Gail Higgins: Remembering a Senior Cochrane Information Specialist

5 min readJul 25, 2022

I was saddened to hear one of the best information specialists, Gail Higgins, passed away. I was absolutely gutted by the news, and it took me time to settle and start writing. Our community lost a valuable and caring member. I won’t forget her kind-heartedness and professionalism. While I had little chance to meet Gail face to face and know her on a personal level, I have been in touch with her for 9 years professionally. I am writing this post to pay respect to her by highlighting her less known positive professional impacts on our field. I hope this post makes her more memorable. She has contributed to information science and the profession for decades; however, I am covering only the last decade when I personally was closely present to see and document.

Advocating Study-Based Registers

While volunteering with Cochrane groups for a long time, I only joined the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group in July 2013. We were and are using the MeerKat software program to maintain our study-based register. My line manager directed me towards Gail as an experienced MeerKat user in Cochrane Kidney and Transplant Group. Since then, we have been in touch through email, and she kindly read and commented on my first PhD paper, and I acknowledged her in the paper and dissertation.

Study-based registers are a higher level of subject-specific databases built based on bibliographic databases (reference-based register). In study-based registers, all reports of each study are listed under one study name and each study record include PICO meta-data fields. As a result, alonside searching title and abstract in reference-based module, we can solely search Problem, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome in study-based module. The sensitivity and specificity is very hight and equal to or close to 100% and the systematic reviewers can start their reviews with data extraction without wasting time on screening. Gail was one of the pioneers of study-based registers and she maintained one of…


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