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After You Publish: Communicating Research to the Public

Spreading the Word

Talking to people who are not in your field about your research is difficult, but both useful and important.  For the most part the people who can make policy changes, influence behaviour, or otherwise put your research to use are unlikely to be subject experts, so in order to reach them you will need to go outside of your field's meetings and publications.  Often the public will have provided some or all of the funding needed for your research, even if the resources required were no more than staff time, and the public can therefore be seen to have some right to know about your results. Both of these groups will require a different communication style than subject experts, including different language, different visualizations, and different media.  All of that said, given how difficult it is to keep current on the published research in any field, using mass or social media to disseminate your findings can also be an important way to reach other researchers.

Caution: Sharing full text

When you publish an article, usually the copyright is transferred from you to the journal or publisher.  This means that they can set the conditions - usually a fee - for who can see the article.

To find out whether and how a publisher or journal allows you to share the full text of articles you have published with them, take a look at SHERPA/RoMEO's Publisher Copyright Policies and Self Archiving page. 

Disseminating Research

We define dissemination as a planned process that involves consideration of target audiences and the settings in which research findings are to be received and, where appropriate, communicating and interacting with wider policy and health service audiences in ways that will facilitate research uptake in decision-making processes and practice.

- Wilson PM, Petticrew M, Calnan MW, Nazareth I. Disseminating research findings: what should researchers do? A systematic scoping review of conceptual frameworks. Implementation science : IS. 2010;5(1):91-.

Chan TM, Stukus D, Leppink J, Duque L, Bigham BL, Mehta N, et al. Social Media and the 21st-Century Scholar: How You Can Harness Social Media to Amplify Your Career. Journal of the American College of Radiology. 2018;15(1):142-8.

Haber N, Smith ER, Moscoe E, Andrews K, Audy R, Bell W, et al. Causal language and strength of inference in academic and media articles shared in social media (CLAIMS): A systematic review. PloS one. 2018;13(5):e0196346.

Hays CA, Spiers JA, Paterson B. Opportunities and Constraints in Disseminating Qualitative Research in Web 2.0 Virtual Environments. Qualitative Health Research. 2015;25(11):1576-88.

Meyer H, Varpio L, Gruppen L, Sandhu G. The Ethics and Etiquette of Research Dissemination. Academic Medicine. 2016;91(12):e14-.

Open Science Fair Workshop Report - Innovative Dissemination Practices and Altmetrics - 2017