Perspectives in Clinical Research

: 2019  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 44--45

Comments on editorial “Professional medical writing support: The need of the day”

Francesco Chirico1, Nicola Magnavita2,  
1 Department of Health Service, State Police, Ministry of the Interior; Department of Life Sciences and Public Health, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy
2 Department of Life Sciences and Public Health, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Francesco Chirico
Via Umberto Cagni, 21 20162 Milano

How to cite this article:
Chirico F, Magnavita N. Comments on editorial “Professional medical writing support: The need of the day”.Perspect Clin Res 2019;10:44-45

How to cite this URL:
Chirico F, Magnavita N. Comments on editorial “Professional medical writing support: The need of the day”. Perspect Clin Res [serial online] 2019 [cited 2022 Aug 15 ];10:44-45
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Full Text

Dear Editor,

We have greatly appreciated the editorial entitled “Professional medical writing support: The need of the day” published on September 1, 2018 on the Journal “Perspective in clinical research,”[1] in which Dr. Suhasini Sharma clearly showed some benefits for hiring a medical writer, namely, that they enhance the quality of research reporting and speed up the publication process. However, in our opinion, benefits for using a medical writer as a consultant of the research group, should not be restricted to only a question of chances and speedy to get published by a journal, as the author has repeatedly pointed out in the editorial. A medical writer is a scientific figure with expertise and experience that may effectively tackle the phenomenon of getting published contrary to intentions by one of many predatory journals. There is no an agreed-upon definition, but according to Shamseer et al., predatory journals may be considered as journals that “actively solicit manuscripts and charge publication fees without providing robust peer review and editorial services.”[2] According to a recent study conducted by a group of journalists and data experts and reported by Elsevier,[3] not only inexperienced researchers fall prey to “predatory” journals but also researchers from renowned research institutes and universities, employees of federal authorities, and even a Nobel laureate. For this reason, every research group should enjoy a medical writer as an adviser, auditor, or research coordinator, to save time and money to researchers, universities, and funding agencies, and to respect patients participating in studies, irrespective of getting published or not, avoiding to waste good research in predatory journals. A medical writer may be a safe solution to face this issue, because he/she has many skills and domains of knowledge, from statistics to technical guidelines or preparation of clinical research and regulatory documents such as trial protocols and so on.[4] But above all, a medical writer provides the author's research with a first accurate and fair peer review whose importance for effectively addressing the predatory phenomenon was considered decisive by many scholars.[5] However, the real question concerns which entities or regulatory bodies guarantee education and expertise of medical writers. Indeed, so far this career does not require any university degree. For this reason, it is needed that international stakeholders such as universities, publishers, researchers, and associations of medical writers made common decisions to find a good solution.

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1Sharma S. Professional medical writing support: The need of the day. Perspect Clin Res 2018;9:111-2.
2Shamseer L, Moher D, Maduekwe O, Turner L, Barbour V, Burch R, et al. Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: Can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Med 2017;15:28.
3Boucherie S. “Predatory” vs. Trustworthy Journals: What do they mean for the Integrity of Science? Elsevier; 15 August, 2018. Available from: [Last accessed on 2018 Sep 11].
4Sharma S. How to become a competent medical writer? Perspect Clin Res 2010;1:33-7.
5Chirico F. “Predatory journals” or “Predatory scholars?” the essential role of the peer review process. Int J Occup Environ Med 2017;8:186-8.