Editorial Team

 Research communication attracts funders, increases opportunities for multi-institutional collaborations and multi-continent projects, and enhances scientific reputation. India lags behind other nations in actively promoting science. These are the findings of a white paper titled ‘Enriching the Indian Scientific Landscape with Research Communication’ by Impact Science, a Cactus Communications brand that specializes in science communication strategy and tactics. The comprehensive report emphasizes the importance of research communication and high-profile work in terms of publications and patents which allow the scientific community to reach out to a worldwide audience and raise awareness about Indian research. To continue this endeavor, the white paper highlights the need for sustained and increased funding from both private and public sectors.

Research has great potential in enhancing national pride, improving problem-solving capabilities, training the younger generation of scientists, and occasional commercialization. Abhishek Goel, CEO & Co-founder, CACTUS said, “Apart from the fact that it is a public good and that it is needed to inspire the next generation of scientists, the main reason for communicating science and scientific research is to obtain more funding for research. The west has been quite good at attracting philanthropic funding, whereas this remains extremely limited in India. In the west, entire departments or laboratories are funded by endowments and philanthropic money for a long time and we recommend the same for India, especially in the new age of private universities. Such funding would help attract the best of domestic and global minds, working to solve India’s and the world’s problems, from India.”

The white paper addresses the major gap between content portrayal for the academics, scientific communities, and non-scientific audience. It is crucial as limited people have the flair for understanding the language and technicalities of a research paper. Efforts should be invested in opening channels to use the science background and merge it with writing and communication skills that can be understood by the larger audience. Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Former Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, said, “One point which everyone agrees is that there is no point in doing science unless and until it is written up and communicated to your peers. Communication is at the heart of all our science.”

Over the years, academic institutions, governments, researchers, and those funding research projects have been concerned about the struggles faced by scientists and researchers’ way of engagement with the larger non-scientific audience. Conveying their research to this set of non-scientific audience needs to be simplified and requires an adequate skillset due to the complexity of the subject matter.

Adding to the perspective, Prof. V. Ramgopal Rao, Former Director, IIT Delhi said, “Being able to communicate your research to a wider audience is essential. There are times wherein researchers hesitate to explain their work due to technical constraints on the receiving end. Internationally, researchers have showcased perfect combinations of being excellent writers, authors, and effective communicators. The same needs to be inculcated in India. Institutes now have to identify and motivate good communicators among all their researchers and scientists. I believe merely publishing papers will not create an impact in the long run until we generate the knowledge and use that knowledge to create wealth later.”

The white paper further talks about how gradually the government and other research institutes are working toward propagating research and popularising the work through newspaper articles or even blogs and social media posts. Researchers prefer Twitter and LinkedIn over other social media platforms. Engagement on these platforms has led to successful collaborations, increased funding, and award nomination possibilities. Leading institutes and scientists are attempting to reach out to a larger audience by preparing videos on popular and current topics such as vaccines, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. They are creating material in regional languages and uploading them on the Internet which is helping them reach out to a much larger audience than before.

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