The world of academia can feel like a somewhat inaccessible one. When you enter as an undergraduate student it can take a while to wrap your head around it all. The world of research is undoubtedly important. Knowledge is fascinating, and changes how we think and act in our world. It’s important to make this knowledge interesting and accessible to all if it’s ever going to make a difference.
We’re all aware of clickbait titles and wild articles that don’t give us the best information about the academic world. Most of us who have the opportunity to experience higher education quickly learn how complex research can be. We have a responsibility to share our research and avoid the spread of misinformation.
One of the skills you have to learn quickly in academia is how to communicate potentially complicated research. As soon as you start learning you will be expected to summarise a complicated journal article in 200 words for a grade. In your honours years, you’ll start to spend more and more time rolling your eyes at articles on the internet. I can only imagine this gets even worse as you begin to do more of your own research.
While you might not dwell on it on those few seconds spent clicking through news articles online, it really shows us how important it is that we as a university, and as researchers, take initiative to share our research.
Our blogs, twitter, and little news pieces on our site are coming from people who understand the research. Those writing up fun pieces about our research centres achievements have done this work. We want to grab your attention and share the amazing work our university is doing, but we also want you to understand it. The research we do here is amazing and fascinating, and there’s no need to exaggerate it or mislead people to show that!
Beyond just taking the lead in publicizing and sharing our own work, news about research is important in a more general sense. Researchers don’t dedicate years of their lives to projects that they don’t think will be important. Without research, we would know so little. Proving or disproving ideas about ourselves and our world has such exciting implications. Knowing and understanding what research discovers can change the way we do things for the better at individual, community, and institutional levels.
If we don’t write news, write blogs, or even write tweets about what we’re discovering, how can we expect it to change the minds or lives of those who haven’t studied what we’ve studied?
There are people who really are interested in what you’ve studied, what you’ve found, and HOW you’ve found it, and because they’re not part of an institution like yours, they don’t have access to it. Knowledge should be accessible and shared widely. Lots of people depend on online access to learn about our research. Social media is the most accessible point of information. We want thousands of people to have access to all the incredible work that we do.
Research is essential. Research is fascinating. It is so important that we can communicate all our research well, and reach out to wider communities. These studies can change the world, but if we don’t learn to communicate and engage, we miss incredible opportunities.