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Online Science Outreach: Four Reasons Why

Does your research idea not get the recognition it deserves? There is an endless number of powerful academic articles that don’t reach the relevant audience. Reaching relevant people with relevant words means the readers could do more with them than cite them in their next scientific paper.

Although the occasional mention in a citation of another academic journal sheds the spotlight on your work in academia, it may still be a challenge for practitioners to access it, make sense of it, and use it.

Scientific conferences are as closed to the public as scientific journals are. Scientific writing is primarily directed at the academic community, which is why your research may not add immediate value to practice.

It is an issue of ‘audiencing’ and access.

Think of the policy and decision-makers. Or what about the practitioners? Will the business community be able to make use of your research? Do they have access?

So, although it seems like a lot of extra work to think about online science outreach, your research, or even your career, might benefit from it. Besides, you can contribute to improving the credibility of information online, which is important in times where misinformation spreads quickly.

Where can people find out about your research?

If you want to reach people outside of the science community, focusing on online science outreach is important. Nowadays, people go look for information online. But only a few people will invest the time to read through complex scientific papers. The academic language and methodological complexity are often a closed book to them. Not to mention the journal subscription barriers.

Read about 4 reasons why online science outreach is important, and why investing time in it is a good idea.

1. Make knowledge of environmental sciences easier to access

Having an effective online communication strategy allows you to communicate your research findings to a large and diverse group of people.

Engaging blog posts, a captivating social media campaign, inspiring podcasts, or short instructive videos are great ways to catch attention and communicate complex scientific findings in a more accessible way.

That’s how you will reach people within and outside of academia.

2. Increase awareness: attract the right people to work with you

By communicating your research online through various channels, you can reach a lot of people and increase public awareness of your research field.

Besides, by building up a reputation in the online environment and outside of the group of academic literature readers, you attract a range of skilled people that share your interest and enthusiasm for your field. From students deciding on what academic field to pursue, to organizations that have the network and acumen to push knowledge into practice.

Besides, increasing public awareness and exposure gives your work credibility. Credibility then invites interesting partnerships that can support your future funding applications and finance for your project.

3. Provide access to high-quality content

Being in control of your online science outreach means making sure that your research findings are communicated correctly. It is especially important for the online environment.

For instance, journalists may be interested in your research and leverage your credibility within the non-scientific audience. But information and knowledge easily get skewed when communicated by people without a relevant background. We wrote about this in our post on environmental information access.

By dedicating time to your online science outreach, you help to prevent issues of miscommunication and provide a reliable source of information for people.

4. If you don’t do it, others will.​

Your research findings offer answers to people’s questions – questions for which people google the answers. If you don’t answer these questions yourself (through your online science communication), somebody else will.

But that person might only do it for the clicks without ensuring that the given information is correct.

Read more on why is SEO for environmental science communication important.

The importance of online science outreach

We selected the four points most important to our clients and their values. Access to information and ensuring that the right information makes it to the fore of the online stages is one of the most sensible things to do to make sure people learn about what you do.

If people understand you, they will feel smart; if you make them feel smart, they will love you for that and it will help you gain credibility in the non-scientific world.

But most importantly, you will contribute to making the internet a safer, more reliable place for the generations to come. 

We believe that paying attention to your online presence not only brings more satisfaction from what you do, but also helps you leverage the potential of your work in the long run.