Access to scientific literature

Scientific findings are decisive in practice. Active physicians should always be able to treat their patients based on the most recent data available – in the sense of evidence-based medicine. To this end, it is essential that they have access to quality information. However, despite the success of the Open Access initiative, the majority of current medical literature remains available only to subscribers or staff of institutions that pay for licences. In this context, the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) has been working towards the acquisition of a national licence for the Cochrane Library.

Since 1 January 2016, the Cochrane Library has been made accessible free of charge to professionals, but also to anyone in Switzerland who wishes to obtain reliable information in order to make informed decisions about their health.


The Cochrane network consists of around 12 000 people active in more than 130 countries. For over 25 years, they have been working together to produce systematic reviews without any commercial funding. The latter summarise research findings in the field of medical care and serve as a reliable basis for evidence-based medicine. Cochrane Reviews are internationally recognized as the benchmark for high-quality information about the effectiveness of health care and reflect the current state of knowledge. 


The national licence is financed by the SAMS, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), as well as university libraries and hospitals. 



Note on the extension of the national licence

In 2019, the SAMS gave swissuniversities the mandate to negotiate the extension of the national license for the Cochrane Library, which expires in December 2020.

Despite mutual efforts, the current negotiations with the academic publisher John Wiley & Sons have not resulted in an agreement. Therefore the negotiating parties have decided to continue negotiations at the beginning of 2021. Access to the Cochrane Library will be maintained until the negotiations are concluded.


To the communication of swissuniversities 14 December 2020





Access to Cochrane Library (for health professionals)


Access to Cochrane «Our evidence» (for the public)


Access to the Cochrane Consumer Network (for the public)


Commission «Biomedizinische Bibliotheken» (in German or French)






lic. phil. Valérie Clerc
Secretary General