Production of a drug bulletin requires an editor or editors, writers, reviewers and part- or full-time office staff. Depending on the resources available, this may be mostly paid work or much of it may be done by volunteers.
It would be premature to set up a drug bulletin without a local team that is committed, determined and has a clear policy. Some ISDB bulletins have faced difficulties after starting an ambitious project too rapidly. The team may start with one or two people if they have enough time and energy to give to the bulletin and have the support of a network of interested colleagues. It is sometimes considered a handicap if only a few people are centrally involved in starting a bulletin. This is not true. A bulletin needs a critical mass of supporters of good quality drug information, but the group running the bulletin can be small. ISDB bulletins have functioned for years with editorial teams ranging from one or two people to around 25 people. This does not include technical staff, external reviewers or advisers. Wherever possible, editors should try their best to use the skill and expertise of other practicing professionals and academics for the benefit of the bulletin. Involvement of a wide range of experts, most often as advisers or reviewers, is likely to increase the standard, feeling of ownership, acceptance and credibility of the bulletin.
Many bulletins rely on two separate groups for direction and overall editorial policy:
• the editorial team: a local team responsible for production of articles, publication of the bulletin, and ensuring that the bulletin is meeting its editorial objectives;
• the advisory board: members may be local or physically distant; their role is to give guidance on the global orientation of the bulletin, its adaptation to the readers, and short and long-term priorities.
Together, the editorial team and advisory board must:
• determine the bulletin’s editorial policy;
• set priorities;
• develop rigorous but simple editorial methods;
• maintain quality in the long term;
• manage relations with readers and respond to feedback;
• evaluate the results and revise the editorial process.