Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is SciPod?
A: A SciPod could be summarised as a ‘post print’ form of communication, or an accessible plain language summary produced into the modern communication format of an audiobook or animation. SciPod is an end-to-end production and dissemination service supporting researchers in communicating their work and reaching a much broader and more diverse audience.
Cognitive differences mean that some people absorb knowledge by listening, and others visually. We have developed two strategic multi-media communication tools, AudioPod and VideoPod, to help you to reach and influence the widest possible audience.
AudioPod: We will transform your scholarly paper into a layman 10-minute audio summary.
VideoPod: We will transform your research into an eye-catching, informative video summary.
Q: Why do I need a SciPod?
A: Our mission is to connect science and society, which in turn creates innovation. We think it’s vital to support traditional scholarly publishing and transform science into something enjoyable, understandable and impactful that everyone has a chance to be involved with. We are not here to change or challenge the traditional scholarly publishing format; instead, we aim to complement this accepted form of dissemination and help to enhance communication and impact.
A large number of researchers are actively encouraged by their institute or funding agency to showcase their work beyond their own niche communities and traditional publishing channels, especially when it comes to taxpayer-funded research. Engaging with the public is of increasing strategic importance for higher education, to build trust and strengthen relevance, responsiveness and accountability.
Each SciPod is produced and published by our industry leading team. Our team of editors, science writers, voice actors, designers and media specialists is unique in the industry and is perfectly placed to help you achieve a far-reaching impact for your research.
We are here to work with you, and to help your research reach the large audience it deserves.
Q: Why is outreach and public engagement important?
A: As you probably already know, academics are becoming increasingly aware of their responsibility to communicate more broadly, especially to the public.
Moreover, given the significant change in the way information is disseminated and accessed, people want more from researchers, academic institutions, and industry than ever before. As a result, the topic of science communication is a growing area of interest.
It is now widely accepted that broader science communication (outreach and public engagement) is a fundamental aspect of a scientist’s career. While many do recognise this, it can be a challenge to do it effectively. Despite the benefits of broader science communication, scientists report barriers to engaging public audiences, including busy schedules and concerns that it will take time away from their research.
SciPod helps overcome these barriers, by offering a professional communication and dissemination service to support and enhance research. We make research understandable, enjoyable, accessible, and open.
Q: Why an audiobook or animation? I’m encouraged to publish in text by my peers.
A: With over 7000 new scholarly papers being published each day, many are never read, let alone cited. We think it’s vital to support traditional scholarly publishing and transform science into something enjoyable, understandable and impactful, which everyone has a chance to be involved with.
A major motivation behind SciPod was the desire to create an inclusive platform that offers ALL people an opportunity to learn. With an estimated 700 million dyslexic people, and 285 million visually impaired people, SciPod provides learning opportunities for communities that are often overlooked in scholarly publishing.
We have no intention of trying to replace text communication. We are aiming to compliment and support it.
Q: So an AudioPod is an audiobook, what’s the difference between an audiobook and podcast?
A: A podcast is always episodic and are usually conversational, in the form of an interview.
Audiobooks are a very specific singular narration of pre-existing text.
They somewhat overlap, but both serve as a great communication tool. However the production efforts and delivery differ. A simple comparison would be listening to a radio show (podcast) vs listening to a book on Audible (audiobook).
Audiobooks are timely, and complex to create, this is why we only offer this as a paid service. Podcasts are much easier to create and can be done with the phone in your pocket. Check out our academy page for advice on how to create your own podcast.
Q: VideoPods are available in two formats, Research Byte and Research Animation. What's the difference?
A: By the end of 2022, it is estimated that video viewing will account for 82% of all internet traffic. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. However, it isn’t actually a search engine.
We wanted to create two video services to help researchers with varying budgets have the opportunity for their research to be available on YouTube and try and compete with prime time TV.
Research Byte: A simplistic two-minute video created using a series of still images and video clips. Completed with background music and subtitles.
Research Animation: A more bespoke three-minute video created with full 2D animation. These videos are more customisable and all graphics created are unique to your research.
Q: Ok, so how does SciPod work?
