Blogging research indispensable in this era

Dense academic journals not most convenient form for disseminating research



Disseminating your thoughts and most brilliant ideas in a blog, picture or video helps break down the tunnel-vision of your research.


Many researchers these days are averse to blogging their research for a few major concerns: not being paid to write a blog (as opposed to writing journal papers), blogs do not get citations so they do not feel it adds value to their research and they do not have time to do it.

Whatever the reason might be, it is time we changed this perspective toward communicating research via different mediums. 

“Academic journals are probably an antiquated method of sharing your research and is no longer the fastest way. As a scientist, it is your moral responsibility to communicate great ideas fast, and blogging or vlogging is a very fun way of doing that,” WSU alumnus Sayonsom Chanda said.

Chanda is also founder and CEO of Sync Energy AI and Plexfo, and an engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

He said vlogging his research on YouTube was one of the smallest steps he took that paved the way for some of the bigger success stories in his career. 

As a researcher (graduate or undergraduate), it is important to develop the communication skills needed to express the main ideas of your research to a general audience. If your research does not find a way to reach the general audience, they just get lost. 

There are many different fields that are looking for solutions to similar problems.

“I have found out in industry that there are algorithms in computer science that could foster solutions for many problems in different fields. It is rare that a power systems engineer is reading a computer science journal to pick up an algorithm,” Chanda said.

We are living in an era of interdisciplinary research. 

If you can bring your research ideas to the mass market and put it in the simplest possible terms, then other researchers can take it to create sparks of ideas that could possibly solve research in their field.

“Writing about my research outside of the academic setting presented me with internship opportunities and visibility in the Machine Learning community that turned out to be an irreplaceable asset in my career,” said Ramesh Sah, doctorate student in computer science.

Academic papers can be dense and not necessarily fun to read. I am trying to learn a complex topic, I prefer to look at videos or webinars or blogs on it instead of an academic paper. I think most of us can resonate with that thought. 

If you prefer your research to reach a wide variety of audience, it is important to write about it outside of your academic setting — it can be anything from blogging to vlogging to even doodling. 

“It doesn’t matter the tool you are using to communicate; the idea is to put it out there in the simplest terms,” Sah said. 

It is easy to get started – think about your target audience, how much of your research ideas you want to share without privacy issues and the best medium to do it. 

In this century, the one thing we do not lack is the influx of social communication tools.

“My suggestion would be to find where your flock is, where your people are thriving, the Darknet, be it YouTube, Google websites, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, the Darknet or even Facebook,” Chanda said. “The motive is to share where your base audience are the most active.”

There are many benefits to blogging your research, including improving your communications skills, gaining visibility in your research community and generating new ideas. And it looks great on your resume!

“People are searching for ideas on Google. So, if you’re the guy who has the idea, you’re likely to get discovered better,” Chanda said.

The job market is very crowded and competitive, and it is very hard to get noticed. But if your idea is strong enough – and you communicate it – your chances of being considered for a job is much stronger. 

It is a common perspective that most researchers are introverts and lack communication skills. What better way to learn than writing about your own research? 

“I think as a research university, WSU should promote more courses and seminars on better research outreach practices and research communication tools,” Sah said.  

I completely agree with Sah, and I also think professors should encourage students to do interdisciplinary presentations. 

Although it is very difficult to present your research to a different group of audience, it is the most efficient way to hone your presentation skills. 

Working on groundbreaking research in a lab every day for the rest of your degree is not worth it if you cannot express what you are working on to your 10-year-old niece. It is a complete story if they understand it or not. 

“We basically are standing at the precipice where we do not know how the future of research publication looks,” Chanda said. “But definitely one thing is clear: the internet is going to play a big role in it. And the more we leverage the internet, the better we can share ideas.”

With the whole landscape of research communication changing, I believe the sooner researchers get in on the modern game, the faster they can disseminate their groundbreaking ideas.