Dieter Lukas

     Causes and consequences of sociality

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Blog: press interactions
Blog: how to find data
Blog: resources

3) Where did our findings end up and who might they have reached?

Journalists I interact with always tell me where their stories end up and they usually send a link.

But there is so much more out there, so how to find it?

  Article Level Reporting of the Journal or from the service Altmetric

Most science journals now include information on the reach of each publication. These vary in the level of detail. Some directly cooperate with Altmetric, a service that aggregates news and social media attention for scientific publications:


Altmetric is one way to get a first overview of where my findings have been distributed. However, since it needs the reports and social media to include a URL to the original publication, Altmetric misses quite a lot. Especially on social media people mainly link to news stories rather than the original papers (let's be honest, I get most of my science news from these digests rather than from reading the actual papers).

  Google News

This is a great service to find articles that report my findings:


It is also helpful to check the additional language/country versions for further reports (e.g.,


As mentioned above, most social media links will go to news articles. To see their reach, there is a service called SharedCount, which will display the social media reach for any website.

For example, the actual press release did get attention on Facebook:


The biggest reach on Facebook seems to be I F*!*ing Love Science (not surprisingly I guess, but I didn't know that they now write their own material):


And, as mentioned above, the NY Times article by Carl Zimmer was linked in more than twice as many tweets as the actual paper:


Diversity of science reporting

The internet has led to an expansion of where science is being covered, and different channels might be more likely to reach different audiences:

- I am more likely to hear from a colleague that "oooooh, person xyz covered your research" than "oh, your research made it into the national newspaper".
Younger scientists seem to focus on specific reporters rather than specific outlets, following them on Twitter (here's a list to start) or their blogs (a connected community) to discover science news.

- Older scientists seem to discover news in more established outlets, such as New Scientist or the science section of national newspapers.

- My family found reports in general online news stations.

Impact for the publication

All this media reporting meant that the actual paper itself (or, at least its abstract) was accessed (and maybe read) by a large number of people:


All of this might mean that to reach a wide audience, getting my results into the news might be more important than getting them into a particular journal.

This was first jokingly suggested to me by Virginia Morell as "getting results into
Science Now news might be more important than getting them into Science Magazine" (she writes for the Science Now news section), and I think there is something to it. It did make a difference though that the journal I published in has a very supportive and effective press office.

Main message
Explore the news universe to find out where scientific results are covered.

Continue to part 4 to find out what made it into the news and how to deal with it.

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