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Communicating with each other

Research is a highly creative process, in which new ideas are always needed. Working in teams, and discussing research with others, help provide these ideas.

Scientists in discussion

Many of the most creative periods in science are characterised by scientists of diverse areas of expertise working together. For example, Crick, Franklin, Watson and Wilkins working out the structure of DNA in the 1950s.

The wide-ranging expertise of researchers at the Museum allows many questions to be explored. Email and the internet ensure that this debate involves research groups across the world.

Communicating with peers

When a research project has ended, its results must be communicated so others can build upon its conclusions. There are thousands of journals published monthly.

Sequence of images showing how scientists communicate with peers

Peer-reviewed journals are the backbone of science. The scientific articles published there have all been checked for reliability by other groups of scientists. These are often also published online.

Another important medium is the conference. Formal papers are published as 'proceedings', but it is also an opportunity for informal communication.

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Many research projects have come from a casual remark at a conference planting the seed of an idea in a member of the audience.

Communicating with the public

Finally, science must be communicated to the wider society, with which it is always connected. There are many facets to this communication.

Sequence of images showing scientists communicating with the public

Researchers work with other communicators to ensure accuracy. For example, scientists help create exhibitions, documentaries, answer journalists' enquiries and publish on the internet.

Scientists also communicate directly. Through initiatives such as the Darwin Centre, and events such as National Science Week researchers interact directly with the public.