The official newsletter of the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals

Welcome to your new issue of the map!  


Volume 2, Issue 1
In this issue:

altISMPP Announcements

alt2015 European Meeting of

altDo infographics have a place in communication of scientific research?

altISMPP Committee Spotlight:  APET
altPublication Errors Affect All of Us
altOutstanding Committee Member

Al Weigel, ISMPP President/COOAs I thought about what our Society accomplished in 2014 my thoughts continually returned to the great people that belong to this profession and support the important work we value so greatly.

A good example of this was our December 9, 2014 off-site Board of Directors meeting. I believe it is significant to note that this was the first time the Board has ever held two live meetings in one year and reflects the increased governance and input that the profession provides to help guide our Society. Key objectives of the meeting included:

  • Review of ISMPP’s strategic imperatives and longer term vision
  • Assessment of progress of ongoing initiatives and committee activities
  • Discussion of next steps for any remaining proposals
  • Review of 2014 finances and finalization of 2015 operating budgets
  • Discussion of infrastructure and business continuity needs

As indicated in the first bullet above, ISMPP operates based on a strategic
plan that is established and directed by the Board. You will hear in greater detail some of our more important 2015 initiatives at our Annual
Meeting, however I wanted to list the main pillars that have been created:


  1. Evolve and visibly advocate best practices
  2. Broaden global presence and outreach
  3. Collaborate and build relationships with key external stakeholders
  4. Increase membership and sponsors, effectively supporting their current and future needs
  5. Align internal infrastructure, resources and processes to meet evolving requirements

In closing, I want to highlight one key 2015 initiative that you will be hearing more about. Following our successful Leadership Summit meetings in Tokyo and Beijing last year, the Board has approved ISMPP holding two 1-day educational conferences in Japan and China in September of this year. This is a critical turning point for our organization and will involve significant effort on the part of our Asia Pacific Advisory Committee and Asia Pacific Educational Task Force, led by Karen Woolley and Julie Newman respectively.

Thank you again for all you do as a Member, Committee Member, Exhibitor or Corporate Sponsor to help make our Society successful. Also, please don’t hesitate to contact me should you have suggestions for improvement to the map or if you would like to suggest any topics for inclusion in future issues of the newsletter. You can reach me at

With very best wishes,
Al Weigel, ISMPP President and COO

ISMPP Announcements

altUpcoming ISMPP U's

  • 11th Annual Meeting Highlights (Date TBD)
  • Accelerated Manuscript Development (June 24)

  • APET Webinar: 
    Waking the Sleeping Tiger: An overview of Scientific Publications in India
    (Date TBD)

altNext ISMPP CMPPTM exam seating:  September 1-30, 2015 
Click here to learn more.


 Asia Pacific Meetings of ISMPP Announced:
Collaborating for Ethical & Effective Medical Publications
ISMPP will be holding its first-ever live educational meetings in the Asia Pacific this year:

  • Tokyo, Japan:  2 September 2015
  • Beijing, China:  4 September 2015

Meeting details and the agendas will be shared soon; Exhibit and sponsorship opportunities will also be available.

altIt's Time to Recertify!
Did you earn your certification in 2010?  You may recertify via examination or via continuing education credits. Please visit the Recertification page on the ISMPP website for details. Don't let your ISMPP CMPPTM certification slip away; submit your recertification application today!

alt2016 European Meeting of ISMPP
Mark your calendars!  19-20 January 2016 in London, UK.  The Exhibit and Sponsorship Prospectus will be out this summer, so keep an eye on your inbox!

altSociety Staff Update 
Click here to read about long-time ISMPP employee Kim Goldin's pending departure from the Society and the promotion of current ISMPP Certification Director, Laine Capaccio, who will soon assume Kim's role.  Furthermore, with Laine's change in position, ISMPP is now seeking to hire a new Certification Director.  Click here to learn more.

altThank you to our newest Corporate Sponsors!
In the early months of 2015, ISMPP received a number of new and renewed Corporate Sponsors:
Amgen (Platinum); AstraZeneca (Titanium); Biogen Idec (Platinum); Bristol-Myers Squibb (Platinum); Caudex (Platinum); Celgene (Gold); Complete HealthVizion (Platinum); Complete Medical Communications (Platinum); inScience Communications (Gold); Medtronic (Silver); MedVal/PharmaWrite (Silver); Merck & Co. (Gold); Pfizer (Titanium); Takeda Pharmaceuticals (Platinum); Teva Pharmaceuticals (Gold); and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Gold).

