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The Pharmaceutical Journal re-launch: Content structure

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Jigsaw (Dtje/Dreamstime)As discussed in a previous post,The Pharmaceutical Journal aims tobecome your first and main choice on all platforms including print, online andmobile devices, enabling the advance of health care, the pharmacy professionand pharmaceutical sciences, and their wider understanding andapplication. We intend to create an interactive medium that addresses the variousaspects of how you work with our content:

  • personalisation and universality
  • breadth and depthof coverage
  • pre-existing interests and discovery
  • want to know and needto know
  • expectation and serendipity

So, for our new platform we had to think about ways to flag the mostimportant, most popular, most discussed, or most relevant topics for anyindividual reader who comes to our website. To do this, we started with twoparallel approaches:

  • articletype, which deals with the function of a piece of content
  • articletopic, which is what the article is all about (mostly reflected in ourtaxonomy)

In this post we talk mainly about our approach to article types, and in thefollowing posts we will talk about our taxonomy, or structured vocabulary, ofpharmacy.

Articles: type versus topic

When you come to PJOnline to read the latest CPD articles you probably don’twant to first go and find what CPD articles The PharmaceuticalJournal has available, and then go and see what Lifelong Learningarticles Clinical Pharmacist haspublished. You might not even be bothered to find out the difference between LifelongLearning and CPD articles (which is, apart from the topics they cover,minimal). You would probably prefer to go to a specific area on the website andsee all the CPD, Lifelong Learning, and similar articles that we have to offerin one place, be able to filter them based on their topics, and then choose thearticle(s) you would like to read. CPD or Learning is the ‘function’ or the’tone’ of the article, so is news, feature, comment, etc.

Therefore, it is important for us to move away from isolated publicationsand into a more uniform way of presenting our content. We need to rationaliseour article ‘types’ and classify them into easily understandable and generic groupsthat reflect their ‘function’. In other words, articles with similar functionsshould bear the same labels, or article types. So, differentiating betweenvarious article types, defining the journalistic function and purpose of thesearticle types, and harmonising them across various publications was a priority.

Of course, another very important (or even more important) way that readers wantto navigate is based on the ‘topic’ of an article. Essentially, you should beable to easily find a feature on a topic such as influenza; if you areinterested to read more, you should also be directed to a page where all theinformation we have to offer across various platforms (The RPS, PharmaceuticalPress, The Pharmaceutical Journal, Clinical Pharmacist, PJCareers, or evencontent produced outside of RPS) is presented in a structured way. This is afunction that our taxonomy will provide and we will discuss later.

So, thinking about ‘type’ and ‘topic’, it became clear that the new contentstructure needed to be unambiguous and transparent. You should be able toimmediately understand what type of article you are reading, and what it isabout. This meant that we needed to move away from the current bucket ofuncategorised content towards a more semanticweb. We needed to develop a coherent and intuitive structure for oursections and article types, as well as a strong and comprehensive taxonomy ofpharmacy terms. We also needed to make sure that readers could easily navigatefrom one piece of content to the next most relevant piece of content. So, whilethe overarching structure will be based on article types outlined below, theinfrastructure will be a semantic network that interlinks topics, people, andthe relationships between them.

Article types: The function and tone of the article

An article ‘type’ defines the main functions and features of an article.

A news story is supposed to tell a story about a current event. You don’texpect deep analysis of the story or multiple comments, unless necessary forremoving bias from the story. You expect the news story to start with aparagraph outlining the key facts, with more details in the subsequentparagraphs if you are interested. If you see an image in a news story, youexpect it to provide you with information. This information is either relevant data,or photos of the real things, places, or people who are involved in the storyitself. What you don’t want is a stock photograph that doesn’t really help youwith more information or insight, and is only there for the sake of beingthere.

On the other hand, if you are reading an opinion piece, you don’t expect anews story, you expect someone (whose view matters to you) expressing his orher opinion about something. This ‘something’ may be in the latest news, anongoing debate, or a broader issue. After considerable work, we categorised allour content into 5 broad sections (or primary article types) that cover 26 differentarticle types in total.


News in brief 

Comprehensive but succinct summaries of the key news that readers need toknow. It may include links to stories that appear at greater length in the Newssection, and briefs to stories published elsewhere.


Reporting and analysis of the most important news, and exclusive breaking newsstories.

Latest research

We are creating this new article type to convey in a succinct way the resultsof selected new research papers in biopharma and pharmacy.


In-depth accounts of new ideas and approaches in pharmacy and biopharma, thedynamics of the pharmaceutical community, and interactions between pharmacy andsociety. Some in a narrative style, including the story, characters and colour;some more direct and factual. Illustrations include substantive photos andinfographics. 

