How do you make sure your research does not end on a shelf?

Gepubliceerd op 10 november 2023 om 12:00

Science knows the saying: publish or perish. Make sure your research is published in scientific journals, otherwise it does not matter! There is certainly a grain of truth in that when it comes to academia, but we actually take it one step further. After all, your research does not end with publication. Now this knowledge has to be disseminated and used. Professor Stynke Castelein said in a recent interview (Dutch): "We can do all the research in the world, but if published research results are not incorporated in policy, treatment or care standards, then you are actually doing it all for nothing."

In short: you need to hit the streets with your knowledge!


Think before you start

It is important that you keep the end user in mind, so who will benefit from the knowledge you gain from your research? Get these people actively involved from the beginning, not just at the time of (or even after) publication of your article. One formal way to do this, for example, is to hold focus groups. This way you can gather input from the work force and include what end users, for example a particular group of patients or practitioners, need. This gives you a good idea of what is going on, and it has the added benefit of creating some immediate interest in your research.


Accessibility of information

Try to publish Open Access as much as possible, because then everyone can read your scientific article. It is also good to publish your results in (Dutch) trade journals, to make sure the knowledge reaches the people who need it. Go to conferences, give lectures (internal and external, and never say no) and actively ask the audience for their suggestions. Also ask multiple stakeholders, such as managers, practitioners and patients, what they need in order to be able to use your information.


Share your results on multiple platforms 

In addition to these "standard" ways, you can also extend the reach of your research in other creative ways. For example, create a podcast or short video of your results. Not everyone has time (and inclination) to read long scientific articles, but for a video/audio clip of a few minutes, most people have quite some time. You can also seek out the media by sending out a press release. Name not only the scientific, but also the societal impact of your research in such cases. And of course there are the social media. By tagging important stakeholders and all collaboration partners of your research on social media, you can quickly spread the knowledge gained from your research within a large network.


These were three tips to increase the impact of your research. Do you have any more or other tips? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!


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