Why I started OceanFact?

My name is Pierre Olivier. If you don’t know me already, I am an aspiring Marine biologist from France. I am a few months away of getting my Ph.D. from a Finnish university. I spent the past 5 years doing research and pushing science communication further through a project I founded in 2014: OceanFact. I have always been curious. I have always questioned the world that surrounds me. Before I start my university education, I realized three things.
Why OceanFact? We realized that if you are not a scientists:
  1. Scientific knowledge is not available easily so that one cannot forge his/her own opinion: Why would you believe that climate is changing when someone (e.g. society) forces you to believe so? Why would you believe anything when the knowledge is often hidden behind an expensive paywall, in a language that is difficult to understand and jargon heavy?
  2. Journalists are at risk of making harmful mistakes or shortcuts if they cannot easily access or grasp one’s research easily (e.g. the work of Boris Worms (2006) that got viral for the wrong reasons; or journalistic articles that get copy-pasted and altered along the way, even in reknown international newspapers, resulting in false news, divergent numbers and facts).

  3. The current science communication is unsexy and not at all jargon-free: no-one has the time to read thousands of words (e.g. freely available reports from the EU), not everyone understands the concepts at the core of science—that is our job and responsibility, scientists, to understand and share this knowledge.

What can we do about this?

OceanFact offers an easy solution: let scientists do their science communication hand-in-hand with the audience. 
I hear you protesting already: “But I don’t have time to do scicomm! I have all those grant proposals to write, all those articles to write and review. My research to conduct. I am an accomplished scientists or building my career!  I don’t have time!”
We got you covered: if you don’t have time, we take care of training the new generation of marine scientists to do scicomm for you. You will only have to review.
Years of writing, reviewing, and reading blogs showed that blog posts longer than 1,600 words will not be read until the end. I will personally not read them. That is 15 min reading for an average reader on a bus ride to work. That’s why our average post length is between 900 and 1,600 words so that anyone can cultivate himself without reading becoming a burden.

So where do we innovate?

We collaborate with our audience to make articles more attractive and easier to read.
  1. Citizen-reviewers—selected among our private mailing list readers—participate in the peer-review process, so that they can directly influence the writing and quality of our articles.
  2. Further, we encourage creativity: bring your skills and contribute—our SeaComm Army contains promoters, editors, photographers, video makers, good and talented artists, writers in the making, and bilingual monks. The list is endless.

  3. Readers can further provide feedbacks on the quality of the articles through comments, likes and a rating system.