Adding a plain language explanation for your work means more people can find it and understand it.
Everyone reading this, regardless of their expertise, is primarily going to have two questions: what’s it about, why is it important – and we think that’s an important layer of metadata to add to help more people find / digest more of the literature
Key message: the plain language description helps drive traffic – more people find the work because it often uses different language to that in the original work, making it discoverable by a broader range of search terms.
Also, those words that do overlap with the original text will now rank more highly because they are being used more often in relation to the work.
Plain language is easier for:
•people within your field to skim and scan more publications
•people in adjacent fields to understand the relevance of your work to what they are doing
•people outside academia to understand research and apply it in non-academic ways
•people using non-specialist terms to find otherwise “hidden” works
You can also use the De-jargoniser tool to help you improve and adapt your vocabulary for a variety of audiences. One fundamental suggestion when communicating with non-specialists is to avoid professional jargon that is excluding and prevents reader-listener comprehension. However, because researchers are trained to speak with highly specialized language, avoiding jargon is difficult . The De-Jargonizer highlights problematic jargon, allowing those communicating their research to consider changing these potentially problematic words with more familiar words (or adding explanations).
- First step is to add an alternative title
- perhaps shorter
- perhaps simpler
- Then: what is your work about?
- Why is it important
- Keep your language as simple as possible - could an 11 year old understand your summary?
- Picture a non-specialist audience
- Then add your personal story (perspective)
- What inspired you to work in this area?
If you have co-authors, it is at this point you can invite them to add their perspectives
You can also add other resources at this point, e.g., data, the STORRE record for this publication to provide open access to the article
For further help see https://blog.growkudos.com/2015/12/04/explain-your-work-the-kudos-way/