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    GPP3 in Practice

    A large crowd of about 100 gathered together for an excellent evening, hosted by Oxford University Press (OUP) at their historic offices in the City of Oxford. Several invited panellists engaged with a lively and inquisitive audience, discussing the practical implications of the revised Good Publication Practice document (GPP3).

    Date: 13 October 2015

    Venue: Oxford University Press, Walton Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, UK [DIRECTIONS].

    In the lead up to the event we ran a simple, anonymous, online survey and collected responses from 197 specialists, which provided some interesting insights into the views of the community. The top line data was included in the presentation given by Liz Wager below, but the full data set is freely accessible for you as indicated below. It is worth taking time to browse the many free text comments.



    If you have any problems please contact Peter Llewellyn


    Key speaker - GPP3 in practice: what needs to change?
    Liz Wager, Publications Consultant, Sideview



  • Phil Bishop, Publisher, Oxford University Press
  • Aimee Lomas, Publications Director, GSK
  • Jackie Marchington, Operations Director, Caudex
  • Jaap M van Laar, Editor, Rheumatology


    Summary report; written by Rick Flemming, Aspire Scientific

    Around 100 medical publication professionals gathered in the historic City of Oxford offices of Oxford University Press for this evening panel discussion. The evening began with a short presentation from Liz Wager, lead author of the first GPP guidelines(1) and self-confessed 'grandmother of GPP3'. Liz explained that the changes made since GPP2(2) represented 'evolution not revolution' and had been driven by the need to update some sections and clarify certain ambiguities. Topics given more prominence in GPP3(3) included the recommendation to publish the results of all clinical trials and the requirement for authors to provide sufficient intellectual input to meet accepted authorship criteria.

    Liz Wager also presented data from a pre-meeting survey completed by 197 respondents, most of whom were medical writers or publication managers based in the UK or US. When respondents were asked if they or their organisation had made 'any substantive changes to policies or working practices as a result of GPP3', only 12% replied 'Yes'. Members of the panel also reported relatively little direct impact on their working practices to date. Aimee Lomas considered GPP3 to be largely consistent with the strict publication policies and practices already in place at GSK while from a MedComms agency perspective, Jackie Marchington stated that the update had led to small tweaks in some clients' policies, as well as a few requests for GPP3 training. Interestingly, Jaap M van Laar had not been aware of the existence of GPP, a fact also applicable to the majority of his academic colleagues and peers. As a publisher, Phil Bishop meets regularly with journal editors, only a minority of whom are familiar with the guidelines.

    The results of the pre-meeting survey also reflected a debate triggered by one particular clarification in the new GPP3 guidelines, namely that in some circumstances, it may be appropriate to pay authors. When asked 'Do you agree that, in some circumstances, it is OK to pay authors for time spent working on publications?', 48% of respondents replied 'Yes', 38% 'No' and 15% 'Not sure'. The panel and audience had similarly mixed views on this issue. Liz Wager explained that GPP1 had never intended to outlaw bona fide payments to authors for publication activities and that the new wording in GPP3 was consistent with this viewpoint. Many attendees agreed that it was appropriate for authors to receive fair market-value recompense for publication activities; if professional medical writers are paid for their time, why shouldn't external authors? In contrast, other attendees considered most or all author payments to be inappropriate. For example, per their policy, GSK do not pay external academics or clinicians for any authorship activities but will reimburse reasonable travel expenses for authors to present data at a scientific meeting. Other companies do make payments to some authors (e.g. health economics consultants) but not to physicians or other individuals responsible for prescribing decisions.

    The panel were also asked to consider the general impact of all three iterations of GPP. In other words, had the guidelines really influenced industry publication practices and in turn, external perceptions of these practices? From Liz Wager's perspective, it was heartening to see how closely many companies' publication policies reflected GPP. Others agreed that GPP has been an important tool which the industry has used to drive improvements in publication practices. Unfortunately, however, negative perceptions of industry still predominate to the extent that reports of company-sponsored research are treated with greater suspicion by some journal editors and reviewers than those of 'independent' academic research. Some attendees considered this unfair, especially when certain issues within academia are considered; for example, that the results of many academic studies are never published. These discussions led the panel to consider whether in the future, GPP's focus on company-sponsored research might be reduced so that the guidelines could also be used by academics reporting their own research. In general, the panel and audience felt it inappropriate for industry to lead development of guidelines on the reporting of academic clinical research. Instead, such guidelines should be driven from within academia itself.

    The final topic of discussion, but perhaps the most important, was the need to raise awareness of GPP beyond our specialist community of publication planners and medical writers. As the evening's discussions had highlighted, many journal editors and most academics are still unaware that GPP exists. While formal advocacy programmes led by ISMPP and other stakeholders will be important in reaching these and other new audiences, every member of the community can contribute by 'banging the GPP drum' whenever possible. For example, pharmaceutical companies can discuss GPP3 with investigators who may be future authors earlier in the clinical trial process, MedComms agencies can share their knowledge of the guidelines with new and potential clients, and individual planners and writers can educate authors and others on publications best practice during their day-to-day working lives.


    1. Wager E, Field EA, Grossman L. Good publication practice for pharmaceutical companies. Curr Med Res Opin 2003;19:149-4
    2. Graf C, Battisti WP, Bridges D, et al. Good publication practice for communicating company sponsored medical research: the GPP2 guidelines. BMJ 2009;339:b4330
    3. Battisti WP, Wager E, Baltzer L, et al. Good publication practice for communicating company-sponsored medical research: GPP3. Ann Intern Med 2015;163:461-4

    To make sure you're included in announcements about future events just email Peter Llewellyn, if you haven't already done so, to register your interest.


    This meeting was free to attend thanks to the generosity of Oxford University Press (OUP).

    Oxford University Press


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