Ensuring High-Quality Plain Language Summaries: The Role of CISCRP’s Editorial Panels

Since 2003, CISCRP has developed educational content about clinical research that is written in plain language for study volunteers and the public. Our Communicating Trial Results program develops Lay Language Summaries, and we also help researchers ensure any document, website, or other communication is understandable and easy to use for the intended audience.  

The process for creating our high-quality deliverables is thoughtful, evidence-based, and rooted in community-engagement. A key component of this process is the Editorial Panel review, which plays a critical role in connecting the voices and experiences of key stakeholders. Read on to find out why these Editorial Panels are so important, what they are, and how you can become involved.

Why do we have Editorial Panels?

During the development process of the plain language materials, CISCRP includes the perspectives and experiences of patients, advocates, and healthcare professionals. It is critical to include the voices of those who have a stake in clinical research, particularly patients and advocates. Our Editorial Panel participants provide insight into how to best communicate clinical trial results and the clinical trial experience in a way that is accessible and relevant.

The goal of our Editorial Panels is to improve all plain language documents before they are finalized and distributed to patients of clinical trials. In fact, every Lay Language Summary that CISCRP develops is reviewed by an Editorial Panel.

What is an Editorial Panel?

Editorial Panels include individuals from three core groups:

  • Patients and the general public – we include feedback from those with clinical trial experience, and those who are not as familiar with the process in order to capture a variety of perspectives.
  • Patient advocates – local, community, and national advocates from patient advocacy agencies and organizations can help improve how CISCRP communicates the trial results by sharing their insight and emphasizing key information on behalf of their communities.
  • Health professionals – this group can include clinical research professionals, physicians, nurses, and others who utilize their clinical experience and knowledge to ensure that the summaries are clearly written and scientifically accurate.

Editorial Panel participants volunteer their time to review a variety of plain language materials and provide their feedback. We welcome people from all over the world to volunteer. If you are interested in participating or would like to learn more about this opportunity, please feel free to contact Rachel Weitzner, our Editorial Panel and Engagement Associate. She may be reached at rweitzner@ciscrp.org or by phone at 617-725-2750 x108. If you are interested in learning more about the services offered by CISCRP’s Communicating Trial Results department, please contact Jay Matthews, our Business Development Executive, at jmatthews@ciscrp.org.

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