WHAT WE'RE ALL ABOUT
Basically, Scientists haven’t always had the greatest track record in getting their research and ideas across to “normal” people. As early career researchers, we are encouraged to engage with effective science communication. It’s important, and I could’t agree more. So, in an attempt to bridge the gap and dispel the myth that science is impenetrable and can only be understood by people who wear lab coats (I still don’t own one…) or those that know how to say disconcertingly long and utterly incomprehensible words at dinner, we present our three stage process to bring you exciting forest related science stuff.
STEP 1: DRAFT ARTICLE
One of our authors, normally a researcher or academic actively working in the field of forest ecology or in a related discipline, drafts an article to tell you the reader, what their science is all about. The topic can be anything from a specialist area they’ve worked in, a recent academic paper the’ve read and want to share more broadly outside the world of academia, or simply a species they find fascinating.
STEP 2: NON-EXPERT PEER REVIEW
Once drafted, the article is, whenever possible, passed anonymously to a non-expert for a double blind peer-review i.e. a non-expert, ‘normal’ person sense checks the article and provides feedback, but no one knows who anyone is to reduce any potential bias. This is then passed back to the original author who takes on board the comments and makes any changes necessary to make the science more engaging and importantly, accessible! We don’t go back and forth, its a one shot feedback deal. This provides a mechanism and a platform for both scientists AND normal people to collaborate and produce interesting, effectively communicated science. Hoorah!
STEP 3: PUBLISH
,The final article is passed back to us here at HQ (well, just me really) and some creative juices are mustered to bring it together into a finished piece that you can enjoy. Our recipe is simple:
1 – You Win – By having interesting cutting edge research on fascinating topics communicated in an easy to read, digestible format that someone other than a Scientist decided was easy to read.
2 – The Reviewers Win – By being actively engaged in the process, people tend to get much more out of, well, everything. Equally we begin to build truly collaborative partnerships across multiple levels, ensuring no “us and them” culture exists. People should be actively involved in science, and we need to help make that happen.
3 – Scientists Win – We really have been very bad at telling people what we do for quite a while. Here Scientists get direct feedback on how effective and accessible their writing is in communicating important topics to people that really need to know about it. Plus, people actually read about what they’re up to, instead of it just gathering dust in a colleagues office.
What’s not to like!