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Geobites: Down-to-earth summaries of new geoscience research for a broad audience
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  • Charles Shobe,
  • Kristina Vrouwenvelder,
  • Margaret Moerchen,
  • Matthew Giampoala
Charles Shobe
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

Corresponding Author:cshobe@gfz-potsdam.de

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Kristina Vrouwenvelder
University of Colorado Boulder
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Margaret Moerchen
American Geophysical Union
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Matthew Giampoala
American Geophysical Union
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The academic literature is the primary source for current developments in science. But limited access to journals as well as the widespread use of technical jargon can inhibit the dissemination of new knowledge to scientists from other fields and to non-scientists. These serve as major barriers to interdisciplinary collaboration with non-geoscientists and to efforts to further public understanding of geoscience research. Meanwhile, traditional science news focuses on topics of obvious interest to the public, such as geohazards or climate change. While engaging with non-geoscientists on these topics is important, the majority of geoscience research lacks a mechanism for generating public interest. “Bites” sites, originally introduced in the astronomy community, are blogs dedicated to communicating new developments in science to a broad audience. Each bite is an engaging, short (400-700 word) summary that explains an exciting new scientific paper and discusses its importance in the field. Bites are typically written by graduate students and other early career scientists about recently published articles that have not been picked up by more traditional science news outlets. These sites serve three key purposes: 1) to keep the interested public – especially university students who may consider careers in geoscience – up to date with recent developments in the field, 2) to generate attention for new work that traditional science media outlets may miss, and 3) to give early career scientists practice with public-facing writing and editing, which are critical skills both within and beyond academia. Here we present the new site Geobites, targeted at communicating new geoscience (broadly defined) research to the public. We show examples of articles on Geobites, diagram the structure of a good article, present initial site analytics, and solicit feedback from the geoscience communication community.