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Meeting report: summary of day 2 of the 2018 Annual TIPPA Meeting


The 2018 Annual International Publication Planning Meeting (TIPPA) was held in San Diego on 5–6 February. A summary of the second day of the meeting is provided below for those who could not attend, and as a timely reminder of the highlights for those who did. Day two focused on publishing trends in 2018, supplemental and enhanced journal content, measuring the impact of a publication, what healthcare professionals (HCPs) really want and use from publications, and data sharing and transparency.

A summary of day one of the meeting can be found here.

Journal editor panel: publishing trends in 2018

In the first session of the day, Leslie Citrome (International Journal of Clinical Practice; IJCP), Kelly Soldavin (Taylor and Francis) and Steve Carney (Drug Discovery Today) provided their thoughts on publishing trends for 2018. The session was split into two sections: (1) cutting edge technology and (2) an overview of the types of articles that interest journals.

Cutting edge technology

The panel considered that cutting edge technology is impacting publishing in several ways. Firstly, it is speeding up the publication process by helping to find peer reviewers, thereby reducing publication lead times. The Scholar One system, used by many publishers, is an example of this. Scholar One uses Web of Science and other tools to more quickly find relevant reviewers. However, it was also acknowledged that the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into effect in May 2018, may have a detrimental impact on platforms such as Scholar One, since reviewers will then have to opt in to Web of Science and other technologies.

Despite the use of technologies such as Scholar One, peer reviewers remain difficult to recruit and, when recruited, can sometimes be slow to respond to review requests. Peer review is often the rate-limiting step in publication timelines. Several approaches were suggested that may help to encourage peer review:

  • incentivising reviewers by offering financial remuneration and/or continuing medical education (CME) credits
  • training new peer reviewers
  • awarding credits for peer review (eg through Publons, which was listed as another helpful tool for finding peer reviewers).

Another technological trend discussed was the use of electronic identifiers (or e-Locators), which are slowly replacing pagination in journals. e-Locators are unique identifiers for an article that serve the same function that page numbers traditionally served in the print world. e-Locators allow streamlining of the publications process since the need to assign page numbers disappears. The cumbersome process of maintaining pagination in issues and volumes is eliminated, which means that articles can be published more rapidly online. Further information about e-Locators can be found here.

The next trend under discussion was ‘informatics’. It was stated that publishers are increasingly playing a role in providing information analytics. As an example, Taylor & Francis have recently acquired, which the publisher says can help users:

  • determine emerging research trends
  • identify researchers, groups and institutions in specific fields
  • analyse a manuscript for topical and reference coverage and suggest relevant journals
  • analyse a library of articles to find key papers.

Finally, it was considered that while technology can bring benefits it can also bring its own problems. Technology has meant that it has become easier for unscrupulous individuals or organisations to start predatory, or fake, journals. There are several important differences between predatory journals and those that are legitimate. Specifically, predatory journals often have unprofessional websites that promote fake impact factors and lack detail on ethical policies and reporting standards. Most offer substantially cheaper author processing fees compared with credible journals, often without providing editorial services or robust peer review. Furthermore, papers published in predatory journals are not typically indexed in traditional databases such as Medline, although may be identified through online searches.

Guidance and tools are available to prevent inadvertent submission to predatory journals; in particular, the panel mentioned Other approaches include: asking colleagues, checking whether the journal is on PubMed or if it is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics, and finally seeing if it is listed on the Directory of Open Access Journals or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.

What kind of articles are journals looking for?

Leslie Citrome gave his view on how to ensure that a publication has the best chance of acceptance for a given journal, with emphasis on the journal of which he is Editor-in-Chief – International Journal of Clinical Practice (IJCP). He firstly stated that a common mistake is for authors to choose a journal with a very high impact factor due to the high risk of rejection. Many of these prestigious journals will also have sought papers before a study has even been completed. He recommended that pre-submission enquiries are essential.

With respect to IJCP, manuscripts are more likely to be submitted for peer review if they have a new, interesting story to tell, or a new, interesting way to tell an ‘old’ story. Primary results of randomised controlled trials and thoughtful systematic reviews that are clinically relevant are of particular interest. Manuscripts that are likely to be frequently cited and to be of interest to peer reviewers are less likely to be rejected.

