As part of the 2020 European meeting of ISMPP, I attended the Training zone ‘#HITTHEPUBROADRUNNING’, presented by Caroline Halford (Digital Publishing Manager, Adis), Jane Nunn (Head of Operations, Complete HealthVision) and John Gonzalez (Director, Solanum Medical Communications Ltd), aimed at publications professionals with less than 3 years of experience. Discussions centred around the composition of a publications planning team and who would be involved from an internal or agency perspective to deliver a successful publications plan. Presenters explained the challenges for publication leads, with the expectations to communicate with multiple stakeholders, for example; payer groups, strategy teams, authors, investigators/academic researches organisations. Key roles of publications professionals were outlined, such as being aware of ‘fake data’ and taking on the responsibility of ensuring the accuracy in all data which is submitted to journals and congresses. As someone who is fairly new to the publications industry, I found this session to be very informative and engaging, it covered a range of publication processes and the different approaches taken to make them a success.

At the ‘Roundtable Session’ in the ISMPP general session on the topic of ‘User experience/ Customer experience’, current challenges and new developments in user experience regarding journal publications were discussed. Pharma, agency and publishers were well represented, providing lively debate and diverse perspectives. The approach discussed to achieve increased user experience was ‘Reach, Engagement and Experience’. For ‘Reach’, tactics were discussed such as increasing social media presence to increase visibility of certain publications. When talking about ‘Engagement’, it was highlighted that with increasing use of enhanced content, it would be beneficial to have conversations with journals early on to discuss options available in terms of enhanced content e.g. infographics, to effectively present certain data. However, this raised a few comments about the credibility of data if it was presented more creatively, and how some stakeholders may prefer the traditional approach of presenting all data in tables so it is all clearly shown. Lastly, in regard to ‘Experience’ it was discussed how mobile phones are increasingly used as a quick and convenient way to carry out journal searches and therefore the possibility of increasing user experience by including a video abstract or even having daily mobile phone alerts for new publications.

On another roundtable topic ‘Country level publications’, different strategies and challenges to assisting country level publications were discussed. Different pharmaceutical companies use different approaches, some having a centralised hub approach where all country level publications are added to a global publications plan, while others receive country level publications requests directly from the respective country level affiliates. Interestingly, the challenges noted in the discussion were very similar regardless of the approach used by the pharmaceutical company. A key challenge discussed was how to ensure best practice is followed on a country level as many of the country affiliates are generally unaware of this as they do not have dedicated publications teams. Solutions shared included increasing the number and frequency of training sessions at a country level, and also to be known internally as the main contact by the country affiliates if they have questions or encounter any problems. These approaches have worked well for us in the past, by keeping in close contact with the country level affiliates we can ensure that they are aware that we are the people to ask if they have questions.