Editor’s pick: Open Pharma since 2017

Sophie Nobes

Open Pharma was founded in 2017 with the aim of improving the pharma publications model by increasing transparency and access to research outputs. Since then, the Open Pharma blog has been sharing expert opinions and discussing topical developments in the world of open science. To conclude 2023, this Editor’s pick from the Open Pharma blog archive revisits key conversations in open science and considers how they have progressed over the years.


Cultivating ORCID at the Royal Society by Stuart Taylor | 12 September 2017

Recognizing the role that persistent author identifiers can play in improving transparency and research authentication, the Royal Society spearheaded a movement of publishers mandating ORCID registration for authors. In his 2017 guest post, Stuart Taylor (Publishing Director at the Royal Society) outlined the benefits of integrating ORCID registration into the publication process.

ORCID adoption in the pharma community by Matt Buys | 23 October 2019

Open Pharma research suggested that ORCID uptake increased in the research community between 2017 and 2019, but adoption was slower among authors with pharma affiliations.1 To demonstrate our continued support of ORCID, we published a post by Matt Buys (former Director of Engagement at ORCID) in 2019 that reiterated the benefits of ORCID adoption for pharma authors. He also signposted the Open Pharma ORCID infographic in his post. Notably, both Stuart Taylor (in 2017) and Matt Buys (in 2019) concluded that many of the potential advantages of ORCID will not be realized without consistent and systemic adoption across all research communities.


Reflecting on the release of the Open Pharma position statement on open access by Sarah Sabir | 7 November 2019

Open Access Week in 2019 saw Open Pharma launch the position statement on open access. The statement – developed to inform the progression of open access policies in pharma and publishing alike – accumulated 60 individual and 16 organizational signatories within 2 weeks of publication. In her 2019 blog post, written just 2 weeks after the publication of the statement, Sarah Sabir (Communications Consultant at Oxford PharmaGenesis) reflected on the development of the statement and discussed the benefits it could bring. The position statement now boasts more than 250 endorsements, including nine from publishers.

How pharma will help move the needle on open research by Mark Hahnel | 13 June 2022

Open access considerations extend beyond journal publications. In his 2022 post, Mark Hahnel (CEO and Founder of Figshare) described the role that novel infrastructure platforms, such as Figshare, could play in facilitating access to research outputs. Mark also considered the role of metadata and open infrastructures in enabling the implementation of FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) principles.

Making pharma leaders in open access models by Ashley Farley and Johan Rooryck | 10 October 2023

In the autumn of 2023, Ashley Farley (Program Officer of Knowledge and Research Services at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and Johan Rooryck (Executive Director at cOAlition S) shared their thoughts on new open access publishing models. This opinion piece expands on questions Tim Koder (Co-founder of Open Pharma) noted in a much earlier blog following his attendance at the Digital Technology session at ISMPP 2017. The 2017 blog spoke of the need to remodel established publication practices to facilitate evolving data sharing requirements. In 2023, Ashley and Johan provided examples of developments in publishing that could start to address this need, alongside examples of opportunities for authors of pharma-sponsored publications to continue the development of data sharing requirements.

The patient perspective

Using publication plain language summaries to inform and empower patients, caregivers and non-specialists by Simon Stones | 20 October 2020

In his 2020 guest post, Simon Stones (Health Advocate and Consultant) asserted that legacy thinking has hindered innovation in publishing models, in the style of scientific communications and in considerations of the end audience. Simon made it clear that plain language summaries (PLS) are key to integrating the patient perspective into pharma publications, but that their development alone is not enough. In his piece, Simon outlines a series of patient-centric considerations that should be factored into the development of all plain language materials.

Publishing standalone PLSPs: lessons learned so far by Future Science Group by Joanne Walker and Laura Dormer | 4 October 2021

There is, undoubtedly, still progress to be made towards better integration of the patient perspective in pharma evidence generation and publication processes. Nevertheless, important advances have been made in recent years. Companies including Open Pharma supporter Ipsen have announced PLS mandates and a clear commitment to increasing the accessibility of their research for non-expert audiences. An increasing number of publishers are also now accepting submissions of long-form, standalone plain language summaries of publications (PLSPs). In their 2021 post, Joanne Walker and Laura Dormer (both formerly of Future Science Group) share their publishing advice and experience with PLSPs.

Open science in the context of rare diseases: a patient perspective by Zheqing Zhang | 10 October 2023

During her 2023 summer internship at Oxford PharmaGenesis, Zheqing Zhang (a clinical medical student at the University of Oxford) interviewed Medics 4 Rare Diseases patient advocates Aisha Seedat and Rhoda Walker (former Chair of the Northern Ireland Rare Disease Partnership). Through her discussion with Aisha and Rhoda, Zheqing explored open science successes and challenges through the lens of individuals living with rare diseases and highlighted the importance of open access for rare disease communities.

Trust in pharma publications

A matter of trust by Stephen Bradley | 5 May 2021

In this 2021 guest post, Stephen Bradley (Steering Group Member of the Declaration to Improve Biomedical & Health Research) stated that transparency and trust go hand-in-hand. Calling on the pharma community to support the Declaration, Stephen argued that increased transparency and sharing of pharma-sponsored outputs could improve public trust in pharma. These themes were explored further at the Open Pharma Satellite Symposium held at the 2022 Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers Annual Conference, a summary of which can be read in the European Medical Writers’ Association journal Medical Writing.2 These posts outline opportunities to nurture and enhance trust between the pharma community and the general public.

Data sharing and open publication: the Takeda example by Valérie Philippon | 9 May 2022

One of the principal recommendations that Stephen Bradley made in his Open Pharma blog post on trust in pharma publications was for companies to share relevant study documents, such as trial protocols. Having committed to disclosing trial protocols in 2002, Takeda – a founding member of Open Pharma – has two decades of experience in implementing best practice in transparent research communications. Reflecting on her attendance at the UK Health Research Authority #MakeItPublic annual conference in 2021, Valérie Philippon (then Head of Global Publications at Takeda) examined the potential barriers, both internal and external, and solutions to improved transparency in pharma research and publications.


  1. Edgell C, Sabir S, Farrow P et al. ORCID uptake in pharma-sponsored research [poster]. Presented at the 2023 European Meeting of ISMPP, 24–25 January 2023, London, UK. Available from: https://www.openpharma.blog/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/orcid-uptake-in-pharma-sponsored-research.pdf (Accessed 13 December 2023).
  2. Chisholm A. Can access and accessibility rebuild trust in research? Medical Writing 2022;31:13–5.

Sophie Nobes is a Senior Medical Writer at Oxford PharmaGenesis.