Jun 10, 2024 Practice Insight
Measuring the impacts of participatory citizen science: lessons from the WeCount sustainable mobility project

by Ana Margarida Sardo, Sophie Laggan, Laura Fogg-Rogers, Elke Franchois, Giovanni Maccani, Kris Vanherle and Enda Hayes

WeCount was designed to empower citizens in five case studies across Europe to take a leading role in the production of data, evidence, knowledge and solutions for local sustainable mobility. This practice insight aims to explore the suitability and value of citizen science to address sustainable mobility and sustainable transport issues. The evaluation showed that WeCount was able to reach and sustain engagement with broad demographics in society and highlighted the importance of co-design in making citizen science enjoyable and empowering. Statistical significance was found: the more a citizen enjoyed their time, the more likely they were to state they would continue working with the data beyond the project. Moreover, WeCount citizens reported that participation led to action and/or changes in behaviours. While the numbers are modest (24 individual actions by around 10% of participants), this is an important, measurable outcome.

Volume 23 • Issue 05 • 2024

Jun 03, 2024 Editorial
Why should we think about social justice in science communication?

by Emily Dawson, Mehita Iqani and Simon Lock

What is science communication for? We argue that science communication can be framed, reimagined and transformed in service of social justice, which is what the papers in this special issue examine. We understand the vocabulary of “social justice” to signal the centring of critical research and practice paradigms, an ethical commitment to righting wrongs, building equity for all human beings and the broader ideal of improving the world [Fraser, 2003; Sen, 2009; Young, 1990]. We argue that bringing critical social justice lenses to science communication can usefully interrogate, rethink and ultimately reshape our field. This special issue examines both critical perspectives on science communication and what equitable transformations might entail.

Volume 23 • Issue 04 • 2024 • Special Issue: Science communication for social justice

Jun 03, 2024 Article
Plants and Peoples exhibit at MUHNAC: analysis of traditional and scientific medicine from the perspective of the Epistemologies of South

by Martha Marandino and Maria Paula Meneses

The article explores the ““Cure, Malaria, Frederic Welwitsch and the Healer”” theme of the exhibition “Plants and Peoples” from the Museum of Natural History and Science, Portugal. The study focuses on the research carried out by German naturalist F. Welwitsch on local plants in Angola as well as on history of lived colonial experience A. M. Mafumo, a healer from Mozambique, arrested for practicing “traditional medicine”. Using the analytical framework of the Epistemologies of the South we analyze the relationships between traditional and scientific knowledge using documentation, as well as interviews with curators and visitors. The article questions the exhibit' dialogue between these knowledges as an expression of an ecology of knowledges.

Volume 23 • Issue 04 • 2024 • Special Issue: Science communication for social justice

Jun 03, 2024 Essay
Scientific temper: towards an alternate model of science-society relationships

by Siddharth Kankaria and Anwesha Chakraborty

Scientific temper, a mainstay in Indian science policies and science communication/education programmes, conceptualises citizens as scientifically conscious and powerful agents that approach societal issues with a rational and critical mind rather than taking refuge in religious, superstitious and pseudoscientific worldviews. Our essay provides a brief history of this term and compares it with existing science communication models to demonstrate how, despite sharing commonalities, it is distinct from models like deficit, dialogue, and participation. We elucidate how scientific temper fosters critical features like a process-oriented approach, reflexivity, democratisation of scientific expertise and being a potential tool for decolonisation. Lastly, we propose scientific temper as an alternate framework for democratising knowledge-making and -sharing, building an engaged deliberative citizenry, and studying science-society relationships overall.

Volume 23 • Issue 04 • 2024 • Special Issue: Science communication for social justice

Jun 03, 2024 Essay
Fugitive publics: sex, sexuality, and science communication

by Chase Ledin

This article attends to the absences and silences of sexual identity and knowledge in science communication scholarship. It locates identitarian debates within this scholarship and utilises queer theory to encourage a shift towards a post-identitarian approach to conceptualising sex (as a social act) in science communication. In this way, this article advocates for a queer science communication that critically examines normative identities, practices, institutions, and policies, and makes room for subjugated knowledges within science communication theory and practice.

