Digital First Scientific Communications – How digital is transforming scientific communications
EPISODE 3 – Article-Level Metrics: The Change Agent of Medical Publishing
This podcast series will focus on how digital is transforming scientific communications.
Episode 3 will focus on publication metrics, specifically on how article-level metrics are impacting and creating new opportunities for medical publication and what metrics we should be tracking.
CO-MODERATOR: Jennifer Riggins, PharmD
CO-MODERATOR: Steve Casey
INTERVIEWEE: Jennifer Ghith
Following is an automated transcription provided by otter.ai. Please excuse inaccuracies.
Jennifer Riggins 00:00
Welcome to the Medical Affairs Professional Society’s Digital Focus Area Working Group’s podcast series, Digital First Scientific Communications, How Digital is Transforming Medical Communications. In our last episode, we spoke with Sarah Burns, Director of Global Scientific Communications at Eli Lilly and Company about enhanced publication content. We hope you enjoyed that episode. In this third podcast episode, we will be discussing article level metrics, the change agent of medical publishing. I am Jennifer Riggins, I’ll be the moderator for this podcast. I currently serve as a member of the Digital Focus Area Working Group. I worked at Eli Lilly and Company for 28 years with a focus on Medical Information, Scientific Communications and Medical Digital. I’m joined today by Steve Casey of Omni Healthcare Communications, a leader in digitally optimized medical communications. This podcast series follows on to the Elevate article “Audience Amplification and Digital Scientific Exchange” and the MAPS audience amplification webinar, which was held in February 2021.
Steve Casey 01:08
The views expressed in this recording are those of the individuals and not necessarily reflect on the opinions of MAPS, or the companies with which they are affiliated. This presentation is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal or regulatory advice.
Jennifer Riggins 01:26
We encourage you to engage in conversations about audience amplification, and digital first medical communications with other MAPS members via the MAPS Connect on the MAPS website or the mobile app. Simply log in with the email address and password associated with your MAPS account and access the global community. Then click on the discuss tab and scroll down to digital to post a question or review previous postings. Today’s podcasts objectives are for listeners to better understand how article level metrics are impacting and creating new opportunities for medical publication, why metrics should be a consideration in the planning and lifecycle of a publication, and what types of metrics make sense for the medical communicator to track. Today we will be discussing metrics with Jenny Ghith. Jenny is the Innovations Lead for the Global Scientific Communications Team at Pfizer Oncology. Welcome, Jenny. It’s really nice of you to join us today. Let’s start out by having you give us a brief background of your career and your current position.
Jennifer Ghith 02:33
Thank you so much, Jen and Steve for having me. My role on our global scientific communications or GSE team is to develop and consider big new innovative ideas, as well as ensure they’re executed with impact across our oncology franchise. My areas of focus include omni channel, social media, artificial intelligence, and Patient Centricity initiatives. I’ve been in industry for almost four years now. And in Medical Communications for almost 15 years, or that’s all I’ll admit to anyway. I’m passionate about what we do in this area. Because accessible and equitable science can be empowering for physicians and patience.
Steve Casey 03:19
Jenny, it’s great to speak with you today in our in our webinar that we put on earlier in February, I did a very brief discussion of metrics. Generally, I talked about journal level metrics, like Impact Factor and others, author level metrics and article level metrics. But I only really scratched the surface of article level metrics. I think that article level metrics are very important for scientific communicators today, and will become even more so in the future. Could you, could you give us an idea of some of the different metrics you think are important, and why they’re important for scientific communicators?
Jennifer Ghith 03:54
Thanks for the question. And I agree, article level metrics are important. They’re helping us understand the impact and the reach of our publications. Metrics themselves can get complicated. There is so much we have access to with new technologies. But it’s helpful to remember that the metrics you choose ultimately need to align to your strategic objectives. Do you want to increase views of a publication or your data? Well, then you will consider numbers of page views of your article, and you may benchmark them against other articles in the same issue or journal or past articles that you’ve published on a similar topic. If you’re interested in the impact of your presentation, or your poster at a congress, you want to consider views or link clicks, as well as clicks to QR codes that you’ve put on your materials. Another objective might be considering learnings or understanding how meaningful data are. This could even be evaluated with surveys of individuals before and after reading certain materials. This is offered via certain third party platforms. Growth in engagement rates with publications over time is also a great way to measure impact. Finally, other scores beyond impact factor for journal articles can be evaluated like alt metrics. Alt metrics score is an indicator of volume, and types of attention research output is achieving. And it can also be measured over time. You can tell from my response, there are many options. And it helps to consider your objective first, and then design your approach around measuring whether you have achieved your goals.
Jennifer Riggins 05:34
So I’ve heard about article level metrics, but I haven’t seen a lot of use of article level metrics to date. Do you see avenues in which article level metrics can be used today? And how do you think they may develop as we move into a digitally transformed future?
