The past four months have been incredibly busy. The website is now online and is rapidly being populated with content. There is a research brief or media release for every CLEX paper as they are published – assuming they have been added to Clever.
It has not only been hectic in the Centre but also out in the media. It’s hard to judge exactly how the Fairfax takeover by Channel 9 will affect our ability to put get into mainstream media, but we will be watching it closely.
There have also been some significant changes to Facebook algorithms that are having a pronounced impact on the amount of website traffic coming from this source.
Blogs with CLEX
The new website has the capacity for any researcher to kick off a blog. I have seen a number of articles on CLEX student and researcher blogs that are engaging or technically very useful. We would love to share these on the CLEX website as well and we will always link back to the original blog. Steefan Contractor’s recent blog is a perfect example of this.
So, if you write anything that you think would interest your colleagues, please let me know, so we can also share it on our website and social media feeds.
New structure for plain language summaries for research papers
One of issues with research briefs has been that the 100-word plain English summary is seldom of sufficient length to explain a paper clearly. With this in mind, I putting forward a new structure for the plain English summaries with no specific word count.
The structure is as follows:
Introduction: Explain the reason for the research using the “And But Therefore” format used by Nature. This is a narrative approach developed by marine biologist/screenwriter Randy Olsen in his book Houston We Have a Narrative.
It takes the format: We know this AND this, BUT here is the problem. THEREFORE we have done the following.
Body and conclusion: Following this we go into a plain English summary of the method/approach and then conclude with what we found and what this means for the community (scientific or otherwise) or what the next steps may be as a result of this research.
You do not have to restrict this to a word count. It needs to be as long or short as is required to understand the research.
When a research brief is published on the website, we schedule three tweets, so that they land on Twitter across multiple time zones. This has been very effective and we are often seeing research briefs retweeted for weeks afterwards as a result.
Social media changes
Social media has seen some dramatic changes, particularly in Facebook. The change to Facebook’s algorithm over the past few months has had a noticeable affect on traffic to websites. We have even seen this at CLEX.
This time last year, Facebook was driving the vast majority of website traffic. Today, Twitter is leading the way on social media for sharing research. Because Facebook used to drive the majority of traffic commercial websites and social media managers are seeing traffic drop off by thousands of hits.
As you can imagine, there are multiple social media managers exploring new methods of re-engaging with Facebook and trying to understand how they can again use the Facebook algorithms successfully.
Being that CLEX is a new website, we are still in the growth stage, so our numbers are still climbing, although it is fascinating to see that Twitter is driving over half the traffic to our articles.