Thursday, January 26, 2023

Making Research Make Sense


A southwestern Wyoming producer baffled trying to understand new range cattle production research prompted a blog translating complex scientific literature into language for the general public.


University of Wyoming Extension range specialist Derek Scasta started the blog after visiting with the rancher.


“Scientists speak their own language and have to explain methods and statistics in great detail, making research very tedious to read and difficult for the general public to read,” said Scasta, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.


The blog “Rangelands4U” is at


“I regularly read research that deals with topics ranging from cattle to conservation,” said Scasta. “As an extension specialist, it is my job to make the information accessible and easy to understand.”


 Research can be hard to access because not all scientific journals are openly accessible for free. Many research articles are behind paywalls.


“Many scientific journals rely on subscriptions by large libraries, or individuals have to purchase individual articles,” Scasta said. “This makes it nearly impossible for the average citizen to get information that has been vetted by the scientific community.”


Scasta said the typically one paragraph posts summarize key findings of the most recent research relevant to Wyoming rangelands.


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Source:  University of Wyoming Extension

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