Explaining Research cover
Order your copy

In the olden days, scientists who sought publicity for their research were sometimes accused by their colleagues of being publicity-hungry self-promoters. Such worries reflect 20th-century thinking. Today, the great majority of your fellow researchers and your institution's administrators are savvy enough to understand how important it is to explain your work to the key audiences listed above. Most likely, the people who criticize your communication efforts will be either those whose research is not significant enough to warrant such communications, or those who are naive about the value of research communications. Such criticisms also tend to be merely vague grumblings, rather than substantive comments, and certainly not significant enough to compromise your scientific career. The benefits of explaining your research responsibly vastly outweigh any such sniping, and you should ignore it.

However, those "public scientists" such as Carl Sagan, who assumed the role of a popular educator about science, have suffered for their public role; and chapter 27 of Explaining Research explores the pros and cons of being a public scientist.

(Next: Will Explaining Your Research Detract from Your Professional Duties?)