Starting or Strengthening a Drug Bulletin - A Practical Manual
(2005; 165 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentPreface
View the documentHow the manual was produced
View the documentAbout ISDB
View the documentExecutive summary
Open this folder and view contents1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. Rational use of medicines
Open this folder and view contents3. What are drug bulletins?
Open this folder and view contents4. Defining aims, target and type of bulletin
Open this folder and view contents5. Planning resources
Close this folder6. Planning bulletin production: schedules and timing
View the document6.1 Why is planning necessary?
View the document6.2 Start modestly and grow gradually
View the document6.3 Develop a framework for producing articles
View the document6.4 Flexible planning for each issue
View the document6.5 Allow time for delays in distribution
View the document6.6 Integrate necessary sidelines into your overall planning
View the document6.7 A few principles for planning the production of a bulletin
Open this folder and view contents7. The editorial process
Open this folder and view contents8. Reviewing a new drug: is it a therapeutic advance?
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexe to Chapter 8: Evaluating harm
Open this folder and view contents9. Design and production
Open this folder and view contents10. Dissemination
Open this folder and view contents11. Organizational and legal issues
Open this folder and view contents12. Evaluating quality and usefulness
Open this folder and view contents13. Partnership and collaboration
Open this folder and view contents14. Keeping records and creating a memory
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix: Electronic sources of information

6.3 Develop a framework for producing articles

Chapters 7 and 8 give an overview of the steps needed to produce an article, from choice of topic to final quality controls. This can take less or more time according to the type of article produced. For example, it may take a few weeks to produce an adaptation, translation or summary of an article from another bulletin or journal, or to adapt treatment guidelines to a local audience. Producing a drug review may take a few months. An original review of therapeutic options in a controversial area may take a year or more. Your framework for planning articles will need to include the same steps for each type of article but the time needed for each step may vary. Box 6.1 gives a few reasons for differences in timing.

Box 6.1 A few examples of situations leading to variations in editorial timing

• The review process is generally shorter if an article is being translated or adapted to the local situation.

• It generally takes more time to outline the topic and edit the first draft with an external author than with a member of the editorial team.

• To obtain reports of unpublished clinical trials takes longer than a simple literature search on a familiar database.

When the editorial team is small, you may find that some authors or editors end up with too much work, especially if bulletin editing is not their only job! It is useful to draw up a production schedule that makes it easy to see who is responsible for what at any point in time. This makes it possible to evaluate each writer’s and editor’s workload and schedule.

Scheduling can be carried out with a small computerized database, a card index or by posting each person’s work responsibilities along a timeline on a bulletin board. This should obviously allow for personal constraints, such as other professional activities, travel, personal holidays, etc. It should also include some space set aside to deal with editorial opportunities or necessities created by sudden important events (see examples in Box 6.2). It is important to update the schedule regularly, to incorporate any changes (e.g. information about articles being prepared, revised deadlines), and to circulate revised schedules to the editorial team, so that everyone involved knows about any changes.

Box 6.2 Topics which may deserve exceptionally fast publication

• Newly identified drug side effects (especially if there is no efficient national alert system).

• Serious adverse drug reactions.

• Drug withdrawals for safety reasons.

• Misleading promotional campaigns on a specific drug.

• Direct-to-consumer advertising of a new drug, not yet well-known by health professionals.

• Important regulatory decisions that change everyday practice or patients’ daily lives.

• Implementation of new government policies on medicines.

• Local epidemics.

• Interpretation of important new studies.

• Letters to the Editor, controversies.

Setting aside time to discuss plans for a bulletin’s editorial content helps to stimulate authors and editors and can prompt them to reconsider priorities. Box 6.3 shows an example of a production schedule. See also Section 7.2.5 in Chapter 7.

Box 6.3 Example of a production schedule

Week 1:

topic identified and article commissioned and outlined

Week 12:

first draft arrives (if author is on time!)

Week 14:

draft edited by bulletin editor

Weeks 16 - 18:

first circulation to reviewers (who are given 2 weeks to comment)

Weeks 19 - 22:

collation of comments and revision of article by bulletin editor

Weeks 22 - 24:

circulation of revised article (again 2 weeks for comments)

Weeks 25 - 28:

collation of comments and another revision of article by bulletin editor

Week 28:

near-final version of article ready for checks and controls

Week 29:

press day (checking page proofs)

Week 30:


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