Erica Stone, a teacher, writer, and community organizer, delivered a talk on academic research for TED, in which she discusses the need to create a relationship between the public and scholars, who use tax dollars to fund their research.
She begins her talk by considering some of the common studies she's become aware of through social platforms like Twitter. As she explains, it's often that in-depth academic research is cited through a number of different sources, and often reduced to a simple shareable line for easy consumption. Although this helps to increase awareness for some of the important results that have been found, few people actually have access to the original research.
Stone states that the main reason for this is that many scholars aren't actively engaging with the public through media, which is due to the restrictions put of them through institutions. This creates a lack in communication, with academic research being publicly funded, but privately distributed.
In order to bridge this gap in learning, Stone recommends that the academic ecosystem be evolved with a few simple changes. One way to do this is to reward scholars for publishing their work in open-access journals, as well as through popular media agencies. Another way is to incentive scholars to engage with the public, and offer versions of research that utilize plain language that is accessible to everyday people.
In addition to allowing the public to access the research that they help to pay for, this would also generate more support for research that could better communities.