Everything is interesting, but some things are more interesting than others

  • Stijn van Gils (Invited speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationSocietal


Not everyone should focus on outreach Some people claim that it is the responsibility of each individual researcher to communicate research findings to non-scientists. I find this nonsense. First, people, including researchers, have different characteristics. Some are good at communicating to the outside world, and some are better in focusing on hardcore science itself. It is a waste of resources to require any effort from good researchers, but bad communicators, to communicate their findings to a more general audience. Second, communication to a general audience often requires a clear message, but results of many studies are rather vague (not sufficiently studied). Translating these vague results into a clear message is dishonest and may lead to less trust in the scientific community in general. Of course, there are also many examples of nice stories about research that are definitely worth to be told to a general or professional non-scientific audience. To determine whether your research is interesting for a non-scientific audience, you could use the news criteria below. This list can also help you to select the right target group. It is possible to use some tricks to make your research sell like a news story. In my view, you should be very careful with this as a message easily gets dishonest.
Period26 Apr 2016