Five Ways to Publish Accurate Press Releases

news scrabble Coverage of science news can be inaccurate, biased and sensational. So how can you, as a scientist, ensure that your research receives press attention but is reported in an accurate manner?

Although many scientists blame journalists for sensational coverage, research published in BMJ this week shows that press releases issued by universities play a key role in exaggerated coverage.

“Our research shows that most exaggeration in health-related science news is already present in the press releases issued by universities,” says Chris Chambers and fellow researchers in a Guardian article about the findings.

Continue reading Five Ways to Publish Accurate Press Releases

Filed under: science writing,University issues | Tags: , | By Deborah on December 11, 2014 at 2:20 am

Eight easy ways to retell your impact story

The academic landscape is changing. Whilst blue skies research remains fascinating, research councils, funders and university assessors now want to know why your research matters. They all ask, “What impact will it make?”

Perhaps the work stimulates invention, changes policy or informs practise. Funders want to know how your previous work benefits society and how they will get value for money from future projects.

Image: Calvinius - http://bit.ly/1hFGXQE.

Today the Research Evaluation Framework (REF) is assessing British universities on their research impact; the results will be published later this year. But universities should not sit idly waiting for results.

Continue reading Eight easy ways to retell your impact story

Filed under: Communication strategy,dissemination,science writing,Tips,University issues | By Deborah on May 23, 2014 at 6:56 am

The Do’s and Don’ts of Science Communication, for Scientists

Tips to help you communicate your research easily and effectively

 

The do's and don'ts of scicommCommunicating complex science is always tricky – especially when you are communicating with a lay audience. As a scientist you may have spent years stressing over the intricate details of your research; going back to basics can seem daunting.

You may worry that a brief presentation cannot explain the relevance of your research. How can one article possibly capture its potential?

But like it or not, outreach and communication is on everyone’s agendas. Funding councils expect you to disseminate your research findings; universities are eager to promote their science to stimulate industrial collaboration. Continue reading The Do’s and Don’ts of Science Communication, for Scientists

Filed under: science writing,Tips | By Deborah on May 21, 2014 at 7:08 am

The science of scicomms on social media

Clever ways to communicate your science, reach a wide audience – and please funders

8583949219_f55657573e_bThere has been a flurry of activity in the past few months as scientists across Europe prepare their submissions for the first calls for research funding under Horizon 2020. This successor to the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) stresses the importance of communication and dissemination in collaborative projects.

But we also know that time is valuable. If you are going to communicate, don’t you want to be absolutely certain that your efforts are worth it?

A cunning plan

Like almost everything else in life, you’ll get the best results when you follow a plan. But you must develop this plan based on evidence, not your personal preferences or a hunch. Continue reading The science of scicomms on social media

Filed under: Communication strategy,dissemination,science writing,Tips | By Deborah on April 28, 2014 at 5:59 am

Writing: more like ruthless re-writing

TheWriting - more like ruthless rewriting Welcome Trust aims to nurture new writers we offer crucial advice 

The Welcome Trust Science Writing Prize is open for entries. Until May 11th it welcomes submissions from scientists, students and amateur writers who can compete to be published in the Guardian or Observer and win £1000 in cash.

The competition aims to motivate and nurture the next generation of writers; previous winners including famous science journalist Ed Yong.

Continue reading Writing: more like ruthless re-writing

Filed under: Communication strategy,science copywriting,science writing | By Deborah on April 25, 2014 at 6:21 am

Five tips to improve your science blog

3634843977_8a94105b69_oThese days no scientist is allowed to work in the isolation of their laboratory. They must share their research and communicate their findings, not just in journals, but to the world at large.
The terms ‘dissemination’ and ‘outreach’ are always part of funding bids, so it is hardly surprising that many academics set up blogs to keep us informed about the projects. By blogging, researchers can discuss their science rapidly and informally without the pressure of peer review. Blogs may also increase the readership and citation rate of their primary papers.
But above all, scientific blogs can bridge the gap between academics and non-experts. Continue reading Five tips to improve your science blog

Filed under: science copywriting,science writing,Tips | By Deborah on March 29, 2014 at 11:20 pm

A new year, a new member of Scientia Scripta

January promises a fresh start and new challenges. So we begin this new year by welcoming another member to our team, science writer Deborah Oakley.

Deborah is no stranger here, having already worked with us as a freelancer. In 2013 she made significant contributions to our work on REF impact case studies. Her work is helping a leading UK university to highlight the ‘real world’ impact of its academic research through engaging web copy. Deborah also crafted some journalistic science articles, which were recently published in a University of Manchester stakeholder magazine. Continue reading A new year, a new member of Scientia Scripta

Filed under: Communication strategy,science copywriting,science writing | By Deborah on February 4, 2014 at 7:33 am

The science of sentence structure

Clear and engaging science writing is more about flowing sentences than total erradication of technical terms.

I have always argued that good writing is a skill. With time, effort, coaching and hours of practice I sincerely believe that anyone can learn to write well. You learn the rules, you listen to the experts and you always look to improve. Scientia Scripta has more than 15 years of writing experience – that’s a lot of hours of practice – which is why we can confidently claim to be experts!

Continue reading The science of sentence structure

Filed under: science copywriting,science writing,Tips | Tags: , | By Deborah on January 27, 2014 at 7:57 am

Le Cirque de Science Communication

Like the graceful, magical trapeze artist, the science communicator should enthrall her audience.

Trapeze_240

Silence. Dimmed lights, baited breath. Sequins shimmer and sparkle, winking at the audience below; a thousand pairs of eyes straining upwards as one, waiting. Her poise is perfect: she is ready.

Lights, heat, a crescendo of drums and she is falling, soaring, twisting and turning, spiralling to dizzying heights. She is dancing against gravity, teasing the trapeze.

Continue reading Le Cirque de Science Communication

Filed under: dissemination,science copywriting,science writing,Tips | Tags: , , | By Edwin on August 29, 2013 at 12:51 am

Science communication with a difference

We love making science exciting, engaging and understandable for non-experts. So we were particularly pleased to hear about a wordy PR exercise organized by the UK’s national synchrotron facility – Diamond Light Source.

Continue reading Science communication with a difference

Filed under: Communication strategy,science writing | Tags: , | By Hywel on December 15, 2011 at 8:30 am