The first time academics were encouraged to ‘socialise' their research, they may have thought about sharing a bottle of wine with colleagues and chatting about latest developments.
In recent years, social media has changed the way research results, opinions, news and ideas are shared. Now the conversation takes place in cyberspace rather than the university bar.
But while the audience is global, social media also provides an intimate and immediate forum for academics and others to communicate their work and views.
The Conversation (https://theconversation.com/au ) is an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community in Australia. With more than 840,000 readers each month, it is Australia's most read independent news and commentary site.
Since it was launched two years ago, the site has been extraordinarily successful, with authors from 351 universities and research institutions around the globe accessing an ever-growing international audience.
UWA was one of five founding partners, and The Conversation is now sponsored by 22 Australian universities, the CSIRO, the Federal Government and some corporate partners.
The Conversation provides statistics on authorship and readers, with the Author's Dashboard showing readership by country, how the readers found the piece, comments the piece has generated, and further socialisation through twitter.
So far, 103 UWA staff have published 418 articles. Our top author is Associate Professor David Glance, Director of the Centre for Software Practice, who has attracted 227,360 readers to his 91 articles. One of his pieces, Music pirates won't rush to i-Cloud for forgiveness, is the third most read UWA article, with 18,770 readers since it was published in June 2011.
Professorial Fellow in Psychology Stephan Lewandowsky is next on the list, with 120,736 readers of his 24 articles. His November 2011 article, Why do people reject science?, is the most read piece by a UWA author, amassing 40,678 readers.
Two researchers from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research have been very successful with their work in The Conversation.
Associate Professor Andrew Whitehouse has published 28 articles, two of which, Childcare and the Damage Myth (March 2013), and The Messy Truths of Autism (August 2012) are in the top five most read UWA articles. Dr Monique Robinson wrote UWA's fourth-most read piece, (the myth that) Controlled crying damages babies' brains (part of a regular column, Monday Medical Myths, published in February this year).
Winthrop Professor Tim Mazzarol from the Business School, writes on entrepreneurship and innovation, and is UWA's fourth most read author, with 64,749 readers for his 49 articles.
It is not just academics publishing in The Conversation. Dr Tim Pitman, Research Development Advisor for the Law Faculty, has published several pieces on higher education research. And Dr Natalie Mast, Senior Policy Analyst in the Vice-Chancellery, has written articles on the WA state election and on European political issues.
UWA Postgraduate students have also contributed.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robyn Owens encourages all UWA staff to get involved in The Conversation. "As partners, UWA contributes financially towards the website, so we might as well take part, contribute to the content and supply feedback on others' articles," she said.
If you're interested in contributing, pitch an idea to the editorial team at https://theconversation.com/pitches/new If you'd like more information about The Conversation, Natalie Mast is the UWA liaison with The Conversation so please contact her (6488 1717 or Natalie.firstname.lastname@example.org).