An audience of one million

UOW academics have built a global audience of more than one million people as part of a conversation that puts informed expertise in the public arena.

The readership milestone was reached as UOW’s pool of contributors to The Conversation grows, increasing from just a handful of authors in 2012 to 120 today.

The one million readers mark is indicative of how widely knowledge and expertise that is harboured at UOW is disseminated via the online platform. The milestone is also indicative of how responsive the public is to comment and analysis out of universities.

“The Conversation’s growing readership demonstrates the public has an appetite for evidence-based information. And it’s great to see universities such as UOW respond to this public appetite by participating with The Conversation, sharing their research strengths, and getting their knowledge out there,” Debbie Dickinson, External Relations Manager at The Conversation, said.

“Researchers are increasingly required to demonstrate how they are engaging with the public, and writing with The Conversation is one way that academics are doing this,” she added.

most read UOW stories (oct 2014 – mar 2015)  readers
Q&A: how the Sydney siege was reported by the public and news professionals, by journalism academic Julie Posetti 39,418
Milestones: what is the right age for kids to travel alone, surf the web, learn about war? by Marc de Rosnay, Head of Early Start 17,415
Intellectually gifted students often have learning difficulties, by education lecturer Catherine Wormald 15,557
Careful who you chat with: it could turn you into a criminal, by Professor of Law Luke McNamara 14,866
Want to keep cool on hot summer days? Here’s how, by Nigel Taylor, Associate Professor of Thermal Physiology 11,482

The Conversation has grown considerably since it was launched four years ago. Its audience has nearly doubled each year. Today, more than 2.3 million users visit the site each month.

To ensure its content is seen by the largest possible audience, and in an effort to support the free flow of information, The Conversation also uses a Creative Commons licence that allows any site or publication around the world to republish its articles. The site is also an indispensable media resource: providing free content, ideas and talent to follow up for press, web, radio or TV.

UOW authors have contributed a total of 281 articles to the site on everything from science and technology to culture and politics.

 more information
UOW became a supporting member of The Conversation in 2014
● Through Creative Commons republication, The Conversation has a reach of more than 20 million
● The site’s success has encouraged the group to expand: in 2013 a UK edition was launched; the site then launched a US edition in 2014; in May 2015, TC will launch in Africa with its home base in Johannesburg.

Associate Professor of history and politics Gregory Melleuish, who also regularly writes for The Australian, has published 11 articles with The Conversation since 2012, earning him a readership of 31,000.

“I write for the Conversation partly because I am occasionally asked to write for it and partly because I see it as a useful outlet for discussion of the issues of the day,” Professor Melleuish explained.

“One big advantage of The Conversation is that its articles are not hidden behind a pay wall and hence open to anyone who cares to read it. I also like the idea that I can get a sense of how many people have read my articles. Its success lies in the fact that it presents ideas to the public in an open access format.”

Associate Professor Katina Michael (@katinamichael) holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Information and Communication Technology and is often approached by the media for comment on the social implications of emerging technologies and began writing for The Conversation in 2012.

Connecting with the media isn’t just an opportunity to give some exposure to your work, it also creates an opportunity to simplify the communication of your scientific results to laymen’s terms for everyday consumption, Professor Michael said.

“As academics we don’t get that much time to informally reflect outside academic metrics, and it is good on occasion to get this outside stimulus.”

“It is all about building a profile with the public which can communicate results to a non-academic audience. If we conduct research only for academics to read, then we are missing an opportunity to increase the value of our work through reaching a broader audience than just “our own kind”.

Julie Posetti’s (@julieposetti) article about how the events of the Sydney siege were reported is just one example of how the sharing of content can significantly boost visibility: Q&A: how the Sydney siege was reported by the public and news professionals was republished by Mumbrella, SBS and Social media too helped to push Posetti’s Q&A out to the world: the article was tweeted and shared on Facebook more than 600 times from The Conversation alone.

In a world drowning in information, UOW academics are joining in cutting through the noise with credible voices.