Editorial

24/06/2013

A new editorial board is guiding JCOM through a period of change and here opens out the discussion on what JCOM has become and what it could or should become in the future. The journal's readers are invited to make their contributions.

20/03/2013

In the next few months, JCOM will undergo relevant changes. A new owner will take charge of its editorial management and define new development strategies. This important transition is a good opportunity to take stock of the past few years and to devise a new type of science communication research journal.

21/12/2012

On 22 October 2012, six members of a technical-scientific consultancy agency of the Italian Civil Protection were found guilty of multiple manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison by the court in L’Aquila. According to the prosecution, days before the earthquake that devastated the town of L’Aquila on 6 April 2009 killing 309 people, the experts failed to correctly alert the population on the actual seismic risk. The sentence was widely interpreted as an attack to science, penalised for not accurately predicting the quake. Actually, the defendants were accused of having deprived the citizens of information that may have saved their lives. This story does not hide any attack to science. On the contrary, this is the demonstration of the high regard the civil society has for the opinions of the experts. But in the so-called risk society, access to information is an inalienable right of the citizens. Beyond the legal aspects, the impression is that the lesson from L’Aquila can mark a point of no return in the relations between science and society.

21/09/2012

The PCST (Public Communication of Science and Technology) conference, held every two years, offers an opportunity to chart the progress and direction of the international science communication community. The most recent conference, in Firenze, gave indications of a growing interest in science communication as cultural practice.

21/06/2012

While several scientific communities have discussed the emergence of Open Access publishing in depth, in the science communication community this debate has never been central. Scholars in most scientific disciplines have at their disposal Open Access options such as journals, repositories, preprint archives and the like. Ironically enough, a community devoted to the study of science’s communication structures is witnessing this transformation without being directly involved. Both structural and cultural obstacles hamper the growth of an Open Access sector in science communication publishing. With this editorial I hope to start a debate on the need for a more open communication environment in our academic practice.

21/06/2011

We have published this issue of JCOM while the call for papers is open for the twelfth Public Communication of Science and Technology conference. The biennial meeting will be held in April 2012 and for the first time in Italy: the hosting city in Florence. The 2012 edition of the PCST conference is being held after more than twenty years of growth of the network of scholars that founded it and the expansion of its boundaries outside the European context from which it was created. JCOM is a part of this network, made up not only of individuals but also of organisations, university departments, journals, national conferences and so on.

21/03/2011

The Internet and digital media are changing science books. They change the way readers approach books and change the way books present their contents. Probably, the Internet and digital media are also changing the contents themselves.

21/12/2010

A workshop on science journalism organised at SISSA of Trieste, Italy a few weeks ago outlined scenarios that should serve as a source for debate among professionals and scholars to grasp how information activities regarding science, medicine and technology will evolve in the next few years. It is a time of great uncertainty, yet a common path to venture through can be made out: the new science journalism should meditate on a different concept of science, an in-depth conceptualisation of different audiences, alternative narrations and its role in the democratisation of knowledge within a knowledge-based society.

21/09/2010

Science must be open and accessible, and diffusion of knowledge should not be limited by patents and copyrights. After the Open Science Summit held in Berkeley, some notes about sharing scientific data and updating the social contract for science. Against the determinist view on technological and legal solutions, we need an explicit reflection on the relation between science and society. Both academic and industrial science seem unable to fulfill open science needs: new societal configurations are emerging and we should keep asking questions about appropriation, power, privatisation and freedom.

21/06/2010

Luckily enough, more democracy is always called for. Even in countries that can truly be described as democratic. And democracy (which is a constant reference in these pages) is increasingly related to knowledge, be it about whether growing GMOs, starting nuclear energy production or allowing the choice of a child’s gender through IVF techniques. The need to make democratic decisions on controversial issues, which increasingly imply scientific and technological knowledge, comes from the bottom, as citizens voice – sometimes even vehemently – the desire to express themselves.

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