Continue the Conversation: Social Media at the AACR Annual Meeting
Guest Post by Raymond DuBois, MD, PhD
Arizona State University Biodesign Institute
Are you ready for the AACR Annual Meeting 2015?
Beginning April 18, more than 18,500 researchers, physician-scientists, survivors, advocates, and others will gather for this must-attend meeting filled with educational sessions, major symposia, forums, and poster sessions featuring the latest and most exciting new discoveries in cancer research. The Annual Meeting sets the research agenda for the cancer community, and I look forward to joining my fellow investigators in Philadelphia.
I’m excited not just because of the leading-edge cancer science that will be presented, but also because of all the sharing that I anticipate will flood the social web with news of biomedical innovations helping us better understand, prevent, and treat the more than 200 diseases we call cancer.
During the Annual Meeting there will be a surge of interaction at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia and on the myriad social networks including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.
The growth of social media provides valuable venues for collaboration, sharing, and engagement among researchers, clinicians, patients, and advocates that can propel the science further and faster—helping investigators across all disciplines to deliver on the theme of the Annual Meeting by “Bringing Cancer Discoveries to Patients.”
The Annual Meeting is the best place to catch up on the most innovative research that is advancing our understanding of cancer and laying the foundations for new approaches to prevention, better treatments, and cures.
In order to maximize the benefit of the meeting for scientific attendees, the AACR encourages presenters to include new and unpublished data in their presentations. Many presenters, however, are reluctant to share unpublished data out of a concern that future publication in a scientific journal may be jeopardized if those data are widely distributed beyond the meeting.
Each of us plays a role
To ensure that Annual Meeting attendees have access to the latest advances in cancer research, the AACR tries to create an environment in which thought leaders in all disciplines feel comfortable sharing their most current data.
Please don’t jeopardize our colleagues’ hard work and discourage them from presenting their up-to-date data by sharing unpublished data via social media. The AACR prohibits photography in the session rooms and the sharing of unpublished data for this important reason, but ultimately it is a matter of collegiality and professional integrity.
Collaboration is critical to science and social sharing can further collaboration. However, capturing, transmitting, or redistributing your colleagues’ data during the conference may preclude future publication and compel others to be less willing to include their high-impact data in the future. Encouraging the presentation of these cutting-edge data is the best way to push forward the science that is at the heart of the Annual Meeting and the other scientific conferences and special meetings the AACR holds each year.
Basic, translational, and clinical investigators can use social media platforms to support their research efforts in many ways. Researchers and the public can follow the musings of thought leaders in their field, discover articles of interest from respected colleagues, engage and recruit patients for clinical trials, and create working groups around the topics that interest them.
I am excited about the AACR Annual Meeting 2015, and I look forward to interacting with you in Philadelphia and via the social web as we work together to find innovative ways to prevent and cure cancer.
Raymond DuBois, MD, PhD, is the executive director of The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, a research institute engaged in addressing critical global challenges in health care, sustainability, and security. He also holds the Dalton Chair in ASU’s College of Health Solutions with joint appointments in chemistry and biochemistry. In addition, he has a joint appointment with Mayo Clinic, co-leading the cancer prevention program.
DuBois is a past president of the American Association for Cancer Research, and he currently serves as chairman and president of the AACR Foundation. He was elected to the inaugural class of fellows of the AACR Academy in 2013. Follow him on Twitter at @Rndubois.