By Michael Caso, Managing Partner
In my last post, Challenges/Barriers to Stakeholder Integrated Plan Development, the need and execution outline for a cross-functional “Vison Workshop” was introduced. This workshop forms the foundation of short-and long-term stakeholder planning. Once the consensus on cross-functional objectives are identified for the next 1 to 3 years, you are ready to begin tactical planning designed to accomplish your targets.
There is no shortage of companies with electronic tools to facilitate stakeholder planning and tactical execution. Monocol, Pharmaspectra and PulsePoint all have stakeholder tools. Whether you are in the early stages of Stakeholder Engagement and require tactics like identification, profiling and mapping or in more advanced stages of engagement, the tools you utilize to document the tactics developed by the cross-functional team should demonstrate a number of characteristics:
by Steve Casey, Managing Partner
Leading up to an American Urology Association (AUA) meeting in the mid-1990s, my colleagues and I had been hearing about a new product for erectile dysfunction (ED) coming out from Pfizer. Since this was a competitive product, we were closely monitoring the information and data coming out of the studies and learned this new agent was going to change the ED landscape.
During a plenary session at this meeting, data from the trials of the ED product was released. I recall going up the longest escalator I had even seen at the same moment that the session ended, and waves of health care providers came streaming onto the down escalators. Even in those early days of cell phones, there were numerous physicians making calls. I must have overheard 10 conversations where they were talking to stockbrokers and telling them to buy Pfizer. I remember being stupefied — didn’t they know about this project before this meeting? What I had forgotten was that the scientific community would not take note until they were given access to the data and reviewed all the information. This plenary session at the AUA was the first time they were able to access the data and information.
Ensuring access is a critical component of solid scientific exchange. As we navigate the sea of changes driven by the digitalization of scientific communications, it is critical to remember awareness and access of scientific data and information is critical to effective scientific exchange. The new tools that digitalization offers us can ensure productive ways to increase access and awareness for the targeted community. One avenue that should be considered at the earliest stages of publication development is the use of Open Access (OA).
OA is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. OA ensures that anyone can access and use these results.
Recently, researchers found that the proportion of OA papers published by 23 large drug companies, such as Pfizer and Roche, almost doubled between 2009 and 2016. OA publishing models and licenses vary widely. The researchers used two major types of OA publications, the gold route and the green route. Publishing via the gold OA is usually on a publisher’s site with a CC-BY license. This approach offers both free and immediate access to the article and allows the research to be shared and reused. However, publishing through the green route is usually separate from the publisher, does not require a CC-BY license, but usually requires waiting until the embargo period from the publisher is over. Unfortunately, gold routes may be restricted as most medical journals with a high impact factor (>15) do not currently permit pharmaceutical companies to publish under a CC-BY license.
Yegros-Yegros and van Leeuwen found in their research that there is a growing tendency towards the publication in OA by large biopharma companies. Their data shows a trend for gold OA publishing gaining momentum, especially when it comes to trial results, but the majority of publications are still going through the green OA route. Whether it is the green or gold route, OA can offer significant advantages to various publications and should be considered at the early phases of communication and publication planning. Some advantages that OA publishing can offer include:
Depending on the objectives of each publication, OA should be considered as an increasingly important and unique avenue to broaden the community understanding of the science. In fact, due to increasing university system traditional publication subscription cancellations and increased emphasis on open science, OA may be the best way to allow the entire scientific community to participate in the scientific discussion and cite your data. In the last year, the University of California System joined several others in cutting back on traditional publication subscriptions relegating researchers who produce close to 10% of scientific research access to only OA journals.
At Omni-HC, we routinely investigate OA opportunities while creating publication plans, as well as other ways to increase the awareness and access of your communications and publications to the entire community. To learn more about our capabilities, please visit our site @omni-hc.com or contact us for more detailed information about how we can enhance your communication or publication plans.
 SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.
 Yegros-Yegros A & van Leeuwen TN. Proc. 23rd Int. Conf. Sci. Tech. Indicators. Available at: https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/zt6kc (2019). Accessed 18 Sep 2020.
 Sherwood D. Opportunities and challenges in open access publishing of industry-sponsored research.
