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Balancing research excellence and media impact: A multistage approach
journal contributionposted on 2020-03-01, 00:00 authored by A G Dyer, Scarlett Howard, J E Garcia
The communication of research in an electronic age presents numerous opportunities to engage with the general public and/or industry that might directly benefit from new findings. The use of social media outlets typically has a narrative of better enabling connection between people, independent of distance or socio-economic factors. Recent USA-based research suggests that despite drops in the frequency of people who trust elected officials or the media to act in the best interests of the public, there remains a constant and considerably higher confidence in scientists. This suggests that direct communication from scientists can enable better public outreach on important issues. Drawing on several well-known historical examples of how high impactful science has been previously conducted and communicated, we provide a model of how combining quality peer review and a multi-stage communication strategy enables effective and constructive communication. Key to this is a capacity to engage with skilled journalists and the general public via several platforms to explain findings in an unambiguous fashion that enables translating the complexity required in a scientific journal into a digestible accurate representation. This model of research communication can enable end users to evaluate, process and apply information without filters that may intentionally bias findings.