30 minutes to podcasting

Why podcast?

Podcasting is a great way of promoting a paper or a topic in a casual setting. They allow for a quick introduction or discussion of a topic, in a way that you might not normally get the chance to. Podcasts can also give the authors a chance to reach a broader audience for their research or to discuss aspects of it that they weren't able to include in the paper.


Recording an interview podcast is generally very quick (only about fifteen minutes or so). Interviews work better the first time round and recorded in one take, so it's important to make that first go count. Recording in one take also means less editing later!

  • Make sure you and the interviewee are in a quiet room/s, with phones switched off or set to silent (vibrate can be surprisingly loud).

  • Close the door and if you think there is a chance someone will knock, put a "do not disturb" sign up.

  • If you're recording over skype, make sure your internet connection is good and turn off the video to save bandwidth and keep the audio quality high and use headphones to prevent feedback.

  • Have a cup of water handy in case you need it.

  • If you have any audio recordings from your research, try to have those to hand. It's easy for listeners to be distracted, so anything novel that can get their attention back to the podcast is useful—it doesn't have to be something strident, just something different.

  • Don’t worry if you stumble over your words or mis-speak occasionally—our podcasts are more of a casual conversation than a formal interview, so the odd mistake can even help them sound natural.

What to talk about

There are no set scripts, but you can find a few general examples of what you can talk about below. You may find it helpful to jot down a few notes ahead of time, but try not to rehearse too much.


Typically, you'll talk about the background to the paper. Ask the author what particularly interested or motivated them to undertake the research, what approach they took, the key findings and where they might go from there.

Special Features/Virtual Issues

Introduce the topic of the special feature or the virtual issue. You can discuss what prompted it, why the topic is important, what the papers cover generally, where the research can go from there.

Vox Pops

One question, asked to lots of people, compiled into a single podcast. Works well when you have a lot of people in one place (like a conference) and when you have a clear and quick question. For example intecol, Methods asked "What's the oldest methods you still use?" for one podcast, and "What method do you wish existed?" for another. Make sure you record the names as you go!

Technical stuff

If you have the chance to do a podcast in person, take it—most interviews work better in person. If you have a Dictaphone or voice recorder, you can use that, but you can also use your mobile phone or tablet. There are a lot of voice-recorder programs out there, but a few recommended ones are Voice Recorder (TapMedia) or Audio Memos (Imesart) for iPhone/iPad and Easy Voice Recorder (Digipom) or Tape-A-Talk (Markus Drösser) for Android.

If you're interviewing over Skype, there are a few different programs available for recording skype calls, which can also be used to record podcasts. The two main ones are Ecamm for mac and Pamela for PC, but you can look around for others. Zencastr (https://zencastr.com/) works on any system, but is still in development. If you're recording over Skype make sure you use headphones to prevent feedback. If you have a headset or external microphone, that will also help keep the recording clear.


Editing your podcast is not a requirement of producing a podcast. If you've recorded in one take, you won't need to do much, if any, editing. If you do want to get involved in editing your podcast, the most common free program for editing your podcast is audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/). Audacity can look a bit intimidating, but is actually pretty user-friendly and there are a lot of tutorials out there on using it.

Open Data

Ecology in China Virtual Issue

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