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Communicating research through blogs

Why do we blog?

Scientific blogs are a great place 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. 

We welcome authors who would like to give an overview of their research, or provide a non-specialist account of their study. Authors may also be invited by the journal’s Editor or the Editor-in-Chief to write a post.

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 makes an article a good fit for a blog post?

Below are some key points to consider when preparing to write  a blog post about your own research:

  • Would the article be of interest to people outside of the research area? 
  • Does the article have an interesting angle? Is it about 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 that you could tie the blog into, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, awareness days, or global campaigns? 

This list is not exhaustive, but if you have any questions about articles you think are suitable or would like some examples of the above, please do reach out to your journal contact at Springer Nature and they will be happy to help you. 

Further information for external editors 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. 

As experts, the technical language used to describe your research is familiar and second nature to you. This may not be the case for readers  who are not in your direct field. Therefore, being mindful of ‘jargon’ or overly technical terminology to describe phenomena and processes help engage readers and effectively communicate the story of your research to them. 

This is not to say blogs should be written in an overly simplistic style, but you should consider replacing some technical language with more familiar terminology when possible. There are some tools available to help you with this, such as this text editor, where you can describe something technical using only the 1000 of the most common words in the English language. The US Space Team were asked to do so when describing how a rocket functions; the results are comical but fascinating as they demonstrate how highly technical content can still be explained through accessible words.

Top tips for engaging readers

As the readership varies largely, blogs should be written at a level that anon-expert can digest. Some tips for ensuring you accomplish this include: 

  • Remember your audience
    • Imagine you are telling your research story to someone familiar with what you do, but who doesn’t necessarily have the same level of training or expertise 
  • Avoid jargon
    • Replace it with more colloquial vocabulary where possible
  • Use metaphors to help visualize or contextualize complex concepts
  • Share your personal research experience
    • Consider what made you interested in studying a specific phenomenon, did you have to try a lot of different methods before you found one that worked, did any of the results surprise you? 
    • Science is exciting and can be an emotional rollercoaster for researchers, share this side of the scientific experience that people don’t often see.
  • Don’t get mired in the details
    • The readers will be directed to your publication and can read all about the details of your research there
    • The blog should not be a recap of the journal article, rather an opportunity to highlight the importance of your key findings and their significance.
  • Use hyperlinks to reliable sources to provide readers with more information
  • Reference your research
    • While we want to highlight the research that you published in our BMC journal, we acknowledge that you likely have many other publications that might be relevant to the article you’re writing about
    • Feel free to include references and links to prior publications and other relevant publications that provide more context for the reader
  • Choose a format for your blog that best suits the research story you are looking to tell
    • Would a Question & Answer format be more suitable for telling your story? 
    • Work with your journal contact to find the best format for communicating your story effectively
  • Include images and videos
    • These can help visualize concepts, making your blog more accessible

Additional guidance is available here.

What our Authors say

"The first publications are important and exiting steps in the career of a young scientist. Combining these publications with self-written blog entries allowed me to showcase my work to a much larger audience with a diverse background. I also enjoy writing blogs to try out different ways to tell my stories."

Julian K.A. Langowski PhD, Postdoctoral researcher, Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands

"Blogs are a great tool to communicate scientific research findings to a much broader audience than would be possible on the basis of articles in scientific journals only. It was a tough but great experience to distill only the most relevant information in the most straightforward kind of way and I think it actually helped to clear up my own trains of thoughts concerning my research."

Madeleine Geiger PhD, Postdoctoral researcher, University of Zurich, Switzerland

"As a researcher, I often ask myself whether writing papers and getting them published in scientific journals is enough to disseminate the results of my investigations. In fact, this is a rhetorical question. You never reach a truly large audience through academic publications, that are only accessible to selected university libraries or people working for research institutions. The On Biology BMC blog is a proof that there are complementary ways to convey rigorous and appealing scientific results for both academic colleagues and the general public. The high number of blog followers demonstrates that many people are eager to follow scientific news just to gain knowledge and keep themselves informed."

Juan J. Negro, Professor of Research at CSIC, Spain

Get in touch

If your article has just been published and you are interested in writing a blog post, please do reach out to your journal contact.
 

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