What does the UK public want from academic science communication?

The overall aim of public academic science communication is to engage a non-scientist with a particular field of science and/or research topic, often driven by the expertise of the academic.

An e-survey was designed to provide insight into respondent’s current and future engagement with science communication activities. Respondents provided a wide range of ideas and concerns as to the ‘common practice’ of academic science communication, and whilst they support some of these popular approaches (such as open-door events and science festivals), there are alternatives that may enable wider engagement.

Suggestions of internet-based approaches and digital media were strongly encouraged, and although respondents found merits in methods such as science festivals, limitations such as geography, time and topic of interest were a barrier to engagement for some.

Academics and scientists need to think carefully about how they plan their science communication activities and carry out evaluations, including considering the point of view of the public, as although defaulting to hands-on open door events at their university may seem like the expected standard, it may not be the best way to reach the intended audience.

URL : What does the UK public want from academic science communication?

Alternative location : http://f1000research.com/articles/5-1261/v1

Transformation of Science Communication in the Age of Social Media

The aim of the present article is to discuss several consequences of the Open Science from a perspective of science communication and philosophy of communication. Apart from the purely communicative and philosophical issues, the paper deals with the questions that concern the science populariza- tion process through social media (especially Twitter and blogs).

The article consists of three sections: the first one suggests a definition of science communication and social media, the second examines the transformation of science in the Age of the Internet and considers the influence of social media on science communication, the third and final one presents some case studies and philosophical observations.

The most important conclusion to be reached here is that the social media have changed science and science communication. Twitter and blogs as novelty tools of science communication can be useful and meaningful for both science and society. Furthermore, social media can be used to facilitate broader involvement of citizens in the discussion about science.

URL : http://teorievedy.flu.cas.cz/index.php/tv/article/view/172

Diffusing scientific knowledge to innovative experts

Communicating science to scientists works well thanks to well-defined communication structures based on both printed material in peer-reviewed publications and oral presentations, e.g. at conferences and seminars.

However, when science is communicated to practitioners, the structures become fuzzy. We are looking at how to implement Web2.0 technologies to Danish seed scientists communicating to seed consultants, agricultural advisors, and seed growers, and we are met with the challenge of securing effective knowledge diffusion to the community.

Our investigation’s focal point is on Rogers’ theoretical framework “Diffusion of Innovation” (DOI), as we look at how DOI may affect the Danish seed industry if science communication is redesigned in accordance with the framework. During our project workshop, participants recognized trends and characteristics from DOI in the Danish seed community and argued for more collaboration between scientists and practitioners.

This can be done by implementing fast-learning via online website, but it needs to be assisted by slowerpaced face-to-face learning to lessen the risk of a digital knowledge divide within the community.

URL : http://jcom.sissa.it/archive/12/01/JCOM1201%282013%29A03

Science communication between researchers and policy makers Reflections…

Science communication between researchers and policy makers. Reflections from a European project :

« The SCOOP project aimed to maximise the potential for the transfer of research findings into policy using European-funded socio-economic sciences and humanities research. The project incorporated a News Alert Service to communicate policy-relevant elements of research findings to interested stakeholders. It also sought to further develop the skills of researchers to effectively communicate research outcomes to policy makers through a programme of Masterclasses. A series of evaluation surveys were held to both tailor the project outputs to the target audiences, and to measure the impact of project actions on the interactions between SSH researchers and policy makers. Both SCOOP elements were well received, with evidence of improved communication, utilisation of SSH research by policy makers, and greater awareness and proactivity on the part of the researchers. More generally, interviews and questionnaire findings demonstrated that mediators play a crucial role: various intermediaries and interpreters work between policy makers and researchers to put in context the research outcomes and convey information through dedicated channels and formalised processes as well as informal, fluid processes. »

URL : http://jcom.sissa.it/archive/11/03/Jcom1103%282012%29C01/Jcom1103%282012%29C07

Scientific knowledge dissemination in Danish seed communities of…

Scientific knowledge dissemination in Danish seed communities of practice :

« Danish agriculture and seed science have a history of successful collaboration spanning more than a hundred years. In this study, we interviewed 26 growers, consultants, and scientists from the Danish seed community focusing on their current knowledge status and on their views on improving scientific knowledge communication. Theoretically, we consider these actors participants in different communities of practice relating to the production of seeds (Seed-CoP), and we conclude that strong network collaboration is present among Danish seed-CoP effectuated by the valuable work undertaken by the consultants. We discovered a divergence in knowledge dissemination among the growers – an innovative group of growers with a high demand for new scientific knowledge versus a majority of growers content with the level of knowledge provided by the consultants. ‘Time’ was recognized as an important parameter, as only the innovative growers prioritized time allocation for additional knowledge search. To improve scientific knowledge dissemination and interdisciplinary collaboration among Danish seed-CoP we recommend a combination of face-to-face and online communication processes. »

URL : http://jcom.sissa.it/archive/11/03/Jcom1103%282012%29A02

A step by step approach for science communication…

A step-by-step approach for science communication practitioners: a design perspective :

« Science communication processes are complex and uncertain. Designing and managing these processes using a step-by-step approach, allows those with science communication responsibility to manoeuvre between moral or normative issues, practical experiences, empirical data and theoretical foundations. The tool described in this study is an evidence-based questionnaire, tested in practice for feasibility. The key element of this decision aid is a challenge to the science communication practitioners to reflect on their attitudes, knowledge, reasoning and decision-making in a step-by-step manner to question the aim, function and impact of each issue and attendant communication process or strategy. This approach eventually leads to more professional science communication processes by systematic design. The Design-Based Research (DBR) derived from science education and applied in this study, may form a new methodology for further exploration of the gap between theory and practice in science communication and. Practitioners, scholars, and researchers all participate actively in DBR. »

URL : http://jcom.sissa.it/archive/11/02/Jcom1102%282012%29A03

Scientists’ attitudes toward a dialogue with the public…

Scientists’ attitudes toward a dialogue with the public: a study using « science cafes » :

« Currently, science is developing rapidly and its influence on society is more significant than ever. This is all the more reason for today’s scientists to interact with the general public. To design effective science communication activities, we must understand scientists’ motivations and barriers to publicly communicating science. In this study, we interviewed 19 early-career scientists who had participated in science cafes in Japan. From these interviews, we identified five factors leading to their reluctance to participate in science cafes: 1) troublesome or time-consuming; 2) pressure to be an appropriate science representative; 3) outside the scope of their work; 4) could not perceive any benefit; and 5) apprehension about dialogue with the public. Among these factors, apprehension about dialogue may be the clearest reflection of the scientists’ underlying feelings about this form of communication and an indicator of more intrinsic barriers to engaging in science cafes. »

URL : http://jcom.sissa.it/archive/10/04/Jcom1004%282011%29A02