In this blog post, Jacqui Oliver (Envision Pharma Group) and Adeline Rosenberg (Oxford Pharma Genesis) talk about two of their posters that were presented at the 2023 European Meeting of the International Society of Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP):
- Plain language summaries: journal intent is just the first step…
- Social media metrics of plain language summaries on Figshare
Why was the research needed?
Plain language summaries (PLS) are valuable to a broad range of readers, including patients and healthcare professionals, seeking understandable and accessible information [1–5]. The value of PLS is recognized across the broader industry and journals are increasingly publishing and indexing PLS [6, 7]. Online, there are a range of external platforms that journals use to host and index PLS, such as Figshare and PubMed. Despite these efforts, the extent to which peer-reviewed publications are including PLS and how easy it is for readers to find them is not clear. Both posters sought to answer the broader question: how visible are PLS?
What did we do?
Jacqui: We identified journals that accepted PLS using the Enhanced Publication Options Navigator. For each journal, we looked at how many of the 20 most recent articles included a PLS. For articles with a PLS, we assessed how visible the PLS was relative to the publication and if the PubMed record included the PLS.
Adeline: We wanted to find out if PLS on Figshare are being shared on social media blogs and news sites. We identified all the articles published in Adis journals that had used Figshare to host their PLS. We compared the metrics associated with the full articles and those associated with the linked Figshare PLS locations. We focused on metrics from the ‘Twitter’, ‘Facebook’, Blogs and ‘News’ categories.
What did we find?
Jacqui: We identified 112 journals that accepted PLS. Around two-thirds (67%) of these journals had not published a PLS within the last 20 articles. Of the 2240 articles we assessed, only 1 in 20 (5.8%) articles included a PLS. Almost a quarter did not identify the presence of the PLS on PubMed.
Adeline: Overall, we found 54 articles in Adis journals that hosted their PLS on Figshare to use in our analysis. From the metrics, we discovered that 59% (32) of the full articles had any metrics available, whereas only 2% (1) of the corresponding PLS on Figshare had any metrics.
What do these results mean and what can we do about it?
These posters show that there are missed opportunities to (1) provide PLS to make information accessible to non-specialist readers, and (2) where PLS are being published and hosted or indexed on platforms such as Figshare and PubMed, to make them findable by their intended audience. To help address these gaps, publishers could:
- encourage authors to include PLS in publications
- share PLS on social media
- make use of microsites and press releases to increase awareness of PLS
- ensure they tag PLS correctly on PubMed
- use metadata strategically so that PLS appear in online searches
- consider establishing a searchable cross-publisher hub for hosting PLS
Access the posters here
Jacqui and Adeline would like to thank their co-authors on their posters.
Plain language summaries: journal intent is just the first step…: Andy Shepherd (Envision Pharma Group), James R Chester (Envision Pharma Group and University of Manchester), Lauren Manning (Envision Pharma Group and University of Manchester) and Dawn Lobban (Envision Pharma Group).
Social media metrics of plain language summaries on Figshare: Caroline Halford (Springer Healthcare), Chirag Jay Patel (Cactus Communications), Michelle Adams (Pfizer), Andy Shepherd (Envision Pharma Group), Mike Gregg (Taylor & Francis Group), Joanne Walker (Becaris Publishing) and Russell Craddock (Parexel International) on behalf of the ISMPP Social Media and Web-based Metrics Working Group.
 Rosenberg A et al. Curr Med Res Opin. 2021;37(11):2015-2016. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03007995.2021.1971185
 Lobban D et al. Curr Med Res Opin. 2021;38(2):189-200. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03007995.2021.1997221
 Lobban D et al. Poster presented at the 2022 European Meeting of ISMPP. Available at: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.20059523.v1
 van den Broek R et al. Poster presented at the 18th Annual Meeting of ISMPP. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03007995.2022.2055262
 Edgell C and Rosenberg A. Curr Med Res Opin. 2022;38(6):871-874. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03007995.2022.2058812
 DeTora LM et al. Ann Intern Med. 2022;175(9):1298-1304. Available at: https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M22-1460
 Gattrell W et al. Poster presented at the 2022 European Meeting of ISMPP. Available at: https://www.plainlanguagesummaries.com/peek-behind-the-research-prevalence-and-characteristics-of-plain-language-summaries-indexed-in-pubmed/