Reader question: I was thinking of using a social media site to disseminate some research findings. I think conversation gleaned from the comments might help provide a more well-rounded final report. Is this is good idea?
Expert comments: This is probably not the best approach, for several reasons.
First, if your project was supported by a grant, you must comply with the granting agency’s rules on research dissemination. The funder may not want you to share your results on social media sites and may prefer you publish them in a peer-reviewed journal.
Publishing your results in a journal is also in your best interest professionally. A well-respected journal is where most of your colleagues look for groundbreaking research. And a journal article looks much better on a CV than a social media posting.
Journal publication also confers credibility. When your colleagues read your work there, they know it has undergone peer review and an editorial process that should prevent conflicts of interest. Plus, the journal may have additional editorial content devoted to putting your research results in expert perspective.
Finally, posting your results on social media sites could cause copyright issues because journals own the copyright of anything they publish.
Expert comments by William L. Allen, JD, MDiv, Associate Professor and Director of the Program in Bioethics, Law, and Medical Professionalism at the University of Florida College of Medicine.