Improving and speeding up cancer communication and education through the latest technology and multimedia
What is it?
Founded by the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Ecancermedicalscience is an open access cancer journal and an online news outlet. The Umberto Veronesi Foundation, the European Institute of Oncology Foundation and Swiss Bridge are the key founding charities of the journal.
How is it a success?
The ecancermedicalscience website describes itself as a “channel” and provides information about cancer research from a dazzling array of media – from ecancer tv and radio to news stories, blogs, interviews and opinion pieces. It also hosts an image bank and job listings. At its heart is its open access peer reviewed journal, created in response to what founding editors Professor Gordon McVie and Professor Umberto Veronesi perceived as the fragmented, uncoordinated and slow nature of European cancer research in Europe.
“Professor Veronesi wanted a cancer research journal that would be free so that people in less developed countries could get to see the information. We started up with funding from four charities and that was how we could offer everything free of charge,” explains Linda Cairns, science editor at ecancermedicalscience.
Speed is the buzzword for ecancermedicalscience. It aims to improve communication between sub-specialised cancer scientists and clinicians by working interactively and faster and offering authors a rapid peer review process. It promises authors that they will hear within three weeks if their paper will be published. As well as being available on the ecancermedicalscience site, journal articles are also accessible through PubMed.
The site as a whole has grown steadily in just three years to 35,000 unique visitors a month, from 191 countries (figures from October 2011). It has over 6,000 registered users. Videos on the site do particularly well, watched over 2,000 times per month. Since launch, videos have been watched over 1.4m times in total.
“We take ecancertv to the most important cancer conferences around the world where we film the highlights and interview the key opinion leaders about the latest research and new discoveries. These kinds of interviews have proved to be very popular – they mean that researchers can get the most up-to-date news from the conference quickly, without having to read through a whole paper. We also do roundtables at these conferences where we film three or four of the most distinguished speakers together. A phenomenal amount of people use these resources to get quick information. And it’s all free,” says Cairns.
ecancermedicalscience also actively encourages communities of sub-specialised scientists and cancer carers to exchange ideas and research, with the goal of speeding up the time it takes from discovery to patient benefit. The site makes full use of social media, from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn. These new tools are also being investigated as part of a major European FP7 grant-funded project, ecancercomms. The Eurocancercoms partnership is an ambitious project to use cutting edge technology to provide cancer information to the public, patients and healthcare professionals. ecancer’s role is to evaluate and engage the best new dissemination technologies.
But ecancermedicalscience also has its sights set beyond Europe. “In the future we are aiming to become more international. We already have the contacts for an ecancermedicalscience India – there is a lot of high quality research going on in India that is not published because of a lack of funding. We are also in discussions about a Latin American or Spanish version because we also feel that there is a need for a journal there too,” says Cairns.