The Cochrane Library is an online resource containing a regularly updated collection of evidence-based databases, including over 6,000 Cochrane reviews published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. These reviews explore the evidence for and against the effectiveness and appropriateness of different treatments in specific circumstances. Each review features a Plain Language Summary, with the aim of making the information accessible to everyone. The Cochrane Library also includes editorials and special collections focusing on high profile health areas.
Australians have long been the highest per capita users of the Cochrane Library globally. Since 2002 all Australians have had free access to the Cochrane Library as a result of the Australian Government funding a national subscription. In August 2012, the NHMRC renewed Australia's national licence for a further five years and issued a media release highlighting the benefits of free access to the Library.
Australians are frequent users of the Cochrane Library, downloading over 745,000 full text articles in 2014, an increase of 30 per cent since 2011. Users search for and download Cochrane reviews on a wide range of topics. The following top ten reviews were the most downloaded in 2014 and provide a snapshot of popular topics:
> Discharge planning from hospital to home
> Exercise for depression
> Interprofessional collaboration: effects of practice-based interventions on professional practice and healthcare outcomes
> Interprofessional education: effects on professional practice and health care outcomes
> Interventions to improve hand hygiene compliance in patient care
> Interventions for preventing falls in older people in care facilities and hospitals
> Interventions for preventing falls in older people living in the community
> Interventions for preventing obesity in children
> Midwife-led continuity models versus other models of care for childbearing women
> Reminiscence therapy for dementia
You can find more information about the Library and its many uses on the Cochrane Library website.