We spoke to Eleanor Raynsford, Associate Publications Director who gave us an insight into a day in the life of her role.
Please summarise your role
I am an Associate Publications Director with a focus on account management.
What career path led to your current role?
I started working in medical communications 8 years ago, and from the very beginning I really enjoyed the process and procedure that accompanies working in publications. As I worked my way up from Account Executive, more and more of my time was focussed on supporting global publications accounts. I've done my fair share of training slides, newsletters, symposia and meetings, but working in publications is where I have felt the most comfortable, have had the most job satisfaction and ultimately chosen to focus my career.
Within the teams I oversee, we work on several publication accounts ranging from a large global oncology account, encompassing two different products and multiple indications, to smaller accounts with just one or two manuscript submissions for a local affiliate. Typically, I support the team by providing guidance on how to adhere to Good Publication Practice (GPP) and by making sure we have the appropriate resources to deliver our publications in a timely manner. I also attend client status calls and provide the clients with strategic support for publications planning. Each month, I spend time reviewing finance documents to ensure we are on top of our revenue forecasting and client invoicing. I also get involved with the day-to-day management of publications, sending authorship invitations, sending requests for review/approvals, and uploading/submitting manuscripts to journals and abstracts to congresses. I am a huge fan of Datavision, a well-known publications management programme, and yes—the rumours are true—I do own an "I heart DV" t-shirt. I am also developing training materials for teams who are new to publications and GPP, including hints and tips on supporting authors in developing publications. New Business is another important area for me. It’s my responsibility to lead any publications-focussed pitches and to think about the added extras we can offer our current clients.
Please briefly describe a typical working day
I can’t say I have a ‘typical’ day. Despite there being a clear process to follow for publications, nine times out of ten there will be a curveball thrown in there somewhere, such as a non-responsive author, a last-minute abstract submission or a manuscript rejection. As much as I like to plan my day in advance, this can often change by 9 am. Generally, a good chunk of my day will be on email management – filing those which do not need my attention, flagging those that need actioning and sending emails to the team/authors/clients. The rest of my day is spent on finance, updating Datavision, resourcing discussions, internal status calls, client calls and completing my timesheet before finally logging off.
What aspect of your day/role do you most enjoy?
For some, publications may lack the aspects involved in running live or virtual events, which often people find engaging. However, it is my firm belief that publications are the foundation of medical communications, and I thoroughly enjoy being at the forefront of data dissemination. By working on publications accounts, you are so close to the data and it’s incredibly exciting. For example, I have found myself in situations where data have been considered material information, requiring us to restrict access to the data within the agency team. I have also attended calls where the Principal Investigator has excitedly proclaimed, "Well folks, this is practice-changing data!". Experiences like these make the last-minute abstract submissions and chasing authors for their approval worthwhile, because ultimately the aim is to improve patient care and that is exactly what we are supporting.
What challenges do you typically have to manage?
One of the biggest challenges I face is to ensure that the publications we support authors to develop are submitted compliantly. This is particularly apparent in instances when an abstract has been drafted close to the submission deadline, leaving only a day to obtain final approval from 20 authors! That’s when we have to think creatively about different channels that may be used to obtain written approvals: email [check], text message [check], telephone call [check], loop in the author’s secretary to give them a nudge [check], loop in the local affiliate to give the author a call [check], ask the local affiliate to find the author in the airport’s departure lounge [check], and the list goes on…
How can your colleagues get the best out of working with you?
Come and talk to me. I am always happy to help with anything related to publications when I can, or even outside of the publications space. Slack me, call me, email me and I will be delighted to lend you my support!
What makes working at OPEN Health great?
For me, it is always about the people. You can manage any situation if you know you have a supportive line manager or a close-knit team who work seamlessly together to get the job done.