Scientific dissemination is, essentially, the distributing of scientific knowledge and scientific research information to the general public.
Without an effective scientific dissemination plan, scientific communities would never communicate, projects would not get funded, and the public would rarely support scientific studies due to lack of understanding and awareness.
The dissemination of scientific knowledge and scientific research should be prevalent and compelling for any audience if that information is to be useful.
Why is it so relevant?
There are many reasons why the dissemination of research is important, including raising the profile of an organisation or institution, attracting funding for future research programmes, or fulfilling mandatory requirements— like explaining the value of past research programmes to funders and to those who may benefit from the research findings.
Dissemination of scientific knowledge and scientific research can be used to collect input from your audience to better engage with the public. So when is the best time to circulate these scientific results? The simple answer is: Any time. But in reality, you should conduct scientific dissemination campaigns as often as resources allow. The more exposure your organisation receives, the more your future research endeavours will prosper.
What are the best types of dissemination strategies?
The most effective dissemination strategies depend on the target audience, the nature of the research, and the intended outcomes.
A well-rounded scientific dissemination plan involves a combination of traditional and innovative approaches. Traditional methods include publishing research articles in peer-reviewed journals, presenting findings at conferences, and engaging with academic networks.
However, to reach a wider audience, researchers must also embrace modern tools such as social media, podcasts, videos, and interactive websites, and find creative ways to disseminate research findings.
A successful scientific dissemination plan tailors the message to suit each medium, making scientific information accessible and engaging to diverse audiences.
How to improve disseminate scientific research in 5 steps
Here are 5 components of a dissemination plan to effectively communicate scientific knowledge and research.
- Communication and dissemination plan: Create a comprehensive communication and dissemination plan outlining the objectives, target audience, key messages, and distribution channels. Identify the most effective platforms and mediums to reach your intended audience.
- Define the target audience: Is it a group of subject matter experts? Is it patients or consumers? Or do you want to communicate with policy makers? Each audience will understand your information in a different manner. It is important to adjust your message accordingly.
- Distribution channels: Different forms of content can be distributed to different platforms: online news outlets, social media, and private websites. It is essential to consider the audience needs when selecting the intervals at which to disperse the information and when selecting a platform to share the content.
- Collaborate: fostering two-way communication can help achieve greater engagement by encouraging a positive feedback loop with your audience. Collaborating with other scientific experts allows you to benefit from their experience and tailor your own communications accordingly. Collaboration can further aid greater understanding between groups, closing any gaps in misinformation, and enhancing the effectiveness of key messages.
- Address barriers to dissemination of research: Language, scientific jargon and concepts can be lost on the general public or even on a non-specialist audience. Make sure that you and your audience are speaking the ‘same language’. Analysing the most effective distribution channels also overcomes barriers of reach, technology and frequency.
Disseminating scientific study data and results effectively is not easy. It calls upon the professional skills of communicators who have the ability to accurately convey the core message from the original study or the technical source document. Overall the key component of a dissemination plan’s success is finding creative ways to disseminate research findings and targeting them effectively.