Research communications include all communication within and between fields of study as well as popular science communication for a general audience. Research communications are an important manifestation of social influence, as they promote the use of research data in various sectors of society.
Research carried out with public funding needs to be increasingly visible, and the research results and data have to be openly accessible. Communicating about research must always be done responsibly to prevent any misunderstandings about the usability of scientific findings. (Responsible research.) Researchers are advised to read up on the Committee of Public Information’s science communication recommendations and the Responsible Research website’s writings on science communication.
Research communications cover the entire life cycle of a research project from planning to the publishing of the results. In this era of openness, research projects and researchers have more opportunities and channels for communicating about their research than ever before. Researchers would be wise to continuously update their communication skills in the rapidly-changing media landscape.
When planning the communications of a project, it’s best to take the entire life cycle of the project into consideration: planning, execution, publishing of the results, and further use of the research data. If the funder requires the compiling of a communications and interaction plan for a research project, it should be prepared either already during the application stage or at the start of the project. In some cases, it’s best to draw up a communications plan even if it isn’t a requirement. The communications plan should describe the content, target groups, channels, methods, responsibilities and schedules of the project’s overall communications.
The communications plan is generally compiled in accordance with the funder’s guidelines. Usually, a communications plan should answer the following questions: What kind of social impact does the project want to achieve? What are its goals regarding the communications? What are the primary target groups in the communications? In addition to ‘what’ questions, also answer ‘how’ questions, such as: What kinds of communications methods and tools are used? What kind of communications material is needed? How are the effects assessed and measured?
Occasionally, it’s also necessary to prepare a budget for printed products, photographs and videos, for example. Finally, a schedule for the plan is drawn up.
It’s a good idea to stay realistic in the communications plan so that it’s possible to also implement it. Uniarts Helsinki’s Communications Department offers advice and support for drawing up the communications plan. In the case of a crisis at Uniarts Helsinki, the joint policy for crisis communications is followed.
Uniarts Helsinki’s various communications channels (university website; the social media channels Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; media contacts; newsletters etc.) may be used for communicating on research projects. The communications experts at Uniarts Helsinki can help you customise your communication to suit the needs of your project. The topic and scope of the project determine what action should be taken in each situation. Research communications follow general news criteria.
Uniarts Helsinki tailors communication services and platforms for research projects depending on their size and profile. The project might have a page dedicated to it on the Uniarts Helsinki website or, if it is exceptionally large in scope, it may receive its own website on the sites platform.
If the project receives its own website from Uniarts Helsinki, its lifespan needs to be defined before setting it up. Please contact IT services about archiving the website of a completed project.
If needed, the project assigns persons-in-charge to manage the page or website, possibly update a blog and take care of social media visibility. The sharing of communications responsibilities ensures that the researchers get to communicate about their work in a way that feels natural to them.
When a researcher forms an employment relationship with Uniarts Helsinki, their contact information is automatically updated into the university’s communications channels, i.e. the Artsi intranet.
The researcher may improve their visibility by updating their personal page in Artsi with information about research and artistic activity and, for example, uploading their CV. The research may choose what information is displayed in each channel (Own page/personal information).
Affiliated researchers may also use the Artsi profile.
Researchers are regularly offered media training. In addition, the communications services offer hands on training to researchers in writing communications plans, the technical implementation of websites and the use of social media.