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Regular version of the site

How HSE Popularizes Science

World Science Day for Peace and Development is celebrated on November 10. The day aims to promote research achievements and foster further research development. HSE puts great effort into popularizing research carried out at the university.

‘If you don’t talk about research, someone else will’

World Science Day for Peace and Development has been celebrated since 1999, thanks to the idea that science and society should be in constant contact.

Today, interest in this topic is growing. But the quality of this communication has changed; it has become more reflexive, open, and modern.

HSE has always strived to share its researchers’ knowledge and news of their achievements. This is one of the principles declared in the HSE Statement of Values. This is nothing new for the global academic community, rather, it is common practice.

Today, research communication solves two related tasks. It increases research awareness among interested people and at the same time maintains a high level of trust in researchers and research among the broader population. This leads to a consensus, which in turn promotes productive solutions in public and social policies, as well as in technology and science.

If society doesn’t develop research communications, their place is taken by communications from other areas, such as religion, esotericism, mythology etc.

HSE has a lot to say

Universities are a mediator between research and society today. They create research communication centers, and talk to their researchers about the most recent practices in effective communication.

HSE has been extensively developing research communications over the last five years. HSE researchers speak about their studies in various forms ranging from public lectures to popular science TV shows.

In 2012, the Open University project was founded, which popularizes science and sets the standards for cultural events open to young people and other city residents. The core of the project involves public lectures by HSE professors at museums, parks, and cultural centers.

In April 2016, the expert website Open Economy went through an upgrade. It became IQ.HSE research and educational website, which will soon be redesigned.

The university press service has started actively adding press releases on published papers by HSE scholars to EurekAlert, the world’s biggest aggregator of research news. And this has already started to pay off: the most popular news on how learning foreign languages impacts brain activity received over 17,000 views on EurekAlert, was reposted over 20 times in the international media, was mentioned 744 times on Twitter, and got 407 points on Altmetric. HSE also cooperates with Russian and international media to promote research results.

But HSE communication professionals can only carry out this work thanks to support from the university’s researchers, who are willing to share the results of their studies. And the university is willing to help them do this in the most effective way.

Young researchers – first results

An extracurricular workshop that is part of the HSE Young Faculty Development Programme on ‘Promoting the results of academic research: university/media interaction’ took place recently at Voronovo. The University’s PR team and science journalists spoke to scholars about how academic communications work globally and at HSE, why researchers should popularize science, and how to avoid problems in communicating with media. The young researchers prepared press releases on their research papers.

The first outcomes are already visible on IQ.HSE, and in the Russian and international media. For example, the paper ‘What Mitigates the Consequences of Recession for Companies?’, based on research by scholars from the HSE campus in Perm, has been reposted by media worldwide.

The news item and the release about computers recognizing emotions in speech, about the study by the HSE Nizhny Novgorod campus team, led to publications in Rossiyskaya Gazeta, TASS, and even The Times.

The press service is willing to continue helping HSE scholars communicate the results of their research. It has prepared recommendations on media communication, which will hopefully help minimize the possibility of negative experiences when communicating with journalists.

Magic button

Just recently, a new service has been introduced as part of the Research at HSE website, which will help HSE scholars quickly inform the HSE communication services and the public about their studies.

Any researcher interested in promoting their academic results is free to submit information on a recent paper or on a paper pending publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Media are usually interested in papers published over the last three months.

If you have questions regarding how and why scholars popularize research, below are some opinions by HSE researchers:

Sergei Medvedev

Professor at the School of Political Science

‘I believe that any academic speculation in social sciences must be comprehensible to the ‘wider audience’ (whatever that means, let’s say, for someone with a university degree). Furthermore, it must be well-formed in terms of style and language, or, in other words, it must look good’.
Gasan Gusejnov

Professor at the School of Philology

‘A characteristic feature of the social sciences and humanities is that none of their fields, even the most mathematical with the best claims to “hard science”, cannot exist without journalists and the public. We can’t imagine Immanuel Kant or Jürgen Habermas without the “wider audience”.’
Oksana Zaporozhets

Associate Professor at the Analysis of Social Institutions Department

‘For me, the hedonistic and egoistic aspect of public outreach is also important. Some studies are particularly pleasant to be told about. This happens when you understand that you’ve found out something important and interesting. In this case, sharing your findings means multiplying your positive experience and really getting a sense of the importance of your work’.