Science writers have always struggled to get by without social media.
We’ve all been left scratching our heads in frustration by the inability to share our research with our readers.
Now, a new study from the University of Colorado suggests that the internet may be giving us the tools we need to take on our own challenges.
“What we have found is that when you are online, you are much more likely to be exposed to other people’s work than if you are offline,” says Dr. Raghuram Raghavan, a post-doctoral fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences and lead author of the study.
“That means when you want to write about something, you need to make sure that you can reach out to other writers.”
The study, published in the journal Science, looked at the relationship between the use of social media and how scientists wrote about the topic of biology.
Scientists were divided into two groups, who were given a free subscription to Science and a paid subscription to a subscription to the online journal Science.
One group also received the ability to create their own online journal, but the journal was restricted to articles that could be accessed by only those who were also members of the Science community.
Both groups were also asked to participate in a web survey.
The researchers found that researchers in the Science group had a significantly higher success rate in sharing their work with their audience than those in the free subscription group.
The online journal also had a positive correlation with the success rate of the authors in the online group.
Researchers found that the online groups were able to connect with readers by giving them a wide range of perspectives.
“If you are an academic, you have to think about how to reach an audience, and that is something that is very different when you’re working on a project that is not accessible to the public,” says Raghavans co-author Daniel Koehler.
“In a world of social networking, the best way to reach the general public is to use your professional network to get people to read your work.”
This is a major shift from the past, when the ability of scientists to reach audiences was mostly limited to academic circles and to the scientific community.
“It is very hard for scientists to get their work published in scientific journals,” Koehl says.
“The internet has opened up this space, and now the ability for researchers to publish their work online has allowed them to do so.
It has allowed us to reach out and connect with a wider audience of people.”
Raghvans team hopes the study will help scientists and students in science who may be struggling to find an audience to read their work.
“As a society, we have lost a lot of our knowledge, and we are now learning from our mistakes and trying to build up again,” Raghvan says.
As scientists, it is important that we are doing more to reach new audiences, he says.
Rakesh Kothari, a PhD candidate in the School of Communication at the University.
“This study offers important insights into how researchers can use the internet to communicate more effectively and to connect more directly with readers,” says Kothar.
“I think it also highlights how science is changing, and how researchers are increasingly using their social media platforms to reach readers.”