Research communication

There are many researchers who just get it when it comes to research communication. The best of these are not just focused on their Kardashian index (love this tongue-in-cheek article), but are people who are passionate and open about what they do.

Personally, my most influential example is my PhD supervisor @carolinefinch – who has probably encouraged me a tad too much when it comes to using social platforms to make connections and share my research message.

@Scienceofsport of The Science of Sport recently tweeted a seven-tweet series on science communication that I really identify with:

  • This @TEDTalks from @DavidEpstein is really excellent: Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger?  Weaving narrative with science is a skill we should all learn
  • 7 quick thoughts coming up on the importance of #science communication, stimulated by @davidepstein‘s #TEDtalk
    1. Scientists need to take more ownership of the wider communication & translation of knowledge. Otherwise they’re doing only half their job
    2. This means they must pay attention to, & work on, understanding how people want to receive complex messages, & learn how to deliver them
    3. It’s difficult only because research is often not purpose-driven enough, with a clear need. Communicating without relevance is impossible
    4. Why hope that your life’s work will make a broader impact thanks to someone else (assuming you want this), when you can own it yourself?
    5. Failing to do this leaves doors open for misrepresentation of science. For every Epstein, there are dozens of Syed/Gladwell examples
    6. That said, we aren’t marketers or salespeople. Balance between accuracy & appeal is tricky. Being relevant does not trump being right
    7. Find even 1 way to make your important work understandable or “sticky”. You won’t be selling your soul, you’ll just expand your influence

Two superstars when it comes to research communication are @thesiswhisperer of fame, and @AstroKatie of – in my opinion they are very good examples of how online platforms can be used to become the voice in your field.

Another sport scientist who I have learnt a lot from is @jacquietran of I met her for the first time only recently at the Be Active conference after being in communication with her for a while on Twitter. We have written a blog post together on workflow and productivity. Jacquie is known for her excellent sketchnotes:


Your online presence cannot be avoided, and is not just about personal branding anymore – it has evolved to be more than that. Don’t worry about your professional and personal profiles, just be yourself!