How can individual researchers assess their writing strengths and weaknesses (and improve on those weaknesses)? Last week I gave you four ideas.
How can research-driven organizations/institutions help with that assessment and improvement? In many of the same ways:
- Hire a staff editor with some domain expertise to work with its researchers;
- Hire a professional writing coach to evaluate manuscripts and the strengths and weaknesses the researchers are displaying in those manuscripts;
- Put on two- or three-day writing workshops for its researchers, led by a scientific writing coach and scientists who write well (the manuscripts might be peer-reviewed papers, pieces for non-specialists, or a mix of both);
- Develop an internal communications platform where researchers can get candid, supportive feedback on their writing from their peers;
- Develop an external-facing platform (OK, a blog) where researchers can publish at low stakes.
Note from Bob: This week, I’m writing a shaggy little series on marketers and scientists, and how to make that unpromising but all too common pairing work better. See all the emails.
Over the more than 20 years I’ve worked with scientists, I’ve heard a constant refrain from them: marketers are terrible to work with.…Read More
I’ve worked for more than 20 years with researchers as a communications and marketing professional. I’ve heard every complaint both sides could make about the other — and probably so have you. For me, the usual stereotypes (marketers are fluffy idiots, scientists are literal idiots) stopped being amusing years ago.…Read More
A list member writes:
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This morning while working on a proposal with some super collaborators I found myself thinking that my writing skills could use some work. I know they always can, for everyone, but then I wondered:
How can I assess my writing skills to highlight current strengths and weaknesses without going back to college?
I’m fascinated by the recent study in Science that argues the medieval Roman Catholic Church’s prohibitions against incest were crucial in laying the foundation for “individualism, nonconformity, and the inclination to trust and help strangers,” traits the authors associate with the evolution of “WEIRD” societies — western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic.…Read More
Among my top-five most-hated science communications tactics: let’s write a letter to X journal and get Y number of people to sign it. That’ll get their attention and change things!
Sadly: while Y might get their attention (briefly), it’s never nearly enough to change things.…Read More
The best Q&A in the history of the world: David Marchese’s New York Times interview of the actor Nicholas Cage, which ran in August and blew the heads off of about 20,000 Hollywood agents and publicists.
I haven’t watched a Nick Cage movie in probably 20 years (“Con Air”?), but even I found it compulsively readable.…Read More
The Agitator, a must-read newsletter on fundraising trends and strategy for non-profits, last week posted a series on audience building amidst the ever-shifting sands of Google and Facebook. (In two words: treacherous.) Some takeaways:
- More than half of all Google searches now end in no clicks (because Google is dominating many searches with its own information boxes — and because people on mobile don’t click as much);
- Organic reach on Facebook has dried up — clickthroughs are now all ad-driven, and those ads are getting and will get more and more expensive.