International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) Blog Post. Available at: https://thepublicationplan.com/2020/09/18/opportunities-and-challenges-in-open-access-publishing-of-industry-sponsored-research/. Accessed 18 Sep 2020.
by Michael Caso, Managing Partner
As I stated in my last post, gaining agreement on the need for an integrated Stakeholder Relations plan is easy to accomplish. However, there are significant challenges and barriers to accomplishing a truly integrated plan that satisfies the needs/objectives of all internal partners, as well as the external stakeholders targeted for engagement.
Having sat on “both sides of the desk,” at a Pharma company creating cross-functional planning and engaging stakeholders and, now in an agency supporting the needs of clients in developing integrated plans, I can provide some unique perspectives. There is saying indicating that “your ability to be objective is in direct proportion to your distance from the problem.” Internal stakeholders are “close to the problem,” having a number of individual objectives that may not be compatible with those of their colleagues. Therefore, there are some benefits in employing an independent third party to facilitate the creation and coordination of cross-functional planning meetings.
One way to identify and address barriers/challenges to the development of an integrated Stakeholder Plan is through the creation of a cross-functional planning workshop. These types of programs are called different names in various organizations, but at Omni-HC, we refer to them as Vision Workshops. The word Vision addresses the need for a long-term “view or perspective” on the various internal and external stakeholders regarding mutually beneficial collaborative opportunities.
Key steps in the creation and execution of this Vision Workshop include:
Having completed this Vision exercise, we are now better prepared to develop the Stakeholder Relations Integrated Plan. The tools and techniques for accomplishing this next important task will be the subject of my next blog.
By Steve Casey Managing Partner
My last blog post discussed how audiences were changing and the importance of communicating where your audience is. As communication options have proliferated, the medical journal remains the gold standard for the communication of scientific data and information. However, journals have changed, and their audience with it. In the past, the journal business model was to deliver scientific content to a subscribed audience. Originally, subscriptions were how most of the journal revenue was secured. Then, advertising became a way to increase revenues and offset the increasing subscription (audience) generation costs. The advent of journal advertising did not mean the audience could be forsaken, as the ability to generate higher revenues was entirely due to the size and quality of the subscribed audience. Now in this digital age, journals no longer need to focus on the subscription levels or the advertising to generate revenues and can make scientific information available to all at no cost. In addition, authors now have a new avenue to have manuscripts published in a peer-reviewed journal and available to all interested parties. "Open access” medical journals specialize in a non-subscription business model while others, such as traditional subscription-based journals (AKA “pay wall” journals), make open access available on demand. This new “open access” avenue is still gaining recognition and understanding especially with biopharma companies.
According to a review of the Directory of Open Access Journals Database1, in 2018 over 80,000 original scientific articles were published by member journals. Still not the major share of overall scientific articles published annually, but the open access movement is gaining steam. The 2018 number of original articles published in open access journals is up significantly from 19,000 in 2010. As 2020 progresses, we can assume that open access numbers will rise as COVID-19 has pushed researchers and organizations to use the open access channel to share pandemic information quickly and broadly. In addition, it is important to note the numbers from the DOAJ database do not count all open access journals or pay wall journals offering open access articles meaning there are an even higher number of open access original articles. The incredible growth in open access has vastly increased the medical community’s ability to freely review scientific data and information especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The increase in original articles published in open access journals may be a leading indicator that, when allowed to do so, authors are moving away from the traditional subscription-based journal publishing. But is it the best publishing approach for healthcare products companies? It depends: when setting up a publication plan, each publication has its own set of specific objectives. Those objectives should be used to help determine the best pathway to follow -- traditional subscription or open access. Some reasons to use open access include: increased scientific exchange due to potentially broader audience, easier access for all readers, better control over identifier creation, and vastly superior feedback, both in real time and enduring. For these reasons, I believe open access could become the preferred method of publishing for healthcare product companies. The volume and quality of metrics that can be derived from open access can provide an early indication if the publication objectives are being met. Unlike the journal impact factor, which rarely aligns with an article’s impact or the citation count (which is not apparent until post-publication) the alternative metrics that can be derived from most articles published open access can actually speak to the investment made in time, energy, and money. In my next blog I hope to shed some more light on different strategic approaches for using open access in scientific publication.
Omni-HC Blogs are written by members of the Omni-HC team.