Should researchers blog? Arguments for a science blog

Our resident editor, Demba Kandeh argues that blogging helps researchers to improve their non-academic writing skills, enrich their online profile and increase their engagement.

In the marketing and advertising world blogging is not just a means of reach but it is also an additional channel of communication. It is thus a useful tool for researchers too. Blogging helps researchers to improve their non-academic writing skills, enrich their online profile and increase their engagement with academic and non-academic communities.

Increasing effective communication

Effective communication is very important for researchers especially in sharing research results and communicating findings. As experts in various fields of study, researchers can communicate with confidence and build trust with their audience through blogging. Scientific journals are the main communication channel for researchers but for the general public scientific articles are filled with technical terms and scientific jargon and therefore are difficult to understand.

Alternative communication channels such as blogs enable scientists to extend the exposure and visibility of their research beyond the scientific community. Ultimately, by becoming science bloggers, researchers will not only communicate results and increase their research outreach but will also harness non-academic writing skills.

Building online profile

Another reason for blogging and sharing text and multimedia materials is to boost a researcher’s online profile. And similarly, blogging helps researchers to interact with people beyond their physical world. As noted in a previous post, a lot more people are going online, especially on social media to look for information. Recent data from Pew Internet Research Center indicates that the young, educated and wealthy worldwide spend more time online each year. According to Pew, in almost all countries analyzed, Millennials (people aged between 18 and 34) are much more likely to be Internet and smartphone users than people older than 34.

A study by the Media Insight Project found that on average a Millennial gets about 74% of his/her information online. So in a world massively moving online, researchers should not be left out. A blog will help each researcher to become visible and more accessible to a larger audience than one would have otherwise imagined.

“The average Millennial reports getting 74 percent of her news from online sources, and that does not vary much by age or other demographic factors,” Media Insight Report, 2015.

Increasing online engagement

Finally, blogging enables one to engage with academic and non-academic communities. By posting their experiences, thoughts and ideas without strict scientific editing, researchers attract other people’s views and reactions. Researchers can enhance their online engagement by sharing and using other people’s content on their blogs or other social media channels. By responding to blog comments, retweets, mentions and tagging relevant journals, a researcher further builds connections with other researchers, interested lay people as well as industry practitioners.

Such online interactions have the potential to grow into useful cooperation.  More importantly, online engagement is an important way of promoting your own research results. While it is essential to write and publish your work online, that is certainly NOT enough to drive more usage of your results. By interacting and engaging with other people online, you can refer them to your work. Always bear in mind that the stronger the interactivity, the better the engagement and online bonding on relevant issues or topics in your community. But blogging is not without any challenges and it is certainly not an end in itself.

A fox on the move
A fox on the move

Success in blogging, much like success in anything else comes with hard work. Effective blogging requires discipline in various aspects not least in scheduling posts and moderating comments. Some researchers might rightly point out that maintaining a regular blog is time consuming and would be “a drop that overflows the glass” of a busy researcher. And that is where we at LifeScienceToday come in. Our aim is to help you build and maintain an enviable online profile and increase the visibility of your research with a minimal effort.

 

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