The Conversation is an online source of thought-provoking articles written by researchers and academics, across all disciplines, for the public in the UK and globally.
It provides a platform for researchers to raise the profile of their research and engage the wider world, with the freedom to discuss topical issues in a more nuanced way than is typically offered by traditional media outlets.
Oxford is a member of The Conversation and as such receives regular opportunities for researchers and academics across the University to contribute articles and to take part in hands-on training to enhance writing and engagement skills.
The articles are often picked up by other media (including the BBC, The Guardian, The Washington Post) resulting in even greater reach to audiences that can include academics, policymakers, funders and the public. To date, over 600 Oxford researchers and academics, at all levels, have published articles attracting 30 million readers from across the world.
How it works
- The Conversation sends daily emails seeking comment pieces on topical issues to key communication contacts within the University, who in turn identify researchers that may have the right expertise in which to respond
- If interested, the researcher is put in contact with the relevant Editor at The Conversation to discuss their potential contribution
- If commissioned, the researcher submits their copy and works with the Editor until a final draft is agreed upon; the researcher has the final approval before publication
- Editors at The Conversation may also contact researchers directly to contribute; and researchers can also pitch their own ideas for articles
- Potential authors are encouraged to set up a Profile on The Conversation website and users can sign up to become a Reader, which allows you to comment on articles and receive the daily newsletter of top stories
Why should I get involved?
Benefits for researchers and academics
- Raise the profile of your research and take part in public debate with a wide range of audiences
- Provides a communication platform with an established readership without the need to set up your own blog
- Share your views and research findings in your own words
- Open up new routes to interdisciplinary working, knowledge exchange and public engagement
- Receive expert assistance from The Conversation’s team of professional Editors who will work with you to produce your article
- Easy access to metrics in terms of readership and republications of your articles
- Opportunity to take part in hands-on training to enhance your writing and engagement skills
The University has teamed up with The Conversation to offer a range of training opportunities to researchers and academics. Each of the divisions will have a number of visits from relevant editors and there is something for everyone on offer; from introductory sessions, to short workshops, and one-to-one drop-in clinics.
Details available from Divisional newsletters etc or contact your Divisional contact provided above.
Benefits for communications/press officers
- Raises further awareness of the excellent research and innovation that you support
- Relatively low time-resource required, as the Editors from The Conversation support and work directly with the authors
- Broadens awareness of the media talent pool of academics and researchers externally (i.e. to other journalists who may follow up)
- Access to metrics including readership numbers and republications
- Provides new content for social media channels and websites
- Demonstrates that your department/ faculty/ research centre or group is focused on engaging with wider society
Benefits for and across the University
- Supports the objective within the University of Oxford Strategic Plan 2018-2023 towards widening engagement with the public
- Shines a spotlight on the excellent research and innovation that takes place at Oxford
- Demonstrates that Oxford is committed to facilitating greater engagement with the wider society and to promoting interdisciplinary communications
- Access to institutional analytics including detailed data on the content published by Oxford’s researchers
About The Conversation
- The Conversation UK is a not for profit company and UK-registered charity and part of a global network with outlets also in the US, Africa and Australia
- Content includes expert online commentary on a broad range of topics including politics, science, the arts, business, economics and education
- Launched in the UK in May 2013, with funding from universities and a range of bodies, there are now 80+ universities in membership
- Average 250 UK articles per month; monthly readership currently averages around 12 million