How Research-Driven Organizations Become Thought Leaders

Insights

No Such Thing as Discount Content

When I worked at The Nature Conservancy, I used to declare: “Nobody gives our content a Nature Conservancy discount.”

Which was to say: If the content sucks, nobody’s going to read it just because it came from us. Or because we think it’s important.…

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Replication is the New Debunking

Reproducibility and replicability of research is hard to communicate to the public. It faces all of the hurdles any myth debunking faces, including:

Reproducibility and replicability of research faces all of the public communication hurdles any myth debunking faces, including:

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It’s Never Just About the Science

Writer, podcaster and skeptical thinking activist Kavin Senapathy writes in Undark about how she went from advocate to critic of a Monsanto-led campaign to recruit millennials to support GMOs.

Writer, podcaster and skeptical thinking activist Kavin Senapathy writes in Undark about how she went from advocate to critic of a Monsanto-led campaign to recruit millennials to support GMOs. 

As Senapathy paints it, she made quite the journey — from believing that the science about GMOs should prevail in all conversations (which I would call scientism) to being chastened about the power of science and reason to overcome other factors that breed mistrust. 

We read those factors as “Monsanto,” of course. Senapathy was initially deeply naive about Monsanto and its repeated failure “to behave in trustworthy ways,” as she puts it. 

But this isn’t just a Monsanto story.…

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Your Secret War

Think of a dozen researcher thought leaders — researchers who are changing public conversations through their ideas, arguments and solutions. Write their names down. How many are female? How many are minority? Why are those numbers so low? Now try to name a dozen female and minority researcher thought leaders, and ask your colleagues to do the same.…

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More Skull Horns in Our Future

The political commentator Alexander Cockburn used to say: Newspaper corrections exist to make you believe everything else in the paper is true.

That’s the way I feel about the skull horn study and the science-media-industrial promotion complex today.

ICYMI: a 2018 study in Scientific Reports that found frequent instances of growth of a bone spur at the back of people’s heads across all demographic groups suddenly got global attention last week through these BBC and Washington Post reports.…

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How Research Thought Leaders Work

We all have pressing problems.

We all have pressing problems.

We’d all love persuasive solutions to those problems.

And many of us would love research-based experts to develop those solutions, especially experts we trust.

Connecting these elements — us, our problems, solutions to those problems developed by experts we trust — is the real work of what we still for some reason call “research communications.” That work is challenging enough when all the dots line up tightly.…

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