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Communicating science in an age of on-screen reading: taking a page from journalism
  1. Ashley Holub1
  1. Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester Medical Center, Saunders Research Building, Rochester, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Ashley Holub, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester Medical Center, Saunders Research Building, Rochester, NY 14642, USA; ashley_holub{at}urmc.rochester.edu

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OVERVIEW

With the increasing move to publish manuscripts online, the science community needs to consider what effect this will have on their ability to communicate findings effectively to not only the science community but to the public as well. Online manuscripts are not a new concept. The increasing trend towards online use will be seamless for many. Yet, with information readily available at our fingertips, the ability to receive and appropriately perceive information may not be nearly as natural. To improve engagement, scientists need to find ways to convey across a variety of audiences effectively, actively inviting and engaging members of the public. Many scientists are trained to write for academic outlets, skilled in drafting journal manuscripts and conversing with scientific colleagues, while the benefits of alternative outlets remain underused and understudied. The need for better scientific communication is no secret. Last year, the National Institutes for Health released ‘A Checklist for Communicating Science and Health Research to the Public’, highlighting ways to improve scientific communication.1 As scientists continue to write for academic journals, in either print or online forms, they should look to journalism for direction in navigating new communication frontiers, namely those that involve a screen to expand their public reach, while continuing to engage the scientific community through traditional means. Like science, journalism serves as a source of information and knowledge for the public. Given the role the field of Public Health plays in ensuring the well-being of entire global populations, the ability to effectively convey information to both scientists and the public is especially important. Journalism continues to be effective in capturing public interest, allowing for a more expansive spread of information through its ability to adapt to and incorporate mixed mediums.2

THE IMPACT OF ONLINE HEALTH COMMUNICATION, MISCOMMUNICATIONS

It is estimated that 72% of internet users in the USA have used …

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Footnotes

  • Twitter Ashley Holub @ashtroid22.

  • Contributors I am the sole author.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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