How Medical Communicators Can Counteract Gender Bias in STEM

Did you know that 52% of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and medicine) fields report experiencing gender bias, while only 2% of men in STEM do?

My colleague, Priyanka Jadhav, and I recently wrote an article on how medical communicators can combat the gender bias in STEM, currently featured in AMWA Journal.

Matic AI, Jadhav P. AMWA J. 2018;33:152-156.

Of particular relevance to medical communications and medical writing, there are far fewer female authors, peer-reviewers, and journal editors in STEM fields than there are men. As these metrics are usually gateways to notoriety, funding, and career success, it is important to be aware of the discrepancies and to try to level the playing field when possible.

What can medical communicators do?

  • Realize how and where gender bias exists in the relevant fields
  • Make a concerted effort to search for and include more content from female scientists and healthcare providers
  • Pass it on – educate and mentor colleagues on the issue
  • Read our article for more detailed information

Please get in touch if you would like to talk more about this topic or make any related changes to your workflow.

Updated Guidelines From ICMJE for Medical Publications

A scanning electron microscope picture of a nerve ending.

It’s December so that must mean another update from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) on their guidelines for peer-reviewed medical publications. (The ICMJE guidelines are one of the go-to resources that should always be consulted when preparing a publication.)

What’s new this year?

  • Journals are encouraged to de-emphasize the Impact Factor as a means of quantifying the journal’s quality. Instead, journals should “provide a range of …metrics relevant to their readers and authors.”
  • “Purposeful failure to disclose conflicts of interest” is now listed as a type of scientific misconduct. Certainly makes sense in light of the recent news stories about some glaring omissions in disclosure of prominent researchers.
  • Authors should use a preprint server that is clearly identified as one (not one posing as a peer-review system).
  • The date of clinical trial registration is defined as “the date the registration materials were first submitted to a registry.”
  • “Authors should use neutral, precise, and respectful language to describe study participants.” Related to one of my favorites ideas in medical writing – put the person first, not the disease.

Less Text, More Pictures – Visual Abstracts

In the fast-paced world in which we live, it seems that nobody has time to read a full research article any more. With so much reading done on mobile screens now, many researchers and journals are moving to visual abstracts to grab readers’ attention.

What’s a visual abstract? Continue reading Less Text, More Pictures – Visual Abstracts

Updated Publishing Guidelines – What’s New

ICMJE guidelines

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recently updated their guidelines for publishing in the scientific literature. The ICMJE guidelines, or as they’re more formally known “Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publishing of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals,” were updated to include new information related to reputable journals and data sharing, among others.

Continue reading Updated Publishing Guidelines – What’s New

Guidelines for Conference Materials

A group of colleagues working in the medical publications field just posted a preprint (not peer-reviewed) manuscript on Good Practice for Conference Abstracts and Presentations (GP-CAP). The paper works off of the GPP3 guidelines and ICMJE recommendations for developing and publishing manuscripts and tries to tackle some situations that are unique to conference materials and presentations.

Continue reading Guidelines for Conference Materials

Writing hacks – keep your summer writing on track

I am on twitter. I follow another account, @AcademicsSay. Recently, there was a post by @AcademicsSay ….

As of my writing, there are over 1,100 likes and 3,100 retweets on this post.

I read through the replies to the post and saw many academics commiserating with this statement.

This got me thinking… A lot of people struggle with making time for their writing.
 

Let’s get you back on track with your writing and make it a productive summer:

Continue reading Writing hacks – keep your summer writing on track

Beware the Dark Side (of scientific publishing)

There are many reputable publishers and journals for peer-reviewed manuscripts, many of which offer open access publishing options (what is open access?). There are also many questionable journals out there (so-called “predatory journals”), which often promote their open access publication. How do you tell the difference?
Continue reading Beware the Dark Side (of scientific publishing)

New Position Statement on the Role of Medical Writers

The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA), European Medical Writers Association (EMWA), and International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) today released a Joint Position Statement on the Role of Professional Medical Writers (pdf), which is the first unified position on the role of professional medical writers from three leading professional organizations.

The position statement outlines the responsibilities of professional medical writers as well as the responsibilities of the authors who collaborate with medical writers. In addition, there is a template for how to disclose medical writing support in publications.

Make sure your medical writer is practicing in accordance with the new position statement. 

10 things to consider before becoming a freelance medical writer

I’ve reached a point in my career as a where I’m being asked to dispense advice to other medical writers (wow, time flies). After participating in a recent career panel discussion on VersatilePhD, I decided to distill down some of the main points of the panel. Here are the top 10 things to think about before becoming a freelance medical writer: 
Continue reading 10 things to consider before becoming a freelance medical writer

Learn about careers in Medical Writing

Versatile PhD: Careers in Medical Writing

Next week, I will be a panelist on the Versatile PhD forum for a discussion on “PhD Careers in Medical Writing”.

The discussion is free and open to all. I, and 3 other panelists, will answer any question about a career in medical writing.

The discussion will take place all week, between October 17 and 21, and anyone can drop by and participate during that time.

Find more information and join the discussion at Versatile PhD.

Please join us and ask away. I’m looking forward to the conversation.