By Jonny Coates (@JACoates) & Emma Wilson (@ELWilson92)
Podcasts have exploded in popularity in recent years, with over 504 million people listening to podcasts across the world, representing an exciting avenue for scientific communication. Similarly, preprints have seen unprecedented usage and become a vital conduit to sharing scientific findings during a global pandemic. Although a number of popular scientific podcasts exist, none focus specifically on preprints and the overwhelming majority only interview “big name” or famous scientists.
Preprints in Motion is a young podcast that discusses exciting new preprints with their early career researcher (ECRs) authors. In addition, we discuss open science and the academic working environment to stimulate conversations around how we can improve academia. The podcast was set up to emphasize the benefits of preprints and to highlight ECR authors, who are often overlooked by more traditional media coverage. Launched in June 2021 with support from the ASAPbio Community Projects Initiative, the podcast has so far recorded 25 episodes, averaging 50 minutes per episode with topics ranging from Wikipedia citations and Lego microscopes to organoids and mice in space. Across the 25 episodes, there have been 32 guests at an almost 50:50 ratio of male (51.6%) to female (48.4%), with 70% of guests being at the PhD or postdoctoral level (30% holding non-academic or principle investigator positions).
On Spotify alone, there are over 1,600 listens. For Apple podcasts, the chart position can be used as a proxy for popularity. For this, the podcast has appeared in the top 20 Science/Life science podcasts in 7 countries, charting at a peak position of #14 in India, #16 in Germany, Taiwan and Malaysia, #17 in Australia and #18 in Italy & Canada. The podcast has charted in the top 100 of 10 countries, including the UK at #22 and the USA at #63. Podcast ratings are primarily only available for Apple podcasts, although in Dec 2021 Spotify also introduced ratings. On both platforms, Preprints in Motion has a 5-star rating.
More recently, the podcast has initiated a collaboration with the eLife ambassador programme to provide science communication experience to the ambassadors. As part of this, we will host ambassadors on the podcast as both team members and guests, and we will be producing a new spinoff podcast focussed on interviewing PhD holders who have left academia. We are also producing a full featured audio documentary series about the scientific response to the pandemic that will be released later in the year.
Moving forward, we aim to be more financially independent and have set up a buy me a coffee account allowing listeners to support us with one-off donations or small monthly memberships . In addition, we are aiming to host sponsored episodes with companies which will cover running costs for the show. To increase our listenership we hope to engage people with live podcast recordings, debates and talks working in partnership with Pint of Science as well as Twitter events where our listeners can engage directly with us. Furthermore with money from sponsored episodes we hope to arrange Preprint in Motion giveaways where we can give away stickers, mugs, pins/badges and lanyards.
If any ASAPbio Community members wish to join us, we would be delighted to expand the team, please feel free to get in touch! We’re particularly looking for people with graphic design skills to help better brand the podcast. Alternatively, please get in touch if there is a preprint you’d like us to cover. You can listen to the podcast anywhere you get your podcasts, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts or on our website. Follow us on Twitter (@MotionPod) for the most up-to-date news.