Infographic: How Science Is Reaching Out

Infographic - sciencepod

SciencePOD infographic created for Elsevier Chemistry. Credit Elsevier at https://www.elsevier.com/physical-sciences-and-engineering/chemistry/journals/new-chemistry-research

Quality infographics make an impact with wider audiences

Alice Rolandini Jensen, SciencePOD writer

Science that makes an impact reaches many people – in the scientific community and beyond. Getting complex concepts and results out there in a way that captivates and inspires is challenging. And with competing discoveries just a click or a swipe away, what can scientists (and science publishers) do to increase the reach of their work?

One effective way is with infographics. Infographics can do something text alone cannot – quickly catch the attention of thousands of eyes! With images and just a few words, infographics can show the overall results or key message of a scientific paper. But they need to be eye-catching and intriguing, to entice people on Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, for example, to click and find out more.

As a science writer and creator of infographics, my task is to condense a scientific paper –  that may have taken years of work by many people – into a picture. Having a background in science (in this case, chemistry) not only helps me understand scientific research papers, but it also helps me ask the right questions of researchers and scientists. When researchers confirm the most important aspects of their work, this helps me decide on an image, or series of images, to best convey their findings. I take a minimalist approach to text and rely as much as possible on an image to catch the eye and guide the onlooker.

Take, for example, the infographic on an environmental odour control map that I worked on for SciencePOD. The main point to get across was the idea that an ‘electronic nose’, works much like our own. This is something people can relate to and understand. Therefore, I chose to include a human head but with circuitry in its nose. This leads the ‘brain’ to create a map of odours in different geographic areas. The text in the infographic is then used to add further detail and basic explanation of the core image.

Moving from concept to actual design can be challenging. To get my ideas across to the designer, I often draw a quick sketch and include sample images. What follows is a productive iterative process through which the SciencePOD designer brings my infographic concept to life! We are a team of experts working towards the same goal. It is also important to ensure that the scientists behind the research are happy with the results. A researcher will often make very useful suggestions on the wording of the text for an infographic, for example.

Throughout the process, I always keep the target audience in mind. Often this means making sure that the image and text work well together and do not become overly technical so as to attract a wider audience and maximise the impact of the infographic. Creating infographics like this one, allows researchers and publishers to reach more people and to do so through more media channels. It’s an important way to get work noticed and understood in this fast-paced technological era.

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Trust in Medical Information: Quality content in the MedTech Industry

Podcast Stephen Levin: how to create trust in the medical device industry with quality stories

“At the end of the day, the only thing we have is our credibility,” says Stephen Levin, who is co-Editor-in-Chief of MedTech Strategist together with David Cassak. The magazine’s main focus is on delivering in-depth analysis of trends in the MedTech (Medical Technologies) industry, which encompasses medical devices.

During his last visit to Dublin on the occasion of the MedTech Strategist Innovation Summit Dublin 2019, Levin sat for an interview with Sabine Louët, SciencePOD Founder. In this podcast interview, Levin shares his views on the importance of producing quality content to effectively communicate with their target audience. Quality content is the bedrock of the magazine’s credibility and serves to build trust among its readers.

Credibility & trust in the MedTech Industry

The magazine focuses primarily on long-form articles that tell the story of how companies in the sector handle the challenges of doing business in that space. To do so, their writers provide a critical perspective on the clinical, regulatory and financing issues that the companies in the industry face. In this podcast, Levin asserts that it is by building credibility and providing content based on ‘actionable information’ that they have established trust with their readership. “What we try to do is take a 30,000-foot perspective on issues that are important to the industry,” he says. In other words, their expertise is what matters when creating quality magazine content.

Medtech (medical technologies) is a thriving industry based on innovative, life-saving and life-enhancing devices used for medical purposes. In Europe alone, the MedTech market is estimated at €115 billion and the industry employs 675,000 people, many of these through SMEs.

But along with this story of success, are the challenges regarding regulatory oversight and safety concerns over medical devices. Safety concerns over medical devices made headlines in 2018 when the scandal of the so-called Implant Files came to the fore. The concerns of many people living with such devices became front-page news, as failures in medical device regulatory oversight became obvious. Such episodes show that in-depth, magazine-style coverage is best suited to capture the complexity of the industry in a time of crisis and can still retain the attention of the industries decision makers and influencers.

Quality content formats are important in medical writing

Content format also plays an important role in providing effective coverage that satisfies readers’ curiosity.

There is something fascinating about this kind of specialist magazine format of long-form (5,000-10,000 words) articles: hard copy continues to draw a loyal audience even in the digital era. Readers see the value from a long-term perspective. As Levin explains, their readers value the fact that articles have a shelf-life; they can return to an article at a later stage for information that can be used for decision-making.

But the magazine does not limit itself to this. They have also embraced a multi-pronged content strategy suitable for digital and social media outreach. As Levin explains, “we recognise that people receive information in different ways. Who are we to tell them how they receive information?”