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Efficacy of reminders for increasing volunteer engagement in translating Cochrane plain language summaries: a pilot randomised controlled trial
  1. Dora Jakus1,
  2. Dalibora Behmen2,
  3. Ivan Buljan2,
  4. Ana Marušić2,
  5. Livia Puljak3
  1. 1 Institute for Emergency Medicine of Split-Dalmatia County, Split, Croatia
  2. 2 Department of Research in Biomedicine and Health, University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia
  3. 3 Croatian Catholic University, Zagreb, Croatia
  1. Correspondence to Prof. Livia Puljak, Center for Evidence-Based Medicine and Health Care, Croatian Catholic University, Zagreb 10000, Croatia; livia.puljak{at}; livia.puljak{at}


Objectives The aim of this study was to pilot test the effectiveness of reminders versus no intervention for increasing the number of translated Cochrane plain language summaries (PLSs) among volunteer translators.

Study design Parallel-group randomised controlled trial.

Setting Cochrane Croatia translation project.

Participants Adults who volunteered to translate Cochrane PLSs within the Cochrane Croatia translation project.

Intervention The participants were randomly allocated to intervention (receiving up to four bi-weekly email reminders to translate PLSs) or control group (no intervention).

Primary outcome The number of translated PLSs within the 6-month trial period.

Results We included 80 participants. The median number of translated PLSs after 6 months was 9 in the intervention group (95% CI 2.0 to 15.0) and 4 in the control group (95% CI 2.9 to 7.0), but this was not significantly different (p=0.181, Mann-Whitney U test). There was no difference between the groups in the number of translations after 3 months, the average time-to-translation after 3 or 6 months, or the satisfaction at the end of the study period. The number of reminders received and the number of translated summaries were negatively correlated (r=−0.50; 95% CI −0.70 to −0.22).

Conclusions Our pilot trial showed that reminders do not seem to be significantly effective in increasing the number of PLS translations. Future studies could explore whether different frequency, timing and content of reminders have an influence on an increase in the engagement among volunteer translators of evidence synthesis.

Trial registration NCT03534791.

  • public health
  • education & training (see medical education & training)

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  • Twitter @ana_marusic, @liviapuljak

  • Contributors Study design: LP, AM, IB. Data acquisition: DJ, DB. Data analysis and interpretation: DJ, DB, IB, AM, LP. Writing manuscript draft: DJ, DB, IB, AM, LP. Agreeing to submission of the manuscript: DJ, DB, IB, AM, LP. Agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work: DJ, DB, IB, AM, LP.

  • Funding This study was funded by the Croatian Science Foundation, grant no. IP-2014-09-7672 ‘Professionalism in Health Care’, and grant no. IP-2019-04-4882 ‘Professionalism in Health—Decision Making in Practice and Research’, awarded to AM.

  • Disclaimer The funder had no role in the design of this study, in its execution or data interpretation.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Split, School of Medicine (approval no. 2181-198-03-04-18-0022).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available in a public, open access repository. We posted raw data on the Open Science Framework (