types of editing

Tips to publicise your research

Here are a few ideas about how to get your research noticed more, and some timesaving suggestions to help make that happen. First let’s think about a plain language summary of what you do and why it’s important.

How does a lay summary help to showcase your writing?

If you consider the impact of your research and explain its purpose and achievements in those terms this can help to showcase it among the other 2.5 million articles produced each year. Universities and their public relations teams have ways of rolling out such information. They could also be used for press releases or blogs. Some journals are introducing these as well to attract interest.

A summary should be around a paragraph long, while written in a different style from an abstract, basically it answers the same questions of who/what/when/where/how and, most importantly, why. Do stress the importance of your research findings and perhaps the implications. Don’t bury this by mentioning methodological constraints, though of course the context is as important as the content. Try breaking long sentences into shorter ones where you can. Keep using essential technical terms. 

Here is an example from the world of liver science (okay, maybe it won’t be exciting for everyone).

Elsevier has also produced a guide to becoming recognised inside and outside your field. Some of these ideas might be worth the time invested in making them a reality. Do I hear you thinking you are too time poor for this?

How can you save time?

One way is using a project management approach to break down the process of research and writing. For example, before you write you need to read, figure out your research method, collect data, analyse results, and create tables and graphs. This is all part of writing and you can manage these smaller chunks bit by bit. Templates for planning and executing these activities also save you time. Here is a comparison of free and easy to use project management software (admittedly from one of the software producers, the one making the first on the list).

It might take longer to successfully complete these tasks and don’t beat yourself up if you feel you are falling behind your self-created schedule. There is more than one approach to scheduling. You can either set due dates for each task on a calendar (which might hinder motivation if for some reason they are not met) OR you can set up a collection of tasks to be done within a particular timeframe and choose from them regularly.

What has often motivated me is to see how much has been done by midweek, even if more unforeseen tasks keep being added to the bottom of the list. It is important to stick to your priorities. You owe it to yourself.