STM Digest features lay summaries of science papers with societal impact

By Donna de Weerd-Wilson, Deirdre Dunne, and Gracia Edwards

As more and more connections are made between scientific disciplines, researchers increasingly find themselves reaching beyond their own subject area for information. What’s more, as economics, the environment, healthcare, and other topics with significantly scientific components dominate the news agenda, people with little or no scientific training are also compelled to seek out original research but are often unable to understand or interpret it clearly.

This reality has sparked the creation of a new kind of publication at Elsevier. STM Digest is a collection of layman summaries of original research papers with societal impact or policy focus. These lay summaries have the potential to make research more accessible, improve engagement in science, and benefit wider society.

Working with the original authors, early career researchers will ‘translate’ the papers into lay language to suit a general audience, acting as STM Digest Research Ambassadors, promoting the author, the paper, and themselves in the process.

The Mendeley STM Digest Group will form the meeting place where authors, early career researchers, and members of different research communities can be introduced and discuss their (interdisciplinary) research, initially via the easier-to-understand lay summaries and later utilizing these new relationships to improve their research in its formative stage.

Translation of research towards policy and science users is a vital part of growing impact and STM Digest supports this in an interesting and accessible way.

Ruth Alcock, Environment International Editor-in-Chief

We already have a selection of lay summaries available. They span over a wide range of topics, such as how once of the most commonly used pesticides cause breast cancer

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We’ll be publishing lay summaries from a diverse range of subject areas, which reflects the vast number of topics Elsevier publishes in.

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