Accessed 88k times, tweeted 580+ times and featuring in 70+ news stories; Dr. Dorna Esrafilzadeh‘s recent Nature Communications article caught both the attention of her peers and the wider public. By choosing to publish her results open access, she managed to engage the public about the exciting potential of carbon capture technologies to help combat climate change, and at the same time also helped to raise her profile and found beneficial new collaborations to advance her research.
Scientists whose work is relevant to climate change are often called on by their colleagues and broader society to share what they know and why it matters. Many are willing to do so in whatever way they can – and Dr. Dorna Esrafilzadeh of the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, is one such researcher. She seeks ways to engage with everyone about her work and its potential future impact. In her recent article titled: ‘Room temperature CO2 reduction to solid carbon species on liquid metals featuring atomically thin ceria interfaces’, she describes a new liquid metal electrocatalyst that has the potential to remove carbon dioxide from the air and turn it into a solid form that can be used in renewable energy applications. As new carbon capture technologies could lead to solutions to ensure a future stable climate, she chose to publish this work in an open access journal so it could be read by as many people as possible. “I think it’s important to let the public know what we are doing,” Dorna says. “In Australia, the majority of research funding comes from taxpayers and so I think it’s their right to know what areas we are working on and what we have achieved.”As well as attracting huge engagement from a wide range of audiences worldwide – including high school students, researchers and artists, discussions about the article has also led to new collaborations with other academics – and she is now also working with an industrial partner to commercialize the idea. This is Dorna’s fourth open access article and she advises that other researchers who work in areas that are of interest to broad audiences should consider publishing their work in this way.
Dr. Dorna Esrafilzade, Scientia Fellow in the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia