Essay

27/09/2021

Co-created citizen science offers practical tools for implementing science communication theories by increasing public participation in scientific research, empowering communities and advancing situated scientific knowledge. However, delivering such an approach presents a number of key challenges around funding, fostering working partnerships between scientists and citizens and ensuring all stakeholders receive sufficient benefits from the process. In this essay we draw from science communication and citizen science literature to describe these challenges and discuss the opportunities that will enable co-created practices to prosper.

10/05/2021

The pace and scope of digital transformation has brought about fundamental changes to science communication. These changes have so far hardly been reflected in the underlying concepts of science communication as field of research and practice. Against this backdrop, this paper asks how science communication can be conceptualized in response to fundamental societal changes brought about by digital transformation. In response to this question, this paper builds on the results of a Delphi study with 31 outstanding international science communication scholars. It presents a shared approach that conceptualizes online science communication broadly and tackles different points of view by identifying specific characteristics that enable the distinction of different settings of science communication. It is argued that such an approach should be more appropriate for a contemporary analysis of science communication and also helpful for professional communicators and policymakers to understand the interactions of science and society in the context of the digital media landscape.

10/05/2021

In this essay the authors reflect on some recent trends in science communication research, celebrating it as an inherently interdisciplinary endeavour. Some current tendencies in science communication are more limiting, however: they present theoretical and strategic prescriptions that do not adquately reflect the variety and cultural diversity of science communication internationally. Rethinking science communication in the context of such diverse practices and cultural reorientations, the authors revise some of their own views and revisit notions of communication as conversation to propose an inclusive definition of science communication as the social conversation around science.

27/04/2021

In this essay, we explore what happens when science meets comic art and how such meeting offers an opportunity to rethink science communication. We base our discussion on our own experience, as research scholars, of engaging in a collaboration with a comic artist. Three key reflections are developed: how comic art may help to (1) conceptualize ideas in an early research phase, (2) clarify the main argument by making the (un)written word visible; and (3) communicate science with an open end. These aspects contribute to an increased understanding of science communication in both research and society.

20/04/2020

This essay explores the relationship of science communication and public relations and contends that science communication has something to learn from public relations research. I provide an alternate history of public relations, drawn from the history of social movements (activism). I outline two areas from public relations theory: first, notions of human agency and equity in communication and, second, public interest in public communication. In doing so, I highlight how research from critical public relations could contribute to science communication efforts to enable participation with science and technology from wider, more diverse publics.

14/10/2019

Can we really say what type of story has impact on us, and what type of story does not? Evidence suggests that we can. But we need to better understand the way that stories work on us, at a neural and empathetic level, and better understand the ways that the elements of stories, such as structure and metaphor work. By combining scientific research with the deeper wisdom of traditional storytelling we have both a deep knowledge married to scientific evidence — which can be very powerful tools for science communicators.

14/06/2019

We explore and discuss the diverse motives that drive science communication, pointing out that political motives are the major driving force behind most science communication programmes including so-called public engagement with science with the result that educational and promotional objectives are blurred and science communication activities are rarely evaluated meaningfully. Since this conflation of motives of science communication and the gap between political rhetoric and science communication practice could threaten the credibility of science, we argue for the restoration of a crucial distinction between two types of science communication: educational/dialogic vs promotional/persuasive.

14/06/2019

Advances in 21st century genetic technologies offer new directions for addressing public health and environmental challenges, yet raise important social and ethical questions. Though the need for inclusive deliberation is widely recognized, institutionalized risk definitions, regulation standards, and imaginations of publics pose obstacles to democratic participation and engagement. This paper traces how the problematic precedents set by the 1975 Asilomar Conference emerge in contemporary discussions on CRISPR, and draws from a recent controversy surrounding field trial releases of genetically modified mosquitoes to explicate the ways in which these precedents undermine efforts to engage publics in decisions at the science-policy interface.

23/01/2018

Visual narratives, such as comics and animations, are becoming increasingly popular as a tool for science education and communication. Combining the benefits of visualization with powerful metaphors and character-driven narratives, comics have the potential to make scientific subjects more accessible and engaging for a wider audience. While many authors have experimented with this medium, empirical research on the effects of visual narratives in science communication remains scarce. This review summarizes the available evidence across disciplines, highlighting the cognitive mechanisms that may underlie the effects of visual narratives.

20/07/2017

Japan's policy of “public understanding of science” (PUS) has shifted to “science communication” since 2003. That year, there were a number of simultaneous developments with regard to science communication. The key report that advocated for the promotion of science communication and a textbook on science communication were published then. The most important consequence was that the report triggered a policy change at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The following year, MEXT published the White Paper on Science and Technology 2004, the main theme of which was concerned with science communication. Although the shift may have begun as a somewhat top-down contrivance, it has subsequently sunk down firm roots throughout Japan. In 2011 the Japanese Association for Science Communication was founded. People's awareness of science communication was significantly changed by the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011. Why was such a policy shift possible? How did such a cascade effect occur? This paper will discuss the reasons behind these phenomena.

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