Binghamton University is a founding partner of The Conversation U.S., an online publication striving to be at the apex of journalism and research.
The aim of The Conversation is to promote a better understanding of current affairs and complex issues, similar to a news source but with more of an academic leaning. BU is one of 19 U.S. research universities that, in October 2014, signed on to the creation of a new way for professors and other academics to share their research in a forum edited by professionals in journalism and academia.
According to BU director of media and public relations Ryan Yarosh, partnering with The Conversation is a great opportunity for professors to spread their writing to a larger community.
“The exposure this offers for not only our faculty, but for the University as a whole is tremendous,” Yarosh wrote in an email. “The Conversation U.S.’ Creative Commons model enables authors to reach a very large audience and authors from Binghamton have been republished in outlets including Time, [Huffington] Post, Quartz and many more.”
A Creative Commons license is a type of public copyright license which allows for the free distribution of otherwise copyrighted works. The Conversation’s licensing allows professors to retain the intellectual property rights to their research while simultaneously allowing media outlets to adapt their writings for mass media publication.
According to Ari Fertig, an editorial liaison for The Conversation, all articles are authored by university scholars and then edited by The Conversation’s journalists, who are employees of the website. This ensures that the knowledge conveyed in published articles can be accessible to the widest possible audience. The benefits for the professors and the universities are intertwined — both gain potential large-scale exposure and distribution of their writing.
“We offer expert analysis of the big issues of the day, as well as the latest research news and breakthroughs,” Fertig wrote in an email. “We are on a “creative commons” license – that means that any of our articles can be republished in full. We are regularly picked up in outlets like Time, Newsweek, Washington Post, Salon, and many others. That way, the article has a much larger reach than it otherwise would.”
BU faculty have already published 17 articles on The Conversation, which have reached over 1,718,473 people in the last two years. According to Yarosh, research published in The Conversation will mainly come from faculty, but there will also be options for graduate students to submit work as well.
“This unique digital tool enables scholars to collaborate with journalists, writing thought provoking articles for the masses,” Yarosh wrote.
Fertig said that The Conversation will be a great tool to enhance research and debate at BU.
“We are a way to help Binghamton scholars explain their research,” Fertig wrote. “We are also a place for Binghamton University experts to bring their research and knowledge to public debates – to engage on the big topics of the day.”