Geography, Earth and environment at Brighton

The value of sharing your research

Dr James Cole’s research on Prehistoric cannibalism has scored one of the highest Altmetric scores of Social Science articles published in 2017 open access by the journal Scientific Reports part of the  Springer Nature publishing group.

Springer Nature report that his research paper was mentioned in 800+ tweets and almost 200 news articles and feature Dr Cole as the headline in their “Open Voices” campaign about Open Access publishing.

Dr Cole, Principle Lecturer in Archaeology, School of Environment and Technology, told the publishing house: “As an academic, I believe that Open Access is a vital tool in today’s world in making research more accessible to the wider public.

“We now live in an age where information is consumed at an incredible rate, as such academics must engage with this process to allow people to make informed choices. By this I mean that most, or all, academic research is conducted with a bigger question in mind that we are trying to address or understand. For example, for me, that question revolves around the behavioural complexities of our human ancestors (like Neanderthals) and of our own species in prehistory.

“Open Access is one of the primary tools that researchers can use to demonstrate that our work has relevance and interest to the wider public, and the answers and questions that we generate form and influence the mosaic sum of human knowledge.

“I wanted my work to reach as wide an audience as possible because I felt strongly that there were important points and implications to consider in how we weave the fabric of our societies together in the modern world. This was not my first Open Access paper, but I always try to publish Open Access wherever I can.”

Dr Cole recently won a global award for a University of Brighton researcher. The Ig Nobel prize, which celebrates unusual and imaginative research and runs parallel to the Nobel Prizes, was presented to Dr Cole at Harvard University in Massachusetts. The award generated more media interest throughout the UK and countries abroad including Nepal, Indonesia, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Ireland, Taiwan, Lebanon and Japan.

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Stephanie Thomson • October 23, 2018

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