When a company like Coca-Cola wants to measure the success of an advertising campaign, one of the metrics it might look at is Share of Voice: How often do people mention the brand on social media, for example, compared to Pepsi and other competitors?
Share of Scientific Voice can be used by Pharma companies to identify when a drug is gaining prominence within the scientific dissemination globally.
Share of Scientific Voice is a big topic in medical affairs, says Sharoni Billik, founder of SBHC, a medical affairs consultancy. The main way to increase Share of Scientific Voice, says Billik, is through strategic dissemination of clinical data, RWE, abstracts, and publications. “Everything has to come from data published in a peer-reviewed journal and ideally presented by a tier 1 global key opinion leader (KOL).”
MINING THE DATA TO MAKE MEANINGFUL COMPARISONS
To look at Share of Scientific Voice (SoSV) properly though, it’s important to capture the most comprehensive sources and inputs available from around the world. Capturing these inputs—not only up to the minute research, but historical coverage as well, is crucial to understanding trends. In addition, it is important to note that for SoSV to be valuable, a universe of relevant science must be defined. Whether the data is segmented by product class, therapeutic area, MOA or competitive drug set, to be able to provide granular and longitudinal insights and valuable competitive analysis, you first must provide the context.
It should also be noted that these inputs must be normalized and staged for analysis – no easy task when looking at data sets as large as required. While clinical trials.gov and PubMed are already properly indexed, the millions of poster and presentation abstracts produced from thousands of medical conferences each year, are not.
SoSV is a measurement that is quantitative, not qualitative, so it doesn’t indicate exactly how your drug is being discussed, but it does show you context, along with who, what, where and when of any and all scientific dissemination.
With proper normalization and indexing, it is possible, for example, to look at an affiliate like Spain, and know who is presenting on your therapy or MOA there, where those presentations took place and how the resulting SoSV stacks up against a competitor’s SoSV, even on a regional or local level.
Longitudinal data analysis also facilitates a look at the successful launch of other therapeutics to model and set expectations for your own launch strategy. In what journals did articles get accepted? How many abstracts were presented at congress and by whom? How prolific were those authors and presenters in their chosen field? Knowing these quantities allows a medical affairs team to strategically benchmark their own efforts.
So, calculating Share of Scientific Voice in and of itself is not complex, once you have quality data. As with share of voice, it’s simply a matter of dividing your exposure by the total exposure for the category of interest (e.g., total industry, specific verticals, specific pharmaceutical categories). The real challenge and complexity is to also accurately identify impactful scientific dissemination.
SHARE OF SCIENTIFIC IMPACT: QUALITATIVE INSIGHTS
So how do you measure quality? No one would ever say that an article about phase III data appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine is equal to that of the same article appearing in lower circulated, less-cited scientific journal. In fact, you could argue, that one article in NEJM is worth ten articles in lower circulated, less-cited publications.
To measure quality then, it is important to look at all scientific dissemination through your defined context, to look at impact through the lens of your scientific imperatives, areas of focus, or disease state to align your science with the qualities of the publications, authors, presentations and presenters that you work with. In other words, a tier 1 KOL for breast cancer is not the same person as a tier 1 KOL for Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. A tier 1 journal for research around Multiple Sclerosis may not be the same as a tier 1 journal for research on Cerebrovascular disease, and vice-versa.
Citations are certainly always going to be a factor for weighing impact in journals and journal authors. However, how do you weigh the impact of a poster or oral presentation at congress? How do you choose the tier 1 KOL most suited to help you research and present your findings?
Again, the answer is area of focus. From there, it is a matter of giving an impact score to every entity involved in a publication or presentation based on that area of focus. In other words, how many tier 1 KOLs for Non-Hodgkins lymphoma were presenting at the Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium? Probably not many. You are likely to find that particular conference has a much higher impact ranking if you are weighing it dynamically – by the journal impact scores, author impact scores and impact presenter scores – as they pertain to breast cancer.
To put it another way, a presentation of CAR-T data is much more likely to have a higher Share of Scientific Impact at the American Society of Hematology than at SABCS 2018. It may be an obvious example, but you can begin to see how qualitative impact is determined.
WHY MEASUREMENT IS EVERYTHING
Share of Scientific Voice also allows medical affairs to determine how their offerings may be differentiated from main competitors based on the scientific literature. It’s a way to look, collectively, at major medical affairs tactics and measures, rather than taking a siloed approach, says Douglas Massey, PhD.
And, because scientific data generation and dissemination is the core focus for much of medical affairs, the only way to measure performance and become more strategic is to take measurements such as Share of Scientific Voice and Share of Scientific Impact, precisely because they measure the effectiveness of those activities.
Measuring Share of Scientific Voice also holds promise for continuous improvement. The ability to capture and analyze massive amounts of data from disparate sources, using technology to streamline and validate the process provides the means to assess the actual success, or failure, of various research efforts — and the opportunity to act on those insights. If information is power, comparative and contextual information is authority.