Bulletin Reaches an Important Milestone
It's been a little more than 2 years since the launch of the NCI Cancer Bulletin. This week we reach our 100th issue, an important milestone not just for the Bulletin but, in my view, for the entire institute.
The National Cancer Act includes a mandate for NCI to broadly communicate to the public and the research community about our research efforts and the progress being made against cancer. Our commitment to that directive is evident, whether it's in our award-winning Web site, our annual progress report, the NCI Listens and Learns online forum, or our highly regarded science writers' seminars, to cite just a few of our activities.
The Bulletin has become a very special part of our response to that mandate. It is helping to ensure transparency and provides an ideal avenue to continuously inform our numerous constituencies. The Bulletin is the only publication that offers a single source for comprehensive coverage of NCI programs and research; up-to-date stories on important cancer advances; articles on significant trends or potentially groundbreaking research; summaries of open, NCI-sponsored clinical trials; and most especially a direct insight into the thinking and planning among NCI's leadership as evidenced by the weekly Director's Update.
I think it's for that very reason that the number of subscribers has increased from 8,000 at its launch to nearly 23,000 subscribers today, many of whom distribute this free publication to members of their organizations. As one reader, a colorectal cancer survivor, kindly wrote in an e-mail: "Is it possible to tell you how much I look forward to your publication each week?" The Bulletin, she continued, allows her to keep up to date on cancer research "far more than any other source."
To ensure that we are meeting our subscribers' needs, we have conducted two readership surveys, the second of which was just recently completed. The preliminary results of that survey provide some important insights. Two-thirds of the more than 2,000 respondents said the Bulletin was very informative. A majority of readers agreed that the Bulletin is a very valuable source of information on cancer research and NCI activities, and would recommend it to a friend or colleague.
We also learned from the survey that a diverse audience subscribes to the Bulletin. Seven of 10 respondents work in a cancer-related activity, while approximately 19 percent have been touched by cancer as patient, survivor, or caregiver of a cancer patient - up from 12 percent in 2004.
The survey also solicited content ideas and feedback on ways to improve the Bulletin. Two already-planned changes include longer, more in-depth Spotlights and regular articles reporting on components of NCI's intramural research program.
Other suggested changes that we will be considering include more hotlinks to information cited in articles, special issues that focus on specific cancers, and layout improvements to enhance the readability of the both the HTML and PDF versions.
I'd like to thank those readers who took their valuable time to respond to the survey and to all of our readers for helping to make the Bulletin a success. As always, feedback on the Bulletin - praise, criticism, suggestions, questions - is welcome at any time by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What began as a pilot project has blossomed into a well-respected, well-read publication that responds to an important mandate in the National Cancer Act. We are committed to continuously improving the content and providing the most valuable publication we can.
Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach