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Why do we need one <…>?

Enter your job name in the brackets <…>.

Recently, my colleague told me that she was called by her new boss and asked to explain what she is doing in her job. I think it is good; it gives a credit to my friend’s new boss.

Why our scientist cannot do the job?

“Every researcher has – or needs to have – a bit of the writer in him/her, since the purpose of scientific research is the publication of results.” Robert A Day

I am often asked similar questions, like “What are you doing as a science writer?”, “Why do we need one?” or “Why our scientist cannot do the job?”

Here I will try to answer this questions. And I would appreciate any feedback from other science writers if they stumble upon my blog.

A technical concept for non-technical person

A science or technical concept as it looks for a non-technical person

A science writer mostly focuses on topics in sciences

Science writer’s main job is to report science news and create a reader-friendly interface between popular culture and science. The “reader-friendly” is the key concept, because the science articles should be oriented to the level of knowledge, needs, and interests of the audience.

Brain imagining

An example of a good science writing. Credit: Brain imagining, a neuroscience comic book attempts to create better communication on the brain, By Alexis Sobel Fitts

The scientific depth of the final document depends on the level of the audience and that is the most important for science writing. For example, the science news article posted on BBC News must be very clear and simple so that even inexperienced users can easily follow it. On the other hand, the article posted on the web site of the physics lab may be less simplified, because it assumes that the physicist already have knowledge in the field. But that also means that the science writer knows physics as well as communications and can tell the difference between these two. Honestly I do not know many physicists who can. Many of them always tend to fell to physics and forget about communications.

The problem here is that the scientists who do the research often has neither time, nor the desire to spend the time (which they do not have anyway) to promote their research. But promoting the research means more money for that research. And that’s where a science writer comes to help.

Science communication process

Science communication process

Many science writers have a primary education in physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, technology, computer science, etc. They are people who like science as well as language and that is what makes them unique.

Quite often science writers are engaged as information officers in creating press releases, grants, proposals, and other materials which are related to scientific work. Science writers also assist with the formal preparation of articles for science magazines, popular science journals and web sites, helping scientists to promote their work and to organize their material so that it can be communicated in a clear and accessible way.

References

ResearchBlogging.org
Robert A Day (1993). How to Write and Publish Scientific Papers Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz DOI: 10.1590/S0074-02761998000300029