Reaching “on-the-ground practitioners”

OA research stories: Professor Pamela Snow

pam-snow-dec-2016-1In January 2017, we revealed the top 10 most popular Open Access (OA) articles published in 2016 across our Open and Open Select journals.

Open Access research can be read by anyone, anywhere, immediately on publication. This allows articles published OA to work up quite a storm (like the above-mentioned articles did last year –  being shared via social media, blogged about, and picked up by news outlets).

We wanted to touch base with the authors behind these articles – not only to say a big congratulations, but also to hear more about the background to their research, why they chose open access, and how they shared their work to help make it go far and wide.

We spoke to Professor Pamela Snow, Author of ‘Elizabeth Usher Memorial Lecture: Language is literacy is language – Positioning speech-language pathology in education policy, practice, paradigms and polemics’ in the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, which gained an impressive 5,780 downloads and an Altmetric score of 87.*

“My research is concerned with early oral language skills and vulnerability in childhood and adolescence.”

To that end, I have been working with particularly at-risk groups, such as young people in youth justice, those in state care, and those living and learning in socio-economically disadvantaged communities. Oral language is important in its own right, as the means by which we navigate the business of everyday life, and it is also the basis for the transition to literacy in the early years of school. Learning how to read draws heavily on a child’s expressive and receptive language skills, e.g. vocabulary, phonemic awareness, narrative language abilities, and mastery of syntax.

“Not making the transition to literacy in the early years of school dooms many people to a life on the social and economic margins, so it is important both individually, and at a public health level.”

This paper is based on an invited keynote presentation at a Speech Pathology Australia Conference in 2015. The keynote was a “call to arms” to speech-language pathologists to engage more assertively on the issue of early literacy instruction, so that we have fewer “instructional casualties”, and specialist speech-language pathology clinical services are directed to those children and adolescents who most need and can benefit from them.

“So this is a paper I wanted to be readily accessible to “on-the-ground” practitioners, in both speech-language pathology and teaching, in order for it to have translational impact on policy, practice, and pre-service education.”

The way to achieve this outcome, of course, was to make the paper Open Access. I am active on Twitter, and to a lesser extent on closed professional Facebook pages that are concerned with these issues. I shared links to the paper via Twitter, emphasizing its Open Access status, and happily it was picked up strongly by those in my networks and shared widely. I also have a link to the paper on my blog, The Snow Report.

Professor Pamela Snow is both a speech-language pathologist and registered psychologist. She is Head of the La Trobe Rural Health School, based at the Bendigo campus of La Trobe University. Her research concerns risk in early life, particularly as this pertains to oral language competence and early literacy instruction and attainment. She has strong research links with education, justice, and welfare sectors, and has over 130 publications, comprising refereed journal articles, books, book chapters, and research monographs. She is a Fellow of Speech Pathology Australia and a former State Chair of the Australian Psychological Society.

Find out more about publishing open access with Taylor & Francis, and get practical tips on getting your research read by practitioners, policy makers and beyond by checking out our handy cartoon on how to take your research from idea to action.  

*Data is correct as of January 3, 2017.