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Standard Methods Miss 50% of Pharmaceutical Key Opinion Leaders

Social Network Analysis of 11 disease areas shows that current KOL identification methods produce inaccurate results; relationship models are more effective than bibliometric lists in measuring KOL impact

(PRWEB) January 28, 2010 -- A new white paper challenges the generally-held notion that scientists who are “productive” in terms of publishing are well connected and meaningful to the community. Research firm Lnx Pharma found that in a large number of cases, the opposite was true.

This study questions the current methodology used extensively in pharmaceutical and biotech industries to find Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and influential thought leaders. KOLs are a key part of pharmaceutical marketing, discovery and development stages.

“Companies typically use a combination of personal referrals plus standard bibliometrics to find and evaluate candidates for advocacy and advisory roles in drug development,” said Philip Topham, General Manager of Lnx Pharma. “They consider it to be more of an art form than science - qualitative information is layered with publishing counts and speaking engagements data in order to judge the potential value of KOLs. We can now quantify that this methodology is leaving a large number of truly respected thought leaders out of the consideration set.”

Lnx Pharma research shows that bibliometrics as a means of discovering and ranking potential product advocates fails to find over 50% of the truly respected experts, compared to using the more advanced Large Scale Social Network Analysis (SNA). Lnx Pharma is a research company that uses SNA to help pharmaceutical companies to map thought leadership and marketing strategies.

The LS-SNA method was used to evaluate more than 20 different disease state areas including:

  • Obesity
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Autism
  • Cardiology
  • Oncology - Breast
  • Oncology - Lung
  • Oncology - Ovarian
  • Oncology - Colorectal
  • Rheumatology
  • Central Nervous System
  • Diagnostics & Biomarkers
  • Insomnia
  • Diabetes
The complex relationships between researchers contain a wealth of information that can be extracted using Large Scale Social Network Analysis. Consequently it is only natural to use research publications to identify experts or key opinion leaders (KOLs.) Yet for all the wealth of information, no amount of counting publications will determine “respect.” A person could publish 10 times or 100 times and still not be respected. And yet, companies continue to utilize this outdated an ineffective technique.

The full white paper may be downloaded from the Lnx Pharma website:

About Lnx Pharma
Lnx Pharma is a division of Lnx Research, LLC a privately held company based in Irvine, California, dedicated to leadership in the analysis of knowledge-creating communities. Lnx Research utilizes proprietary social network analysis methods and technologies to identify and understand "The Invisible College" of key opinion leaders in order to answer questions about knowledge communities for government and commercial clients in multiple industries. For white papers on this topic, or more specific information on Lnx Pharma, email info(at)lnxpharma(dot)com, or see

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