How researchers get heard
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Your Overlooked Lists

I keep thinking about “Overlooked Problems,” a column written this spring by an occasional Substack writer about whom I know nothing except that they are a scientist doing research into organ generation and regeneration. The column is a list of problems the author doesn’t “think get enough attention but are worth solving.”

I’m not thinking about the column itself. The specific problems in “Overlooked Problems” are idiosyncratic and (to me) mostly forgettable. I’m thinking what it means to have such a list, and why you need one.

Because all public experts have such lists — of overlooked problems, overlooked frames, overlooked analyses and overlooked solutions. This is, in fact, what public experts do: Identify and champion relevant overlooked research, evidence and expertise so as to make it seen, understood and usable. The overlooked is the seed, the essence of expert insight.


None of these examples are what everyone else is saying. They are what no one else is saying — not to make a contrarian point, but to cut through received opinion to a better understanding of how the world works.

The most important thing a public expert can do: Keep a list of the stuff more people should be talking about and no one is.

Don’t worry: Your list won’t run out. Once you start seeing what’s overlooked and shouldn’t be, you’ll find it everywhere.