Can the pharmaceutical industry help to advance the model for publishing of scientific research? This question has assumed greater importance as other funders have started to flex their muscles, introducing open access policies and even their own publishing platforms (e.g. Royal Society Open Science, Wellcome Open Research), but stringent regulation and widespread mistrust of open access publishing have so far made the pharmaceutical industry hesitant to get involved. A multi-stakeholder meeting organized by Oxford PharmaGenesis at the Wellcome Trust in London on 19 January 2017 concluded that industry can – and indeed should – take a lead in improving the way in which the research it funds is published. The 20-strong group of regulators, journal editors, publishers, ethicists, experts in evidence-based medicine and public health, patients, public research funders and representatives of pharmaceutical companies agreed to look for practical ways for industry to increase use of open access, ORCID author IDs, the Convey global disclosure system, preprints and post-publication peer review. They even suggested potentially developing a dedicated multi-level publishing platform to bring together protocols, reports, data, publications, digests for healthcare professionals and patient information. The group agreed that a series of workstreams would be useful to investigate further the main avenues for progress, so look out for more news later this year.
You can read more about the meeting in the new BMJ blog post by the Chair, Richard Smith (Former Editor of the BMJ): http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2017/01/31/richard-smith-time-for-pharmaceutical-companies-to-help-improve-the-publishing-of-science/. Earlier the same week, at the European meeting of the International Society of Medical Publication Professionals, our very own Amy Williams presented her poster ‘Surveying the evolving models of digital publishing: where does pharma fit?’, and you can see this excellent overview of the new publishing options for pharma here: http://www.healthsciencelive.com/UK/987041.
Our thanks go to all participants for their contributions to a successful meeting; to GSK Vaccines, Shire, UCB and the Wellcome Trust for their financial support; and to Richard Smith for chairing the meeting.