Man working on computer; medical publishing concept

Medical Publishing: How the Right Tools Maximize Your Deliverable’s Reach

At the time of writing, Regeneron was hiring a director of immuno-oncology publications management. The ad for that job underscores how complex medical publishing work is. It includes:

  • Leading a cross-functional team in planning, executing, and securing approvals for published work.
  • Managing vendors and contract writers.
  • Ensuring everyone hits their overlapping deadlines.

This isn’t surprising to anyone in medical affairs today. Their work has evolved from support function to strategic pillars in life sciences companies, and publishing has consequently taken on a higher degree of importance — and complexity.

Even in small teams with one or two publications in the pipeline, the work of planning a publication, executing the deliverable, and seeing it through the peer review and approval processes require extensive project management.

Medical publishing isn’t work that can be done with spreadsheets or manual publication management tools. Not if you want to maximize the impact of your team’s research.

Let’s explore why digital publication management tools are indispensable tools for medical affairs teams today.

Data-Driven Strategic Planning

An important early step in medical publishing is understanding how and where to present that research — at a conference, in a peer-reviewed journal, or as a poster. Part of planning is defining the best audience for your research.

That’s why Anju’s Pubstrat MAX integrates with Journal Selector and Conference Authority, the industry’s most robust and comprehensive databases. Having that knowledge at your fingertips gives medical affairs teams the best visibility into what would be the most appropriate venue for their work. They can then manage projects in accordance with conference deadlines or journal lead times.

With the options in front of you, your team can assess areas, such as the impact factors of one journal over another. The team at Wiley notes that different journals have different definitions of what an impact factor is, so it’s important for your team to have a shared dashboard for making apples-to-apples comparisons across publications.

Alternative metrics, or “altmetrics,” help with that. “At a basic level, article usage data (downloads, views, etc.) give you an idea of the online traffic a journal receives,” the Wiley team writes.

“More importantly, altmetric data show a paper’s coverage in the mainstream media and blogs, how many times it is tweeted about, or how many ‘likes’ it gathers on Facebook. Journals like Annals of Neurology actively track and share altmetric data, and if you are considering such a journal, checking the altmetric score of a published paper relatively similar to yours in that journal can indicate the kind of engagement you can expect if you publish in this journal.”

Healthcare professionals in meeting taking notes; medical publishing concept

Tracking and Securing Approvals

Email is an ineffective tool for engaging publication and content managers, reviewers, approvers, and authors. However, email is the tool many medical affairs teams default to.

As a result, teams spend many hours coordinating their communications, addressing comments manually, and reconciling drafts. Streamlining these collaborative channels, ironically, helps everyone focus on the very human aspects of reviewing work, especially in the face of a rejection.

“The goal of the reviewer is to be impartial, but again, we all are individuals, and perhaps most of them are volunteering as well,” Charles Lopresto, resident physician at Jamaica Hospital in New York and chair of the Medical Society of the State of New York’s resident and fellow section, told an AMA forum audience in 2022.

If you get rejected, “have a dialogue with the reviewers and the editor and to understand what was the reason that you were rejected, how could you improve this paper?” Lopresto said. He noted that the goal is to encourage dialogue as much as possible and be persistent about working your way through your list of target publications.

To support that persistence, Pubstrat MAX tracks key performance indicators for each deliverable. Your team will receive project alerts on your dashboard and see real-time analytics for each project as it moves from planning through review and on to published.

Learn More

In 2020, Jackie Raskind, director of medical writing at KPS Life, LLC, made the case for publication management software in the European Medical Writers Association’s journal Medical Writing.

Pubstrat MAX was one of a handful of software solutions she analyzed. The software has come a long way since Raskind reviewed it, but her essential point remains.

“Using a standardised software solution can assure a consistent process, reduce time spent managing the tasks in executing a publication plan, and ensure compliance with industry standards, transparency requirements, and standard operating procedures,” Raskind wrote.

To learn more about how Pubstrat MAX facilitates planning, collaboration, and compliance, have a look at the Pubstrat MAX fact sheet.

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