Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the political divide that has torn apart much of the world, the term “woke” has become something of a household ideology. Some people see it as a derogatory comment applied to those who refuse to accept any research and scientific studies that don’t fall in line with their beliefs (as in, “They need to get woke”). Other people use it as a compliment to refer to anything that causes them to open their eyes to the reality of the state of the world (“That woke politician is finally telling the truth”).
“Woke science” is the newest application of this term. It stems from the idea that there is a high contribution of researchers in publishing, releasing over two million articles per year currently. But the low percentage of impactful work means that most of this work is pushed to the side, ignored, and barely significant outside of the immediate audience. This is difficult to accept considering how much of the world’s problems make up controversial research topics. Why, then, are so few scientists applying their intelligence to “woke science” subjects, and what does it mean for the evolving research landscape for those who are?
Defining “Woke Science”
The term “woke” began in the 1940s, applied to concepts that were meant to be a symbol of social issues, reform, and movement. Around 2014, it resurfaced in popularity as a term that applied to the Black Lives Matter movement and other political reform ideas. “Woke” gained significant traction with the COVID-19 pandemic as “mask” and “anti-mask” groups accused the other side of being “sheep” following the masses or engaging in false science. Each side believed the other needed to get “woke.”
The problem is that both sides had support for their reasoning because of the perpetuation of fake research and the fact that it’s extremely difficult anymore to know who to turn to and trust for your science. With the government at odds with the CDC, suddenly no one and everyone are experts.
With this division in everything from politics to research, “woke science” is more important than ever. But instead of being used as a divisive technique, this type of research must be carefully, cautiously applied as a means of proving to everyone that facts, not beliefs, paradigms, political policies, or business agendas, rule the world.
How This Shift is Causing the Research Landscape to Evolve
Science isn’t changing. That’s not what happens. Science is science and it’s based on facts and data. What is changing is the research landscape and how scholars are disseminating knowledge to the global audience in general.
Under “woke science,” the general public is the target focus, not specialists or those with an agenda who might skew the results before the public is made aware of them. With this in mind, scientists have adjusted their methods to include things like:
● Releasing their findings via blogs and vlogs with mainstream language instead of scientific terminology. The target audience are lay persons, so analogies instead of academic jargon are the intended content.
● Releasing their work in Open Access and other free publication sources. As long as the original journal that the paper was published in allows for pre-print, it can be uploaded to things like arXiv. Otherwise, sites like Research Gate let the author’s copy be published for low-income readers to access it.
● Changing their work from journal-focused to audience-focused by making it relatable to the average person. Instead of using scientific terminology, scholars must take the facts and then explain them in ways that the reader can see how they would be affected.
● Explaining how the impact of their findings can be applied in life to make a societal or global change and then offering ways to help make these happen through resources like charts, apps, and interactive dashboards.
● Engaging with the public audience. To be fully impactful, woke scientists must speak out and be active about their results. Social media makes this possible in ways never before available. Researchers are now actively engaging with stakeholders, policymakers, and groups through forums and in person to reach as wide an audience as possible.
Using Impactio to Promote Your Work
In woke science, knowing how to handle the general audience is crucial if you’re going to be in the spotlight and make an impact. Before you get there, though, you need a program that you can trust to put your research together in ways that both the journal editor and your target audience will understand. Impactio is an all-in-one platform that takes you from start to finish with your work, no matter who your ultimate reader is.
With Impactio, it’s simple to enter your content easily into premade templates, move your data from basic, unrelated numbers and turn it into charts, graphs, and tables, and finalize your work as a professional PDF document for journal submission or a web page for your blog readers. After your successful woke medium applications, your impact will soar, and it all begins with Impactio as your content creation program.