Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Health and Social Care Bill has now been published

Read the new Health and Social Care Bill 2010-2011:

Responses from  

You can also watch a debate from the BBC between Prof Julian Le Grand from the London Schools of Economics and Prof Martin Roland from Cambridge University

Friday, January 14, 2011

Event: Digital Researcher #DR11

On 14 February 2011, Vitae and The British Library are running the Digital Researcher 2011 to help researchers make the most of new technologies in their research.

The interactive event, which will be held at the British Library, is for postgraduate researchers and research staff. It will include presentations and interactive sessions on subjects such as microblogging, RSS feeds, social networking and social citation sharing. Participants will explore and develop the skills needed for research in an increasingly digital world and gain ideas for managing information.

If you can't make it on the day, follow via twitter #DR11, or contribute to the blog ahead of the event.

Event: Personal Data, Public Knowledge and Research Ethics 
Wednesday, 19 January 2011: 12:00 - 14:00
Location: CRASSH Seminar Room


Dr Louise Corti (Associate Director, UK Data Archive and Head of ESDS Qualidata)
Dr Libby Bishop (Timescapes Project, University of Leeds

About the seminar

The drive to make research data accessible to the widest possible scholarly community through archiving and data-sharing mandates proposed by funding bodies and academic journals raises new ethical, technical and methodological challenges.

Does the ease with which digital data can be re-used, shared, searched and combined make it impossible for research participants to give their fully informed consent, as they cannot know how information about them will be used in future? Can the need to ensure efficient use of public funds by sharing and archiving publicly-funded research data be balanced with the demands of data protection and individual privacy? Can researchers build ethics into their relationship with data so that their work respects the privacy of research participants while creating knowledge for the public good?
This seminar brings together researchers, research co-ordinators, and data managers to discuss their experiences in finding practical ways of dealing with issues of consent, confidentiality, research design and relations with stakeholders. The seminar will consist of a mixture of short presentations followed by a panel discussion.

This seminar is part of a series. Please click here for a full list of related events.
Digital Humanities / Incremental Seminar Series
The Incremental project is a collaboration between the Cambridge University Library and Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII) at the University of Glasgow. The project is a first step in improving and facilitating the day-to-day and long-term management of research data in higher education institutions (HEI’s).
The Cambridge Digital Humanities Network connects researchers at the University of Cambridge and beyond who are interested in how the use of digital tools is transforming scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. 
To reserve a place at the seminar and for more information about the Incremental project, please contact Catharine Ward (cw330 [at]
For more information about the Cambridge Digital Humanities Network, please contact Anne Alexander (raa43 [at] 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Systematic Reviews and the quest for raw data

Can systematic reviews ever be the same again?

The definition of a systematic review is, according the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions is that they:

"seek to collate all evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to address a specific research question"

But what happens when all the evidence is not available because results of trials are not published in full? Publication bias is not a new phenomena (eg papers from 1991 to 2010 and a nice review: )

The BMJ this week use their editorial to highlight the difference that getting access to the unpublished trial results would have made to a systematic review of the evidence on the effectiveness of flu vaccines:

"From now on, they say, reviewers must have access to all unpublished data, not only from unpublished trials—the usual focus of concern about publication bias—but also from those that have been published in peer reviewed journals. Reviewers must assess entire trial programmes, and so new tools and methods are needed. If the trial reports are incomplete, reviewers should turn to reports from the drug regulators. As Tom Jefferson, the lead author for the Cochrane review, told me, “it’s goodbye PubMed, goodbye Embase.”"

Watch the Channel 4 documentary "New doubts over Tamiflu"  
Read the BMJ editorial Goodbye pubmed, hello raw data  and article  Ensuring safe and effective drugs: who can do what it takes   Tom Jefferson and colleagues discuss how to improve the reliability of systematic reviews.
Read the Cochrane's revised protocol on how to carry out a systematic review : this is a pre-publication draft of a protocol for a Cochrane Review, prepared by the Acute Respiratory Infections Cochrane Review Group

You may find this entry on the Trust the Evidence blog from the Centre from Evidence Based Medicine interesting.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

NHS e-journal links - downtime alert

On Thursday 6th January and Tuesday 11th January 2011, there will be a period of downtime on the NHS e-journal links to carry out essential maintenance.

Access to NHS e-journals will be problematic durinng this period.

We apologise for any inconvenience this will cause.