Special report

Collates all our coverage of a current topic into one page that can beregularly updated, giving readers easy access to our range of content. Provideseasy access to our key articles on a live issue.

News blog

Written by our reporters, a news blog will express the reporter’s personalinterpretation of a news story and offers more insight into a developing story.


We will use this article type for direct communications with our readers. Itwill include reports of our ‘internal’ news, activities, new products, futureplans, reader surveys, etc. This subsection will also present RPS officialcommunications currently found in the RPS Gazette, including general news,events and announcements.



The purpose of an Editorial article is to convey an authoritative opinionfrom The Pharmaceutical Journal that will crystallize acurrent issue of concern and aims to inspire action.


Agenda-setting, authoritative, and often provocative expert opinion ontopical issues and how they affect people, politics and the law. Comment mayalso be presented as debates.


Columns are similar to Comment articles, in the sense that they will offerauthoritative views on the issues most important to the pharmaceuticalcommunity in the news this week. They will be written by a range of experts whoregularly comment on these issues.


Expert opinion presented as question and answer or in the format of aninterview.

Books & arts

Timely articles and reviews of agenda-setting books, films and culturalevents that address pharmacy, drug-related topics, health-care, drug discovery,and life sciences.


A snapshot of seminal science and practice through an account of the workand influence of an individual. These people will have had an outstandinginfluence over health care or science.


We will discuss our new blogging strategy in more detail later. In summary, therewill be a number of blogs on a broad range of topics, written by staff on The Pharmaceutical Journal or guestbloggers. Individual blogs may have several contributors.


We are changing the article type ‘Letters’ to ‘Correspondence’, to cover themany ways that readers can now communicate with us. The purpose of acorrespondence that makes its way to this section is to provide an arrestingand timely comment on material published in our journals, includingright-of-reply. It is a forum for our readers to express their views on currentmatters and topics, or to contribute to an ongoing debate. Correspondencepieces should make an original point, and be elegantly written.


CPD article

These articles are intended to help readers with their CPD needs. They willfocus on specific topics such as disease management or drug delivery, andfollow a specific format that allows readers to answer questions, or indeed askquestions. CPD articles will deliver content in a variety of ways, includingvideo modules, audio files, slideshows, interactive learning modules, etc.

Learning article

Any kind of learning material that cannot be classified as CPD. Thisincludes all the current article types such as Questions from Practice, NewProduct Focus, Theoretical Case Studies, Drug Interactions, Adverse DrugReactions, etc.

Case study

These are case studies with their main focus being on their ‘learning’ valueand highlighting established management points for particular clinical situationsrather reporting new findings,


Research summary 

These summaries of research articles will be published in the print editionof The Journal, for those readers who don’t have thetime to read the original research article in full.

Perspective article

Presents a viewpoint on an important topic of practice or research.Perspective articles focus on a specific field or subfield and discuss currentadvances and future directions; they may add personal insight and opinion to afield. Perspectives are peer-reviewed articles that can also provide expertswith a forum to comment on topical or controversial issues of broad interest orto discuss models and ideas from a personal viewpoint. They may be opinionatedbut remain balanced and are intended to stimulate discussion and newexperimental approaches.

Review article

Peer-reviewed articles that summarise the current state of understanding ona topic, analysing or discussing research previously published by others,rather than reporting new experimental results. It provides the ‘big picture’around a research topic.

Research article 

Complete, comprehensive and peer-reviewed reporting of the results oforiginal research in pharmacy or pharmaceutical sciences.

Case report

Detailed report of the symptoms, signs, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-upof an individual patient. Usually describes an unusual or novel occurrence. Mayalso contain a literature review of other reported cases.


Career feature

In-depth look at fields, trends (e.g. women in pharmacy, immigration, newfields), and events (e.g. a new grants program). It can include survey results,statistic-based reports, and career profiles. It may also focus on businessdevelopment and management, improving working conditions, use of informationtechnology, etc.

Career advice

Advice from experts on coping with the challenges of a pharmacist orscientist’s life and career, from starting out to progressing through variousstages.

Career Q&A

Q&A with individuals who have got that first job, made an interestingcareer switch, influenced others, or made a professional impact.

This list is of course subject to change, but a good starting point for ourreaders to navigate between various articles more easily. Moreover, thiscategorisation is for the online platform. Each journal may group variousarticle types in a way that works best for the specific readers of thatjournal. For example, in the weekly issue-based version of ThePharmaceutical Journal (e.g. the weekly print or tablet issue), therewill be a section at the beginning that brings together several article typesfrom various sections, providing a quick overview of the most important thingswe think you might want to know that week (i.e. Editorials, News in brief, andAnnouncements). You can find out more when we discuss our print redesign.

Have we have missed anything here? If so, please give us your feedback.

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