How to disseminate your research SBA Research Support
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Communicating science is a fundamental part of every research project and an objective of the Civic Engagement.
It is not enough to disseminate data; it must also be done effectively, as the target audience is not just the expert community, but society as a whole.
Being published is not enough: in addition to publication, you must also think about dissemination to make research truly impactful.
Tips for authors
Before being published
Before even starting to write an article, you must have a clear idea of your goals by asking yourself a few questions:
- which publisher or journal should you choose?
- what approach leads to a better chance of publication?
Refer to your own scientific community
The first step is to identify in which journals your colleagues publish and identify which publications they cite most frequently.
A useful tool are the reference directories of each subject. In the case of subjects that follow bibliometric conventions, it is useful to scroll through the journal lists of the major databases to see which journals are the most widely read and where your work is most likely to be discovered:
Use bibliometric tools
When deciding to whom to submit your publication, remember that when your project or work is evaluated (either for career progression or to obtain research funding), certain criteria will be taken into account, such as the Impact Factor of the journal in which you have published and which Departments also use to define ADiR Assignments. To find out the Impact Factor (IF), please consult the Journal Citation Reports.
However, keep in mind that journals with the highest index are not necessarily the most read or cited by your peers, and there is increasing criticism of evaluation based only on criteria such as IF. Institutions and researchers adhering to the DORA Declaration on Research Assessment believe that evaluation based only on metrics such as IF should be overcome.
Choose peer reviewed journals
Before submitting an article to a journal, it is important to check that the article is peer reviewed before acceptance. Peer review is a seal of assurance and quality. The peer review process inevitably lengthens publication time; you should therefore be wary of publishers who promise publication too quickly.
Conform to the journal's layout
The manuscript must conform to the journal's layout. Therefore, before submitting an article, carefully read the instructions for authors and try to use the required templates, paying attention to the abstract and the use of meaningful keywords (later useful for dissemination).
Check the affiliation and use author identifiers (ORCID)
In order for an article to be searchable and identifiable in databases:
- always use the same form of first name and surname to avoid ambiguity
- check the affiliation data (institution name and address) for consistency between the name in the University registry and the name in the databases
- use author identifiers (ORCID, RESEARCH-ID).
Read the publishing contract carefully
Before signing a contract and transferring all rights to the publisher, remember that it is possible to use open licences or ask for modifications that allow you to:
- deposit the allowed version of the article in the University repository (ARCA)
- use the article for educational purposes
- include certain parts in subsequent works
- publish the article on a personal website
In particular, pay attention to be compliant to the requirements of the research projects from which you obtained funding: most require that publications and data be shared as quickly as possible in open access. For more information, see the Copyright and Licences page.
Choose Open Access
Publishing in open access journals (Gold Open Access) and depositing your work in an institutional repository (Green Open Access) allows you to
- account for funding received
- have greater visibility and impact through wide distribution and numerous citations of their research.
Self-archiving in a repository is free (for the author) and immediate (subject to embargos).
See the Open Access page for more details.
After being published
The keywords to bear in mind after be published are
- dissemination, i.e., the set of actions and strategies to disseminate information on publications, articles or new ideas in order to maximise their impact in the scientific community.
- communication, i.e., the set of information and promotion activities aimed at a more general target group (the public, the media) to increase the visibility of publications, articles or new ideas.
Use the institutional repository
Self-archiving one's work in the institutional repository (ARCA), on top of being required by the Regolamento di Ateneo per il deposito nell’Archivio istituzionale e l’accesso aperto alla letteratura scientifica [ITA] (University Regulations for depositing in the Institutional Repository and Open Access to scientific literature), increases the possibility of appearing in Google searches and thus increases visibility.
ARCA also provides a permalink (handle) for the unique identification of the digital object. It is important to include complete and correct metadata (not only the compulsory ones, but also keywords, abstracts, DOIs etc.) to increase the chance of being found.
For abstracts and keywords, it is preferable to use English for the research to have an international impact.
Promote your publication on social networks
It is useful to have a solid online reputation through social platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. They are a valuable tool not only to provide information on the latest publications, but also to keep up to date on topics pertaining to the scope of one's research field and to network with other researchers.
It is important to include in the post a link (preferably a permalink – DOI, handle) to the publications and use appropriate #hashtags to be “discovered” by those who have an interest in the same topic.
