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Oklahoma State University professor creates software for researchers to easily publish articles

OSU Research Matters is a bi-weekly look inside the work of Oklahoma State University faculty, staff and students.

Oklahoma State University associate professor, Dr. Steph Link, is a first-generation American and a first-generation college student. Dr. Link admittedly struggled with academic language, but found success in the applied linguistics field. She used her own experiences to create a research writing software called Dissemity.

In this episode, Meghan Robinson speaks with Dr. Link about her software, which uses modules to break down academic writing for researchers in all stages of their education.


Dissemity stands for “disseminating research with clarity,” and it's a web-based intelligent tutoring system that supports researchers -- really any researcher -- but especially emerging or novice researchers to help them with writing for publication.

And since it's web-based, anybody here on [Oklahoma State University’s] campus can use this technology using their OKEY to sign on to Dissemity.com. And once they enter the technology, they have access to really state-of-the-art resources for breaking down scientific writing into its micro components in order to understand the overall structure and scientific argument of a scientific piece. So, whether that be peer reviewed journal articles or upcoming grant abstracts, they can do that in a way that will help them become quicker and more confident writers. And they can conceive of their writing task as a functional, publishable whole.

ROBINSON: I had the privilege of getting to see a little bit behind the scenes of Dissemity and how it looks. What are the different modules that a Dissemity user will experience?

LINK: So, there are four different modules in Dissemity. There's Learn, Explore, Analyze, and Write. The Learn module contains a set of videos that I've actually created over the years to help them understand the research structure of a scientific research article. You can also take notes during that process and take quizzes to check for your understanding.

Then we have the Analyze module. The Analyze module is where they can upload a scientific research article from their field and using the knowledge that they learn in the Learn module. They can critically analyze the structure of research in their field.

Dissemity will help them color code the argument structure of their work so that they can visualize what successful research articles are doing in their field. Then, when they are analyzing that work, a lot of times, these language patterns emerge. These language patterns are language features or linguistic elements that researchers, any researcher, any scientist across many fields can use to help as the glue that brings together a piece.

In other words, it helps scientists speak to other scientists. This language, they can explore for additional patterns in our Explore module, which displays thousands of lines of patterns that are typical of a research article. They can save those patterns and ultimately Dissemity gives them feedback about their use of those patterns and discovery of those patterns.

Then all of this knowledge comes together in the Write module, where they can begin writing and Disseminty will give them automated feedback and automated color-coded visualizations of their work so that they can compare their work to publish in successful researchers in their field.

ROBINSON: For OSU Research Matters, I’m Meghan Robinson.

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Meghan Robinson is the host of OSU Research Matters and the Multimedia Reporter/ Producer for Inside OSU, the official streaming platform of Oklahoma State University.
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