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Promoting research through blogs

Why do we blog?

Scientific blogs are an effective way to communicate important or interesting findings, express opinions on the latest news, and draw attention to important questions in different research fields. Blogs have several benefits for authors; they facilitate further discussion and help foster community, while increasing the reach of interesting, exciting research to other disciplines and a general audience. 

Many papers benefit from the increased visibility that comes with a blog and the input of Editors-in-Chief and Editorial Board Members is key in helping to identify suitable articles.  There are a number of benefits to scientific blogging, including:

  • Raising awareness of the journal, leading to an increase in both accesses to papers and submissions to the journal 
  • Showcasing and promoting our Authors’ and Editors’ work within their community
  • Offering a place for community to discuss research, and authors to promote their results
  • Promoting engagement with a journal’s target audience, while also attracting a broader public interest

The BMC Blog Network was launched in 2007. Posts are published across eight different blogs, with between 80,000 and 100,000 visitors every month. In 2019, there were over 1.7 million pageviews in total. 

What our Editors say

"Since my retirement, writing for the BMC community blog, BugBitten, has given me an incentive to keep up with the fascinating field of parasites and vector biology and enabled me to continue to share exciting new findings and ideas. As coordinating editor, I have enjoyed working with a small team of enthusiastic editors, guest bloggers and the BMC staff, who are always at hand to sort out technical problems. I am particularly pleased by the diverse range of topics we cover are often surprising and always interesting."

Hilary Hurd PhD, Emeritus Professor of Parasitology, Keele University, UK

"Far too many scientists are more focused on their next paper rather than discussing their research findings with others or fully appreciating what impact their results might have. Research is best not done in isolation but rather should encompass the widest audience possible; this in turn creatively contributes to the whole process. The journal of Canine Medicine and Genetics has actively encouraged this philosophy from the start with compulsory lay summaries and an active use of social media, press releases and blog posts. The feedback we receive from our authors is that they value any subsequent discussion and comments about their work."

Prof. Bill Ollier, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

What makes an article a good fit for a blog post?

As an Editor, you can recommend articles, as they are nearing acceptance or after final decision, to receive additional coverage through a blog post. Any article type can be considered; including a review article and original research.

Below are some key factors  to bear in mind when considering if the article you are handling may be suitable for a blog:

  • Do you think the topic could be of interest to people outside of the research area? 
  • Is the article particularly interesting or important for the research area?
  • Does the article cover a novel or unusual research topic or does it have  an interesting methodology?
  • Does the article contain visual elements, such as an engaging figure or diagram?
  • Does it fit in with a major ongoing initiative such as the Sustainable development goals? 

This list is not exhaustive, therefore if you have any questions about articles you think are suitable please reach out to your journal contact.

Encouraging authors of accepted articles to write a blog post

Editors are often best placed to invite authors to contribute to a blog.  Your journal contact can support you with commissioning by providing invitation templates, coordinating invites, overseeing proofing, and uploading to the blog site. 

Where possible, we encourage you to highlight articles of interest to your journal contact after the first round of revision. Flagging articles at this point allows sufficient time for the commissioning and writing of a blog. You may get in touch with your journal contact directly, or use the ‘Promotion’ flag in Editorial Manager to bring the article to their attention.

Guidance for authors of blog posts is available here.

Beyond engaging experts: Communicating science through blogs

While we expect blog authors to be experts on the topic they’re writing about, it isn’t always the case that readers have the same expertise. The BMC Blog network is accessible to anyone interested in learning about the research carried out by our authors, therefore the audience is broad, with most coming from online searches regarding a particular topic. To ensure the story of the research is communicated in a way that is both informative and engaging, we suggest that our blog authors: 

  • Give an overview of the topic
  • Avoid jargon 
  • Share their personal research experience
  • Add links to further research and articles
  • Include images and graphs that help visualize the concept

Further guidance, tips, and training are available here to help authors and editors create brilliant blog posts that attract a large audience.

Exceptional blogs

Blog posts  are a great way to drive additional traffic and attention to research articles. Some posts tend to be particularly popular with readers, due to the interesting content they highlight or the engaging nature in which the blog is written. This blog post features an article published in BMC Public Health about intermittent fasting and glucose metabolism. The blog attracted a high number of readers as the  topic of weight loss is often of interest to the general public. 

Similarly, this post summarising strategies to counter vaccine misinformation on social media was popular as it captured a highly debated issue.

Blog posts can also provide helpful overviews of research, for example this blog looks into the nutrition studies recently registered at the ISRCTN registry. The post attracted a high readership as it was a timely piece, connected with World Food Day and the awareness campaigns supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at the United Nations around the #zerohunger topic.