Today, we’re excited to announce the publication of the Open Pharma recommendations for plain language summaries of peer-reviewed medical journal publications!
Following our January roundtable meeting, a public consultation in March, a lot of hard work put in by the Open Pharma Accessibility workstream and the release of a preprint, the recommendations for plain language summaries have now been published in Current Medical Research and Opinion here.
Why develop the recommendations?
Plain language summaries of peer-reviewed medical journal publications are intended for everyone engaging with medical research, such as patients, patient advocates, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and policymakers. These summaries encourage discussions around medical research and aid informed and shared decision-making. With the broad range of stakeholders involved in pharmaceutical research, pharmaceutical companies are now in a strong position to make the medical publishing model more transparent. We believe that the next step of openness is to create a more accessible and inclusive environment through the routine development of plain language summaries of peer-reviewed medical journal publications.
There are many formats of plain language summaries, but text-based formats are the most discoverable through indexing in directories such as PubMed. Standardizing the minimum steps for the development and sharing of index-friendly plain language summaries can help promote the quality and credibility of these types of communications. The aim of a minimum standard is to build a universal foundation that encourages the accessibility, discoverability, and inclusivity of plain language summaries. This standard can then serve as a basis for summaries written for a more specific target audience or that include graphically and digitally enhanced formats that increase understanding and engagement, which we strongly encourage.