Pharma Documentation Ring:
60th Anniversary of the P-D-R 2018

The 60th Anniversary Conference of the Pharma Documentation Ring (P-D-R) took place in Vienna, Austria from 25th – 28th September 2018.  The conference was generously hosted by Boehringer Ingelheim, one of its founding members, and celebrated the long and prestigious history of the P-D-R over the last 60 years. 

The President of the P-D-R, Helen Malone from GSK, reflected on its enduring values: Connection, Partnership and Innovation.  Helen spoke about how the P-D-R has gone from strength to strength and now represents a diverse range of information departments from 28 of the leading pharma companies in the world.

Helen highlighted the unique opportunities for the P-D-R to drive innovative, new and exciting ideas forward to influence the future of information.  She pointed out that information professionals are uniquely positioned to collaborate and lead the opportunities that arise from the combination of science, technology and data to generate knowledge and insights for the organisations in which they work.  The theme of the conference addressed the reality of these changes with its focus on ‘Embracing Opportunities for Information in a Digital Healthcare World’.

The first day of the conference brought together an eclectic range of thought leaders to present, discuss and debate several aspects of this fascinating theme.  This included senior representatives from Osthus, Elsevier, Digital Science, Clarivate, CCC, ACS, Pharma Letter, Third Iron, Outsell as well as post docs from the Research Institute for Molecular Pathology and Max Perutz Laboratories in Vienna.  Together with attendees from 25 P-D-R member companies, this unique combination of participants created a dynamic information community to look at opportunities for the future of information.

The participants were given the opportunity to:

  • Learn about the application of machine learning.
  • Explore virtual clinical trials.
  • Hear about transforming data into knowledge.
  • Gain a perspective from the new generation of information consumers.
  • Discuss opportunities about the interaction between technology, culture and science.

Most importantly, the participants were able to engage and learn from each other, explore and debate what it means for the information profession.  This was expertly reported on by Guy Martin of The Pharma Letter who was present at the conference.

The second day of the conference kicked off with an overview of the ‘Future of Resource Access in the 21st Century – Corporate Pilot’.  The P-D-R has been instrumental in driving forward this initiative since its Special Meeting on Authentication back in June 2015.  At that meeting, the P-D-R called for change in the industry and was the first to articulate the need for seamless access anytime, anywhere.  Since then, the corporate pilot has progressed under the broader umbrella of the STM / NISO sponsored initiative ‘Resource Access in the 21st Century (RA21)’.  Significant progress has been made culminating in the Corporate Pilot Recommendations Report published in October 2018.

The remainder of the conference focused on key issues and activities undertaken by the P-D-R companies over the last year.  These included a diverse range of topics covering:

  • Future Proof Library Portals.
  • Extraction and Search of Chemical Information in Scientific Documents.
  • Voice Assistants.
  • Social Media Monitoring in Pharma.
  • Semantic Enrichment of Biomedical Information.
  • The Ideal Information Professional – Recruiting for the Future.

The very special 60th Anniversary Gala Dinner, generously sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, took place in the elegant surroundings of the beautiful Daun-Kinsky Palace in Vienna.  Members of the P-D-R, past and present, came together to celebrate the remarkable achievement of 60 years of the P-D-R.

The P-D-R Board for 2019 remains the same as for 2018:

  • President – Helen Malone, GSK.
  • Secretary – Matthias Staab, Sanofi.
  • Vice President – Anni-Barbara Endler-Jobst, Roche.
  • Vice President – Andrew Clark, UCB.

The 61st Annual Conference of the P-D-R will take place from 17th-20th September 2019 in Summit, New Jersey, USA and will be hosted by Celgene.


October 2018.