How Research-Driven Organizations Become Thought Leaders


Reactive, Promotional, Strategic

There are three approaches researchers and their comms support (if they have it) can take to creating thought leadership — three gears, if you will.

As with gears (speaking as a long-time devotee of manual transmissions), you should know which one you’re in, why you’re in it and whether you’re going to stay there or shift up.…

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How Can We Trust Your Research?

How do you justify that the study you’ve just published (or that a staff researcher has just published and that you’re being asked to promote) is sound?

Well, it was published in a peer-reviewed journal, wasn’t it? Isn’t that enough justification?…

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The Problem with the Problem with Goop

Goop is not the problem. Goop is the symptom. Until we understand the problem and how to speak to it constructively, we are just making things worse.

Unfortunately, we in the research world do not seem to be learning this lesson.…

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Bring Down Your Paywall

What would change if all research papers were open access?

If we think about this just in terms of access (and not, say, ability to organize and peer-review outside journal structures, which might provide small but non-trivial benefits):

  • People in resource-constrained institutions and situations would now have access to all papers.
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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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