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Remit of the RAG

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Remit and areas of responsibility of the RevMan Advisory Group (RAG)

Discussed and agreed (subject to revisions that have been made) at the RAG and the IMSG meetings on December 2 and December 3 2004, respectively.


To provide advice on the development of review writing software (currently RevMan) for the preparation and maintenance of Cochrane reviews. This includes advice on the development of the software and associated documentation.

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


RAG is accountable to the IMSG.


  • The Convenor of RAG 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, or someone else, 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 RAG meeting have been provisionally approved, the Convenor will arrange for them to be posted on the IMSG web site ( Final approval of the minutes will be agreed at the subsequent RAG meeting.

Meetings and communication

  • Two face-to-face meetings per year
  • E-mail discussion list

At least two face-to-face meetings 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. Due to financial considerations the membership of the RAG (and hence these meetings) is mainly UK-based. Additional meetings will be held if significant software issues warrant the membership's involvement. Members of RAG are eligible for reimbursement of reasonable travel and accommodation expenses for their attendance at these meetings. RAG decisions are reached by consensus at meetings whenever possible. In the event a consensus cannot be reached, matters are decided by a majority vote.

Meeting participation will be limited to 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
  • Sharing 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 the preparation and maintenance of Cochrane reviews
  • Encourage ongoing dialogue between the IMSG and users of the relevant software
  • Provide a transparent and open process for interaction between the IMSG and users of the relevant software

Size and Composition

The number of members of RAG will be kept to an appropriate size to allow face-to-face meetings to be productive. The Group is composed of representatives of the following: Collaborative Review Groups (including Review Group Co-ordinators [maximum 4], Trial Search Co-ordinators, editors and authors of Cochrane reviews [as many as possible]), developing countries, Statistical Methods Group, editorial board of the Cochrane Reviewers' Handbook, Information Management System Group, Information Management System team and publisher of the output of The Cochrane Collaboration. One member would represent reviews of diagnostic test accuracy, and one member would represent methodology reviews. The two Steering Group representatives on the IMSG are welcome to attend RAG meetings.


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. Members appointed to a vacancy will serve for, at least, the duration of the unexpired term of the vacant position. No limit is set on the number of terms that may be served, but reappointment is contingent upon the Convenors approval.

Appointment of members

Providing that the total number of members is not so great as to impact adversely on the productivity of the RAG, people are welcome to suggest themselves or others as members of the Group. Prospective new members submit a brief outline of how they wish to be involved and their relevant experience. The selection process involves consideration by the RAG convenor, the IMSG convenor and the Director of the IMS.

Expectations for individual members of the RevMan 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
  • 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 RAG 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 RAG on the IMSG
  • Report recommendations to the IMSG and provide information to the IMSG on topics discussed at RAG 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 RAG and other entities and/or individuals

Conflict of interest

Members must declare other roles, both internal and external to The Cochrane Collaboration, which may be perceived as potential conflicts of interest.

Created by admin
Last modified 15:33, 04 May 2005
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