How researchers get heard
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The ‘New’ Publication Model

Whenever I’m in an unreasonably cheerful mood, I go onto #scicomm Twitter. Its combination of hey-kids-let’s-put-on-a-show optimism and black-cloud despair never fails to deflate my balloon:

To be clear: there’s nothing awful about “the new publication model” being advanced here. Lots of contemporary process boxes being ticked, as well as Twitter-as-the-new-truffle-oil school of #scicomm.

But who is the audience? What do we want them to do with our findings? When do we stop and figure that out?

And: if there’s an audience that is not necessarily scientific, are the bullets (“UCSF might write a story about it”) and “Tweet about all of it” meant to reach that audience?

You’re kidding, right?

Because when the author of the new publication model tweets out something like

it begs the question: when will researchers ever connect the dots between the smallness of their comms approaches and their inability to influence the trends they bemoan?

Knife, meet firefight. Again and again and again.