Headquartered in Dublin and created by Sabine Louët, the SciencePOD
platform is a one-stop-solution for content creation.
What is SciencePOD?
SciencePOD embodies the content creation of the future. Through our platform, we connect organisations looking to tell the story of their innovation research with our global community of science writers, editors and multimedia producers. We completely change the way of sourcing talent capable of telling the stories of research achievements.
What does Science communication mean to you and why is it important?
Being able to communicate science clearly and effectively is in the DNA of our company. Each member of our community would typically be scientifically trained, often at PhD level, and have experience working for science publishers or media organisations. This means they have dual expertise in science, medicine or technology and at the same time are skilled in communicating complex ideas quickly.
Science communication contributes to building a more scientifically literate society. This matters enormously in a society where many policy decisions increasingly need to be based on scientific evidence, by people who are not experts in those fields.
By growing the level of science communication activities, we are also contributing to bringing a greater volume of evidence-based stories to online audiences. Also, by ensuring that the stories we produce are scientifically sound, we help counter misinformation, which could not be more critical, after the fake news pandemic, coinciding with the COVID-19 epidemic.
What were the challenges SciencePOD has faced and is still facing?
The issue is that science communication has not been done at a large enough scale to counter fake news and misinformation, so we have now developed a tool to summarise research papers at scale, using the AI summarisation engine we co-developed with Juan-Manuel Torres-Moreno at Avignon Université in France.
We hope to contribute to greater levels of evidence-based content being shared on the internet. The specificity of our approach is that it places the summaries of studies into their wider context to help non-experts understand the content.
We are also facing the challenge that most organisations have not changed the way they communicate online. If your organisation is sharing content that takes more than 5 minutes to consume, now is the time to rethink how you engage online with your target audiences.
You have integrated an AlphaGalileodistribution button in SciencePOD’s platform. Could you explain why and how it works?
Our relationship with AlphaGalileois very long-standing. I was actually one of AlphaGalileo’s first employees when it started and I have fond memories of the humble beginnings of what has today become a success.
What AlphaGalileo offers is a high target distribution solution, done in a very careful manner, using vetting of material before distribution. This has created a trust relationship between AlphaGalileo and its audiences of journalists around the world.
Essentially, we have created a button at the end of our content creation workflow to automatically export the text of a PR to the AlphaGalileo platform, ready to be distributed. This approach through integration between our platforms, we believe, will help save time for communication professionals who are looking to distribute their stories more widely.
What are SciencePOD’s development projects? Where do you see SciencePOD in 5 years?
By adopting a cloud-based approach allowing collaborative teams to come together, we have already established a hub for evidence-based content creation. In the next five years, we want to consolidate this hub, so that SciencePOD becomes the main go-to site for the online creation of quality digital content specifically designed to engage target audiences.
We are currently developing multiple partnerships to provide further targeted distribution options to different communities, such as members of the Researcher App community. Meanwhile, we are developing a new widget, which can be embedded in third-party websites, based on our AI summarisation technology. This idea is to create a news feed that we have called AI Newswire, which would display a stream of AI Summaries from the latest Open Access research, distributed in a targeted way to meet users’ preferences.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance and value for evidence-based information about complex medical and scientific concepts. People’s surge of interest in science presents challenges but also opportunities for professional communicators and researchers. Do you have any advice for them during this difficult time?
Clearly, the pandemic has seen some serious consequences for public health and local economies. However, there have been some positive developments amid the negative consequences, as people are now recognising the value of communicating via digital stories.
Publishers like us have witnessed the fact that no scientific or medical concept is too complicated when people really want to understand. The role of science communicators is key in conveying the latest research developments to non-experts. The challenges of translating complex information into clear, concise and compelling stories are the same as before for professional science communicators. However, what is different is the sheer volume of scientific publications coming out of research, particularly on topics like COVID-19 or climate change. This is where we see an opportunity for technology to help Science Communicators work more effectively. Thus, solutions like our AI Newswire could help.