Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Sharing Your Findings with a General Audience | AJE | American Journal Experts

 Source: http://www.aje.com/en/arc/sharing-your-findings-general-audience/

Sharing Your Findings with a General Audience

  • Effectively sharing your research with a general audience can positively affect funding for your work
  • Engaging the general public can further the impact of your research
and guidelines for conveying your research to a general audience are
increasingly widespread, yet scientists remain wary of doing so. Grant
application approval and high-impact journal publication are often
prioritized as the ultimate goals of research and writing in the
sciences, especially because these time-consuming objectives are
essential for research to even continue. More specifically, both of
these types of writing are typically needed to ensure funding and
hiring, particularly in academia.

Spending one’s limited time on
publicizing already published results to the public (such as via
newspaper or magazine articles or press releases) may thus seem
self-important at worst, charitable at best, and tangential in any case.
Additionally, researchers may be fearful that their findings will be
misunderstood, whether underappreciated or dramatized, by the lay

Meanwhile, general audiences have their own concerns about
reading about science. Given the magnitude of research output and
scientists’ frequent use of impenetrable jargon, intimidating
abstractions, unpersuasive hedge terms,
and exhaustive details, non-scientists tend to seek curated findings
conveyed in an accessible way. This selected research is preferably
relevant, interesting, and credible, highlighting notable benefits or
risks, solutions to common issues, challenges to established ideas, or
everyday applications.

Researchers may be able to empathize.
“Information overload” is a recurring topic of discussion these days
because of mounting research productivity worldwide, thanks to new
high-throughput and data-gathering techniques, growing scientific
research in developing countries, increased open access to scholarly
journal articles, and a growing focus on publishing “sound science”
(such as in megajournals)
rather than narrowing publication to solely novel and broadly
significant findings. For researchers confronted with the rapidly
expanding literature, determining what is worth reading requires both
access to recently published articles and filtering via post-publication
peer review and other indicators of an article’s credibility and
importance to the field, such as Altmetrics.

Benefits of connecting with an audience

between the general public and scientists, however, extend beyond their
similarities as knowledge seekers desiring guided access to the
overwhelming mass of new knowledge. Researchers’ objectives of funding
and impact, illustrated above, overlap with two potential outcomes of
lay exposure to scientific findings: further funding and further impact.

audiences may be especially interested in learning about research that
their tax money will help or has helped to support, with success
encouraging continued funding. Moreover, what the public reads and
responds to may increasingly be a measure of impact. For example,
altmetrics takes into account news items, blog posts, website mentions,
tweets, Facebook likes, and reviews, among other events, several of
which are more accessible to the non-expert reader than citations are.
In turn, certain funders, including the UK Medical Research Council and
the US National Science Foundation, are starting to recognize the
significance of “research products” other than traditional scientific
papers, often with a particular interest in efforts that engage the

Therefore, a scientist’s major concerns as both a reader
(accessing and sifting through research developments) and a researcher
(the synergy of funding and impact) may be better aligned with the
concerns of the public and more dependent on engagement of the public
than you might expect. In fact, with more and more value placed on
post-publication metrics and public awareness, sharing your research
with non-scientists may not be so tangential after all.

Tags Sharing your research Promoting your research Altmetrics Public access Open access

Sharing Your Findings with a General Audience | AJE | American Journal Experts

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