If interested in learning more about the ISMPP Corporate Sponsorship Program, click here.

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alt2015 European Meeting of ISMPP – Highlights
Andrea Cole, Senior Vice-President, Ashfield Healthcare Communications

The 2015 European meeting of ISMPP was held in London in January and provided a fantastic opportunity for a diverse array of delegates to address “Medical Publications for Better Patient Care: Integrity, Innovation and Impact”. Over 200 delegates from 15 countries representing more than 90 different organisations participated in this crucial meeting in the medical publication professionals’ calendar.

As is customary, the meeting kicked off with a review of the previous year providing everyone with the opportunity to understand the key developments that impacted medical publication professionals in 2014. This was followed by an overview of the role of medical publications for devices and diagnostics. Two new session formats were used at this year’s meeting: an oral presentation session allowing authors of selected abstracts to give an overview of their research, and a roundtable session featuring expert moderators on novel topics.

In-keeping with the spirit of the meeting theme, the keynote presentation was given by a physician who treats cancer patients and a patient advocate/cancer survivor who talked about issues pertinent to the audience. The first day was rounded off by an ISMPP update from Al Weigel and news from the Certification Board before the delegates enjoyed the networking reception including a chance to review the posters and exhibition area.

Exhibition area encouraged interaction and discussion
[Photo credit: Angela Cairns, Ashfield Healthcare Communications]

A fascinating panel discussion bringing together all those involved in publications from the bench to patients sought to understand what matters to each stakeholder group within the process. The meeting was brought to a close by Professor Henry Thomas Marsh, a leading British neurosurgeon, who shared his experiences in an inspiring “send-off” speech.

Delegates participating in an interactive session
[Photo credit: Angela Cairns, Ashfield Healthcare Communications]

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altDo infographics have a place in communication of scientific research?
Lisa Moore, PhD, ISMPP CMPPTM, Senior Medical Writer, Ashfield Healthcare Communications

Using its simplest definition, an infographic is a visual representation of information or data.1 We are visual beings (~80% of learning is visual2) so infographics appeal to our inherent preference to learn by ‘seeing’ rather than to read information delivered to us in text-only format. Results from scientific research are traditionally communicated via manuscripts published by journals, congress presentations and specialist text books – lots and lots of complex information communicated in big chunks, often all at once. An infographic would not replace these methods of scientific communication but could be a companion to them – offering a bite- size introduction to a complex methodology (for example), or summarising the results of a phase III study in short, visually appealing, easy to remember ways.

The need for more infographics in scientific communications 
The use of infographics in the communication of scientific research is not a new thing but it is not used enough. We are in the digital age, more and more journals are moving towards being 100% online only,3 and most have open access options.3 Patients can research a medical condition via disease-specific websites or forums, and physicians can be notified almost in real-time when a new clinical trial has been listed on a register. All this means that results from scientific research have the potential to reach a much larger audience than when printed publications were the only source of information. Frequently, however, the method of presenting scientific information still primarily uses text or intricate and complex diagrams. Infographics, as a companion to traditional methods, may help to increase the understanding and retention of scientific concepts by this ‘bigger than ever’ audience.

How would a scientific infographic look?
A scientific infographic may be presented as a short sequence of simple graphs or images spanning just a page or two that summarises the results of a study, or may be a single figure on a poster or a webpage. The book by David McCandless4 provides examples of information of public significance such as ‘celestial impact’ and ‘tons of carbon emissions per year’, which if presented as detailed text and not as an infographic may not be as easily accessible to the layperson. There are now text books presenting pages and pages of just infographics on subjects such as human biology for use by students as a study aid. Journals are starting to use graphical abstracts – abstracts that provide a flow diagram or side-by-side images summarising the results of a study – thus encouraging the reader to read the full article. Another use of infographics could be pre-congress scientific announcements for symposia, sent out via email to those who have registered for the meeting.

In anything, however, there are always cons as well as pros. An infographic is only as good as the creator’s understanding of the detail – i.e. the interpretation of (even) scientific information can be subjective – for example, two people may interpret the information presented in the results of a clinical study report differently. If the infographic presents a summary or introduction to a bigger resource then a citation for that bigger resource should be provided with the infographic – this is not always the case, meaning that an individual may not be able to access the full detail if they want it. Infographics can be developed using free downloadable software and via a user’s existing software but the best infographics may require purchase of new, possible costly, software. If the infographic is an addition to a traditional means of communicating scientific data, then creation of the infographic adds time and possibly also adds cost during the process of getting the information out into the public domain. Another thing to consider are possible copyright and prior publication issues that publishing or presenting an infographic may cause − creators should be mindful of congress and/or journal guidelines on these points and should include reference citations where possible. An overview of the pros and cons (‘yes’ versus ‘no’) of using infographics in scientific communication is provided in figure 1.

In summary

By presenting information in a visual way, infographics appeal to our inherent preference to learn by ‘seeing’. Infographics, as a companion to traditional methods of scientific communication, could help to increase the understanding and retention of scientific concepts.


  1. Oxford English dictionary
  2. Jerome Bruner (New York University)
  3. Fallows J, Thoman P. The 'ins and outs' of open access: practical considerations for publication professionals. Presented at the ISMPP meeting, May 23, 2012
  4. McCandless D. Information is beautiful. Collins Press. 2012 

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ISMPP Committee Spotlight:
Asia-Pacific Education Task Force (APET)

Tim Collinson, ISMPP CMPPTM, Business Unit Head, West Coast, Fishawack Communications

ISMPP’s Asia-Pacific Education Task Force (APET) has the goal to build and champion the foundations for good publication practice in Asia-Pacific, through education initiatives and by sharing knowledge across the region.
The 2015–2016 Taskforce comprises many returning members: Julie Newman, continuing her role as chair for a second term; with Tim Collinson, Balaji Ganesan, Rebecca Lew, Bruce Shao, Kanaka Sridharan, and Eric Yu; and joining APET in 2015: Lin Lin, Kalyan Pulipaka, and Jocelyn Graf. This group works together to contemplate the publication planning and scientific communications needs of key groups across the region (e.g. authors, editors, publishers, healthcare professionals, academics, and publication planners) and meets on a monthly basis to discuss the hot topics. The Task Force takes selected topics forward in the form of educational sessions using the ISMPP U webinar platform.

Following encouraging uptake of the 2014 program, APET has begun its 2015 program, having recently held a session in March – A practical guide to implementing global publication planning practices in Asia-Pacific countries and emerging market regions – and with more to follow:

  • Waking the Sleeping Tiger: an overview of scientific publications in India (June)
  • Back to basics: a review of good publication practices for Asia-Pac (September)
  • Update on GPP3: understanding its impact on publications practice in Asia-Pac  (November)

Look out for the APET presence at the ISMPP Annual Meeting. In addition, APET’s Tim Collinson and Julie Newman will be leading a pre-meeting workshop on Publication Planning in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Besides the development of a tailored education program for the Asia-Pacific region, and participation in the EU and Annual ISMPP meetings, APET has an ongoing remit in 2015–2016 to develop outreach to potential sponsors for Asia-Pacific meetings and other activities in the region. This includes working with ISMPP’s Sponsorship Committee to target regional geographical companies to sponsor regional meetings and/or events, in addition to the valued support by global/international companies.

APET remains aligned with the ISMPP Asia-Pacific Advisory Committee, and will be providing program development and logistical support for the Committee’s inaugural conferences in 2015 in Tokyo and Beijing, on publication practices in the region.

For more information and/or to contribute to the Asia-Pacific Education Task Force, please contact Julie Newman:; or tel: +1 301-398-0795.


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altPublication Errors Affect All of Us
Jean Barilla, Consultant, ProMed Scientific Communications

Publication errors concern all of us whether we are writers, editors, authors, scientists, health care professionals, reviewers, planners, regulators, policy makers and ultimately patients. As medical publication professionals we are responsible for ensuring the integrity of scientific and medical publications and freedom from errors.  

The importance of preventing/correcting publication errors was demonstrated in a recent study at Saint Louis University which showed that one fourth of errors made in medical publications can change the way data are interpreted. While misspelling of an author's name or mislabeling of a table may not constitute a major error, mistakes in the text, figures or tables can alter the meaning of the information or findings. "This is a clarion call to authors to make certain that the information they are publishing is as accurate and error-free as possible," said Paul Hauptman, M.D., professor of internal medicine at Saint Louis University and principal investigator of the study.

