Shire has adopted a new publication policy that requires the submission of all Shire-supported research manuscripts to journals that offer public availability via open access. Shire announced its new policy at the recent European Meeting of ISMPP, January 23-24, 2018, in London.

Implemented January 2, 2018, Shire’s new open access policy is likely the first from a biotech/pharma company to mandate that its research be published via open access. The policy will now allow the public to obtain free, unrestricted online access to Shire’s research promptly following publication.

“Shire’s new open access policy builds on our commitment to transparency and reflects our dedication to helping patients by allowing everyone to freely access and learn from our research findings,” said Christopher Rains, Head, Global Medical Affairs – Medical Shared Services at Shire. “We believe it’s imperative to pioneer a new standard of access to publications that can encourage collaboration and drive medical innovation, with a goal of helping to bring innovative treatments to patients more rapidly. This may be particularly important when it comes to advancing new therapies for treating rare diseases.”

At the European Meeting panel session, “Time to Embrace Change in Medical Publishing,” Chris Rains and Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research at the Wellcome Trust, discussed the importance of increasing the accessibility of publications through open access. Although pharmaceutical companies fund about 60 percent of all medical research, the pharmaceutical industry, as a whole, has been slow to adopt open access policies. Governmental and charitable funding bodies, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Research Councils UK, and Wellcome Trust, already require that all the research they fund be published via open access.

During the European Meeting, representatives from 16 pharmaceutical companies convened for the Industry Executive Forum and discussed the issue of open access. Juli Clark, Chair of the ISMPP Board of Trustees, moderated the session, and Chris Rains shared his experiences, including the related challenges, with adopting Shire’s open access policy.

“Open access is a familiar part of the publications landscape, and many of us are encouraging its use,” remarked Al Weigel, President & CEO of ISMPP. “Non-commercial research funders are going further and requiring that researchers publish their findings open access as a condition of funding. Some are now calling privately for the pharmaceutical industry to follow their lead.”

With the growing interest and importance of open access, ISMPP will be providing updates and offering educational sessions to its members, including at the 14th Annual Meeting, April 30-May 2, 2018. Stay tuned for more information!

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