The Problem of the Hyperprolific Author When It Comes to KOL Identification

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When identifying KOLs, it’s both common and correct to include “publications” as one of the identification and screening criteria.

But it’s worth remembering the dangers of an over-reliance on publication data, especially in the context of hyper-prolific authors.

We all know that the top publishers in a therapy area are not always the top KOLs for a variety of reasons.

But the wariness of “top publishers” should also extend to authors who publish a very high number of papers.

A few years ago, we published our research on this in our paper “Too much of a good thing? An observational study of prolific authors”, by Elizabeth Wager PhD (Sideview), Sanjay Singhvi MBA (System Analytic), and Sabine Kleinert MRCP (The Lancet).

And more recently, a paper in Nature (which also cited our original work) identified implausibly prolific authors and then reached out to them asking for their insights.

All of this continues to support our two key messages when it comes to the role of publications in identifying KOLs:

  • Always consider the potential negative value of common publication metrics (e.g. number of publications in a year) when trying to identify or characterise KOLs/Experts
  • Beware the biases created by quant-heavy databases that treat publications as their primary methodology for identifying KOLs.

Omabuwa Tetsola

Services & Innovations

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