Pharma publications will never please all of the people all of the time, but does the current publishing model stand a chance of pleasing some of the people some of the time? This was the fundamental question that we tried to answer in our recent Open Pharma talk shows, now freely available on YouTube.
In recent years, the pharma industry has made visible commitments to increased research integrity. These intentions have been backed up by practical steps, such as increased disclosure of study protocols and data, more guidance and dedicated staff, to ensure the ethical separation of commercial and scientific activities, and more open science practices, such as the implementation of mandates for open access publishing and plain language summaries of research. Open Pharma works within this rapidly evolving environment, helping to facilitate further improvements to the pharma publications model.
Many of our activities are designed to connect pharma with relevant stakeholders and with innovations in publishing that can help to increase transparency and access to research outputs. Our recent satellite symposium at the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers Annual Conference 2022 enabled pharma, publishing, medical communications and patient advocacy representatives to share and explore organizational and collaborative endeavours to improve trust in pharmaceutical research. The Open Pharma talk shows, held in February 2023, continued these big picture conversations.
The talk shows brought together some of the brightest minds working in scientific publishing, patient advocacy and health policy today to explore the fundamental questions that shape, and should be guiding, pharma publishing activities. The energetic and interactive discussions, expertly facilitated by Richard Smith (Open Pharma Chair and former BMJ Editor), tried to unpack what the world wants from pharma publications and whether we have a publication model that is able to meet those needs.
We strongly encourage anyone involved and/or interested in healthcare communications to watch the two 1-hour talk shows. Not only do they articulate what different audiences want from pharma publications, but they also highlight some of the current barriers to realizing those goals. A central concern raised was that of widespread misinformation, which seems to infiltrate many aspects of modern life.
The talk shows have been conceived as a listening exercise, with minimal contribution of the pharma voice. The next steps are to work together across industries to remove misconceptions, break down some of the real and perceived barriers to effective healthcare communications, and increase trust in research. We all need to be part of the solution.
Details of the talk shows and links to the YouTube videos, are provided below:
- Kajsa Wilhelmsson, Oxford Health Policy Forum
- Venkat Narayan, Emory Global Diabetes Research Center
- Paul Simms, Impatient Health
- Durhane Wong-Rieger, Rare Diseases International