Key reasons for rejection by IJCP include plagiarism; a lack of new, interesting or important information; invalid or unreproducible methodology; undisclosed conflicts of interest; unregistered clinical trials; or research of a low priority for the journal (eg IJCP is a clinical journal and is therefore not interested in preclinical/basic research).

It was recognised that it can sometimes be problematic to publish research with negative findings. This is an important issue since it can lead to the medical literature becoming skewed towards positive outcomes. In this respect, it was suggested that the Journal of Drug Assessment may offer a good solution. This PubMed-indexed, peer reviewed journal collaborates with open science initiatives such as the AllTrials campaign. Other journals are also available that provide an outlet for negative or less impactful trial results.

Supplemental and enhanced journal content for scientific publications

During the next session, Gena D’Angelo (Shire) and Tim Collinson (Fishawack) provided their perspectives on how to enhance publications through the incorporation of digital content. In this respect, it was stated that there are >23 million papers on Medline. So, how do you make sure your publication stands out? Digital enhancements can help to bring data to life and can improve reach, understanding, impact, longevity and value.

Journals now offer a plethora of multimedia supplementary options, including:

  • video abstracts
  • slides
  • animations
  • podcasts
  • author interviews
  • webinars (to enable faculty to interact with readers/audience)
  • demonstration videos
  • interactive case insights (to ensure reader comprehension of the paper’s content)
  • infographics.

It was emphasised that digital enhancements are not just for journal articles and can also be useful for posters. In posters, Quick Response (QR) codes can be embedded that can link to supplementary materials, such as videos of the author presenting the data; interactive figures; mechanism of action animations; and a PDF or slides of the poster. It was highlighted that, to improve utility, if additional material is made available via a QR code, then the poster should clearly state this.

Various tips were offered for developing digital enhanced content for a journal article or a poster:

  • Start the planning process as early as possible.
  • Check the digital options that a journal offers as soon as the target journal is known.
  • Consider remote filming of video interviews (eg via Skype), to make the process easier and less expensive.
  • Understand requirements of legal and compliance departments, such as transcripts, legal disclaimers for anything off-label, copyright considerations, publication review and approval processes, and peer review requirements.
  • Try to limit the burden on authors, as the process can be time consuming.
  • Consider journals that will provide metrics on enhancements to provide an indication of return on investment.
  • Where legally possible, encourage authors (or their institutions) to use social media to share information about their publications. However, seek guidance from legal/compliance departments first.

For more information on the use of digital enhancements in publications see the videos here, here and here.

Measuring the impact of your publication

In this talk, Tanya Brinsden (The Lockwood Group) summarised new ways to measure the impact of a publication. Traditionally, metrics for assessing the impact of a publication plan included acceptance rates, impact factor, citation rates, timing, the number of publications or submission volume, or the attendance at a presentation.

However, the digital age has brought innovative ways for medical publication professionals to measure impact. A new metric that should now be potentially considered is the social media impact of a publication. In this respect, research was discussed that shows a correlation between twitter activity and citation count. It was stated that it can be helpful to select a journal that uses social media and has a high follower count. However, it was also cautioned that social media contains a lot of ‘noise’, is subjective, and does not necessarily reflect the quality of a publication.

The rise of alternative metrics was also discussed. Various companies now provide alternative metric solutions, including ImpactStory, Altmetric, and Plum Analytics. Very broadly, these types of metrics capture the following parameters:

Parameter captured by alternative metrics tool Description
Viewed HTML views and PDF downloads
Discussed Journal comments, science blogs, Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook and other social media
Saved Mendeley, CiteULike and other social bookmarks
Cited Citations in the scholarly literature, tracked by Web of Science, Scopus, CrossRef and others
Recommended For example, used by F1000Prime

It was stated that the next version of Datavision will include Altmetric.

What HCPs really want and use from publications: results from an international survey

In this session, William Glass (Allergan) provided an overview of the findings from two surveys conducted by Allergan to better understand what HCPs really want and use from publications. The first survey was conducted among authors working with Allergan on publications. The second survey was an international study of HCPs – not just those working with Allergan.

