Let’s say that, in our Wine laboratory, we have developed a wonderfully sweet and tasty new beverage called Wine 5.1. We wrote an excellent article about Wine 5.1. We published this article in a high ranking journal called International Journal of Winery (impact factor of 15.66). Do you expect people will consume our new product Wine 5.1?
Should we say ‘yes’ only because the information about Wine 5.1 is published in a high impact factor journal? Should we assume that people will consume the new product at a higher rate just because it is developed in our sophisticated laboratory? Unfortunately, this is the assumption of many researchers who consider publication of an article as the end of a research process. Those researchers feel that once a research is published it will be used.
If we look in to the different levels of potential audience of our article on Wine 5.1, there are at least six categories. The first group of our audience may not access the article at all, especially if the journal is ‘closed-access journal. The second group may have access to the journal but may not read our article about Wine 5.1. The third group may read our article about Wine 5.1 but may not understand it. The fourth group may read and understand our article about Wine 5.1 but may not be interested in the product. The fifth group may actually be interested in the product but may not be able to access the product. The final group may actively search for and access the new product. Only this final group can consume Wine 5.1.
People can actually drink the product (Wine 5.1), not the article or the information about Wine 5.1! Accessing a product and accessing information about a product are very different issues. Therefore, along with the publication of the article about Wine 5.1, the product (Wine 5.1) needs to be produced in large amount, bottled in different volumes, distributed to various retailers, and promoted using different advertisements through various media channels. It is only after all these steps that we can expect larger consumption rate for our new beverage. Research and Wine are different. But we can draw important lessons from this example.