Article

14/06/2019

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) proceeds on the assumption that scientific consensus is a tool for successful climate communication. While ‘speaking with one voice’ has contributed to the Panel's success in putting climate change on the public and political agenda, the consensus policy is also contested, as our literature analysis (n=106) demonstrates. The arguments identified thereby inform a survey of climate scientists (n=138), who are the ones responsible for realising the policy. The data indicate moderate support for the consensus policy but significantly more in traditional climate sciences than in social sciences, life- and geosciences.

14/06/2019

In 2010 both India and Europe launched new strategies focused on innovation, for economic growth and for addressing societal challenges: the Decade of Innovation from the Indian Government and the Innovation Union from the European Union. This piqued our interest in investigating how these two political entities have envisioned the concept of innovation, particularly in studying and comparing how they have focused on people, both as final beneficiaries (and thus principal legitimisers) of policy actions, and as actors themselves in the innovation process. Per contra we found, in institutional documents, very different descriptions of how to adequately realise citizens' involvement, spanning from the abiding reference to people's inclusion in the Indian case to the varied discourses on public engagement in EU, down to the passive role accorded to citizens in some Expert Groups reports. The comparison between the understandings of innovation (and innovators) in the two contexts can enlarge and refine the argumentative and metaphoric repertoire of science communicators. Further, it can form the basis of a mature and shared debate on the role that knowledge production and innovation policies can and should play in the public governance of science and technology.

14/06/2019

Complex political decisions increasingly require scientific knowledge and expertise. But the exchange between actors from the political and the scientific systems is confronted by challenges. Science policy interfaces are needed in order to overcome the barriers to communication. This article analyses and discusses the importance of foundations as science policy interfaces. To this end, we will first present the salient features and functions of foundations as organisations in the framework of theoretical considerations and discuss their fundamental suitability as mediators of scientific knowledge in the political process. We will then identify the significance of foundations as science policy interfaces using a quantitative content analysis of references to foundations in the debates of the 18th German Bundestag.

14/06/2019

This study explores the field of scientific policy advice in environmental and energy policies in France to gain insights into the role of think tanks. The field evolved along with the growth of think tanks. The think tanks refer to several orders of worth and combine them in their communication in order to qualify their expertise. The results of the study reveal that the think tanks have become more independent actors and that the field of scientific policy advice has gained autonomy. Both aspects indicate that the relationship between politics and expertise has gradually changed in France.

14/06/2019

The study contributes to mediatization research. Mediatization is understood as a process during which individual and collective actors adapt towards the demands of publicity and public attention. The manuscript introduces a differentiation of mediatization strategies, ranging from defensive to offensive strategies. This conceptual differentiation is applied empirically regarding relevant stakeholders within the German science-policy constellation from politics, science, and science funding. Results are based on 35 in-depth interviews with decision makers. The results section deals with similarities and differences considering the mediatization of organizations, and introduces a typology of science-policy stakeholders based on the conceptual differentiation of mediatization strategies.

20/05/2019

We used content analysis to analyse the representation of female scientists in animated short films on gender and science, selected from the Anima Mundi Festival, over 21 annual editions. In these films, female scientists are featured as ‘intelligent’, ‘dominant’ and ‘well respected’, adult, white, wearing a lab coat or uniform and working in laboratories and fieldwork. We identified a reconfiguration of the gender stereotype in films in which the female character is about to gain space and visibility. We also analysed films whose sexist foundations in the relationship between scientists and their interlocutors reinforce the reproduction of sexist and heteronormative stereotypes.

15/04/2019

In this study, we suggest to amending the cognitive mediation model of learning from the news to explain the impact of news coverage on climate change on the recipients' acquisition of knowledge about the consequences of climate change. To test our theoretical assumptions, we combine a content analysis of 29 news media channels with a two-wave panel survey before and after the release of the 5th IPCC report. Results show that the amount of information on the consequences of climate change used in print media and prior knowledge are the strongest predictors of the knowledge in the second panel wave.

08/04/2019

Science museums are missing an opportunity to promote informal education, scientific literacy, public engagement and public visibility of scientists outside of museum walls via Instagram. With an analysis of 1,073 Instagram posts, we show that museums are using Instagram as a promotional broadcasting tool, with a focus on end results of collections and curation work over communication of museum-led discovery and science as a process. We suggest that science museums create more Instagram posts that offer educational information and visibility of exhibit creation and museum researchers' work behind the scenes.

04/03/2019

The Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) is an exemplary case for examining how to effectively communicate scientific knowledge about climate change to the general public. Using textual and semiotic analysis, this article analyzes how EIS uses photography to produce demonstrative evidence of glacial retreat which, in turn, anchors a transmedia narrative about climate change. As both scientific and visual evidence, photographs have forensic value because they work within a process and narrative of witnessing. Therefore, we argue that the combination of photographic evidence with transmedia storytelling offers an effective approach for future scientific and environmental communication.

25/02/2019

This study uses the online discourse surrounding an Austrian publicly-funded study about “Islamic kindergartens” as a case study to approach communication about the social sciences in the online public sphere. Results from a discourse analysis of 937 user comments in online forums of two Austrian daily newspapers show that the social sciences are often referred to as a “special case”. While some use this argument to neglect its societal relevance, others use it to highlight its role as societal problem solver. Moreover, users discuss characteristics of “true” social scientists and scrutinise the independence of institutionalised social science.

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