Flinders cracks half a million Conversation readers

Professor John Long

Flinders University has cracked half a million readers on The Conversation – Australia’s leading independent channel of information, analysis and opinion sourced directly from the academic and research community.

Since its inception in 2011, The Conversation has published 147 articles and research briefs from  48 Flinders authors, including frequent contributors Dr Alice Gorman, Dr Ben Wadham and Dr Christine Nicholls, with the articles capturing a total audience of 542,141 readers.

The news, commentary and analysis produced by Flinders academics for the online publication covers a range of topics pertinent to both Australian society and global communities – from politics, human health and Indigenous affairs to sports, science and culture.

The five most-read Conversation articles by Flinders authors are Now listen: air-breathing fish gave humans the ability to hear (21,711 readers) by Professor John Long, School of Biological Sciences, Monday’s medical myth: you need eight hours of continuous sleep each night (19,468 readers) by Professor Leon Lack, School of Psychology, Extraordinary ‘missing link’ fossil fish found in China (15,660 readers) by Professor John Long, School of Biological Sciences, FactCheck: Labor’s ‘If Abbott wins, you lose’ attack ad (15,299 readers) co-authored by Associate Professor Gerry Redmond, School of Social and Policy Studies, and Explainer: can you pay off your ‘sleep debt’? (14,332 readers) co-authored by Professor Leon Lack, School of Psychology.

The top five Flinders articles with the highest number of comments are It’s time we draft Aussie Rules to tackle Indigenous mathematics (523 comments) by Dr Christine Nicholls, School of Humanities and Creative Arts, With Navy’s record of abuse, asylum boat claims can’t be ignored (178 comments) by Dr Ben Wadham, School of Education, Securing the safety of genetic modification (166 comments) by Associate Professor Judy Carman, School of the Environment, Does Australia ‘get’ culture? (149 comments) by Professor Julian Meyrick, School of Humanities and Creative Arts, and The politics of ingratitude? Norway and Australia at the polls (130 comments) by Dr Rob Manwaring, School of Social and Policy Studies.

The top five authors based on the total number of readers are Professor John Long (62,072 readers across four articles), Dr Alice Gorman (58,062 readers across 12 articles), Dr Leon Lack (55,999 readers across five articles), Dr Ben Wadham (39,408 readers across 13 articles) and Dr Christine Nicholls (37,542 readers across nine articles).

Professor Long – who holds the record for attracting more readers than any other Flinders author – says The Conversation attracts 1.5 million readers worldwide every month, making it an “excellent way” to communicate science and culture to the general public.

“Most newspapers don’t have specialised science reporters anymore, so particularly in my field it’s up to scientists to get their research and messages out there, and out there accurately, which is why The Conversation is so valuable,” Professor Long says.

Professor Long says he encourages more Flinders staff to sign up as authors: “When you write articles for The Conversation, you get lots of support in terms of editing, readability and imaging so it’s easy for people to begin writing for them, and you end up with a great product.

“If you haven’t done it just give it a try – it’s fun and a great way to build the University’s profile.”

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