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Progress is science is based on the exploitation of existing knowledge and the sharing of new information. Communication is therefore an essential part of research work and is now widely recognised as a responsibility that scientists must undertake with the same commitment and professionalism as all the other research activities. Scientific communication is complex mainly because researchers need to communicate in different ways, for different aims, to different targets, from peers, to administrators, patients, policy makers, general public, the media, etc., and they seldom receive a formal education to do so. Scientists therefore use many registers and obey to different traditions; they must be able to talk to peers using technical language, to present effective and appealing communications in scientific conferences, to write abstracts, or texts to be published in the Conference proceedings; to write technical reports or produce other types of grey literature; to participate in online scientific conversations; and, last but not least, to submit an article to prestigious journals, still representing the most qualified and internationally recognized research record. At the same time, scientists should be able to communicate to the lay people, and translate technical language in simple words and messages that can be easily understood. There are editorial rules, guidelines and standards, and ethical considerations which apply to all documents as well as specific rules, traditions and best practices in each discipline.
Based on the experience of production and management of the scientific literature of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (National Health Institute in Italy), about 1800 articles per year (including its own international science journal, a national bulletin and different series of technical reports), the current researchers’ attitudes and best practices in scientific communication will be outlined.
Considerations from the training experience in scientific writing and open access publishing addressed to researchers in a wide geographical area (Europe, Latin America and Africa) will contribute to provide an outlook of the basic skills that need to be developed for effective scientific communication.