As a researcher, you probably already understand that publishing your research is not in fact the final step of the process, but the first step in sharing your research findings with the world.
At the Raine Study, we want to help you get your research shared as broadly as possible, but there’s a lot of content out there. Upwards of 2 million journal articles get published every year, so what can you do to help make your research stand out in a very crowded field?
1: Have a plan
If you want people to read your work, have a plan for how you will reach them. First up – make sure you are clear about who your target audience is. Are they fellow scientists? Members of the general public? Policy makers? Media? It’s OK to want to reach more than one group of people – just make sure you’ve made a plan for each distinct group.
Some other questions to consider: What topics are they interested in? How is your research relevant to them? What do they already know about the topic, and what new information do you have to share with them? Where do they go to get information? And what do you want them to do once they’ve read your research?
2: Make it easy to understand
Create a plain English summary of your paper, sometimes known as the lay summary. Even if your audience is as technical as you are, a concise and well-written summary makes it easier for people to decide if they want to read the full paper. A well-written lay summary that’s jargon-free will also help people without a specialist background, or from a different area of expertise, understand your work and why it matters to them.
3: Ask your research institute’s marketing and media team for help
Talk to the media or marketing team at your research institute and find out if they would be interested in helping promote your work. Remember, they’re always looking for great work that will help your organisation stand out from the competition. To do this, they’ll want to determine whether your research is newsworthy – is it of interest to the broader community? Is it the sort of story that would make people want to find out more? And what is the best channel for sharing this information – breaking news on their main website, or a behind the scenes piece in a monthly newsletter? Hint: a great lay summary will help speed up this process. Marketing teams appreciate it when researchers have done their homework, listen to their feedback, and are prepared to help them do their job.
This is the point in time that you should contact the Raine Study’s Communications Manager so that they’re aware of the role that data from the Raine Study has played in your work, and the opportunity to help promote your research as well as the Raine Study’s involvement. Let us know if you’ve already spoken to your university’s marketing team and what their plans are – a press release, a news article for the website, or something else. This won’t create any more work for you, but will help make sure that no-one is doubling up on effort and everyone is on the same page about who is doing what and when. This is especially important if your institute has decided to do a media release, as media don’t like to be contacted by multiple people about the same story.
4: Share your work on social media
Social media is an easy and obvious place to start sharing your work, but remember – not all social media platforms are the same. As a general guide, if you already have a preferred platform that you’re active on and that is relevant to the work you’re doing, use it. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or somewhere else, if you’re not comfortable using a specific social media platform, then it’s not the right location for you to share your work on in the first place.
- Make sure you have permission to share links on social media. (If you’re not sure, ask!) Some publishers have a fixed time period for free sharing, others will require a free account or a paid subscription.
- Always give credit – to your fellow authors, researchers, funding partners, data sources. If Raine Study data has been part of the project, please tag us – @TheRaineStudy (Facebook), @rainestudy (LinkedIn) or @rainestudy (Twitter). This way, we know to help share your work.
- Reach audiences beyond your own personal networks by tagging and engaging with your university’s official page, colleagues and peers.
- Remember that social media is a two-way conversation. Don’t just tell people about yourself: like and share other people’s content, and share content that you find interesting that you think might be of interest to others.
5: Keep your online profile up to date
Social media isn’t the only place to share your content. Make sure you keep your online research profile up to date, through your own university as well as through other web-based resources such as Google Scholar, ResearchGate, Scopus, LinkedIn and more.
Online is great, but in-person interactions are just as important for sharing your work with new audiences. Attending and taking part in conferences is one option if travel permits, but don’t be afraid to seek out alternatives. Find out if there is a society, club or working group that might be interested in your work, and volunteer to give a talk or presentation at their next meeting. Create a poster or flyer. Make sure your content is relevant to their members, and tailored to their level of understanding.
Here to help
The success of our researchers is critical to the ongoing success of the Raine Study. In addition to published papers, our Science Management team is always keen to hear about the latest studies, presentations and events based on Raine Study data, as well as Honours, Masters or PhD theses/dissertations completed using the Raine Study resources. Please keep us updated about your work at any time, even if the work isn’t final, and don’t forget to contact us when you’re ready to share and promote the finished work.