Why doDOC integrated with iEnvision Datavision® makes everything easier for writers and authors of scientific publications

Tatiana Carvalho
Jul 27 · 9 min read

doDOC and Envision Pharma Group started working together as partners in 2019, with the objective of giving iEnvision Datavision users collaborative review capabilities, and thereby bridging a gap many clients had been asking for. With a seamless integration, users can now enjoy true real-time collaborative authoring and reviewing. In the beginning of 2021, Envision Pharma Group acquired doDOC, enabling the integrated solutions to be represented by one single ownership.

In this interview, Leif Masvar and Jon Edwards talk about why this integration is so important for writers and authors, as well as publication planners.

Jon Edwards has worked in medical communications and publications for over 20 years for a broad range of pharma clients across many different therapeutic areas. Jon is always looking for means of making the process of developing publications both more collaborative and efficient. With this in mind, Jon has been working on the successful integration of doDOC into iEnvision Datavision.

Leif Masvar is a document collaboration expert with more than 15 years of experience in collaborative software. His focus is always on the users’ needs, thereby creating a better work situation for the teams involved. Through a deep understanding of human collaborative behavior, Leif has become one of the key drivers in doDOC clients’ success stories.

Leif: Coming from the medical and scientific writing side, is there a main challenge for authors and writers collaborating on a manuscript that you have seen consistently over the years?

Jon: Yes. One of the main challenges has been around version control, in that you can very often have two different versions of the same draft circulating simultaneously. One group of authors are adding their feedback into one of those drafts and the other group of authors into the other. And then it becomes the medical writer’s job to try and combine those two different versions into a next draft and make sense of sometimes disparate and divergent comments. And you may have some authors querying other authors who do not actually see these questions because they have been reviewing the other draft. So, I think that has been one of the most important issues, and this has been a problem for more years than I care to remember.

Leif: So, the visibility part of what other people are doing is definitely a challenge, would you say?

Jon: Definitely, yes. I suppose another challenge can sometimes be, particularly in larger groups, ensuring that all of them are fulfilling their duties as an author and providing substantive feedback along the way. As they are very busy people, I think anything that can make their review of a document easier and help them ensure that they are looking at and editing the correct version is major improvement. Anything that can help prevent different versions circulating simultaneously, and secondly, encouraging people to go in, review, and provide substantive comments is really important. Ensuring that all authors provide substantive feedback is vital.

Leif: Can you describe how these challenges impact the amount of effort and the quality of the work that is being done?

Jon: The first challenge is when you have these two different document versions in circulation. It can be quite difficult to consolidate disparate comments. You would need to take the two or more different versions and combine them to consolidate all the comments into a single version. You may then get different feedback or even feedback that is going in completely different directions on the same piece of text. The writer may need to act as a sort of referee, reaching out to the authors to gain consensus to ensure all their thoughts and suggestions have been included accurately. This can be really difficult when disparate feedback has been provided in multiple versions and it can slow down the project considerably.

Leif: How relevant would you say real-time collaboration is, based on your experience?

Jon: I think it is a really big step forward. And it is certainly something people have been asking about for a long time! They try to collaborate using emails and posing questions to each other. But the ability to go into a document that you know is always the most up-to-date version, and actually be able to see what your co-authors or co-reviewers changed before your eyes makes a real difference. It is the way you would want to develop a manuscript, rather than it being a sort of step-by-step approach. If we can evolve towards having a single document that people can revise and share, it is a massive step forward.

Leif: Based on that, do you think this could lead to different collaboration dynamics between the authors and writers?

Jon: I think it could, definitely. There are various hurdles that need to be overcome to do that. Part of a writer’s training is, generally, you would go through several different iterations behind the scenes, and there would be a lot of potential checks and balances before you would have something you feel is client and author ready. I think that may be something people would just need to work towards. But I think it is the way forward, and I suspect that people will become more familiar and comfortable with this sort of collaborative approach to drafting and editing over the next few years. It is something that seems to be coming in and coming in fast.

Leif: What are you the most excited about in the doDOC iEnvision integration?

Jon: How seamless it is. How straightforward it is to just go in and see the current draft. It really is just a mouse click that takes you through from iEnvision Datavision into doDOC. And then once you have gone in and you are satisfied as an author or reviewer — all the comments have been included — you can just click back into iEnvision. It really makes things easy. And you do not have to worry about whether you have a license for this specific software, or if any of the authors or reviewers have a license for it.

One of the things that excites me about this integration is that once the authors or reviewers have provided their feedback, getting the consolidated version back in the system is really important as well. So, as a first step to create the next draft, you can then go into iEnvision, find the Word file containing all the comments provided in the previous review, and then just work through addressing them.

