As many of you are already familiar, Medical Writing began as The Write Stuff, a publication written by and for EMWA members. One of the goals in making the transition to Medical Writing was that it would become an international journal with readers outside of Europe and EMWA. We are already on our way, with contributors frequently coming from outside of EMWA and Europe.
But for me this is not enough. I am convinced that Medical Writing should reflect the increased globalisation of medical writing. More and more, medical writing is being done locally and not only in the traditional areas of Western Europe and North America. Medical writing is also now often being outsourced to countries like India, and many regions of the world, especially Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, have a substantial need for medical writing but are currently underserved. This creates vast new opportunities and challenges for medical writers.
I therefore thought it important to organise an issue on medical writing around the world. When I sent out requests for contributions, I had no idea that I would get such a fantastic response. In this issue, we have 11 articles on medical writing in 10 countries or regions on 5 continents.
As a side-benefit of putting together this issue, EMWA has developed new collaborations with the Spanish Association of Medical Writers and the Australasian Medical Writers Association, both of which have provided short articles on their associations.
We will continue to seek out contributions from medical writers from around the world for future issues. This should make Medical Writing richer and more attractive to the global medical writing community.
EMA's clinical trial data and transparency initiative
In the last few years, there has been much discussion about open access to clinical trial data. This has recently come to the forefront since the publication of Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre (see the March 2013 In the Bookstores and Regulatory Writing columns). Because of increasing complaints, the EMA has decided to start making clinical trial data more widely accessible. In November 2012, they organised a workshop to bring together key stakeholders to discuss this initiative. Because of the importance of this topic to medical writers, this issue of Medical Writing includes articles by Susan Bhatti summarising the workshop discussions and by Faiz Kermani and Walter Fürst discussing the potential implications of wider data transparency.
Other highlights of this issue
In addition to these articles Sanja Pavlica discusses the need for registration of preclinical studies, an important but often overlooked issue related to the subject of increased transparency of trial data.
Also, Josalita Salita explains how a mentorship programme can enrich EMWA members' experience. As budgets tighten and companies are less willing to pay for conference attendance, this may become an important value-added feature of EMWA.
A friendlier Medical Writing
In talking to EMWA members at recent conferences, it has become clear that although the more professional look and feel of Medical Writing is appreciated, most prefer a less technical publication. Starting with this issue, we will be including logos for all regular sections and photos for the President's Message and the Editorial. We have also moved the Editorial to the first page of the issue to make the journal more welcoming.
I hope that you get as much enjoyment out of reading this issue as I did putting it together. I also hope that you like the changes that we are making to Medical Writing, and I appreciate any comments or suggestions for further improvements.