A: In short, we do the majority of the work. SciPod is an end-to-end production and dissemination service supporting time-poor researchers in communicating their work and reaching a much broader and diverse audience.
Each SciPod is produced and published by our industry leading team. Our team of editors, science writers, voice actors, designers and media specialists is unique in the industry and is perfectly placed to help you achieve a far-reaching impact for your research
Each SciPod is based on a single research paper, and our team works to present the research in the most accessible, understandable and enjoyable way. Audiences with varying levels of expertise and knowledge will be able to understand the significance and potential impact of the research.
Q: What is your simple 4-step production process?
A: Step 1 – Upload your paper on our online ordering system
Step 2 – SciPod script produced
Our writing and editing team will produce the first plain language summary script within 10 days. Our standard-length script is approximately 1100 words for AudioPod and 500 words for VideoPod. Once produced, this is sent back to you for review and approval. We do not publish anything without your 100% approval.
Step 3 (AudioPod) – We go to the recording studio
The script is passed to our professional voice artists who elegantly and clearly read your script and produce the first audio draft. The draft is then sent to you to listen and approve before the final stages of completion.
Step 3 (VideoPod) – We go to the recording studio
We then produce a storyboard to help you visualise and comment on the potential animation. Once you have approved the storyboard, we produce a full-colour 3-minute 2D animation
Step 4 – Your SciPod is published
We produce a unique webpage within our digital library for you. We then disseminate to our direct audience and through our audio social media channels on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Audible, Soundcloud, iTunes and Spotify, to name a few.
It’s as simple as that. On average the process should take no longer than 1 hour of your time over a period of 2–4 weeks for AudioPod, and 4-8 weeks for VideoPod. Quicker production times may be available on request.
Q: Will I get a chance to review and approve before publishing?
A: Absolutely! We want to produce, publish and disseminate the SciPod to save your time, but we are working FOR you, and this is YOUR research. The drafts of the script, audio, video, and everything in-between, are all sent to you to review and comment on. Nothing is published without your 100% approval.
Q: Where will you publish my SciPod?
A: We will publish your article on our website and archive your SciPod in our digital library. You will receive a dedicated webpage for ease of access and sharing your SciPod. We publish all material in an open access and barrier-free format under a creative commons licence. We have no pay walls or subscribe walls to view, download or share any of our material.
Our dissemination team promotes each SciPod through our website, social media channels, and news aggregators.
You will receive the ownership of your SciPod so that you have unrestricted re-use. We want you to show your SciPod off, the more it is used, the more visible your research becomes.
Q: Where will you disseminate and promote my SciPod?
A: Our dissemination team promotes each SciPod to our direct audience, where we receive over 40,000 website visitors each month. As well as promoting to our direct audience and through our social media channels, we publish through all major audio and video streaming sites.
This does not take into account pass-on audience metrics, which is responsible for an additional 75% of listeners and viewers worldwide (i.e., a high school teacher downloads a SciPod and then plays it to their classroom of students).
Our VideoPods are additionally disseminated through YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Videos, Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, Google News, and LinkedIn.
Our AudioPods are additionally disseminated through Audible, Apple iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, SoundCloud, Researcher App, Stitcher, Breaker, Pocket Cast, Radio Public, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Overcast, Castbox, Podimo, and Podtoppen.
Q: Can I or my institute use the SciPod for our own communication efforts?
A: Yes, we encourage all groups we work with to extend the reach of each SciPod by personally utilising it. You will have unlimited and unrestricted use of each SciPod. We will provide you with an Mp3 or Mp4 file of your SciPod, and also create a dedicated audio library page for each SciPod so that you can directly link and share.
For example, post it directly on your University’s website or newsletter, add a link to it in your CV as a summary of your recent work, add it to your conference poster with a QR link, or shout about it on social media – the choice is yours.
Q: What licence covers my SciPod?
A: We publish all material in an open and barrier-free format under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. We have no pay walls or subscribe walls to view, download or share any of our material. This licence allows for free use and re-use of your SciPod by others, as long as they are not using it for financial gain.
Q: What type of research topic do you accept?
