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Development of Research Communication Skills in Modern Technology Platforms

Updated on December 15, 2019
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The author is postgraduate in Botany and experienced in IPR handling as well as agribusiness management with an MBA, lives in a farmhouse.

Science communications

Communication of ideas starts through informal meetings. It may be at the restaurant at a University or dinner during the conference. It is not an exception in the case of science communications also. In this way when we consider them, informal and formal types of science communications are taking place. Another type of classification of science communication is based on the target group. Primary science communication is to create awareness and development, which are the outreach communications, which are mostly in popular and semi-technical mode meant for the general public. The other category is to facilitate the peer group or other researchers and the educated. Such communications will be informal ones or in a technical research communications mode. Research communications will be mainly describing precise information based on the data and inferences.

Outreach communications in popular mode are made through newspapers, magazines, radios, televisions and online media.

These are also possible by doing science fair, interfaces, interactions and scientific expositions.

The formal scientific communications for short highlights, research communications or research papers, research presentations, technical bulletins, technical reports and books. These are based on data, facts and figures. In most of the cases, scientific findings must have a statistical significance. They have to have the quality of reproducibility repeatability for authentication.

Podcasting and YouTubing facilities
Podcasting and YouTubing facilities | Source

Science is a systematic activity of collecting knowledge about the world, compiling and condensing knowledge into repeatable laws and theories.

Communication formats

Like any other communication science communication also has an introduction and conclusion and in the middle, there will be a detailed description of the scientific experiment and the outcome. However, it is different from the normal communications in that it :

  • Defines the question,
  • Gather information and resources,
  • Formulate hypothesis,
  • Describe the experiment and collection of data,
  • Data analysis procedures,
  • Interpret and formulate new hypotheses, and
  • Communicate the results.

When we add creativity into the scientific communications and simplify the experimental and data handling procedures it becomes an outreach communication. Research presentations and research posters as well as online media have a lot of importance for visual communications aspects.

Journals section of the library
Journals section of the library | Source

Research communication functions

As a part of the research programme a researcher has to communicate proposal, periodically produce research highlights, publish research communication and participate in interactions with peers and stakeholders. Then only the value of the research will come to light.

Research communication attributes for development

  • Regular research communication sends the message to the outer world,
  • It is a measure of the competency of the researcher,
  • It is necessary for the development of science and technology,
  • It is a means for the protection of the intellectual property of the researcher,
  • It is a progressive step for further research on that line.

The scientific community depends on another important communication, which is meant for approval of the scientific projects is the proposal communication.

Project proposals

These project proposals must have a title which can relate to the approval agency or the public. In this case also like any other communications, it must have a proper introduction to the topic. The proposal must have a detailed problem statement and persuasion and assertion on the methods proposed to find the solution with precise objectives and action plans. Here the purpose is to communicate unambiguously the ideas of the researcher and the capabilities to complete the research project to find anticipated solutions to the stated problem.

Online media

Online media also follow the same principles of the print media as far as science communications are concerned. There is no scope for deceiving forms of catchy titles or clickbait techniques. The difference is only the platform, which is digital and electronic technology-based.

The digital platform allows having numerous graphical designing possibilities and use of colours and text modes. However, using classical ‘style manuals’ for preparation of articles always have some sort of elegance and authenticity for the communication.

The new-age communications of the podcast and YouTube videos cannot be neglected and are the emerging communication media in all the different fields. Since the media output is different for the computers tablet phones and mobile phones compatible form of encoding may be used so that the user or the audience should not be stumbled.

The new technology platforms

Electronic communications are developing at a faster pace. It has many technology tools to conduct webinars, give technology highlights through YouTube videos and conducting live visuals over other social media and dedicated educating media like TED. A podcast using various media are considered by the latest technology as ‘running universities’ allowing the audience gets educated, while on the move, as in the podcasts in most of the science magazines.

Scientists and public relation officers in the research fields have challenging times now. The conventional popular science media, in which they were published, are slowly getting ready to go away or getting transformed. So, they must come in front of the camera or in front of their computers to open up with their views effectively to the stakeholders. In the present day challenging the world, they must develop the competency to setup webinar platforms, live videos and podcasts and at the same time have to learn the skills to safeguard their intellectual property rights. Configuring the platforms to do the outreach is one task and to tell only what is needed and that too in an interesting manner is another skill, which is the need of the hour for the researchers, starting at the beginning of their career itself.

In the present environment of transition where print journals, large size reports such as organisational annual reports and information brochures, which had utilised papers, DVDs and flash drives are facing extinction and the digital forms of communications over the internet in the form of portable document format or ebooks are being encouraged.

The advantage of the digital communication media is that it has the power of integration of textual content, coloured figures and diagrams, visual video clips, graphical presentation formats and portability. This offer comforts to the readers according to his comfortable ambience. This is the reason why the digital modes of communication are getting popular in all the fields.

  • Most compatible podcast format: mp3
  • Most compatible text formats online media: rich text format (RTF)
  • Most compatible video format for online media: mp4

Science communication quiz

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Future is clear

The research communication arena is continuing to expand. It is taking into use modern technology tools and gadgets. Intellectual property safeguard and fair use, as well as exchange, are possible through research communications and patents. The scope of content writers as assistance providers for research communications are also increasing. Overall, development in the world is dependent on effective exchange of research findings and assigning of patents to the developmental agencies and industries.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Halemane Muralikrishna


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