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Home > Cochrane Staff > Data Protection > (4) Newsletters and mailing lists
(4) Newsletters and mailing lists
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Cochrane Groups typically communicate with contributors and interested members of the public in two ways:


Newsletters and mailing lists

Under data protection regulations, newsletters and most mass mailings are considered to be marketing communications. People must actively consent (or “opt in”) to marketing communications. You must assume no one has asked to receive messages from you unless they have actively subscribed. The fact that people have received a newsletter in the past does not count as consent. If you are in any doubt you should remove people from the mailing list and write to them to ask them to re-subscribe. Please contact for assistance with this.


Groups can manage their own mailing lists, and should adhere to the standards below.


  1. Use dedicated software such as MailChimp for your newsletter. MailChimp is free to use for up to 2,000 subscribers. We can provide templates and help with branding.
  2. You should not keep a spreadsheet of mailing list subscribers locally. Store the personal data of your subscribers in MailChimp.
  3. Take appropriate technical and organisational measures to prevent unauthorised access to the data; protect your Group’s MailChimp account with a suitably strong password.
  4. You must not create a mailing list from Archie contact details – people must subscribe to your mailing list. You can write to people to inform them about your mailing list, but you must not add people to mailing lists by default. Contact for assistance with this. Performing a bulk export of contact information from Archie to send any mailings is not permitted according to the law.
  5. Any consent to marketing emails must be explicit, clear, and recorded. You can send potential subscribers a link to sign up to the mailing list and incorporate a message about your newsletter into standard communications to people joining your Group. MailChimp will handle the recording of consent and will not send newsletters to people who have unsubscribed.
  6. Do not use or share the recipients' details for any purpose other than to send the newsletters.
  7. Advertise your newsletter sign-up link on your website. See for example: You can also promote your newsletter through social media channels.
  8. Your newsletter should include relevant content such as information about Group activities, upcoming events, news, recent publications, and updates related to the Group's area of interest.
  9. People must be able to unsubscribe by clicking a button or hyperlink in the email. The following disclaimer must be included next to, or directly below the unsubscribe button / link.

"Please note: unsubscribing will remove you from the Cochrane XXXXX Group's mailing list, but it will not automatically unsubscribe you from other Cochrane Groups' mailing lists or from Cochrane’s organizational mailing lists which you can manage at"

Discussion lists

Cochrane has previously used MailMan lists to facilitate discussion between group members in different groups across the Community. MailMan is not compliant with data protection regulations as it allows people to have access to other people’s contact details and makes it difficult to process a person’s right to be removed from Cochrane's systems.


To replace these discussion lists we are encouraging groups to use Cochrane Forums or Community Slack where possible. If you would like to explore using these tools please contact


There is more guidance about using Mailchimp here. If you have further questions please contact

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