By Peter C Gøtzsche
Cochrane – A sinking ship? This article was posted by PhD Maryanne Demasi as a blog on the website of BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine on 16 September 2018 (https://blogs.bmj.com/bmjebmspotlight/2018/09/16/cochrane-a-sinking-ship/). Incidentally, I found out earlier this week that the link had become inactive: “This site has been archived or suspended.” Demasi inquired, and it turned out that the editor had removed the entire blog site because it had “been inactive for some time.” We believe that this action is effectively a retraction without notifying the authors about it. Demasi was told by the publisher that she would “find out how we can restore access to the archived posts.”
To be certain that people can find Demasi’s article easily, I have uploaded it on our website. It starts thus:
A scandal has erupted within the Cochrane Collaboration, the world’s most prestigious scientific organisation devoted to independent reviews of health care interventions. One of its highest profile board members has been sacked, resulting in four other board members staging a mass exodus. They are protesting, what they describe as, the organisation’s shift towards a commercial business model approach, away from its true roots of independent, scientific analysis and open public debate. There are concerns that Cochrane has become preoccupied with “brand promotion” and “commercial interests”, placing less importance on transparency and delivering “trusted evidence”.