5 Best FREE SciComm Tools


Tools for science communication

Scientists make use of lots of tools!


No, we’re not talking pipettes and centrifuges… or anything from the lab for that matter! 🤔


We are talking about SciComm tools!


Let's face it, being an effective science communicator is essential for ensuring that your research has an impact.


Yet, so many researchers don’t have the time or tools to master effective science communication.


If you are looking for some handy tools to help advance your SciComm game. You have come to the right place. Here we share our 5 favourite SciComm tools.


You have come to the right place meme


What is Science Communication?

Science communication is the practice of creating scientific knowledge accessible to those who need to hear it. Whether that is policymakers, the general public, or other researchers.


Good science communication is about adapting your language and delivery in a way that effectively transmits complex scientific ideas and research to your target audience.


But what kind of tools could a science communicator benefit from?


Tools for better visual representation? Or perhaps tools for simply checking grammar and spelling?


Over the last 50 years, science communication has grown enormously and continues to blossom in this virtual day and age. With everything moving online it is becoming easier to access information, but more challenging to retain your audience’s attention.



💡 Did you know…

That we are able to process images 60,000 times faster than text!! No wonder Instagram and Snapchat are such a hit! Keep this in mind next time you want to communicate your science.

Show don’t tell! 😉



Here we have collated our top 5 must-have online tools to add to your SciComm toolbelt and boost your productivity. We talk graphic design, data visualisation, document conversion, and grammar checks.


Get ready to start bookmarking!


Canva logo

1. Canva


First up in our list of must-have tools, is Canva.



Canva is a FREE graphic design software that allows you to create amazing visuals. From a poster to a banner, to a graphical abstract, or social media post, Canva has you covered! With so many free templates to choose from, it really couldn’t be easier or quicker to create something eye-catching. Or upgrade to their paid version and get access to so much more!



Need to make a scientific poster? Or maybe a presentation for outreach? Search Canva’s templates, find one you like and edit as needed. Want to add an image? Canva has tons of stock photos, icons and graphics to add to your design. 🙌🏼




We think Canva is a great way to dip your toes into the world of graphic design and start creating beautiful scientific graphics, posters, social media posts, presentations and so much more.


No design experience needed, we promise. 😉


pinky swear GIF

Not a fan of Canva? Check out:

Now let’s get designing! 🧑‍🎨


Coolor logo

2. Coolor


So, you’ve sorted out your preferred design software.


But instead of using that software’s templates, you want to challenge yourself by creating your graphics from scratch.


So, how can you work from scratch AND make it look more polished and professional?



Don't know GIF

A consistent colour scheme. 🙌🏼🙌🏼


Did you notice that all those beautiful templates have a cohesive colour palette? Not sure how to pick a visually appealing colour scheme?


Hello Coolors! 🎨


coolors


This online tool allows you to choose from a range of colour schemes by clicking the space bar, until you find one you love. ❤️ You can even lock a colour that you like, but keep cycling through the other colours to find the perfect colour palette for your project. How cool is that!


When it comes to colours, a good rule of thumb is to use no more than 5 colours. A primary colour, with 2-3 variations and a secondary, accent colour used sparingly for impact.


Colour scheme for posters


There are a range of colour palette generators out there; Canva even has a built-in colour palette generator! These colour palette generators take the hard work out of designing a sophisticated and cohesive colour scheme. 🎨


Make professional designs every time, from now on.



Flourish logo

3. Flourish


Now let’s talk about data, your precious, all-important data. You want to showcase your results in the best possible light, but it often ends up looking a bit drab.


Or worse, the data could just be really hard to interpret!


Why not make it STAND OUT? 🤩


A study republished by Forbes stated that “91% of consumers now prefer interactive and visual content over traditional, text-based or static media.”


So make sure you show, don’t tell.


Duly noted GIF

Instead of describing your results, let’s get creative and engage your audience with stunning data visualisation tools which allow you to make animated graphs, story maps, and interactive charts.


Flourish has heaps of examples and how-to videos to guide you in creating stunning data visualisation AND you can upload Excel spreadsheets directly, and return with all sorts of awesome data visualisation. Oh, and did I mention that there is no software to download?


Flourish

What’s more, Flourish is linked with Canva! Could it get any easier to import your graphs into presentations or designs? There is just so much to love about this online tool.

Now let’s make your data Flourish! Pun intended. 😉



Tiny wow logo

4. Tiny Wow


Okay, so now that we have visualisation sorted. Let’s talk about maximising productivity. We all know that researchers are pressed for time.


How would you like to spend less time chained to your desk formatting documents and more time in the Lab. Tiny Wow takes care of all your document needs at the click of a button.


You need this online tool in your life. I mean, have you ever stumbled across something soo good it feels like it should be illegal! 🤫




Tiny wow has over 150 online tools to edit and convert documents, photos and videos, this is one you need to bookmark now. 🤯


Anything you could ever need, Tiny wow has you covered!


Unlock a PDF… yep

Convert to a GIF… yep

Erase the background… yep

PDF to word…yep

Compress an image… yep

Trim a video… yep

Merge PDFs… yep

The list goes on, and on.


Tiny wow is here to make your life easier.

Oh, and did I mention it’s 100% free, with no hourly limits and no restrictions.



You’re welcome! 😉


Linguix logo

5. Linguix


Whilst visual media is taking over traditional text, written text is still an extremely vital complementary tool for both science communication, and communication in general. Which is why our final tool helps you to write well. 👩🏻‍💻


Linguix is a web editor that detects spelling, grammatical and punctuation issues.


The software suggests a correction and all you have to do is hover over the word or error to review the suggestion and accept it!




You can even add it as a Chrome add-on, so that all your emails, Google Docs and chats are reviewed as you write.


Once you’ve used Linguix, you'll never go back.


There is also a premium paid version of Linguix too, and honestly if you are anything like me, it might just be worth the money. 🙈


No more wine meme

If you are not already using a grammar checker, we definitely recommend you start.



Summary

So there you have it, our 5 must-have tools to master your science communication. 🙌🏼

  1. Canva - For graphic design 👨🏻‍🎨

  2. Coolors - For colour palette generation 🎨

  3. Flourish - For data visualisation 📊

  4. Tiny wow - For document conversion 📑

  5. Linguix - For grammar checks ✅


Want more tools?

If you found this blog useful and want to learn more, follow us at Animate Your Science on Twitter, Instagram, Linked in or Facebook and keep an eye out for our Toolkit Tuesday posts!

🛠 Bringing you the best tools to up your SciComm game and boost your productivity. 🛠


Or browse our blogs to find more tips and tricks to help you bring your science to life.

Let us help you find your inner science communicator. 🎤


Until next time!



Authors

Dr Khatora Opperman

Dr Juan Miguel Balbin

Dr Tullio Rossi

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