Handsearch priority list
A list of journals and conference proceedings that CEV believe would be a rich source of trials and are therefore a priority for handsearching

Handsearching manual
A guide for handsearchers within the CEV

Quick guide for handsearchers
A short version of the CEV Handsearching manual for quick reference

Handsearch registration form (Journals)
A form for handsearchers to register details of the journals searched

Handsearch registration form (Conference proceedings)
A form for handsearchers to register details of the conference proceedings searched

Handsearch submission form
Forms for handsearchers to use to document their handsearching and return the results to the editorial base


For Handsearchers

The US Cochrane Center maintains the main source of training materials and databases for these handsearchers. Their site includes:

Databases and procedural documents:

Why do handsearching?

Collaborators around the world are hand searching health care journals and conference proceedings. Why?

The aims of Cochrane are "preparing, maintaining and disseminating systematic reviews of the effects of health care". Before one can prepare a systematic review, one has to find the relevant research reports; in the case of  Cochrane, this usually means reports of randomised clinical trials. This can be surprisingly difficult. Cochrane review authors rely on several means of searching for relevant reports, including both electronic and manual methods. For complete identification of published reports, there appears to be no alternative to a page-by-page search of the literature.

Hundreds of journals have been or are being hand searched by members of  Cochrane, some journals by as few as one and others by as many as 32 individual searchers. As of this writing, an estimated 1,000 searchers are contributing to this effort, by searching for and cataloguing trials from more than 2,000 journals. As more trials are identified, it will be possible to prepare, maintain and disseminate increasing numbers of systematic reviews.

Getting involved as a Handsearcher: Handsearching involves the laborious task of searching through medical journals for accounts of controlled trials which are not yet indexed in the major electronic databases like MEDLINE and EMBASE. Less than a third of the world's medical journals are routinely indexed in the major electronic databases. Most Review Groups, Fields, and Centres are seeking volunteer handsearchers and will provide the necessary training and support. Handsearching of journals is coordinated by the US Cochrane Center.

Search strategies for the identification of studies

Electronic searches

We search each new issue of The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) in The Cochrane Library using the following search strategy:

#1 MeSH descriptor Eye Diseases
#2 MeSH descriptor Eye
#3 MeSH descriptor Ocular Physiology
#4 MeSH descriptor Ophthalmology
#5 MeSH descriptor Ophthalmic Assistants
#6 MeSH descriptor Optometry
#7 MeSH descriptor Lenses
#8 MeSH descriptor Ophthalmic Solutions
#9 MeSH descriptor Tears
#10 MeSH descriptor Mydriatics
#11 MeSH descriptor Miotics
#12 MeSH descriptor Orthoptics
#13 MeSH descriptor Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures
#14 MeSH descriptor Eye Injuries
#15 (#1 OR #2 OR #3 OR #4 OR #5 OR #6 OR #7)
#16 (#8 OR #9 OR #10 OR #11 OR #12 OR #13 OR #14)
#17 vision* or visual* or eye* or ophthalm* or opthalm* or ocular* or optom* or optic* or orthopt*
#18 (#15 OR #16 OR #17)

Hand searching

The up-to-date list of all journals being searched within the Cochrane Collaboration (The Master List) can be searched via the United States Cochrane Center (USCC) website at http://www.cochrane.us/masterlist.

The journals listed below are registered to members of the Eyes and Vision Group for handsearching:

Journal: Years being searched: Years completed

Acta Ophthalmologica and supplement; 1948 to 1988, 1995 to date; Prospective; On-going
American Intra-Ocular Implant Society; 1993 to 1995; Not prospective; On-going
American Journal of Ophthalmology; 1970, 1981, 1985 to 1998; 2001 to date; Prospective; On-going
Annals of Ophthalmology; 1970, 1981, 1985 to 1996; Not prospective; On-going
Archives of Ophthalmology; 1964 to 1969, 1995 to 1998; Not prospective; On-going
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Ophthalmology; 1985 to 1993; Complete
British Journal of Ophthalmology;1948 to 1995; Complete
British Journal of Ophthalmology;1996 to date; Prospective; On-going
British Journal of Optometry and Physiological Optics; 1948 to 1980; Not prospective; On-going
British Journal of Visual Impairment; 1983 to 1998; Not prospective; On-going
British Orthoptic Journal; 1970 to 1996; Complete
Clinical Vision Sciences; 1986 to 1993; Complete
Current Eye Research; 1981 to 1995; Complete
European Journal of Implant and Refractive Surgery; 1989 to 1995; Complete
European Journal of Implant and Refractive Surgery; 1996 to 1998; Not prospective; On-going
Experimental Eye Research and supplement ;1985 to 1993; Complete
Experimental Eye Research and supplement ;1994 to 1998; Not prospective; On-going
Eye; 1987 to 1995; Complete
Eye; 1996 to 1998; Not prospective; On-going
Forschritte der Ophthalmologie; 1990 to 1991; Complete
Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science; 1990 to 1999; Not prospective; On-going
Journal of the British Contact Lens Association; 1985 to 1995; Not prospective; On-going
Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery; 1978 to 1995; Not prospective; On-going
Journal of Cryosurgery; 1968 to 1969; Not prospective; On-going
Journal of Glaucoma; 1992 to 1999; Not prospective; On-going
Journal of Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus; 1964 to 1995; Complete
Journal of the British Contact Lens Association; 1985 to 1992; Complete
Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness; 1977 to 1998; Not prospective; On-going
Klinische Monatsblatter fur Augenheilkunde; 1990 to 1995; Complete
Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics; 1997 to 2002; Complete
Ophthalmic Surgery; 1979 to 1995; Not prospective; On-going
Ophthalmic Surgery and Lasers; 1996 to 1997; Complete
Ophthalmologe; 1992 to 1995; Complete
Ophthalmology; 1976 to 2002; Complete
Optometry and Vision Science; 1989 to 2001; Not prospective; On-going
Optometry: Journal of the American Optometric Association; 2000 to 2001: Not prospective; On-going
Optometry Today; 2001 to 2001; Complete
Progress in Retinal Research; 1983 to 1993; Complete
Retina; 1978 to 1997; Not prospective; On-going
Transactions - American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology. Section On Ophthalmology; 1970 to 1975; Complete
Transactions of the Ophthalmological Societies of the United Kingdom; 1948 to 1995; Complete
Transactions of the Ophthalmological Societies of the United Kingdom; 1996 to 1998; Not prospective; On-going
Vision Research; 1961 to 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1992; Not prospective; On-going
Visual Neurosciences; 1988 to 1995; Complete

