Background: Many trials conducted in middle and low income countries are published in journals that are not indexed in commonly searched databases. Their exclusion from systematic reviews could bias conclusions, rendering them unreliable and potentially irrelevant to healthcare in these countries. Objectives: To describe the South Asian Database of Controlled Clinical Trials (SADCCT) and the South Asian Cochrane Network and Centre’s Digital Library that aim to: a) provide a comprehensive source in the public domain of all controlled clinical intervention trials involving humans conducted in the South Asian region; and b) contribute information about these trials to the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) in The Cochrane Library. Methods: Health science journals published from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and reporting intervention trials in humans were identiﬁed. Online and print issues of these journals were searched, intervention trials located, citations and abstracts entered into EndNote coded as RCTs or CCTs and cleaned records imported to MeerKat, with web links provided to the original article where possible. Full text articles are indexed and stored using the Greenstone Digital Library Software. Results: The SADCCT launched in January 2009 (www.cochrane-sadcct.org) is searchable free of charge and currently contains the citations, abstracts and web-links (where possible) to 1859 records (CCT-723 (39%); RCT-1133 (61%)) published in 68 Indian medical journals of which 1031 (55%) are not indexed in MEDLINE. Full text articles are stored for most in the South Asian Cochrane Network and Centre’s Digital Library. In the second phase 157 South Asian journals (of which 93 (59%) are not indexed in MEDLINE) will contribute trials, supplemented by searches of conference abstracts, dissertations and other sources. Conclusions: The Cochrane Collaboration now has a resource to access all the evidence generated from the South Asian region.
Access to evidence from countries in South Asia: the South Asian Database of Controlled Clinical Trials and the South Asian Cochrane Network and Centre’s Digital Library
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