Promote your research in the Conversation – Call for writers

by | Mar 21, 2018

Promote your research in the Conversation – Call for writers
The University of Manchester is now a member of The Conversation – an independent website providing news analysis, comment and opinion on current affairs and subjects of interest – written entirely by academics.

Working with a team of professional journalists, these researchers bring their work and expertise to a wider non-­academic audience in short, timely, informative articles. Uniquely, The Conversation’s collaborative online editing platform is set up so that authors must approve pieces before publication. For their efforts, authors gain greater media exposure, a wider audience for their research, hone their communication skills and find new opportunities to connect and work with academic collaborators.

What is the Conversation?

The Conversation UK is a not­-for-­profit company and charitable trust funded by more than 75 member universities, RCUK, Hefce, The Royal Society and other funding bodies. Their team of around 20 journalists works with experts from member institutions like Manchester to unlock knowledge and help improve the quality of public debate.

Why should I get involved?

The platform spreads authors’ expertise to as broad an audience as possible, all content on The Conversation is published under a Creative Commons licence. This means articles are free to read and free for other organisations to republish – unchanged and with original credit. Creative Commons allows mainstream news outlets – including the Guardian, Independent, New Statesman, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, Quartz, Salon and many others – to republish articles, and so reach an audience far larger than those coming to the site alone. Indeed, more than 90% of articles are republished elsewhere, with a monthly readership of around 10m.

Contributing authors receive a public profile (ranked highly by Google), and a dashboard which compiles readership metrics for their articles. The dashboard records each article’s readership figures on site, where the article has been republished elsewhere, from where in the world those readers come, social media reach and running totals. We believe authors will find these useful in terms of gauging and demonstrating the reach and impact of their research for funders and for the REF.

Getting started

You don’t need to write a whole article – start with a pitch.

This is around 200 words summarising your story, why it’s important and why now. There are some examples and more information on writing a good article in this presentation. Once you’ve submitted your pitch, the editor for that topic will get back to you within a few days to either start the process or give feedback on why it’s not suitable.

If you want to talk through an idea or ask a question please contact a member of the University’s Media Relations Team.

Testimony from University of Manchester authors

The pitch is key but not too onerous. Once the pitch has been approved, the article is then submitted. An excellent editorial process – really useful and sensible comments. Turned the article round quickly. Our article on automation (published 16 Jan 2018) has already received more than 21,000 reads [in ten days], which is pretty good when compared with the reach of most academic articles.” – Debra Howcroft, Professor of Technology and Organisation, Alliance Manchester Business School

I only had my first experience with the Conversation this week, but I’m really glad to have had a piece pitched there and for it to come out. It’s really a very small amount of work compared to the vast amount of time research takes, and seems to be good at diffusing messages to a much wider audience than regular publication in a journal paper. I think in our area, more and more people will likely try to submit to it, and I hope to do so again in the future. The editor from The Conversation took quite a lot of care with the piece too and looked through it a number of times before publishing.” – Rory Horner, Lecturer in Globalisation and Political Economy of Development, School of Environment, Education and Development

It’s worth doing, considering the effort and the number of readings you get. They have a very good editorial process and are quite helpful.” – Antonio Savoia, Lecturer in Development Economics, School of Environment & Development

We just had an article published in the Conversation. Really enjoyed the process!” – Nicholas Good, PhD, Research Associate, Smart Urban Energy Systems

Here are the criteria for writing for The Conversation.

  • be an academic or researcher, particularly at one of our UK members. PhD students can and do write for the website
  • write on a topic within their field of expertise
  • answer a simple disclosure statement concerning funding and affiliations
  • provide a photo and some biographical background for your profile

Got that?

Here’s how to become an author.