Setting Up a Research Promotion Strategy: What Publishers and Journals Need to Know
The post-pandemic world has increasingly shown us the necessity of effective research dissemination amongst the lay population, and the positive impact it has on bridging the gap between science and society. And, while publishers are eager to accelerate as well as revamp their efforts towards effective research dissemination, there might be lot of questions regarding the best practices involved in this process. Here are some things that publishers and journal editors can keep in mind while setting up a research promotion strategy that involves different activities and initiatives:
- Identify the target audience
What is the target audience that you wish to reach through this initiative? Answering this question should take precedence while planning strategies for effective execution. This includes taking an overview of: their preferences of knowledge dissemination (online v/s offline), age group, educational/professional backgrounds, and level of understanding with regard to core technical terms, etc. This will enable you to include the right combination of terminology and tone in your content.
- Build a strong ‘story’ but avoid misrepresentation
The fastest and easiest way for your research to reach the public is through a story that the audience can relate to. However, while doing this you need to be mindful to not exaggerate or include wrong information and/or fall prey to clickbait-oriented strategies of knowledge dissemination. The key is to find a balance between building an attractive narrative around the research findings, while keeping it as close to the scientific data as possible. One tip for establishing this balance is to have a team containing scientists as well as content developers belonging to a non-scientific background. Members with a non-scientific background can help convey the lay perspective to the scientists, while the latter can ensure that there is no compromise on the scientific integrity and quality within the generated content.
- Use different formats strategically
While research dissemination has been long taking place through print, digitalization has paved the way for use of other formats which may be equally and/or much more effective in reaching out to the public. You can use the data regarding the target audience demographics to understand the format that can best be used to reach your target audience. For example, if you are reaching out to a predominantly online audience in a younger age bracket, it might be wise to use videos or infographics that can easily capture and retain their attention in the fast-paced online world. To reach out to audiences that prefer offline information, it may be helpful to conduct interactive sessions or workshops, where the audience can experience science beyond the lab.
While the above list is not exhaustive, it can definitely help journals and publishers get started with the preliminary planning for their research promotion initiatives. The era of public science communication is only just starting, and every small step is helpful in raising scientific awareness and understanding in society.
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