Conference proceedings and years registered on the Master List of Journals being handsearched by CEVG:

Proceedings:Years being searched: Years completed

American Academy of Ophthalmology: 1990-present: Completed through 2006
American Academy of Optometry: 1990-present: Completed through 2006
American Glaucoma Society: 1997-2005: Completed 1997; 1999-2005
Association for research in Vision and Ophthalmology: 1990-present: Completed 1990-1991;1994-1995; 1998-2006
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists: Completed 2002

Vision science journals currently registered on the Master List of Journals being handsearched by other Cochrane entities:

Journal: Years being searched: Status as recorded on Master List

Archivos De La Sociedad Espanola De Oftalmologia: 1971-1995: On-going
Australian And New Zealand Journal Of Ophthalmology: 1985-1993: Complete
ChineseJournal of Ocular Fundus Disease: 1985-2000: On-going
ChineseJournal of Ophthalmology: 1950-2000: On-going
Chinese Journal of Practical Ophthalmology: 1983-2000: On-going
Chinese Ophthalmic Research: 1983-2000: On-going
Documenta Ophthalmologica: 1989-1998: Complete
Graefes Archives of Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology: 1990-1998: Complete
Journal Francais D' Ophtalmologie: 1978-1997: Complete
Lasers and Light in Ophthalmology: 1990-1994: Complete
Medical Digest Oftalmologia: 1981-1995: On-going
Ophthalmology in China:1992-2000: On-going
Recent Advances in Ophthalmology: 1981-2000: On-going
Revista D'Or De Oftalmologia: 1983-1995: On-going

Other strategies

A. Internet sites
We search the following Internet sites for information about controlled trials:

- WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform: http://www.who.int/trialsearch/
- CentreWatch clinical trials listing service at http://www.centerwatch
- National Eye Institute trials database at: http://www.nei.nih.gov/neitrials/index.htm
- Current controlled trials at: http://controlled-trials.com

B. Contact with trialists
Authors of published trials and reviews are contacted routinely by review authors to identify unpublished studies.

C. Contact with industry
We have solicited help from 25 pharmaceutical companies (identified as manufacturers of ophthalmic preparations, using MIMS July 1998) for information regarding any ongoing or unpublished trials of which they are aware. Of the 25 companies that were approached in November 1998, eight have replied to date. These discussions are ongoing. We wrote to a named contact (where possible) within the companies. We asked each company if it would share information held regarding ongoing trials, unpublished trials or any other grey literature and to name a contact with whom further discussions would be appropriate.

We are grateful to the following companies which are working with the Eyes and Vision Group to identify unpublished and ongoing ophthalmic trials of which they are aware:

Janssen-Cilag Ltd
Pharmacia and Upjohn Ltd

The following companies acknowledged our request, but did not provide trial information. They did give the name of a contact person:

Alcon Laboratories (UK) Ltd, England;
Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals Ltd, England;
Goldshield Pharmaceuticals Ltd, England;
Medeva Pharma Ltd, England;
Roche Products Ltd, England;
Schering-Plough Ltd, England.

The following companies have not responded to our request:

Allergan Ltd, England;
ASTA Medica Ltd, England;
Baker Norton, England;
Boehringer Ingelheim Ltd, England;
Chauvin Pharmaceuticals Ltd, England;
Ciba Vision Ophthalmics, Switzerland;
Dominion Pharma Ltd, England;
Evans Medical Ltd, England;
Florizel, England;
Glaxo Wellcome UK Ltd, England;
Hoechst Roussel Ltd, England;
Leo Pharmaceuticals, England;
Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, England;
Sandoz Pharmaceuticals (Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd), England;
Seton Healthcare Group, England;
Typharm Ltd, England.

Since this first contact, pharmaceutical companies have been approached according to the needs of individual reviews being undertaken. We identify companies with products relevant to a review using Martindale's Pharmacopia. Where possible we contact a named person first by telephone. We then send a request letter and a copy of the protocol. We ask companies to check their databases for any unpublished or ongoing trial information and for any trial information published in 'grey literature' which would be relevant to reviewers. They are also asked to return a statement even if they have no relevant information or if they are unable to supply information.

We are grateful to the following companies for their assistance:

Allergan Ltd;
Leo Pharmaceuticals;
Merck, Sharp & Dohme Ltd;
Roche Products Ltd;
Schering-Plough Ltd.

Ciba Vision AG have stated that after management review and discussion, no general support with regards to information can be offered.

Anyone who has knowledge of unpublished or ongoing trials is invited to contact the editorial base to register basic details of the trial.

Planned searching activities

We intend to start searching MEDLINE for reports of RCTs and CCTs to add to the trials register. We will amend the search strategy currently used to search The Cochrane Library. We envisage searching MEDLINE on a quarterly basis with effect from July 2007.