Monitore your publication through Altmetrics
It is possible to monitor publication dissemination through Altmetrics, a new metric proposed as an alternative (not in opposition) to traditional indexes, which measures online activity related to scientific articles, collecting data from Facebook, Twitter, Mendeley, SlideShare, visits to HTML pages, PDF downloads, and number of citations extracted from databases such as Scopus and CrossRef.
Another useful tool is Impactstory, which one can register on using Orcid, and which allows one to calculate the online impact of one's work by analysing alternative metrics.
Use innovating scholarly communication
It is important to stay up-to-date on new strategies for scholarly communication, for instance by keeping an eye on projects such as 101 Innovations in Scholarly Communication (devised by the University of Utrecht), which presents tools, ideas and strategies to make scholarly communication increasingly effective.
Public engagement: disseminating science
Communicating science is a multidisciplinary activity that is constantly evolving: you must know how to talk about science in an attractive way. To disseminate means to inform, to involve, to engage, to fascinate the public. This means public engagement, which requires competence, passion, productive skills, human and financial resources.
A researcher must also be a good storyteller. Storytelling must consider these aspects:
- What (the content): what do you want to communicate?
You must carefully select precise content to be communicated with sources and data.
- Who (the target audience): with whom do you want to communicate?
The narrative must be suitable for the audience you are addressing (general uninformed audience; general interested audience; specific informed audience; peers and experts).
- How: which tools to use?
Choosing media unsuitable for the target audience is a communication mistake. Attention must also be paid to the balance between communication and entertainment so as not to distort popularisation.
Focus: predatory publishers
When deciding which journal to submit a new publication to, you should be aware of a phenomenon known as predatory publishing.
A predatory publisher is defined as somebody who offers to publish, usually in open access, scientific articles for a fee without providing quality services, and especially without peer review.
Recognising and combating predatory journals must be an imperative for the scientific community to prevent not only damage to the credibility of authors and the institutions they belong to, but also social damage. Indeed, predatory publishing contributes to undermining trust in (open) science and spreading fake news.
Predatory publishers are often presented as the dark side of open access. The phenomenon of predatory publishing is rather related to the evaluation system of researchers based on quantitative indicators, which thus rewards quantity (of publications and citations) rather than quality of research.
The fact that most predatory publishers are Open Access is more a symptom than the cause.
A serious publisher (whether Open Access or traditional) follows a code of ethics generally inspired by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and adopts transparent and documented review procedures.
It is therefore important to be cautious when receiving publication proposals and alert to certain details, such as:
- mail bombing: predators implement aggressive e-mail strategies in which they invite authors to submit articles or join editorial boards
- titles and graphic layouts similar to those of famous journals, purposely chosen to create clone sites and confuse authors
- false or absent information: predators provide false IFs, incorrect addresses, false statements by the publishing board, misleading claims about the rigour of peer review, no mention of the use of licences (CC-BY)
- rapid acceptance of articles: usually an indication of no peer review and poor-quality control.
However, there are tools to help determine whether a publisher is trustworthy:
Compass to Publish: based on a test of 26 questions. The more the needle turns red, the more likely it is to be a predatory journal.
Verify the presence of a journal in the:
- Whitelists (directories of trusted sites):
DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals)
OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association)
- Blacklists (sites known or highly suspected to be unreliable):
Cabell's Journal Analytics (service for a fee)
In case of doubt, before submitting your articles, our advice is to consult with colleagues and experts in the field, contact the publisher and ask for guarantees, and ask the library research support department for advice.
Services and Tools for Research at Ca' Foscari - Moodle course
Servizi e strumenti per la ricerca a Ca’ Foscari [ITA] (Services and Tools for Research at Ca' Foscari) is a course available on the University's Moodle platform, aimed in particular at those who are approaching the world of research. In fact, it focuses on the process of disseminating the work of researchers, providing useful advice and guidance also for career progression.
The course takes its cue from the training meetings that the PhD Office organises periodically in collaboration with the University Digital Library as a moment of discussion and in-depth study on these topics.
In 2022, the course was held electronically on the Zoom platform. The modules contain recordings of the 5 meetings and slides of the speeches.
Research at Ca' Foscari
The University has always sought to enhance the results of research also through their effective communication to the academic and non-academic world and the organisation of numerous initiatives (publications, conferences, workshops, exhibitions, specific meetings).
See the Research outcomes page.
Last update: 13/03/2023