How Research-Driven Organizations Become Thought Leaders

Posts by Bob Lalasz

Climate Change & Indefensibly Big Numbers

Climate change is a potential widespread catastrophe, and in some cases an actual living catastrophe.

Our species uses big numbers as one of its primary signifiers of catastrophe: deaths; property damage; lost economic growth; etc.

It’s understandable, then, that some scientists have gravitated to using big numbers to bring into focus the catastrophe of the recent Australian wildfires.…

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Why You Must Publish for Non-Specialists

Let me be blunt: if you hope to increase the public impact of your expertise, but don’t want to frequently publish content for non-specialists beyond your colleagues, you should abandon that hope immediately.

Publishing frequently for these audiences is the way, the crucible for becoming a much more effective public researcher as quickly as possible.…

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The Lack of Female Researcher Thought Leaders

There isn’t one, if a new JAMA study featured last month in STAT is an indication. There’s simply a lack of opportunity for these women to publish their opinion content, as compared with equally qualified male counterparts.

The study, on gender disparities in authorship of invited commentaries in medical journals, is the foundation for a stunning opinion piecein STAT by Emma Thomas, a doctoral student in biostatistics at Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health.…

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Journalism vs. Research

For decades, research has been a supplicant to the media — dependent on media for wider exposure. And research has complained incessantly about the distortions media make to its work and messages — all while contorting itself to be ever more attractive to the media and its currency of headlines for communication.…

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Bad Research Communication: A Partial Taxonomy

There’s a strong happy-talk, booster culture in research communications, especially on Twitter — it’s all good! get out there and communicate!

That culture stands as a corrective to the still-common attitude in science that research communication is at best an afterthought and certainly nothing reputable scholars need invest in.…

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You’re a Bad Navigator

Research-driven organizations, as a rule, are (unlike the rest of the world) obsessed with what’s on their websites.

So why do their websites all look the same? And why is the content so dull?

It’s because these organizations aren’t obsessed with their websites as vehicles of differentiation — but as extensions of their organizations and organizational mindsets.…

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Take This Risk

Experts know.

Authorities know and apply that knowledge credibly, sharing the application habitually and liberally with others it might benefit, building a relationship of trust.

Implicit in that application of knowledge is POV and the risk of focusing your and others’ attention — on the issue, the problem, the solution set.…

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Tuesday Teardown: Direct Authority Quotes

Researchers can make three kinds of quotes that add authority to their outreach content:

  1. Citations of other works, which might or might not be attached to an actual verbatim quote from the source;
  2. Maxims — those over-familiar sounding quotes worn so smooth by so many previous quoters that they’re almost pre-digested; and
  3. Direct authority quotes — quotes from conversations with colleagues or other authorities, used by permission.
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You Are Already More Precise

Watching pundits deploy other people’s research is like watching kids play with lit M80s: the best outcome to hope for is that nothing bad happens and it’s over quickly. Every other outcome is much, much worse.

Which is to say: Bret Stephens’ recent column for The New York Times citing a discredited study (cowritten by at least one author with white nationalist sympathies) advancing (as the Times’ correction put it) “a genetic hypothesis for the basis of intelligence​” among Ashkenazi Jews is exceptional only in the stupidity of its cherry-picked research, not the fact that it cherry picked.…

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