Balancing interests between freedom and censorship: Organizational strategies for quality assurance in science communication

Authors : Benedikt Fecher, Freia Kuper, Birte Fähnrich, Hannah Schmid-Petri, Thomas Schildhauer, Peter Weingart, Holger Wormer

While science communication is increasingly being discussed as a third mission alongside research and teaching, there is little research on how universities and research organizations deal with issues regarding the quality of science communication.

This article examines, from an organizational perspective, which new forms of quality assurance processes scientific organizations in Germany apply when addressing quality risks for science communication such as exaggeration in press releases or in the online communication of individual faculty members.

Six focus group discussions were conducted with 22 participants (rectors or presidents of universities, heads of communication, ombudsmen, and high-impact researchers). Based on the results, proposals were developed to extend central as well as decentral organizational structures to assure good scientific communication practice.

Their possible implementation was discussed in a workshop with representatives of all abovementioned groups. In conclusion, recommendations for future institutional policy are presented.

URL : Balancing interests between freedom and censorship: Organizational strategies for quality assurance in science communication


The odd couple: contrasting openness in innovation and science

Authors : Maximilian Heimstädt, Sascha Friesike

Over the last few decades, two domains have undergone seemingly similar transformations: Closed innovation turned into open innovation, closed science into open science. In this essay we engage critically with recent calls for a close coupling of the two domains based on their apparent commonality: openness.

Comparing the historically-specific ways in which openness has been defined and mobilised, we find substantial differences between open innovation and open science. While openness in innovation was developed as an analytic concept and redefined quite flexibly over time, openness in science was created as a programmatic concept and its initial definition has been preserved rather rigidly.

Contrasting openness in innovation and science helps anticipate some of the unintended consequences that a close coupling of these domains might yield. A close coupling might alienate advocates for change within the academic community, marginalise maintenance-oriented collaborations between science and practice, and increase the dependence of science on profit-oriented platforms.

Reflecting upon these unintended consequences can help policy-makers and researchers to fine-tune their concepts for new forms of engagement across the science-practice divide.

URL : The odd couple: contrasting openness in innovation and science


An introduction to achieving policy impact for early career researchers

Authors : Megan C Evans, Christopher Cvitanovic

Scientists are increasingly required to demonstrate the real world tangible impacts arising from their research. Despite significant advances in scholarship dedicated to understanding and improving the relationships between science, policy and practice, much of the existing literature remains high level, theoretical, and not immediately accessible to early career researchers (ECRs) who work outside of the policy sciences.

In this paper, we draw on the literature and our own experiences working in the environmental sciences to provide an accessible resource for ECRs seeking to achieve policy impact in their chosen field. First, we describe key concepts in public policy to provide sufficient background for the non-expert.

Next, we articulate a number of practical steps and tools that can help ECRs to identify and enhance the policy relevance of their research, better understand the policy world in practice and identify a range of pathways to achieving impact.

Finally, we draw on our personal experiences to highlight some of the key individual characteristics and values that are needed to operate more effectively at the interface of science, policy and practice.

Our hope is that the information and tools provided here can help to empower ECRs to create their own pathways to impact that best suit their individual goals, circumstances, interests and strengths.

URL : An introduction to achieving policy impact for early career researchers

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David Allan Bromley: The Early Champion of Information Super Highway and Open Access to Science

Author : Randy Ray

Having grown up as a small boy on a farm in Northern Canada without plumbing or electricity, David Allan Bromley went on to become the first sterling Professor of the sciences at Yale University, Chair of its Physics Department, and Dean of Engineering; at various times President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Union of Pure and Applied Physics, and the American Physical Society; the first cabinet-level assistant to the President of the United States for Science and Technology with direct access to the President; and the Senate-confirmed Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

He was an early champion of high speed network which he called ‘data superhighway’ now known as the Internet and Information superhighway, as well as the concept of Open Access to Science. He was a leading figure in nuclear physics. In the area of public policy he will be remembered as one of the most effective Science Advisers to the President of the United States.


Improving The Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship

The dissemination of knowledge derived from research and scholarship has a fundamental impact on the ways in which society develops and progresses, and at the same time it feeds back to improve subsequent research and scholarship.

Here, as in so many other areas of human activity, the internet is changing the way things work; two decades of emergent and increasingly pervasive information technology have demonstrated the potential for far more effective scholarly communication. But the use of this technology remains limited.

Force11 is a community of scholars, librarians, archivists, publishers and research funders that has arisen organically to help facilitate the change toward improved knowledge creation and sharing.

This document highlights the findings of the Force11 workshop on the Future of Research Communication held at Schloss Dagstuhl, Germany, in August 2011: it summarizes a number of key problems facing scholarly publishing today, and presents a vision that addresses these problems, proposing concrete steps that key stakeholders can take to improve the state of scholarly publishing.