I think that is a massive improvement for authors and writers who in the past often have had to try to consolidate disparate versions of a draft. For instance, you may have one author who has deleted a section, and another author who has said how important that text is and has added references to it — so you can see the difficulty there. And then trying to resolve that in the next draft is not easy. You can gently suggest and add a comment that says Author X wants this to be deleted where Author Y sees it as important information to retain; we would welcome your thoughts on how best to proceed. But you can see how that would add complexity, potentially add to the timelines, and make things a lot less efficient, with the creation of additional drafts, than if they had actually gone in and reviewed and edited the same up-to-date version in doDOC.

Leif: Can you give us just a short rundown on the two software and how they are integrated?

Jon: Absolutely. So iEnvision Datavision is the publication management software tool. Within that tool, you can create a document record for any different type of publication, whether it is a congress abstract, poster, presentation, or manuscript. Depending on the type of publication you go through and based on the pharmaceutical companies and their standard operating procedures, you follow a variety of steps. For instance, for a manuscript, you would start with inviting the authors. Then, you would have a kickoff call, where the authors discuss the content for the manuscript. At that point, you start creating different drafts. The first one of these is the manuscript outline, which is developed outside the system and uploaded into iEnvision Datavision, and then sent out to all the authors for review. This is where you can start using the integration with doDOC. When the review is set up, you can decide that you want to have it as a doDOC live review. Then, each of the authors receives an email letting them know that they have a new draft to review. The email contains a link that will direct them to their login page for iEnvision. Once logged in, the author can see which documents they have ready for review. Then, they access the review area for that document. It is at that point that the doDOC integration comes into play, and they just click through from iEnvision Datavision into doDOC and provide their comments. Multiple reviewers can use doDOC to review and edit the document at the same time. There are a variety of things you can do with doDOC, including adding comments, references, and tasks. The actual look and feel when you are in the doDOC environment is very similar to Microsoft Word. It is very straightforward to add text, cut and paste, and add figures and tables as well.

Once you have finished providing all your feedback, you go back into iEnvision and close that review step. Or, if you want to review or edit over several different sessions, you just save your feedback and go back at a later time to complete the review. Typically, when developing a publication, these review steps are repeated several times (less for an abstract or a poster). For a manuscript, there are very well-defined steps: draft, reviews, final reviews, and the final approval step to make sure authors are comfortable with the content of the manuscript before it is submitted to a journal. So yes, overall a very straightforward integration between the two systems.

Leif: And how is this integration available for new and existing clients?

Jon: It is available for both.

For new clients, it is something that would be demoed to them when they are first shown iEnvision Datavision. Then, as we set up the various workshops and show them the system and discuss the configuration, the client decides if they want to have this doDOC integration alongside the other two review options that we offer. One is the download/upload option, which is familiar to many through our Datavision Classic. The other review option we have is PDFTron. One thing to note is that doDOC is currently just for Word files, so the PDFTron review option is complementary to doDOC in that it can be used for other file types. So, for something like a poster, where you may develop the first few drafts in Microsoft Word, we would suggest using doDOC for that. Later, when you switch to a PDF format, you could switch to PDFTron for those subsequent reviews, or alternatively, use the download/upload option as well.

For existing clients, it is something that we are more than happy to demo to them and look to add when they move to the next version of iEnvision Datavision. This is because you do need to be using version 2.4 or above for this integration to function.

Leif: What do you think about the potential for doDOC to streamline the process for peer review after manuscript submission? What impact would that have for the publication manager and research teams?

Jon: This is an interesting question. I think this would be of most benefit to the authors, peer reviewers, and journals (although many of the research teams are authors). There would be indirect benefits to the publication managers, in that this could make the peer review process more efficient and, therefore, quicker. The journals could use doDOC for authors to collaborate with peer reviewers and address their comments within the same evolving document. This would be more efficient than emailing comments and revised versions of the document back and forth. However, steps would need to be taken to ensure that peer reviewer comments could be anonymized.

Leif: What do you think about the potential for doDOC to streamline the process for peer review after manuscript submission? What impact would that have for the publication manager and research teams? This is an interesting question. I think this would be of most benefit to the authors, peer reviewers, and journals (although many of the research teams are authors). There would be indirect benefits to the publication manager in that this could make the peer review process more efficient and, therefore, quicker. The journals could use doDOC for authors to collaborate with peer reviewers and address their comments within the same evolving document. This would be more efficient than e-mailing comments and revised versions backward and forwards. However, steps would need to be taken to ensure that peer reviewer comments could be anonymized.

Jon: That is a really interesting question — I think it can be very useful in more than one key aspect. Firstly, it would help in terms of getting the feedback from the journal. As the peer reviewers would actually write their comments directly in the document, the process for the peer reviewer and for receiving and reading through the peer reviewer’s comments would definitely be less arduous. This is something that the journal would really appreciate.

And secondly, it would provide peer reviewers, who can become very overwhelmed with all the requests to review papers, with a more efficient process that would save them time, which is something that the journals would really welcome as well.

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