What is Sci-comm
What is sci-comm?
Science communication, or ‘sci-comm’ as it is affectionately known, is a young field with growing importance. Sci-comm is the practice of informing, educating, and raising awareness of science-related topics. This often refers to communicating to non-specialists, as opposed to expert-to-expert communication associated with scientific publishing.
You may hear many different terms for this – from outreach, public engagement, broader impacts, and knowledge translation, to name a small few. Each term may be associated with a slightly different motivation, but all refer to communicating science in an accessible language for a broad audience.
Sci-comm can be done through many different mediums, from written articles in magazines and blogs, to audiobooks and podcasts, to videos and infographics, and from giving a talk at a local school, to hosting a public workshop.
Sci-comm is undertaken by a varied range of people and organisations, including scientists, journalists, institutional communications departments, freelance writers, and professional communication companies. Although they may produce sci-comm in different formats, they all have the same objective of communicating science in a concise format that provides enough information for specialists and non-specialist to understand. With over 3000 new science papers being published each day, it is important to accurately raise awareness of science and help people cut through the noise of over-publishing.
Why is sci-comm important?
Quoting the National Science Foundation: “Broader Impacts: The potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.”
Here are some key reasons why sci-comm should be considered to be just as important as scholarly publishing:
- Good sci-comm helps people make informed decisions and motivates them to take appropriate and affirmative action.
- Good sci-comm encourages everyday people to be scientifically literate so that they can analyse the integrity and legitimacy of information.
- Good sci-comm encourages people to pursue STEM-related fields of study and employment, especially women and members of minority groups.
- Good sci-comm fosters a community of trust and understanding around research that includes both members of the public, policymakers and scientists.
- Good sci-comm can encourage governments and tax-payers to continue or increase investment into research funding.
Why every researcher should be involved in sci-comm
Quoting the Research Excellence Framework: “Scientists must provide accountability for public investment in research and produce evidence of the benefits of this investment.”
If a tree falls in the forest, and there’s nobody around to hear, does it make a sound?
It is vital to support traditional scholarly publishing and transform science into something enjoyable, understandable and impactful that everyone has a chance to be involved with. Increasing the visibility and accessibility of your research will help to create more opportunities for funding, employment, partnerships, and support.
Think of it like the latest gadget or phone. The hard work is done in development, and then you have a big release day to launch your new product. However, it does not stop there – you need to constantly market your product so that more people become aware of it. This helps you to secure funding for future projects, while also building an audience who can’t wait for your new product. Research is exactly the same: you have done the hard work; now you need to make sure as many people as possible hear about it. This starts when you publish that first paper; now you need to draw attention to your work and build an interested community who can support your efforts.
Consider sci-comm as an impact metric. If your government plan to cut your research funding and there is no public reaction. Or there is generally low interest being taken in your studies from policy makers and stakeholders. Then your current approach to communication is not working and you need to try something different.
How Scientia can help with your sci-comm
It is now widely accepted that broader science communication is a fundamental aspect of a scientist’s career. While many do recognise this, it can be a challenge to do it effectively.
From speaking with thousands of researchers around the globe, we discovered that time was the biggest barrier preventing sci-comm from being a priority. The second was not having a suitable platform for communicating science, and the third was not having the skills to present research to a non-specialist audience.
We have built our offering around the research community and created an end-to-end writing and editorial service, combined with a platform that is free and open for anyone and everyone to access.
Not only do we offer a professional communication service to time-poor researchers, but we have created a dissemination service to bring science to the public.
We make science understandable, enjoyable, accessible, and open.
But don’t take our word for it. Hear what some of our clients have to say:
“Just days after publishing I have received numerous comments, compliments and enquiries”
-Dr Paul Robertson Dynamic Object Language Labs Inc
“The write up by Scientia is a real joy to read, and I feel that it actually explains a complex reaction in a very understandable way – to a diverse audience, which I could never do”
– Professor Michael O’Donnell, The Rockefeller University
“Science communication is so important but not always easy for researchers to do, and Scientia made it really simple to accomplish it”
– Dr Jennifer Kay, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“They were clearly aware of the intrinsic difficulty in writing Scientia articles: remaining faithful to the science – to the research – while at the same time breathing some life into the writing so that it is interesting to people, especially to lay persons but also to scientists outside of the area of specialisation of any given article”
– Professor Gerald Reeck, Kansas State University
“I would recommend publishing with Scientia to my peers because of the combined professional service, quality of the final product, and reaching out to a much broader and diverse audience.”
– Professor H. De Raedt, University of Groningen
“My Research Group and the Departments’ Executive team are very pleased with the final result of our collaboration with Scientia”
– Professor Ulrich Schnyder, University Hospital Zurich
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