Communicating health research (48) Q3. Role of researchers (5) How can researchers make their research more visible?

19 September, 2022

1. Meena Cherian (Switzerland): 'Researchers will have to expand their role beyond ‘academic goals’ by involving themselves in communicating their research to community level.'

2. David R. Walugembe (Canada): 'As strategic planners/project managers, researchers have a role to network and engage the identified stakeholders to bridge the identified gaps'

3. Khin Thet Wai (Myanmar): 'Researchers need to engage with regulatory authorities, policymakers and program implementers, academia, media personnel, and other influential stakeholders...'

There is growing consensus in our discussion that researchers should take a stronger and wider role in research communication.

Clearly, if a researcher's objective is to make their research more visible, then they will want to use whatever means at their disposal for this objective.

I invite discussion: How can researchers make their research more visible?

Here are some initial thoughts, some perhaps obvious, some already mentioned:

1. Align the research with policymakers' priorities

2. Engage with policymakers before, during and after the research

3. Publish the research in a high-impact journal

4. Provide a summary of the research in the appropriate format and language(s)

5. Prepare and implement a dissemination strategy

6. Present the research at conferences and press meetings, as appropriate...

Would you like to add or comment on the above?

A representative of the research team (usually the 'corresponding author') needs to be available at all times after publication for other academics and other stakeholders to contact for comment, questions and clarifications. From my experience, it is hit-and-miss (more often miss) whether a corresponding author responds in practice. Occasionally we have corresponding authors join the HIFA forum to engage in discussion on the implications of their research.

What about the role of other stakeholders, eg communication professionals, editors, media, public health professionals and critical thinkers?

With communication professionals, perhaps the research team itself includes a communication professional, or at least someone who has built skills and expertise in this area. In some research institutions, perhaps there is a dedicated communications and media department whose role is specifically to increase the visibility of research. Have you any experience of working as (or with) a media or communication professional? It would be great to hear from you:

We would also like to hear from you if you are an editor, a public health professional, or a 'critical thinker'.

Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator, HIFA Communicating health research

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health movement (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. HIFA brings stakeholders together to accelerate progress towards universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK based non-profit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Twitter: @hifa_org