Priority Setting

Why do we need to prioritise systematic review titles?
It is important for us to set systematic review priority topics to ensure that we are producing reviews which are most relevant to those who use them e.g. consumers, policy makers, health care professionals, researchers, guideline developers. This is why over the past twelve years we have worked to engage with the end-users of our reviews at an early stage in our review production process to agree the top priority topics in the areas of gynae-oncology, neuro-oncology, rare cancers and aspects of the care for people with cancer.

What prioritisation work have we done?
We have been involved in five formal prioritisation exercises, including in-house exercises, James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnerships (JLA PSPs) and prioritisation of review updates. Details of these can be found below.

Prioritisation project for ‘Diagnosis and treatment of gynaecological cancer: improving the evidence for the NHS’ - UK NIHR Cochrane Programme Grant Scheme
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Prioritisation project for 'Optimising care, diagnosis and treatment pathways to ensure cost effectiveness and best practice in gynaecological cancer: improving the evidence for the NHS' - NIHR Cochrane Collaboration Programme Grant Scheme
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Prioritisation project for the Society of Neuro-Oncology and European Association for Neuro-Oncology Fellowship awards
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The Womb Cancer Alliance James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnerships
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The Brain and Spinal Cord Tumour James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnerships
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Prioritisation of Review Updates 
Alongside prioritisation of new review titles, we recognise that due to increasing workload and limited resources, it is crucial to have a useful and efficient way to prioritise review updates and manage our review portfolio. Therefore, over the past four years we have been organically formulating the best approach to prioritise review updates. Following on from the prioritisation work we did in 2010 for the NIHR Cochrane Collaboration Programme Grant: Optimising care, diagnosis and treatment pathways to ensure cost effectiveness and best practice in gynaecological cancer: improving the evidence for the NHS, we began analysing the impact and usage data reports that have been disseminated annually from the Cochrane Library publishers, Wiley, since 2009. We produce a tracking system in an Excel spreadsheet, monitoring activity for each review for our portfolio by year using median access scores, Altmetric (AM) score, guideline data, review version, number of included studies and identification of where conclusions have changed. This spreadsheet allows us to create a list of higher priority updates, which we circulate to Editors and stakeholders to gauge clinical relevance and inform updating decisions. We then use this information to categorise reviews as ‘Up to date’, ‘Update pending’ or ‘No update planned’. Additional information is then added to the ‘What’s new’ field for reviews to ensure users of the Cochrane Library are aware of the current status for each review.

Future Prioritisation Plans
Looking forward, we plan to further develop our approach for prioritising review updates, taking into consideration the weight given to each incorporated factor e.g. guideline data, social media information as described above.

In 2020, we will conduct a new priority setting exercise, adhering to the standards outlined by the Knowledge Translation Working Group on Priority Setting in their guidance note. This priority setting exercise will focus on finding the top priority unanswered questions in under-researched areas of gynae-oncology cancer, such as vulval cancer and create new review titles for us to work on. We will upload the plan for this priority setting exercise to our web page, so please check back here for more details!