Figuring out the online model is all the more important given that subscriptions for print medical journals are declining.
"We find that some subscribers are dropping the print and taking the online-only subscription," says Lenne P. Miller, senior
director of publications for the Endocrine Society. "That leads us to an interesting situation for advertising. So far, companies
have not embraced the Web as an ad vehicle the way they have embraced tabloids, journals, and medical magazines driven by
Of course, some journals are doing online well, particularly those that were electronic-only from inception. Medscape General Medicine, for example, uses Internet capabilities to enhance the reader experience. "We use multimedia so readers can see how important
the content is to the author presenting it—and that really engages our audience," says Steve Zatz, MD, EVP of Professional
Information Services and Chief Medical Officer for WebMD.
New formats Journal advertising still remains largely driven by product launches. Because of that, the products FDA approves in 2005
will drive the success of some journals—and the struggles of others. "Specialty publications continue to be stronger than
multi-specialty journals," says Art Wilschek, director of worldwide ad sales for the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
Dougherty also notes there is a change in companies' ad mixes. "In eliminating waste, they are doing more advertorials and
other projects, because those programs tend to be more targeted in terms of editorial content and distribution."
The search for ROI makes it more important than ever for journal publishers to inform pharma about the value of journal advertising.
To that end, Wilschek says AMP is looking into new research that will model hundreds of products' promotional mixes over five
"This will be better received [than the RAPP and ARP studies] because it will show product managers how to optimize their
promotional mix," Wilschek says. "They can go to the individual product level and see how the brand and its competitors are
doing with regard to promotional effectiveness. This could be the best overall tool for the industry to put together its promotion
and use its money effectively—we'll know in the next few months if it's going to happen."
Clinical trial registries, new online models, and NIH's new policy requesting that government-funded researchers publish their
results in PubMedCentral.gov/, point to the expansion of access to research for physicians, researchers, and the public. Those kinds of initiatives, coupled
with libraries being stretched to pay for the high-priced specialty journals, have heightened the demand for open access journals.
However, the groundswell of support for that model comes not from readers, but from the research community and government,
according to Jennifer Kilpatrick, Slack's editorial director of journals. And pharma needs to understand the potential implications.
"The idea behind journals is that they are subsidized on prepaid subscriptions," Weislogel says. "If people get whatever
they want without paying for it, it totally undermines the subscription model."
To get more data on how open access can work, Oxford Journals, a division of Oxford University Press, announced it will experiment
with an open-access model that shifts the cost of publishing to authors. "It must achieve the dual goals of maximizing access
to research without undermining the quality and integrity of the journals themselves," says Martin Richardson, director of
"From three questionnaires, we know a large percentage of authors are willing and able to pay publication charges for open
access," Richardson says. "It's possible there will be a general perception that [costs will create more reliance on pharma
companies for dollars to sponsor studies]. However, the solution to this is to adopt a policy of transparency, using clear
declarations within the published articles about who has written them, and who has sponsored the research, and the publication