Johanna Garefelt, Department of Psychology.
Johanna Garefelt, Department of Psychology. Photo: Niklas Björling

Johanna Garefelt, a doctoral student in the Epidemiology Division of the Department of Psychology, published the article “We lose about 30 minutes of sleep each night of the working week, new study shows” in August 2020.

What were the benefits of being published?

“Above all, the dissemination of my research to the public in many different countries. The article also created a ripple effect, because other magazines and papers picked up the news and republished it as their own, citing my research. That’s a big advantage of the Creative Commons license. Publishers that found my research interesting contacted me for an interview, and that gives you the opportunity to develop your reasoning a little more.”

Do you have any tips about what to consider if you want to write for the magazine?

“Don’t spend time writing a ready-made popular science article before you get your pitch accepted, unless you want to publish it elsewhere anyway. Instead, work on coming up with a good angle, and then write the article together with your editor – you’ll be assigned one when they ask you to write the article. In my case, my editor was incredibly talented, fast and helpful. The content of both the pitch and the article should be angled so that it’s especially interesting to non-researchers. One tip is to reverse the way we normally write an article: Start with your conclusions and write about the concrete meaning of your research results, and devote a bit less space to research methodology and the background to the research.”

Sara Callahan, a researcher at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, published the article “The value of a banana: understanding absurd and ephemeral artwork” in October 2020.
“It was fun to write about something topical. In my case, they were looking for someone to write about a specific debate that was going on at the time, but for a wider audience. With academic articles, the process is often very slow. Here it was quick and readers soon responded to what I had written. The editor I worked with was good, too. I learned a lot about writing in a more popular science style.

Do you have any tips about what to consider?

“Stay away from academic jargon and overly complex arguments. Try to make the text engaging and fun to read even for someone who doesn’t have a background in your subject area. I wish I had spent a little more time on the comments and e-mails I received from readers; if I write for them again I’ll try to improve on that front.”

Gustaf Hugelius, Department of Physical Geography
Gustaf Hugelius, Department of Physical Geography. Photo: Niklas Björling

Gustaf Hugelius, researcher at the Department of Physical Geography, published the article “We mapped the world’s frozen peatlands – what we found was very worrying” in August 2020.
“It was an interesting process to work out the article together with the editor at The Conversation. They have professional communicators with a good eye for which aspects of the research are of interest to the general public and the media. I also made a considerable international impact. The news was picked up by both the BBC and The Guardian.

Any tips about what to consider if you want to write for the magazine?

“It’s important to think about which part of the research is of interest to the general public. It can often be the case that the aspects that are scientifically most interesting to us may not be the ones that generate the most public interest.”

Jens Christian Moesgaard, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies. Photo: Djamila Rachidi, Le Studium

Jens Christian Moesgaard, Professor of numismatics at the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, published the article “Swedish Viking hoard: how the discovery of single Norman coin expands our knowledge of French history” in March 2021. By mid-April, it had been read by 228,754 people, making it the most-read article to date in the paper by a researcher from Stockholm University.  
“I don’t think I’ve ever reached so many people before. It’s fantastic to see that my subject, numismatics, has attracted so much interest – and that the interest also applies to my partners from the Archaeologists/National Historical Museums, who found the coins that I wrote about. On a more personal level, I would mention that an old acquaintance from Wales, with whom I had lost contact, read the article and suddenly contacted me.”

As a researcher, what has publication in the magazine meant for you?

“It’s a very different way of writing than when you’re writing a scientific article. You really have to cut things down to get to the essentials. It’s an instructive exercise. Readers’ comments were very serious and relevant. I was able to elaborate on some of my points in my responses. One reader wrote that I had underestimated the violence of the Viking age. I agreed with him, but defended myself by saying that some points have to be glossed over when writing such a brief article, and he accepted that.”


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