The usefulness of scientific knowledge is limited if that knowledge is not communicated to other people. Scientists often communicate their research results in three general ways. One is to publish their results in peer-reviewed journals that can be ready by other scientists. Two is to present their results at national and international conferences where other scientists can listen to presentations. Scientists also present their results to certain departments at universities. Third, scientists publish about their work in popular media, such as magazines, newspapers, and blogs.
Publish In Journals
The main ways that scientists communicate research results is by publishing the results in journals. Journals are archived and can be read by other people in the future. Some journals are peer-reviewed, meaning they only publish articles that pass a certain standard of quality -- peer-reviewed journals are usually for a specific audience, such as other scientists. Publications give scientists the most long-lasting and widespread audience. A recent movement in journal publishing is called open-access. Open-access journals no longer charge readers with subscription fees, meaning anyone with Internet access can read these journals.
Present At Conferences
The second most common way for scientists to communicate their research results is to present the results at conferences. Conferences can range from several dozen attendees to tens of thousands of attendees. Conferences are places where scientists not only share their latest research findings, but also network with other scientists for the purposes of collaboration, or teamwork. They are also places where scientists share about research enigmas and get advice from each other about how to solve those problems. Conferences bring together scientists of all ages, allowing the younger scientists to connect with older, more established scientists.
Present At Universities
Research conferences vary in how often then occur, which can be once every few years to every few months. However, every weekday is an opportunity for scientists to be invited to present their research to university departments. University departments usually have many weekly seminars, in which scientists from universities, research institutions and companies are invited to speak. Each department of a university specializes in a specific discipline, which provides a smaller and more well-informed audience on the topic that is presented by the speaker.
Scientists not only want to inform their colleagues about their latest results, but may also want to communicate new data to the public. Popular media outlets are read by more people than peer-reviewed journals, and provide a wider audience. Magazines, such as Scientific American, and National Geographic; newspapers, such as The New York Times; and television stations, such as CNN, provide much more exposure than a peer-reviewed journal. Scientists now also publish about their work on blog sites.
- PLOS One: Journal Information
- PLOS Medicine: Why Publish in PLOS Medicine?
- Gordon Research Conferences
- Univ. of California, Berkeley -- Dept. of Molecular & Cell Biology: Seminar Schedule
- Tufts University, Center for Cancer Systems Biology: Annual Interdisciplinary Workshops
- American Institute of Mathematics: Workshops
About the Author
David H. Nguyen holds a PhD and is a cancer biologist and science writer. His specialty is tumor biology. He also has a strong interest in the deep intersections between social injustice and cancer health disparities, which particularly affect ethnic minorities and enslaved peoples. He is author of the Kindle eBook "Tips of Surviving Graduate & Professional School."