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Online interest in Cochrane: data from Google Trends Lewis Timimi 1 , Clive E Adams 2 1 The Priory Academy LSST, Lincoln, UK 2 University of Nottingham, UK. Background In 2012, 1,873,910,000,000 Google searches were made

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Online interest in Cochrane: data from Google TrendsLewis Timimi1,Clive E Adams21The Priory Academy LSST, Lincoln, UK2University of Nottingham, UK

  • Background
  • In 2012, 1,873,910,000,000 Google searches were made
  • ‘Google Trends’ is a free online tool that is able to track the number of times a specific search is made in each month from 2004 until present
  • The Cochrane Collaboration website ( is ranked 120,472 in the world in terms of internet traffic (as of 18/07/2013, according to
  • 28.7% of the traffic visiting the Cochrane Collaboration site comes from a search engine, and 27.5% of traffic is from Google (as of 18/07/2013, according to

Figure 1

  • Aims
  • To investigate the frequency of Cochrane related Google searches from 2004 until present
  • To investigate the frequency of Google searches for other leading medical publications from 2004 until present
  • Method
  • Post GCSE-student on one week placement
  • Searched specific phrases in Google Trends
  • Search phrases selected from:
    • Phrases associated with the Cochrane Collaboration
    • Phrases associated with popular Cochrane Reviews
    • The top 4 “Medicine, General and Internal” journals in the ISI Journal Citation Report
  • Data downloaded from Google Trends
  • Line graphs generated for relevant comparisons

Figure 2

  • Results
  • Cochrane:
  • Searches related to the Cochrane Collaboration and Cochrane Library consistently show downward trends (figure 1)
  • Thames Ditton (a small village in Greater London) frequently, and somewhat peculiarly, leads the way in Cochrane related searches (figure 2)
  • Many of the of the popular Cochrane reviews peak in search frequency annually. Interest is at its highest during the winter months, whilst through summer the number of searches (for selected popular reviews) drop to an immeasurable amount. (figure 3)
  • Other Leading Journals:
  • The top 4 medical journals all display very similar downward trends in search frequency, like the Cochrane Library (figure 4)
  • Despite this seemingly widespread decline, in the UK, NICE exceeded the search frequency of Cochrane, with an upwards trend in searches (figure 5)

Figure 3

  • Conclusions
  • Cochrane’s decline is primarily a part of the overall decline in online interest in the leading medical journals
  • Whilst it is reassuring that Cochrane is not falling behind the top medical journals, online interest in Cochrane is falling behind publications aimed more directly at clinicians, like the NICE publications
  • The annual peaks in searches for specific Cochrane reviews would seem to suggest that interest is primarily driven across the Cochrane Collaboration as a whole, as opposed to across individual groups.

Figure 5

Figure 4