What is a Lay Summary and Why do you need to Write One?

Jun 25, 2020

Communicating your research to the public and non-academic people is becoming more and more important in the scholarly publishing industry today. As an academic researcher, getting your research published is not the end of your journey. You need to demonstrate its impact to the public audiences. But it can be difficult for the average person to understand technical or scientific terms. Here comes the benefit of a lay summary.

What is a Lay Summary?

Lay Summaries are one form of writing intended to help communicate research to a non-specialist audience. A lay summary is a brief summary of a research project that is used to explain complex ideas and technical and scientific terms to people who do not have prior knowledge about the subject. 

Why Lay Summaries are Useful?

Lay summaries may also be read by journalists and research funders which helps them see the real-world impact of your research. Sharing the lay summary of your research on social networks can increase public engagement. They can be required as part of grant conditions, either during the funding application process, or at the stage when research results are disseminated. Lay summaries are useful to the lay public but can also make research accessible to professionals in nearby fields. Now, many journals publish lay summaries on their landing page. Epilepsy & Behavior Case Reports and Journal of Hepatology are examples of Elsevier journals publishing lay summaries.

How can you Add a Lay Summary to your Publication on Scibey?

On Scibey, you can easily attach a lay summary to your publication. Scibey has a section dedicated to Lay Summaries of relevant publications for each subject area.

- If you don’t have an account on Scibey, you need to either create one or login with your ORCID account.
- If you logged in with your ORCID account, you would find your list of publications automatically imported to Scibey. You can see the list of publications on your profile page.
- You can also find a particular publication on Scibey by searching for it using its DOI.
- You can use the “Promote” button shown below each publication in order to claim the publication, if it's not on your publication list, and add it to your profile.
- On the publication promotion page, you can find a section on the left-hand side bar called “Lay Summary” where you can add your lay summary to the publication.
- Once you add the lay summary, it will be shown on the landing page of the publication and also under the subject areas of the publication.