Editorial: Global reach: Promoting ethical best practices and the quality and integrity of medical publications worldwide - Current Medical Research and Opinion - Volume 32, Issue sup1 Ovarian Cancer and Us OVARIAN CANCER and US Ovarian Cancer and Us

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Editorial: Global reach: Promoting ethical best practices and the quality and integrity of medical publications worldwide - Current Medical Research and Opinion - Volume 32, Issue sup1



Editorial - open access:
Global reach: Promoting ethical best practices and the quality and integrity of medical publications worldwide - Current Medical Research and Opinion - Volume 32, Issue sup1


According to most measures of scientific output, the volume of citable scientific literature worldwide is increasing astronomically each year. It has been estimated that a new life science paper appears in print or online every minute or less. As most of us know, the amount of data generated from just a single clinical trial can be so extensive that much of it, when published, has to reside in online supplementary appendices, which can be many times longer than the primary publication, and key information may be lost in the vast expanse of supplementary figures, tables, and other material.
This raises a fundamental issue – how can we present this explosion of data in a way that people can understand it? At least one answer is through the application of interpretation. Technology allows us to make vast quantities of data widely available, but without context it is almost impossible for the end user to process. We need individuals who have the skills to change data from a (sometimes enormous) collection of facts to an understandable narrative and, conversely, we need to ensure that any narrative is more than just professional opinion or conjecture, but is backed up by evidence. In fact, scientific publications have been described as “stories that persuade with data.”1 This linking of data and meaning in the scientific literature, and ensuring the information reaches the appropriate audience in a timely manner, is where the medical publication professional can add tremendous value. Sharing scientific knowledge, primarily through publication in some form (whether digital or otherwise) is fundamental to the scientific process, and researchers, who are both producers and consumers of data, can benefit from a partnership with highly skilled individuals who understand not just the scientific process, but also the legal, regulatory, and ethical issues surrounding data dissemination.

A Global Outlook

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If we look at the volume of medical or pharmacological information produced, the most prolific generator of citable publications for the last ten or more years has been the United States, with China, India, Japan, the United Kingdom, and other European countries populating the top ten. However, while output from the United States has remained relatively steady, output from China is increasing substantially, so much so that it is on course to overtake the United States as the leading producer of scientific data. Thus, it is appropriate and timely that ISMPP held its first Asia-Pacific Meetings in Beijing, China and Tokyo, Japan in August and September last year. These inaugural meetings were the culmination of considerable efforts by the Asia-Pacific Advisory Committee and Asia-Pacific Education Task Force, and highlight ISMPP’s strategic commitment to expanding beyond the US and Europe to promote ethical and transparent scientific exchange. These very successful events provided ISMPP with an opportunity to promote effective and ethical publication practices, and provided the attendees with the means to help influence the future of medical publication ethics in these regions. One of ISMPP’s goals over the next few years is to build on these budding relationships, explore more ways of collaborating with these prolific producers of scientific data, and provide resources to promote integrity and ethical best practices in medical publications.
ISMPP’s activities in China and Japan coincided with the publication in August of the ‘Good Publication Practice for Communicating Company-Sponsored Medical Research: GPP3’, guidelines which were initiated and sponsored by ISMPP.2 These updated guidelines expand on earlier versions, include new content on topics such as data sharing and authorship, and provide ten key “Principles of Good Publication Practice for Company-Sponsored Medical Research.” ISMPP is also supporting the translation of GPP3 into Chinese and Japanese, further evidence of our commitment to a more global presence.

Where next?

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ISMPP is now in its 11th year. The previous 10 years have seen significant achievements for the Society, advancing the medical publication profession through driving transparency, improving standards and best practices, providing education and advocacy, and further developing our credibility through the ISMPP Certified Medical Publication Professional™ (CMPP) credential program. However, we still have much to do, as the channels and processes for global scientific discourse change and as the production of medical and scientific data increases. Growing concerns about fraud in the scientific literature reinforce the need for ISMPP to leverage its increasingly global presence to support ethical and transparent medical publication practices. In its second decade, ISMPP must be at the forefront of these developments and ensure that our members worldwide are well equipped to improve the quality, completeness, transparency, and integrity of medical publications.

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