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Researchers in Japan need more support to share their research findings after publication

New survey from Springer Nature shows that amongst researchers in Japan, approximately a third of the respondents are unsure how to share their research beyond academic publications and presentations, indicating the need for further support for their research to reach and have influence on the wider community

Tokyo | London, April 2, 2024

new survey on research communication*1 in Japan conducted by Springer Nature shows that while around 90% of Japanese researchers want to communicate their research findings with the wider public, approximately a third of them have not done so in the last 3 years or more. With the latest global data*2 showing that nearly 90% of the respondents from the general population trust science or scientists, as well as the high desire for scientists’ communication and involvement in policy making,*3 this is a missed opportunity building our understanding of how to tackle the world’s most pressing problems, and ensuring researchers are adequately supported in research communication to the wider community is critical. 

The survey, based on over 1000 responses from researchers in Japan, was conducted with the objective to further understand researchers’ habits, motivations and challenges in sharing research and research outputs to the wider public, beyond publishing in academic journals and books and presenting at academic conferences. The survey explored what researchers do to more broadly communicate their research and the support that they need to do it more effectively.

Nearly 70% of the respondents have communicated their research to the wider community at least once within the last three years, mainly through press releases and public lectures. Amongst those who decided to communicate, however, approximately a third of the researchers did not have a clear idea on their target audience and approximately 80%  felt they needed more support to communicate their research effectively to the wider community.

Key findings of this survey are as follows:

  • Japan’s researchers see high value in communicating their research more broadly beyond academic publications and presentations. 94% of researchers in Japan believe it is crucial to communicate their research to a wider audience, and 87% expressed a strong interest in sharing their research. 21% of those surveyed had not conducted any research communication to the wider community within the last three years, and 12% had never communicated their research. 
  • When communicating their research to a wider audience, most researchers choose press releases or public lectures.  Of those who chose to communicate their research to the wider community in the past, 64% of those surveyed chose to communicate research that they believed would be of interest to society, and 60% communicated research that they found interesting. Over half of the respondents chose to do this via press releases (53%) and public lectures (50%).
  • Researchers focus on engaging with the wider public when broadly communicating their research findings. The main target audiences were the general public (73%), researchers within their community (61%), and students (44%), whereas fewer researchers answered policy makers (15%) and funders (12%) as their target audience, indicating that the outcome of their outreach efforts are not necessarily in view for influencing policy and assessment by funders.
  • Funder and or institutional support and accreditation for research communication to the wider community is a key motivation. Approximately 40-50% of researchers answered that they are more likely to be motivated to communicate their research to the wider community more if their institutions (51%) and/or funders (41%) acknowledge it as a part of research achievement, followed by nearly half (41-45%) if shown interest by the general public and students, and if considered positively during the hiring process (40%)
  • Lack of opportunity as the key challenge in preventing communication of research to the wider community. Over half (56%) of those who had not communicated their research to the wider community in the last 3 years, stated that the reason preventing them from communicating their research was the lack of opportunity. For those who communicated their research, they found plain language writing for non-experts to be the main challenge in research communication (66%). 77% agreed that they need more support in carrying out effective research communication, and seek support in developing skills for verbal, oral and visual media outreach.

Nick Campbell, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Springer Nature and a member of the Springer Nature Japan Research Advisory Forum (JRAF), said,

“It is promising to see that the majority of Japan's researchers recognise the benefits and enjoy communicating their research to the wider community. At the same time, these survey results reveal the challenges that Japan’s researchers are facing. More support for communicating their research outcomes and incentives that encourage such communication are key needs. As a research publisher, increasingly we are thinking about how we can support researchers to gain the relevant skills they need to actively engage with the public, as well as assess the impact of their communication activities. But improving research communication needs buy-in from all stakeholders in the Japanese research ecosystem. We are committed to engaging with the research community, including research institutions and funding agencies, to discuss and raise awareness of topics of high relevance to the communities that we serve”

“In 2022, we organized the Japan Research Advisory Forum (JRAF) to build a stronger understanding of Japan’s needs in research. This survey is one of the ideas discussed among members of JRAF, to deepen understanding of the current state of research communication in Japan at the media/general public interface. We are delighted to engage with Japan’s academic community, and we hope to continue to explore together opportunities on how we can better support researchers and discover ways to further promote research in Japan”

The results of the survey are available in Figshare and can be used provided attribution is given. Link to infographic.

*1 Research communication is defined in this survey as communication and dissemination of research and research outputs such as press releases, media interviews, social media, public lectures and others.

*2 3M State of Science Index

*3 Nature News Largest post-pandemic survey finds trust in scientists is high (Feb 2024)


Notes to editors

Details of the survey

  • This survey, “Communication of Research Conducted by Researchers in Japan”, was carried out between January 13, 2023 and February 28, 2023, and received 1063 valid responses from researchers in Japan.
  • Breakdown of respondents' organization:
    • 63% University / college
    • 14% Corporate / industry
    • 13% Research institute
    • 6% Hospital / clinic
    • 2% Other
  • Breakdown of respondents' age groups
    • 23% under the age of 44
    • 31% between the age of 45-54
    • 46% over the age of 55
  • The survey was offered in both Japanese and English with 97% of the respondents taking the survey in Japanese. 

Other main results:

  • Assessing the impact of research communication: Nearly half (49%) of the researchers used citations of their publications to assess the impact of their communications, followed by collaboration with researchers (35%) and downloads of their publications (32%). 19% answered that they did not assess the impact of their communication activities.
  • Language used and target audience for research communication: Nearly half (48%) of the researchers stated that they communicate their research exclusively in Japanese and the other half (48%) used both English and Japanese. 72% of the respondents answered Japan as the main target region while 35% answered the global audience as their target.


About the Springer Nature Japan Research Advisory Forum (JRAF)

Springer Nature is committed to opening the doors to discovery, and ensure that we provide the best possible services to the research community, through understanding their needs. As part of that ongoing commitment, following the launch of the US Research Advisory Council in 2021, in 2022, Springer Nature has organized the Japan Research Advisory Forum, comprised of relevant members across various sectors in the academic community, including representatives from Springer Nature. The 2023 forum members are as follows: 

  • Aya Furuta, senior writer at Nikkei and editor and writer at Nikkei Science
  • Yuko Harayama, professor emeritus of Tohoku University 
  • Kei Kano, professor at Shiga University
  • Amane Koizumi, project professor at the National Institutes of Natural Sciences
  • David Kornhauser, global communications director at Kyoto University
  • Yasushi Ogasaka, managing director of the department of international strategy at the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development
  • Junichiro Yamaguchi, professor at Waseda University
  • Antoine Bocquet, managing director of Springer Nature Japan
  • Nick Campbell, vice president for academic affairs at Springer Nature
  • Magdalena Skipper, editor-in-chief of Nature and chief editorial advisor of Nature Portfolio
  • Hiromitsu Urakami, academic engagement director, Japan, at Springer Nature

About Springer Nature 

For over 180 years Springer Nature has been advancing discovery by providing the best possible service to the whole research community. We help researchers uncover new ideas, make sure all the research we publish is significant, robust and stands up to objective scrutiny, that it reaches all relevant audiences in the best possible format, and can be discovered, accessed, used, re-used and shared. We support librarians and institutions with innovations in technology and data; and provide quality publishing support to societies. 

As a research publisher, Springer Nature is home to trusted brands including Springer, Nature Portfolio, BMC, Palgrave Macmillan and Scientific American. For more information, please visit and @SpringerNature


Ayako Miyazaki | Corporate Affairs | Springer Nature