Communicating your Science

I do some paid work for the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Sciences at a university in my home town. Said Dean is keen to promote science in general and the work of scientists at the university in particular. I have concluded that the best way to communicate science is to help scientists communicate. What follows is both a description of things I have modelled since 2008 and a blueprint for a way forward.

  • Publish Papers – obvious, but it all starts here. Works even better if you can get involved in a research group that cultivates good practice. Like help/nagging you to submit those papers to an Institutional Repository. If you have a choice, look for opportunities to publish in Open Access journals.
  • Maintain your Web presence – many institutions provide researchers with a staff directory page for your CV, photos and lists of interesting projects/awards/achievements. If you are lucky, an up-to-date list of your publications may be generated automatically from the Institutional Repository. If you have your own website, put your papers there (if you are allowed – see pop & sign). This form of ‘self publishing’ can have significant impact on the exposure to your work (see OACA).
  • Write and share stories about your research – Barry and Corey have been doing this for several years (since 2008) and it seems to be serving them quite well. I have been writing a series of blog posts called ‘TalkingPapers’ for a while now, and I hope they will inspire researchers to talk about their own papers. Something Melissa Terras has been doing for a while. She concludes in the video below that this works best when you have an established social network in your discipline, a blog and the energy to write a narrative back-story about your new papers (and as many of your old ones as you can manage).

Original video cc:by crcnottingham
Do this well and your achievements will be digitally recorded, preserved, amplified and your reputation, research, citations and career prospects will increase as a result.

Do it soon and you will have an (unfair) advantage (for a short while).


OACA – Open Access Citation Advantage (some research / evidence)

Pop and Sign (a short video from 2010 developed by the custodians of the University of Adelaide ‘AR&S digital library’ repository with help from IPAS and the Environment Institute).

Staff Directory Page (with list of publications generated automatically from the Institutional Repository. IPAS director Prof Tanya Monro has kindly supported my efforts to nag her team into following much of my advice.

Original YouTube of Melissa Terris that inspired this post and from which my 90sec excerpt was taken.

TalkingPapers (a series of blog posts written by me, hoping to inspire researchers to talk about their own papers).

p.s. I have just been reminded (via Twitter) that I forgot to mention my work on a new ‘Communicating Science‘ course. I was developing my lecture materials for that course when Melissa’s YouTube & the #sceincegirlthing kerfuffle diverted my attention.

FangMike Seyfang



About mseyfang

Interruptus Digitalis
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One Response to Communicating your Science

  1. Pingback: Leadership Group: New Media for a New World | a blog by Mike Seyfang

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