Register for the 16th Annual International Publication Planning Meeting


The 16th Annual International Publication Planning Meeting is back in San Diego February 21-22, 2017 – with a redesigned agenda and an expert speaking faculty ready to take on your biggest questions about current trends and challenges facing scientific/medical communications professionals.

Join fellow publication professionals to share best practices, challenge conventional and emerging practices, and reveal lessons learned at this one-of-a-kind, interactive event!


On behalf of The Publication Plan, take 10% off with discount code: PMP105

Top Reasons to Attend

  • Compare differences in managing a pub planning team from a small, medium, and large company perspective – from global communications to handling author expenses to publishing the Protocol and more
  • Learn how to integrate patient-level data, input and perspectives into clinical development and data dissemination plans
  • Identify strategies for targeting and reaching the optimal audience for specialty drugs, biosimilars, and medical devices
  • Hear current trends in article acceptance – what kinds of articles are journals looking for right now?
  • Find out about tech solutions that can broaden readership and comprehension

Registration Details

10% Discount Code – PMP105

Early Bird Registration Rate – $1895

Early Bird rates end 11/29
*subject to HEA approval

For more information and to register, visit the website or contact: 

Rhonda West at 704-341-2647 or

Recommendations for staying up-to-date with scientific literature

Reading publications allows scientists to benefit from previous ideas, data and interpretations. Therefore, for anyone with a scientific career, staying up-to-date with the literature is crucial. However, finding the time to do so can be difficult, particularly when the amount of new work being published is increasing. Last week, Science Careers asked a diverse group of scientists for their tips on how to best integrate keeping abreast of the latest research into their working routine.

The group identified several tools for identifying key papers. These included free alerting services such as PubCrawler and PubMed updates, which provide automatic email updates based on a saved search strategy. Feedly, which can be used to subscribe to the RSS feeds of relevant journals and the updates feature in Google Scholar, which recommends a selection of new papers to read based on your own publications, were also recognised. Further to these, recommendations from senior scientists on Faculty of 1000 and recommender systems such as PubChase were advocated, as was monitoring Reddit Science’s Ask Me Anything forum discussions. Overall, most of those asked stated that email alerts from key journals, monitoring social media for updates and recommendations from colleague were important for staying up-to-date with the latest developments.

Top tips for finding the time to read included setting aside a period once a week to review the output of literature searching tools; to read journal tables of contents as soon they arrive; to scan the titles and abstracts of newly published papers, and then decide which to carefully read; and to tweet or blog about a paper weekly as an incentive to read in depth. The scientists interviewed also provided advice on how to conduct more extensive background literature searches, how to prioritise what to read and how to reduce the chance of missing an important paper.



Summary by Louise Niven, DPhil from Aspire Scientific

Lengthy manuscript titles lead to fewer citations

In a study published earlier this year, John Hudson assessed the characteristics of >155,500 titles from journal articles submitted in the UK’s 2014 Research Evaluation Framework (the REF).  Specifically, Professor Hudson examined the impact of multiple authorship on various aspects of the title and their impact on citations.

According to the paper, citations significantly decline with title length in certain disciplines including clinical medicine, biology and physics. While using a question mark in a journal paper’s title was also associated with a reduction in the number of citations it received, the use of a colon tended to improve the citations received by a paper. As an example, the author establishes that for Clinical Medicine, doubling the title length and using a question mark reduces the number of citations by 15.9 and 19.0, respectively. Consistent with previous studies, Hudson also found that papers with multiple authorship tended to receive higher citation rates, but numerous authors also led to longer titles.

The advantage of short paper titles has been noted previously, and various explanations proposed. For example, high-impact journals might restrict title length, incremental research might be published under longer titles in less prestigious journals, or shorter titles may be easier to understand, enabling wider readership and increasing the influence of a paper.

Professor Hudson surmises that increasing title length may be the result of having to expand the title to reflect the views of numerous authors. However, multiple authorship may bring specific gains, as academics with differing expertise combine to do research they would find difficult to do alone.



Summary by Louise Niven, DPhil from Aspire Scientific

Innovative publishing platforms encourage sharing of ‘grey literature’

Publishing research with negative or neutral results can be difficult in traditional scientific journals. Similarly, non-typical articles such as those reporting methods may also be overlooked in favour of papers considered more impactful. In a recent Times Higher Education article, Holly Else describes how innovative platforms that publish this so-called ‘grey literature’ have emerged.

F1000 and The Winnower (recently acquired by Authorea) are examples of such platforms. They instantly publish original research articles, posters, slides, blogs, essays and other non-traditional pieces, and make them open to post-publication peer-review. The latest platform to launch, Wellcome Open Research uses this same publishing model to allow Wellcome grant recipients the opportunity publish all of their work, ensuring Wellcome’s research outputs are FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable). Together with online repositories like Figshare, which allows academics to deposit any file type to make their research citable and discoverable, the options open to researchers has never been greater.

The individuals behind these publishing innovations describe how the platforms encourage scientists to share their work and facilitate openness within research. They also aim to prevent the inadvertent repetition of research that can occur if there is no record of the work having previously been performed. Although these open scholarly publishing platforms look set to change the way science is communicated, the article concludes that the traditional journal article is unlikely to go anywhere for the foreseeable future.



Summary by Alice Wareham, PhD from Aspire Scientific

Company-sponsored clinical transparency rates continue to improve

Despite regulatory requirements and industry commitments, analyses of clinical trial transparency rates continue to report that not all clinical trial results are published within the required timelines, or at all.

