How Research-Driven Organizations Become Thought Leaders


What to Look for in an Editor

You’re a researcher. You’re looking to extend your impact by writing for decision makers and other non-specialists — maybe op-eds, maybe other kinds of pieces. You know you’d benefit from an editor.

What’s the most important skill or quality that person should have?…

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Can You Spot Machine Learning Bias in Research?

I’m going to guess your answer would be “no” if you’re a research communicator or science writer/journalist. Which would make the new piece “The Myth of the Impartial Machine” from Urban Institute’s Data@Urban team required reading, followed by recurrent night frights as you realize you have no idea how to detect ML or AI bias or know whether you’ve promoted or covered studies with such bias…which probably means most of the studies you deal with, given the spread of machine learning and predictive algorithms in research today.…

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Public Scholarship: Get There Quickly

When researchers do public scholarship (the application of research to a contemporary problem for non-specialist audiences), they have one advantage over all the hot takers and nearly everyone else out there:

They know what they’re talking about.

And they have one disadvantage:

By the time the hot takers (like locusts) have finished with a topic, it’s close to burnt over in terms of public attention.…

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Wanted: An MVP Index

No, not the kind at the back of your new scholarly book. And no, not a Most Valuable Player. I’m talking the kind of index (like Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index or Yale’s Environmental Performance Index) that draws on your research and analytic power to define trends and storylines, get headlines, change behavior and provide an unparalleled tentpole around which researchers and research-driven organizations can organize their outreach.…

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What Are You, Ready Reference?

Which questions are your audiences asking that you or your organization can answer better than anyone else?

That’s the essence of library content strategy, which I wrote about yesterday.

If you want to move from just being another publication that competes with every other publication (almost all of which have resources that dwarf yours), you need to absorb this strategy into the bones of how you communicate and market as a research organization.…

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TTLT: Data Viz Gold Standard

It’s this graphic by Vox, issued in the wake of President Trump and U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy blaming the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton in part on teen consumption of violent video games:

The graphic exemplifies data marshaled to shape a public conversation.…

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When Your Rationality Isn’t Rational

You never want to do this in America in the wake of a weekend of two mass shootings:

At a time like this, you never want to belittle your audience’s fear, frustration, anger, panic & despair.

And a time like this, you especially don’t want to wield data in a way that says people are just being deceived by their limbic systems about what’s really important, and you have the answer.…

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