The Conversation.

The purpose of The Conversation is to provide research perspectives on current topics and thus contribute to an in-depth discussion on complex issues in society. Stockholm University is a member of the foundation behind the digital magazine The Conversation since October 2019, which means that researchers at the university can get support from skilful editors on the process from pitching an idea to publishing the article. The editors will also be able to come to Stockholm University to hold workshops about how to write popular science articles.

The Conversation has a monthly audience of 18 million users, and reach of 42 million through Creative Commons.

Researchers are included in expert lists

The articles published on the site are freely accessible and may be republished under the creative commons license, that is, as long as the source is specified and the text is not changed. The magazine also offers researchers at member universities to include expert lists on various topics and feedback in the form of monthly reports with statistics on impact. In addition, data of the number of readers and republications are given to the researchers whose articles are published.

The Conversation started in Australia in 2011 and the magazine has since then been published in various editions, including France, UK, USA, Canada, Africa and Indonesia. The organization is run without profit and is owned by member universities and research funders.

Read more about The Conversation:
Pitch an article idea:
Read about how SU-researchers attended a workshop with The Conversation:

Some of the articles in The Conversation.

What is it like to be published in The Conversation? Researchers at Stockholm University who have participated with articles share their experiences.

Owen Gaffney, global sustainability analyst and science communicator at Stockholm Resilience Centre and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research:

Owen Gaffney. Photo: SRC
Owen Gaffney. Photo: SRC

“I wrote an article based on a research paper I had just published and I got a lot out of it. They have an amazing reach and the article clearly reached a lot of people: 31,800 readers and 85 comments.”
How was the process and the contact with the editors?
“The process was fantastic. The editor assigned to me was extremely professional and added a lot of value. It was not about proofreading – it was about structure and deep thought about who the audience is and what level to pitch to them. I really enjoyed it.”

Robert Blasiak, researcher, Stockholm Resilience Centre:

Robert Blasiak. Photo: SRC
Robert Blasiak. Photo: SRC

“I think I’ve published 3–4 articles with the Conversation. I really enjoy writing, and it’s fun to write for a more general audience – I think everything I’ve written for The Conversation originated from peer-reviewed research I published, and the process of rewriting that for a general audience was fun and helped clarify my thinking about why the research is societally relevant.”
How was the process and the contact with the editors?
“It’s been a couple years, but my memory is fairly positive. The editors want everything short and simple, and I sometimes felt their suggestions weakened the narrative. But it’s a collaborative process of back-and-forth editing, and I was always happy with the final product, and my memory is that the editors were receptive to my changes, also when I decided against some of their edits.”

Steven Lade, researcher, Stockholm Resilience Centre:

Steven Lade. Photo: SRC
Steven Lade. Photo: SRC

“I have attempted to have articles published in the Conversation twice. The first one, which did get published, happened when my co-author contacted an editor of the Conversation with whom she already had a professional relationship. The writing and publishing process went very smoothly and quickly from there. The article was a great way to get our message out and influence a broader audience. It can also help establish your profile in a specific area.”

Benjamin Jones, PhD Student, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences (DEEP):

“I first pitched to The Conversation after Hurricane Irma following discussions with colleagues that we should write about it from an environment perspective. An editor then came to our institute to discuss The Conversation more broadly and we continued to submit a number of articles based on our research after this.”

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones. Photo: DEEP

What did you get out of it?
“Since contributing to The Conversation, many of my research papers that were featured gained much more traction, being featured in multiple media outlets. One article was even translated into Indonesian and subsequently featured in the Indonesian edition of National Geographic. My articles have now reached 70,000 readers. It has also helped my writing style both scientifically and for popular science writing. ”

How was the process and contact with the editors?
“The overall experience has been excellent and the editors really encourage you to write in a more public friendly way, providing great comments and suggestions on how to transform your storyteller. I really like the way that you co-produce a story with your colleagues and the editor and I cannot recommend enough the overall value of contributions.”