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Scientists, Scholars and Podcasting

The benefits of creating a podcast for scientists and the distribution of podcasts for scientific work, papers or discussions for science related topics.

What is a podcast

A podcast is digital audio content (speech, lecture, discussion, etc) that exists on the internet and anyone can listen to one with any device of their choosing, in any location and regardless of what they are doing.

As an idea and practice it began around 2004. As a word, it is etymologically derived from the combination of iPod + broadCAST or Personal On Demand broadCAST. [1]

Fields of interest

Anyone can create a podcast about any (or all!) of their interests: literature, sports, science, cooking, and more, there isn’t a limit!

But the most important thing is that it is possible for a scientist or scholar to create a podcast with content related to their interests and their studies, to make their writings available through an alternative and modern content distribution channel, which provides many advantages.

Positives of creation and engagement (especially for scientists / scholars) with podcasts

Ease of creation and distribution

Using relatively simple equipment, even a simple (smart) mobile phone, anyone is able to create a podcast, upload it to a podcast hosting and distribution service (eg, and have it be automatically distributed to all relevant services that people use to listen to Podcasts (,, podcasts-web etc.).

Reaching a wider audience

One of the biggest advantages of podcasts is the flexibility and the many opportunities one has to listen to them: when sitting, when going to work on public transport, when traveling by car, when doing housework, when…

Podcasts don’t need you to be glued to a screen or a book, nor do they require your full attention.

In contrast, reading a challenging text, while certainly more valuable, requires the reader’s undivided attention. However, the time that one can devote to this, in our demanding - and full of distractions - age is steadily decreasing.


In addition, the text that can be read by a podcast creator (a podcaster) can be an adaptation of the original text of their scientific or other work more orally, a popularization of the original form of their text, so that it reaches a wider audience than the one that normally reads their papers and studies.

In this way, it is made easier for ordinary people to approach a field of science, knowledge, which under normal conditions they would not dare or at least would not be able to accomplish.

Availability twenty-four hours a day

Another useful aspect of podcasts is their availability 24 hours a day and the ability to listen to them at the place and time of the user’s choosing.

Indeed, from the moment a user-listener subscribes to the podcast’s feed, they will immediately receive a notification, every time the creator publishes new content.

Announcement of the release of new works, books → advertisement

Besides, through podcasts the creator can inform anyone interested about the release of their new book and thus advertise it and promote it to potential buyers.

They can even read a chapter of their book by creating a podcast episode and thus arouse the interest of the listeners, in order to increase the sales of their printed or electronic books.

In fact, reading their own study themselves, the author gives the podcast listener the best idea of how they perceive and approache their subject, what points they are trying to emphasize, the tone of their voice, etc.


Another area where podcasting can be used is education, both in primary and secondary schools as well as in colleges and universities.

“A 2019 study found that over 50% of people in the United States aged 12 and over have listened to a podcast.

Additionally, podcast listening by 12–24 year olds grew 48% from 2017 to 2019.” [2]

The use of podcasts in education provides the teacher with a modern and alternative way of teaching, which will stimulate the interest of students much more than traditional teaching methods. In general, as we all know, it is difficult to get students to read (or even watch a related video), which requires students’ complete and undivided attention.

Because of the many distractions young people have, it’s easier for them to listen to, at a time of their choosing, a podcast while doing something else.

“A student only needs to subscribe to a podcast feed and suddenly you can push educational content to them, instead of waiting for them to come to you. Podcasts can easily be used in schools, universities or colleges to engage students and improve the teacher’s methods.” [3]

On the other hand, it is possible to record and create a podcast with the students or students asking questions and the teacher answering, thus creating a very lively and constructive dialogue.

The whole result should be accessible at all times by the pupils/students, even by those, who for various reasons, were absent from the course.

Finally, a useful task is for the teacher to assign tasks to their pupils / students, which can be podcasts and thus have the trainee become a content creator, which will also help their classmates / fellow students.

Video creation / documentaries / videocast

In many cases the creation of visual material concerning the subject at hand (video / documentary / videocast) is preferable to podcasts and is more beneficial to people who watch it.

But this creation has some - sometimes insurmountable - disadvantages.

First of all, it is a process that requires a very large financial investment. Anyone who has tried to record video and audio with their mobile phone (without having specialized knowledge or other accompanying equipment) will have found that the result is not that appealing to watch.

A camera, or stills camera that records video, that costs from €1,000 – €3,000, maybe more, a special microphone and possibly a separate external sound recording device as well as special lighting bodies, which sufficiently illuminate what is being filmed, are all required.

Also, all this should be done in a special space / studio, and not in school or university halls, for example, which with their incredible reverberations sonically destroy any related effort.

But even if one invests the relevant funds and buys the necessary equipment, specialized knowledge of cinematography, sound recording and lighting as well as a relevant crew is required, as it is very difficult, nearly impossible, for a single person to do all this on their own.

Among other things, it is also time consuming. We have to consider not only the time required to set up the equipment and the filming process, which often requires several retakes, that increase the time. We also must consider the time necessary to edit and render the material on powerful and usually expensive computers, especially if the footage is in 4K. And of course editing the video and exporting the final product needs a lot of training.

So if someone is able to find the money, equipment, crew and everything else required to make a documentary, then they should do so.

Otherwise, creating a podcast is an infinitely easier and cheaper process.

Conclusion: Make a podcast

So we reach the conclusion that podcasting is a useful — yet enjoyable! — process that will help someone, especially the scientist or more generally the scholar, to promote their work and books to a wider audience and distribute their studies, through a modern, attractive and effective distribution channel, such as a podcast.

But also in the educational process and practice the use of podcasts can have very positive results.

  1. Charles Arthur, Jack Schofield, «Short shrift», The Guardian, 12.01.2006. ↩︎

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