What is PubNavigator?
PubNavigator is a platform that communicates the findings of peer-reviewed publications in an accessible way. We provide training materials to those interested in building science communication skills and produce content that can be used as a teaching tool in the classroom. Every article published here is written at or below a 12th grade reading level and is organized by field.
Our mission is to improve science literacy by making scientific research accessible.
The Problem: Scientists talk to scientists
Many scientists spend at least 4 years in undergraduate programs, then 3-7 years in a graduate program to earn a Masters or Doctoral degree. We then dedicate our lives to conducting research. We present at scientific conferences and publish papers in scientific journals to communicate the results of our research.
The issue is that, if you don’t have an advanced degree, you are probably not going to pay to attend a scientific conference or subscribe to an academic journal.
Most Americans learn about science by following mass media outlets2 but less than 1% of published papers show up in these outlets1. So, while scientific output appears to be increasing over time1, science literacy remains relatively stagnant2.
How PubNavigator can help
PubNavigator digests the complex language and concepts presented in peer-reviewed publications and communicates the contents using accessible language.
Our vision is to make scientists more approachable, increase science appreciation, and promote science identity.
Research shows that students who learn about research, while also learning more about the scientist behind the research, relate better to the scientist, have increased interest in science, and get better grades3.
PubNavigator articles include information about the author, so that students can experience these gains and get to know the scientist behind the data. The articles also include definitions to explain field-specific jargon and improve student vocabulary.
PubNavigator articles are easier to read
We use a set of readability indices to determine the reading level of each publication included on PubNavigator. Anything above a 12th grade reading level means that you would likely need an undergraduate education to be able understand the paper. As you can see, we are able to convey the information from published papers using language that should be accessible to someone with a high school education.
- Suleski, Julie, and Motomu Ibaraki. “Scientists are talking, but mostly to each other: a quantitative analysis of research represented in mass media.” Public Understanding of Science 19.1 (2010): 115-125.
- National Science Board Science and Engineering Indicators. Science Technology: Public Attitudes and Understanding. National Science Foundation, 2018. Web. 3 April 2020.
- Schinske, Jeffrey N., et al. “Scientist spotlight homework assignments shift students’ stereotypes of scientists and enhance science identity in a diverse introductory science class.” CBE—Life Sciences Education 15.3 (2016): ar47.