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National one-click access to Cochrane library for South Africans

Thursday, 22 Jun 2017

The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and Cochrane South Africa recently procured a national Cochrane Library licence that will make evidence-based scientific reviews accessible to healthcare decision makers in South Africa. This collaboration between Wiley and the SAMRC offers free access, through IP recognition, to the Cochrane Library throughout South Africa. This has been made possible by funding from the SAMRC and will enable all South Africans to access the gold-standard in evidence-based healthcare research. The national licence commenced in June 2017.

“This licence means that healthcare practitioners will have sustained access to reliable and unbiased Cochrane Reviews in order to apply well-informed decisions at the point of care to deliver quality healthcare to patients”, said Cochrane South Africa Director, Professor Charles Wiysonge.  “We know that systematic reviews of the evidence, such as those produced by Cochrane, can guide decision makers in the development of policies and clinical practice guidelines.”  

Although some universities and hospitals have had access to the Cochrane Library, by way of institutional subscriptions, most healthcare practitioners are not directly affiliated with these institutions leaving access to the Cochrane Library largely unavailable in clinical settings. Similarly, government technical teams and healthcare workers, responsible for developing and implementing policies and guidelines, have limited access to the Cochrane Library and therefore do not always have easy access to evidence-based information for decision making.

“A national licence for South Africa will ensure that all those looking for reliable, up-to-date evidence on healthcare interventions, would have simple ‘one-click’ access without discrimination,” said SAMRC President, Professor Glenda Gray. “This will be of specific benefit to the many doctors and nurses working under less than ideal circumstances in rural and remote areas of South Africa.”

Cochrane Reviews provide reliable and unbiased evidence through the identification, assessment, synthesis and dissemination of research findings. The Cochrane Library houses over 7000 systematic reviews. The national licence in South Africa will provide students, practitioners, researchers and patients with one-click access to this resource.

To date, 506 South African researchers have contributed to Cochrane research.  It’s hoped that increased access will also encourage young researchers to engage further with evidence-based research.


This article was contributed by Michelle Galloway, Cochrane South Africa. The full article was first published on the Cochrane.org website.