In 2012, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) initiated a study to assess the timely disclosure of results of company sponsored trials related to all medicines approved in Europe over a continuous three-year period (2009–2011). The authors found that 77% of all trials were disclosed within 12 months and almost 90% were disclosed by the end of the study. The investigation was extended for 2012, and demonstrated an improvement in results disclosure within 12 months to 90%, with an overall disclosure rate of 92% by the end of the study. The results for a second extension (for trials related to medicines approved in 2013) have just been published.

All completed company-sponsored trials related to each new medicine approved by the European Medicines Agency in 2013, carried out in patients and recorded on a clinical trials registry and/or in a European Public Assessment Report (EPAR), were included in the assessment. Overall, 606 completed clinical trials associated with 34 new medicines licensed to 24 different companies were identified. Of the evaluable trials, results of 90% had been disclosed within 12 months, and results of 93% had been disclosed by the end of the study (31 July 2015). A significant proportion of the trials which remained undisclosed were early Phase I or II trials, however, many were initiated before industry disclosure commitments or requirements were first published.

The authors acknowledge some limitations associated with the study, including the ongoing publication of results not clearly linked (for example, by inclusion of a trial registration number) to the trials they report, despite recommendations from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization. Nonetheless, the data suggested a significant trend towards increasing rates of results disclosure at 12 months over the continuous five-year period assessed. While these results are encouraging, the authors assert that there is still some room for improvement to meet recommended transparency requirements.



Summary by Louise Niven, DPhil from Aspire Scientific

Wiley now requires ORCID iD for manuscript submission

orcidThe Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) initiative, a not-for-profit, member-fee sustained organisation, was launched in 2012. Its mission is to ‘provide open tools that enable transparent and trustworthy connections between researchers, their contributions, and affiliations’. By providing researchers with a unique digital identifier, ORCID allows researchers to be easily distinguished from each other and enables automated linkages between them and their professional activities. This is particularly valuable given that most surnames are not unique, meaning that an individual’s contribution to research can be difficult to ascertain; for example, a search for the name ‘Wang’ in PubMed reveals over half a million records.

Wiley is a founding member of ORCID and recently announced that it is making ORCID identification mandatory in the submission process for its journals. Wiley joins several other publishers, including PLOS, EMBO press and Faculty of 1000, that have signed an open letter during 2016, establishing their commitment to obtain the ORCID iD for corresponding authors of published papers. Authors submitting to the Wiley family of biomedical journals who do not have an ORCID identifier, will be given the opportunity to create one during the submission process.

In a recent survey carried out by ORCID of ~6000 people, more than 70% said they would welcome compulsory use of the ORCID identification system in publishing workflows. ORCID recognise that publishers are in a unique position to facilitate widespread adoption of ORCID and have issued an implementation standard for publishers wishing enforce mandatory use of ORCID during submission. It is hoped that these guidelines will ensure that the collection of ORCID numbers is efficient, adheres to best practices, and reduces the burden on researchers.


Summary by Louise Niven, DPhil from Aspire Scientific

Systematic reviews and the challenges of online searching

A systematic review must be thorough, transparent, accountable and reproducible. Searches are often conducted using academic bibliographic databases, but additional sources, such as websites, can be an important source of pertinent literature. In a recent article, Stansfield, Dickson and Bangpan have identified the challenges of using information from online searching, whilst maintaining the principles of a systematic review. The key challenges include:

  1. Deciding which resources to use
  2. Performing a suitable search; sources will not be structured similarly and individual search approaches may be needed for different websites
  3. Screening the potentially large amount of output information
  4. Deciding which information to collect from each resource
  5. Obtaining results in a usable format
  6. Maintaining transparency and reproducibility regarding the decisions made

The authors propose a process for systematic website searching that addresses these issues. The approach taken in performing the search and meticulous record keeping are the critical components for a successful online systematic search. New advances in technology, such as automatic searching and logging tools with document retrieval, may aid the process. However, the output of such tools will need to be carefully compared with that obtained through manual searches before they can be accepted as an appropriate search method.



Summary by Jo Chapman, PhD from Aspire Scientific.

Twitter activity predicts citation rates

twitterMany researchers now use social media, particularly Twitter, to promote their publications and to keep up to date with the latest developments. This has fuelled interest in alternatives to citation rates and the h-index for assessing research impact. However, the relationship between these traditional measures and alternative metrics (e.g. altmetrics) – in which publications are scored based on the number of mentions they receive on channels such as blogs and social media – is unclear. In an article in PLOS One, Peoples et al. suggest that articles that generate the most Twitter activity also go on to receive the most citations.

Peoples et al. selected roughly 1,600 primary research articles published between 2012 and 2014 in 20 journals with impact factors higher than three. They then used mathematical modelling to identify the factors that determined how many citations each article would receive. After allowing for the fact that the number of citations increased with time since publication, the authors found a positive correlation between the number of unique tweets about an article and its citation rate. Twitter activity was a more reliable predictor of the number of citations than the 5-year impact factor of the journal in which the article was published. Moreover, articles from journals with the highest impact factors were not necessarily those that generated the most attention on Twitter.

As Peoples et al. acknowledge, “the strong relationships…between Twitter activity and traditional citations are predictive (in a statistical sense), but not necessarily causal.” While tweeting could increase the number of citations, it is also possible that higher quality articles both attract more attention on Twitter and receive more citations because of their high quality.


Summary by Louisa Lyon, DPhil from Aspire Scientific.