A: We have a large team of PhD-level science writers who can understand and write about any subject. No subject is too complex to transform into a SciPod. If you cannot see a similar topic already covered by SciPod then this is down to lack of opportunity rather than ability. We have worked with a lot of different topics, but not all.
Try us, we will work closely with you until you are completely satisfied with your SciPod before it is published.
Q: Can I choose the focus of the SciPod?
A: Absolutely, we want this to be of value to you. As we are an extension of scholarly communication and not a peer-review publication, we like to discuss projects and results that have already undergone peer review.
In other words, we write our SciPod articles using research articles or reviews that have already been published in reputable peer-reviewed journals to help control the quality of the research we cover.
Q: I have published a preprint, and want to produce a SciPod to support my paper submission, is this ok?
A: Yes, we will be delighted to produce a SciPod based on your pre-print and help with your paper submission to a peer reviewed journal. If you have a target journal in mind, then please let us know and we will help tailor your SciPod to any journal related requirements.
Q: My paper is currently in review, can i work with you before it is accepted?
A: We can approach this one of two ways, and the choice is ultimately yours. We can either wait until the paper has been accepted. Or, we can actually start work on the topic before the paper is accepted. The latter offers you an opportunity to actually use your SciPod as summary when submitting the paper to a journal, or using as press release to support the paper being published. This has become a very popular way for researchers to use SciPod and add that extra personal value.
Q: Will there be any copyright issues with the original publisher?
A: No, we are not re-publishing or re-working the same material. We are producing new content based on the original paper. This is similar to how a press release would work, and our aim is to increase the visibility of your original paper as well as make your research widely accessible. We will make sure the original paper title, publisher, and DOI are cited and linked in your SciPod.
Q How will SciPod affect impact?
A: Impact can be measured in many different ways. Increasing the visibility and accessibility of your research will help to create more opportunities for funding, employment, partnerships, and support.
Consider outreach and general communication as an impact metric in itself. If your government plan to cut your research funding and there is no public reaction. Or there is generally low interest being taken in your studies from policy makers and stakeholders. Then your current approach to communication is not working and you need to try something different.
As for more traditional scholarly impact. According to Wiley, one of the leading scholarly publishers, having a video to support your scholarly paper creates 111% higher full text views of the original paper. SciPod has also shown to significantly improve the Altmetric scores and visibility of the original scholarly paper we cover. For example, this SciPod helped to raise the Altmetric score of the original science paper from 8 to 25 within 3 weeks of the SciPod’s release: https://mdpi.altmetric.com/details/53936492
Q: This all sounds good, but what is the cost?
A: As you can understand, employing a team of professional writers, editors, voice artists, graphic designers, animators, website developers, and marketers, comes at a cost.
We have worked very hard to bring our communication services to the research community at a very reasonable price. These prices are the total tax-free cost that covers the full production, distribution and digital hosting. The fee also allows us to pass the copyright of the material back to you, so that you may use it freely and independently.
Our AudiPod cost start from £550 GBP (approximately $670 USD, €640 EUR).
Our VideoPod cost start from £1400 GBP (approximately $1700 USD, €1600 EUR).
Bulk orders are also available on request.
Q: Is this an eligible expense for my grant?
A: Yes. If your grant has an outreach or communication component, then SciPod is an eligible expense. If we can help with any grant administration then just let us know. Likewise, if you want to include SciPod in your future grant applications, just let us know what information you require.
Q: Is this an allowable expense for academic publishing?
A: Yes. A large number of academics are actively being encouraged by their institute or funding agency to engage and showcase their work beyond their own niche communities and traditional publishing channels, especially when it comes to taxpayer-funded research.
Q: What payments do you accept?
A: All payments are welcome. Either choose to pay with a credit card or invoice on our order screen. All major credit cards are accepted and processed securely by Stripe. If you request an invoice then we can arrange a PO or bank/wire transfer.
Q: This all sounds good. How do I start?
A: Either talk to one of our outreach managers or place your order through our online ordering system. This will then go directly to our editing team who will get started straight away. Choose your product and place your order here: www.scipod.global/services