The media are crucial for the impact that scientific studies make. To discover which publications in scientific journals were most successful in attracting media attention, here we list the cryosphere science top 50 of papers published in 2017.
The efforts of scientific publishing
Scientists work for months, sometimes years even, to publish their findings in scientific journals. For cryosphere scientists, this work involves collecting observational data in the most extreme of environments, or handling huge datasets while attempting to filter out the information most essential to their research. After all this work is condensed into a handful of graphics, and described in a few thousand words rewritten over and over again for it to contain the maximum amount of factual information per page, the manuscripts are submitted to journals. These journals invite two or three other scientists (“peers”) to have a good look at the work, anonymously and unpaid, and advise the journal editor on whether the manuscript is worthy of publication. If it isn’t, the authors need to go back to the drawing board, and sometimes even start anew.
Although time consuming, and often utterly demotivating to those that entered science purely out of interest of unravelling nature’s mysteries, publication is a must for scientist. Without the journals as communication platforms, scientists’ work can go unnoticed even by fellow scientists.
Science making an impact
But getting noticed among scientists isn’t the ultimate goal. There is a large role for the media in getting the essence of the findings across to the larger public. Whether this is through newspapers, TV, blogs, Twitter, or Youtube, it all counts. Altmetric keeps an eye on many of these media outlets to assess the attention score of scientific publications, as a measure of how well they get noticed by the general public. And since Cryo Connect is all about boosting science communication, we compiled a list of the cryosphere publications receiving the most attention in the media in 2017. The colors of the Altmetric badges represent the different types of media coverage.
The most media attention for any cryosphere study in 2017 went out to a publication in the renown journal Nature Geoscience on how changes in one of Canada’s largest glaciers caused an abrupt change in the regional drainage pattern of meltwater, written by Daniel H. Shugar and 6 colleagues. Second came a paper in Science Advances by Eric Larour and 2 others on how glacier meltwater affects sea-level rise differently across the planet. Third was a Nature Climate Change study on the “Influence of high-latitude atmospheric circulation changes on summertime Arctic sea ice” by Qinghua Ding with 10 contributing authors.
Here’s the list. We congratulate these publications’ (and all other) authors with the well-deserved media attention they received, after investing so much time and effort into trying to understand the immensely complicated system that is the cryosphere.