From reports and factsheets to academic books and peer-reviewed papers, the Reuters Institute produces different kinds of research publications. Here's a short explanation of how we do what we do.
Reports and factsheets are research publications published by the Reuters Institute itself. Reports are in-depth treatments of a given topic, based on either quantitative or qualitative data (or both). Factsheets are shorter publications focused on a specific question and in most cases based on quantitative data. They are subject to internal review and signed off by the Director of Research or the Director before publication. They are not subject to external peer review. Given the Institute’s mission of connecting practice and research, they have the advantage of being more accessible and more timely than many other types of academic publication.
Examples of our reports:
- Snap judgements: how audiences who lack trust in news navigate information on digital platforms
- Journalism, media and technology trends and predictions 2022
Examples of our factsheets:
Journal articles are research publications submitted by Reuters Institute staff to academic journals. They are typically discussed internally in advance. They are subject to external peer review handled by the journal in question. Book chapters and books are submitted to relevant publishers, and any review process is handled by the publisher in question. Given the Institute’s mission of connecting research and practice, they are one of the main ways in which we can contribute to the academic study of journalism, even if the required form and style (and paywalls), can make them less accessible, and the length of the peer review process generally makes them less timely.
Conference presentations based on work in progress are important both for how we can be part of the academic study of journalism (presenting our work at scholarly conferences that admit speakers on the basis of peer-reviewed abstracts, peer-reviewed papers, or by invitation) and as a way to connect research and practice (by presenting published research or work in progress at professional and industry conferences). Such presentations are typically discussed internally in advance, but they are not always subject to peer review (depending on the conference). In the interest of getting feedback and sharing preliminary findings, the work in progress is sometimes made available as conference papers, slides, full article drafts, or pre-prints in advance of final publication, whether as a report, a journal article, or in some other form.
We are a part of the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. We hold ourselves to the high standards that come with that, and are covered by all of Oxford’s policies and review processes for academic practice, research ethics, and fundraising due diligence.
In all our research, we aim to meet the standards of contemporary social science in terms of data, methods, transparency, and replicability. We are proud to publish often in academic outlets, including some of the most selective journals in our area. But because our mission is to connect practice and research, we do not always or exclusively publish with an academic framing and through peer review.
We find that reports and factsheets are often better formats for work that we want to be relevant for practicing journalists, news editors, media executives, policymakers, and other professionals, and that we want to publish in an accessible and timely fashion. (And we are glad that many academic colleagues also seem to find them useful, cite them in their work and use them in their teaching.)
The data and methods these research publications are based on also, in turn, enable more detailed, in-depth analysis with a more explicit academic framing and form, published through peer-reviewed channels. In many cases, the underlying data is available on request to anyone interested in using it for their own purposes, or in replicating our analysis.
Our reports and factsheets are different from our journal articles and other peer-reviewed academic publications, and we use these different types because they make the difference clear and avoid confusion about what is and what is not peer-reviewed.
At the same time, they share a number of underlying commonalities including, first, that the primary purpose is to offer robust knowledge that help people understand substantially important things about the future of journalism and, second, that they, whether peer-reviewed or not, meet contemporary social science standards.