Industry Insights MedComms

Industry Insights: MedComms 24 October

Industry Insights: MedComms 24 October

  • Reading time:4 mins read

In this piece, we spotlight three issues in the publishing world that are driving conversations within the industry. We look at inaccurate author disclosures in medical publishing, delve into the open access debate, and discuss the art of crafting suitable lay titles for clinical trials.

The problem of unreliable author disclosures persists in the medical publishing industry. A recent study in Medscape indicates that the majority of authors either do not disclose or provide insufficient information about potential conflicts of interest (COI). It is of utmost importance to ensure complete transparency in reporting the connections between authors of scientific studies and other interested parties, as this is crucial for preserving the trustworthiness of research and upholding public trust. In a study published in BMJ Open, Baraldi and colleagues advocate for readers to cross-reference COI disclosures in journals with payment information supplied by the medical industry, in order to avoid any potential biases that might otherwise remain undetected.

The industry is getting ready for a publishing revolution. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has mandated that by the end of 2025, publications must be made instantly available to the public, removing the current optional 12-month grace period. There was already success with open access to research during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there is much debate about how the logistics of this mandate might be implemented and where the costs will land. The OSTP allows researchers to include “reasonable publication costs” in their budgets, but some fear that this might limit funds available for other research purposes. The publishing sector is closely observing the well-established European Plan S initiative, which has been in operation since 2021. As developments unfold between now and 2026, the industry is keen to see how the publishing landscape will respond to this evolving paradigm.

The European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) considered if the industry is striking the right balance with the use of lay title in clinical trials. The right trial title can make all the difference to patients and healthcare professionals seeking information. But what makes a good title? The title should be attention-grabbing, easy to read, and clearly describe the study’s content, providing informative and specific information to the reader. Clinical trial registries mandate clear, user-friendly titles, yet crafting them remains a challenge. In a study of Phase II/III and III trials on, many lay titles lacked key elements, contained jargon, and were deemed inadequate by experts. Brevity often outweighed clarity. Interestingly, titles with acronyms fared better. These results highlight the need for industry sponsors to enhance lay titles for improved patient and healthcare provider understanding.

Elion Medical Communications