Although scientific publishing is changing fast, most pharma-sponsored research continues to be published through a traditional route of peer-reviewed journals. The current route is slow, with limited transparency and restricted access to research outputs. This has a negative impact on biomedical research and, ultimately, patient healthcare.

Many groups are discussing the future of scientific publishing but, so far, the pharmaceutical industry has provided limited input into the discussions. With half of all biomedical research funding coming from industry, and with substantial issues of trust and transparency still to be addressed, our group thinks not only that industry should be involved in the discussions but also that it should help to drive change. Non-pharmaceutical-industry funders such as the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have been the main drivers of innovation so far. It’s time for the pharmaceutical industry to join them.

Oxford PharmaGenesis is a leading HealthScience communications agency, working with pharmaceutical companies across the world to communicate the evidence needed to bring new medicines to patients. About half our work is supporting publications, through professional medical writing and project management services, and on average we support the publication of one article every day.

Open Pharma started as ‘the Oxford Project’, the result of a chat one evening with a senior client during a moment of downtime. We wondered why nobody was doing anything about a model that seemed so flawed for publishing the results of industry studies. After talking to a wide range of other stakeholders, we realised that there was broad recognition of the need for change but no means to make it happen.

We are coordinating a group of forward-thinking pharma clients, publishers, patients, academics, regulators, editors, non-pharmaceutical funders and societies to identify the changes that are needed and how they might be achieved. Participants are speaking for themselves rather than for their organisations but we hope that, through this collaboration, we can help to drive much-needed innovation. We do not have a preconceived outcome, only the broad goal of improving the model for communicating biomedical research.

We are grateful for financial support provided by:

  • GSK Vaccines
  • Novo Nordisk
  • Pfizer
  • Shire
  • UCB Pharma
  • Wellcome Trust