Publication errors have myriad sources and can be related to:

  • Research content and scientific presentation

-unsupported conclusions
-unsystematic or illogical presentation of results
-provision of insufficient detailed methodology
-statistical errors
-improper review of literature
-scientific misconduct, expressions of concern, and retraction

-defining the role of authors and contributors
-author responsibilities—conflicts of interest
-responsibilities in the submission and peer-review process
-journal owners and editorial freedom
-protection of research participants
-overlapping publications

  • Writing and formatting:

-lack of good grammatical writing
-publishing and editorial Issues
-corrections and version control
-sponsorship or partnership
-electronic publishing
-journals and the media
-clinical trial registration

This is not meant to be a comprehensive listing and you may think of errors from other sources. There is currently no resource that can give us the overview of medical publications and publication planning that would include a topic such as publication errors. However, with your feedback and help in 2015 we will have that resource: an ISMPP Publication Primer. The Primer will be a living online document for ISMPP members and sponsors. The Primer will reflect your feedback and alert you to changes that affect medical publications.  

Our vision at ISMPP is: “To become the leading global authority on the ethical and effective publication
of medical research to inform treatment decisions” – and being vigilant in our efforts to avoid publication errors is an important step in achieving our vision.
Journal Reference:
Paul J. Hauptman, Eric S. Armbrecht, John T. Chibnall, Camelia Guild, Jeremy P. Timm, Michael W. Rich. Errata in Medical Publications. The American Journal of Medicine, 2014; 127 (8): 779 DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2014.03.012


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altISMPP’s Outstanding Committee Member: 
Steven Walker, MD, European Meeting Programme Committee

In each issue of the map, we feature a committee member who has gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving their assigned committee.  In this issue, we recognize Steven Walker of the European Meeting Programme Committee.

Steven Walker, MD, is a former clinician whose lifelong passion for education and research led to a successful second career in medical communications consultancy. After years active in oncology, gastroenterology, palliative care and military medicine, Steven hung up his stethoscope in 2005 to co-found the Bioscript Group. While Bioscript developed into a successful full-service healthcare communications agency with offices in London, South Manchester and Philadelphia, Steven managed to acquire an MSc in clinical oncology.  

Earlier this year, with Dr. Yvonne Anderson and a group of colleagues, Steven launched his latest venture, St Giles Medical ( With offices in the “quirky” and historic Vestry House (1733) at St Giles-in-the- Fields, Covent Garden and a base in Central Berlin, the group’s aim is to provide specialist medical communication services to growing companies, organizations and affiliates, with a focus on primary care, chronic diseases, mental health and emerging specialties.
Steven attributes his decision to join ISMPP in 2008 to a desire to “support the ethos of the organization-- to improve the quality and standard of medical communications across the world and ensure ethical practice.”  An energetic contributor to the European Programme Committee since 2011 (serving this past term as vice chair), Steven facilitated no less than five sessions at ISMPP’s 2015 meeting, a feat which he acknowledges left him vulnerable to negative consequences if things don’t go as planned—as when the noted neurosurgeon he recruited to deliver the closing address strolled into the venue with just two minutes to spare to the dismay of the meeting organizers.  Nevertheless, Steven continues to enjoy his collaboration with fellow committee members in bringing each year’s European Meeting to fruition. He is especially pleased to have lobbied for 2015’s more patient-centric theme: “So much of what medical writers/editors do occurs without them having a real appreciation of what patients, families and healthcare professionals really need and the pressures they are under.”  

Steven’s quest for learning continues unabated as he was recently awarded an MMedEd (master’s in medical education) degree in recognition of his research in palliative and end-of-life training for medical students. He also coordinates an ambitious series of educational courses in improving communication skills, advance care planning and better end-of-life care conversations across North, East and Central London.  Steven lives in London and Berlin with his GP partner, Christine, and still finds time for the “cultural stuff” (plays, concerts and “good beer in old pubs.”)

Congratulations Steven and thank you for all your hard work and dedication to ISMPP!

Interested in learning more about the ISMPP Volunteer Committees?  Click here.

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 Copyright ISMPP 2015