additional meetings will be held if significant software issues warrant the membership's involvement. Otherwise, business may be conducted via the EMAG e-mail discussion list and ad hoc telephone conferences. Selected members may be requested to meet as a 'Workgroup' on an as-needed basis.

EMAG decisions are reached by consensus at meetings whenever possible. In the event a consensus cannot be reached, matters are decided by a majority vote.

Quorum: a quorum for making recommendations will consist of a simple majority of RGCs and four other members, i.e. eight voting members.

Meeting participation will be limited to principal or observing members and, at the Convenor's discretion, to selected attendees or guests.

The business of the meetings will include:

  • feedback from the membership on routine issues;
  • share experiences of using systems;
  • updates on the components of the software;
  • discussion/resolution of general software issues;
  • discussion/resolution of particular issues or topics.



The membership should:

  • be open to all persons responsible for managing the editorial process and preparing Cochrane editorial modules for publication;
  • encourage ongoing dialogue between the IMSG and editorial module management users at large;
  • provide a transparent and open process for interaction between the IMSG and editorial module management users.

Size and composition

The Group is limited to thirteen members with provision to co-opt additional persons with requisite expertise for special projects. In addition, the Director of the IMS may attend meetings in an ex-officio capacity. However, the number will be kept to an appropriate size to allow face-to-face meetings to be productive. The Group is composed as follows:

  • Review Group Co-ordinators (6 - including the Convenor)
  • Co-ordinating Editors (2)
  • Trials Search Co-ordinator (1)
  • Criticism Editor (1)
  • Quality Advisory Group member (1)
  • Software developer (1)
  • Publisher's representative (1)

RGC representation

  • Experience: where possible, at least one experienced RGC and one new RGC.
  • Number of 'records': at least one RGC who manages a large number of 'records'.
  • Size of CRG: efforts will be made to achieve a balance of all sizes of CRGs.

Selection criteria

  • Appropriate editorial Module management experience
  • Representative of the user community
  • Interest and dependability
  • Willingness to participate and ability to contribute


All terms will be for three years. To ensure continuity, recruitment of new members will be staggered to ensure no more than one-third of the Group is replaced in a given year. No limit is set on the number of terms that may be served, but reappointment is contingent upon the Convenor's approval. Members appointed to a vacancy will serve for the duration of the unexpired term of the vacant position.

Appointment of members

When a vacancy arises:

  • The convenor will call for a volunteer from the membership of the group that is represented by the vacancy.
  • The convenor will select the representative according to the specified criteria.

Expectations for individual members of the Editorial Management Advisory Group

Members should:

  • represent other users of the system(s) on which they advise, as well as members of their own entities;
  • beta-test the system(s) on which they provide advice;
  • actively solicit feedback on the system(s) on which they provide advice and recruit people willing to beta-test the system(s);
  • read and comment on circulated documents, relating to the system on which they provide advice;
  • attend the Group's meetings (if unable to attend a meeting, the member should arrange for an appropriate representative to take his/her place in consultation with the Convenor);
  • discuss comments and criticisms with users of the system(s), including those raised at public meetings (e.g. Cochrane Colloquia);
  • join an Advisory Group specific e-mail discussion list, and other e-mail lists as appropriate;
  • respond to electronic communications within agreed timescales;
  • bring to the attention of the Group, through the Convenor, issues that arise when discussing comments and criticisms of the system(s) with users, so that the Group can address them.

Failure to meet expectations may result in the Convenor asking the member to stand down. In this case, the position will become vacant and the Convenor will call for a replacement.


The Convenor is appointed by the IMSG and serves as the Chair of the Group. In the absence of the Convenor, the IMSG will appoint an acting Convenor.

Expectations for the Convenor

The Convenor should:

  • appoint representatives to EMAG according to the specified criteria;
  • monitor the term of office for members;
  • set the agenda and conduct meetings;
  • ensure proper materials are prepared for the meetings;
  • ensure meeting minutes are recorded, distributed and action points are carried out;
  • represent EMAG on the IMSG;
  • report recommendations to the IMSG and provides information to the IMSG Convenor on topics discussed at meetings;
  • follow up with the software developers on action items discussed at meetings, when appropriate;
  • co-ordinate the development of proposals or recommendations generated;
  • facilitate communication on relevant issues, between EMAG and other entities and/or individuals.

Declarations of interest

Members must declare other roles, both internal and external to the Cochrane Collaboration, which may be perceived as potential conflicts of interest. These will be published as part of the minutes of meetings of the EMAG - for historical reasons - as well as separately on the IMS web site to allow interested parties to view up-to-date declarations.

1 Editorial Module: a CRG's protocols and reviews (in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews), topics list and editorial information, policies and guidelines (in the About the Collaboration database) published on The Cochrane Library.

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