Research has the power to make the world a better place – but only if it’s shared.
Researchers across the world have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by carrying out research to develop vaccines. The reason we know about them is because researchers have shared their findings with other researchers and wider society.
But, what if they hadn’t shared their research with other researchers, medical organisations, governments, or the public, throughout the research process?
It’s easy to think that this would never happen – but it does. The high profile nature of Covid-19, and the devastating consequences of it for societies and economies across the globe, has highlighted the importance of openly and promptly sharing research findings to make progress for the greater good, but it has to be an active process from the outset.
Evidencing the impact that your research that has had on “the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life beyond academia” is easier to demonstrate and track if you manage it from the beginning of your project.
Make a plan to share your research
Write a research dissemination plan at the start of your project.
Research has the power to make life better for people around the world, but if no one knows about it, opportunities for change may be lost or someone else may get there before you.
It doesn’t matter if you’re applying for funding or not, or if the funder does not require a mandatory plan as part of the application, there are a multitude of benefits to writing a research dissemination plan at the start of a project. It will help you to:
- plan how, what and when you will communicate your research.
- plan for funding for more expensive routes to sharing (for example a documentary or book publishing).
- think about your stakeholders across the board, and how much influence and interest they have, to make sure the outputs reach the desired audiences.
- retain the rights to your own work so you can share it when and how you want to.
- manage social media engagement.
- avoid, or be aware of, competing deadlines across projects and publishers.
- avoid the concentration of work at the end of a project.
- provide a framework for discussion with all researchers involved in the dissemination of project findings.
- consider expectations of collaborators and research associates involved in projects.
Revisit the dissemination plan throughout the research lifecycle
A dissemination plan is an invaluable resource that will support the research team to stay on track with sharing activities. Using the document throughout the project means that influential and interested stakeholders stay engaged, dissemination activities remain manageable because they are spread out over a period of time, and project team communications are simplified.
If you’re funded by a research council or charity organisation, it will also help you to meet your requirements to them to report on the outcomes, outputs and impact of the funded research, throughout the project and for up to five years after.
Writing a dissemination plan now will also will also help you with future research projects as you will know what works well and what you would do differently. This will not just save time but will also strengthen your future research funding applications.
Your professional academic profile
Your professional academic profile tells the story of your:
- scholarly interests and expertise
- research works and activities
- teaching activities
- future aims and ambitions
- engagement and impact.
Writing a research dissemination plan will help to develop your professional academic profile because it can be used to map your personal career path over the next few years and help you decide which new projects, requests and research directions will enhance your project or goals, and which will detract from them.
Get more information and support
Find out more about choosing where to share your research, including identifying stakeholders, different routes to publication, and tracking the success of your research dissemination.
Contact us by email for more information about how we can work with you to develop your dissemination plan, including reviewing your completed plan, and working with you throughout the lifecycle of you research to measure the success of your research dissemination activities.