Perspectives of scientists on disseminating research findings to non-research audiences

J Clin Transl Sci. 2020 Dec 7;5(1):e61. doi: 10.1017/cts.2020.563.


Background: Little is known about practices used to disseminate findings to non-research, practitioner audiences. This study describes the perspectives, experience and activities of dissemination & implementation (D&I) scientists around disseminating their research findings.

Methods: The study explored D&I scientists' experiences and recommendations for assessment of dissemination activities to non-research audiences. Existing list serves were used to recruit scientists. Respondents were asked three open-ended questions on an Internet survey about dissemination activities, recommendations for changing evaluation systems and suggestions to improve their own dissemination of their work.

Results: Surveys were completed by 159 scientists reporting some training, funding and/or publication history in D&I. Three themes emerged across each of the three open-ended questions. Question 1 on evaluation generated the themes of: 1a) promotional review; 1b) funding requirements and 1c) lack of acknowledgement of dissemination activities. Question 2 on recommended changes generated the themes of: 2a) dissemination as a requirement of the academic promotion process; 2b) requirement of dissemination plan and 2c) dissemination metrics. Question 3 on personal changes to improve dissemination generated the themes of: 3a) allocation of resources for dissemination activities; 3b) emerging dissemination channels and 3c) identify and address issues of priority for stakeholders.

Conclusions: Our findings revealed different types of issues D&I scientists encounter when disseminating findings to clinical, public health or policy audiences and their suggestions to improve the process. Future research should consider key requirements which determine academic promotion and grant funding as an opportunity to expand dissemination efforts.

Keywords: Dissemination; qualitative survey; research practices; stakeholder engagement.