Jennifer Ghith 05:52
We are so blessed with access to so much information these days, the pandemic’s only accelerated our progress digitally. And with that comes enhanced abilities to track views, readerships, preferences, etc. But we’re still learning. And in my opinion, we shouldn’t need a data analyst to help us interpret our results. Metrics should be both accessible and transparent. The definition should be provided with the metrics. Journals are increasingly reporting metrics like pageviews, and other scores. And other technologies and platforms have algorithms that tailor information or articles that are brought to the top of our reading feeds based on our viewing preferences. I think the metrics are only going to get more sophisticated, but we still really need to understand how to deal with the clicks the scores, the views, engagements, impressions, and how this information really impacts how we interpret behaviors and clinical decision making. Our commercial colleagues, for example, they can point to changes in prescribing patterns, for instance. But for scientific communications, our angles are very different. Oftentimes, to start, we also need to educate ourselves on the definition of the metrics themselves. It’s important we understand how they’re collected, what they mean, and their strengths and limitations. And the companies and the platforms providing the metrics need to be transparent about how they’re collected. Finally, I think what does need to change is equity and accessibility to information and metrics digitally. If articles and Congress presentations themselves can’t be read by the healthcare community, and increasingly patients, then their impact could be limited. Metrics are also only meaningful if our audiences can access the information we’re trying to measure. I’d like to see metrics thought about as a means to help us ensure everyone can be heard and cared for, and not subject to access and or popularity biases.
Jennifer Riggins 07:52
So we’ve been discussing a lot about metrics as if they’re kind of a standalone set of data. But in a lot of cases, metrics could be used to ensure alignment between Medical Affairs strategy with communication through publications. Is Pfizer working in this area, and can you give some examples of how publication metrics can be aligned with Medical Affairs strategy?
Jennifer Ghith 08:14
Ah, you hit the nail on the head here, as we say in the US. As we develop our strategic objectives and communication points, it’s helpful to consider upfront how we’re going to measure whether we have achieved them. This can be done qualitatively as well as quantitatively and really should be a part of what we call omni channel planning. Metrics are available that help us understand if for example, the oncologists we are trying to reach are reading the articles we’ve published. Also, we can understand whether individuals on social media are clicking on links to the articles.
Steve Casey 08:51
I’m consistently telling anyone who will listen that metrics and other contemporary aspects of digital publishing require an understanding of the article objective. Do you agree with my statement, and if what you do for Pfizer are individual article objectives something, is that something that you’re looking at to assign key performance indicators to?
Jennifer Ghith 09:14
I completely agree, Steve. And as I mentioned earlier, we’re very lucky to have access to so much information, and that includes increasing access to various types of metrics. However, in order to understand the impact of your article, you need to first have a goal in mind that you want to achieve. Is it solely extending reach? Is it understanding a key concept that’s embedded within the article? Is it viewership of ancillary materials within the article like videos, posters, plain language summaries, because you need to understand the value of these tactics and whether you need to continue to do them. The metrics you choose to monitor can be different depending on the question of interest and who you are reporting your metrics to needs to understand their value, and agree in principle that the metrics you are measuring truly support whether you’ve achieved your goals.
Jennifer Riggins 10:12
So obviously, using digital tools, we’re hearing about how we can generate quantitative metrics. Are there ways of generating qualitative metrics that you’re exploring? And if so, can you share any insight into the qualitative metrics and what they show?
Jennifer Ghith 10:29
I think qualitative metrics are important. If you can get them. You may, for example, conduct a survey about key points from an article and include open ended responses that help you obtain feedback. Social media can also be monitored for whether individuals on Twitter or LinkedIn, for example, are commenting on specific datasets. This is particularly important during congresses for example, where you can very rapidly obtain a qualitative understanding of how your data are being received in terms of sentiment. This is whether individuals are having a positive or negative response to your data, and or asking questions about your data. And this can be obtained in real time during a meeting. These types of data can allow the authors of presentations or yourselves as industry to move to respond to the questions or clarify information, or even clarify misconceptions about information.
Jennifer Riggins 11:30
Well, Jenny, this discussion has really been enlightening. Steve and I want to thank you for joining us today and answering our questions. I know that there is a lot more that we can cover and maybe we’ll have a follow up episode in the future to dive deeper into metrics and how to use them. But until then, this has been Jennifer Riggins and Steve Casey bringing you our third episode of Digital First Scientific Communications, a podcast production of the Digital Focus Area Working Group of the Medical Affairs Professional Society.
Steve Casey 12:02
If you’re a MAPS member, thank you for your support of MAPS. If you’re not yet a MAPS member and would like access to additional resources in this area. Please visit the MAPS website to explore joining today at MedicalAffairs.org/membership. This concludes our podcast.