Find out what Open Pharma achieved during Open Access Week 2019

Katie Willetts

Last week was International Open Access Week covering the topic ‘Open for whom? Equity in open knowledge’. Open Pharma kicked off this year’s Open Access Week with the launch of its position statement on open access at a MedComms Networking event in Oxford on 21 October 2019. The statement calls for publishers to allow authors whose research is funded by pharma to have the same rights as authors whose research is funded by other sources – that is to publish open access so that the results of their work are made available to anyone, anywhere in the world. The launch presentation, delivered by Oxford PharmaGenesis CEO Chris Winchester, can be viewed here, and the statement can be read and endorsed here. The excitement did not end there, though, we also heard from our colleagues at Oxford PharmaGenesis and Caudex about the research and activities they are involved in. Research presented by Gemma Rogers (Oxford PharmaGenesis) showed that pharma sponsors disclose approximately three-quarters of their clinical trials compared with less than half for research funded by other sources over the same period. Tim Ellison (Oxford PharmaGenesis) revealed that only one of the 21 leading medical journals offering open access options to non-commercially funded research allows pharma-funded research to be published open access. Talks by Obaro Evuarherhe (Oxford PharmaGenesis) and Jackie Marchington (Caudex) covered the importance of professional medical writing support in the quality and timeliness of reporting and gave an overview of the recently published Good Practice for Conference Abstracts and Presentations, respectively. All presentations and slides from the day can be accessed here.

Research transparency and availability affect us all, so shouldn’t we all be involved in the open science conversation? With this in mind, Open Pharma teamed up with Pint of Science for an evening of discussions titled ‘Clinical trial transparency – let’s talk’ hosted by Digital Science’s own Mike Taylor. The event, held at St Aldates Tavern in Oxford, featured an introduction to Open Pharma, presented by Steph Macdonald, and insights from an investigation into outcome switching in clinical trials, presented by Henry Drysdale (EBM DataLab). After a quick interval that gave attendees the chance to grab another pint, it was the audience’s turn to take control and question our expert panel, namely Joe Adams (Wiley), Nick DeVito (EBM DataLab), Tim Koder (Oxford PharmaGenesis) and Georgia Richards (University of Oxford). Among other topics, panellists debated over whether journals/editors should be held responsible for poor practices in scientific publishing and on the role of open access in reporting clinical trials, with excellent arguments presented by both sides. It was fantastic to see the scientific community and the general public come together to talk about trial transparency.