2017 survey of authors working with Allergan

In 2017, Allergan sent a survey to 927 authors that they had worked with on publications. Overall, 215 (23%) authors completed the survey, of whom 60% were physicians. The main findings from this survey were:

  • substantial contribution to study concept/design is considered the most important factor in determining authorship
  • authors may need less time to review publications than we think. Most respondents felt that around a week was sufficient for review of the outline, 1st draft and 2nd draft of a manuscript
  • authors would like timelines communicated from the onset of a project
  • most authors prefer to work with a professional medical writer (around 60%)
  • bias by company authors was considered to be low. The majority of respondents (60%) felt that the input from Allergan-employed co-authors was absolutely appropriate. 29% said somewhat appropriate
  • authors desire lots of communication about timelines, citations, etc. In total, 70% of authors felt it was ‘absolutely necessary’ to receive the final citation (24% thought it was ‘somewhat necessary’).

Allergan plan to repeat this survey on an annual basis.

International survey of international HCPs

Glass went on to summarise the results of a large international survey of HCPs that was commissioned by Allergan. He presented the findings from English speaking countries (results from non-English speaking countries will follow). The survey was sent to 810 physicians, who were paid $85 to complete 14 questions. Overall, 620/810 (77%) HCPs completed the survey, with the majority (n=480) being US-based.

The key findings from the survey are summarised below:

Peer reviewed articles
  • Considered the most credible source of information, with clinical trial articles coming top, followed by literature reviews
  • Most often used source to stay up to date
  • Most impact on treatment decisions, with literature reviews coming top, followed by consensus statements, then clinical trial manuscripts
  • 2nd best way for pharmaceutical companies to meet HCP need for information
  • Considered the 2nd most credible source of information
  • 2nd most often used source to stay up to date
  • 2nd highest impact on treatment decisions
  • Best way for pharmaceutical companies to meet HCP need for information
Other key points
  • Open access and author prestige influence decision to read an article. 68% would be more likely to read an article if it was open access
  • One peer reviewed article can change how patients are managed. 68% answered that a single peer reviewed article would change their treatment decision if it contained clinically significant endpoints
  • Social media is rarely used to stay informed and current

Data sharing and transparency

In the final session of the meeting, Kevin Ryder and Rob Pilbrow (both from Porterhouse Medical US) gave their perspectives on data sharing and transparency. The talk began with a discussion of the new requirement from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) for authors to include data sharing statements in clinical trial publications. Specifically, articles submitted to an ICMJE journal after 1 July 2018 must contain a data sharing statement. This statement should include details about what data/additional documents will be made available, when, and to whom. In addition, for clinical trials that begin enrolment after 1 January 2019, a data sharing plan is required as part of the trial registration. These initial requirements do not yet mandate data sharing, but investigators should be aware that editors may take into consideration data sharing statements when making editorial decisions.

The speakers went on to highlight data showing that the industry is improving from a transparency perspective. Indeed, transparency of data from pharmaceutical industry-sponsored clinical trials has reached record levels. A recent study showed that 93% of all such trials, relating to medicines approved by the European Medicines Agency in 2014, published results within 12 months of trial completion or regulatory approval. This contrasts with a disclosure rate of just 71% in 2009. Other studies support this trend.

Nevertheless, any mandatory sharing of individual patient data will represent considerable challenges. Extensive educational and cultural changes will be required. We also need to consider the safeguarding of personal data, protecting commercial confidential information and guarding patent-sensitive information. Fortunately, several companies are leading the way. For example, GlaxoSmithKline and a number of other companies enable sharing of data (including patient-level data) via There are also cross-industry initiatives to enable sharing of data, including The Yale University Open Data Access Project. It was considered important that industry continues to lead with respect to data sharing, and noted that AllTrials, OpenTrials and others continue to apply pressure.

The talk ended with reference to the increasing trend for pharmaceutical companies to publish their research in open access journals. In this regard, Shire recently announced that all of their publications would now be published in open access format. This approach is to be commended. However, pressure may be increasingly applied to journals to match this commitment by enabling pharmaceutical and commercial research to be published with the less restrictive CC-BY license. This issue was recently discussed at length in a blog by Richard Smith in the British Medical Journal.

A summary of day one of this meeting can be found here.


Summary by Ryan Woodrow from Aspire Scientific

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