Volume 23 • Issue 04 • 2024 • Special Issue: Science communication for social justice

Jun 03, 2024 Article
Science communicators from marginalized backgrounds challenge STEM cultural norms to promote community belonging

by Evelyn Valdez-Ward, Robert N. Ulrich, Nic Bennett, Esmeralda Martinez-Maldonado, Allison Mattheis, Kathleen K. Treseder, Bruno Takahashi and Sunshine Menezes

In the U.S., navigating STEM with marginalized identities can affect scientists' communication practices. There is a critical need for science communication training that accounts for the historical oppressions, discriminations, and inequities of marginalized communities. In this paper we analyzed 712 participant responses from ReclaimingSTEM science communication workshops to understand how marginalized scientists' identities influence their science communication practices. We found that participants' experiences of exclusion and hostility in STEM spaces influenced their engagement in science communication. Scientists from marginalized backgrounds aim to change the culture of STEM through their communication efforts to promote a sense of belonging for their communities.

Volume 23 • Issue 04 • 2024 • Special Issue: Science communication for social justice

Jun 03, 2024 Essay
Clashing epistemologies and contrasting injustice: an Aotearoa/ New Zealand case

by Marie McEntee, Mark Harvey and Fabien Medvecky

How, as researchers, do we recognise and address the implicit biases when engaging across multiple knowledge ecologies. In this paper, we consider the way historical and epistemic justice and injustice plays into our knowledge making when dealing with a specific issue: forest biosecurity. Specifically, we focus on the Aotearoa New Zealand context where knowledge making has been, and still is, dominated by a western paradigm, but where there is increasing discussion on mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) as a valid and valuable form of knowing. Drawing on the experiences of a transdisciplinary research programme that sought to examine the human dimensions of biosecurity aspects of the plant pathogens kauri dieback and myrtle rust, we approach our original question using the theoretical concept of epistemic injustice and draw on our experiences as a way to highlight instances and forms of epistemic injustice in the science-society relationship. We argue that the division of epistemic labour (into fields, disciplines, etc), and the ranking and assigning of relative epistemic credibility based on this division is a fundamental part of the western knowledge ecology which creates the necessary conditions for specific and potent forms of epistemic injustice. We contrast this by discussing how other knowledge ecologies, specifically mātauranga Māori, comfortably engages with a variety of knowledge and knowers and discuss the possibilities other knowledge ecologies offer.

Volume 23 • Issue 04 • 2024 • Special Issue: Science communication for social justice

Jun 03, 2024 Practice Insight
GlobalSCAPE: successes and failures in connecting with science communicators around the world

by Joseph Roche, Mairéad Hurley, Eric A. Jensen, Luisa Massarani, Pedro Russo and Aoife Taylor

The GlobalSCAPE research project was tasked with engaging people working in science communication to better understand their views of the field. While being a European-based research project, GlobalSCAPE aimed to connect with science communicators across the globe. This practice insight paper reflects on the lessons learned from GlobalSCAPE, the successes and failures, and what might be done to continue the work of global science communication research projects. It is hoped that such learnings will be of broad interest to research and practice communities grappling with ways to fund and support science communication around the world.

Volume 23 • Issue 04 • 2024 • Special Issue: Science communication for social justice

May 27, 2024 Article
Navigating the AI era: university communication strategies and perspectives on generative AI tools

by Justus Henke

This study conducts a pioneering empirical analysis of generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT, in the context of university communication across German universities. It explores the adoption rates, identifies the primary challenges, and assesses the potential of these technologies, integrating several theoretical concepts. The findings reveal a widespread use of AI for translation and language correction, with broader applications gradually emerging. Adoption rates vary significantly between private and public universities, largely due to concerns over technical issues, data protection, and AI usability. The results underscore the need for enhanced training and AI policies that support effective integration and use.

Volume 23 • Issue 03 • 2024

May 21, 2024 Book Review
Theatre about science. Theory and practice

by Andrew Glester

“Theatre About Science. Theory and Practice” is a result of the Theatre About Science Conference, held in November 2021 in Coimbra, Portugal. Most of the articles build upon presentations given at the conference, but some were written specifically for the publication.

Volume 23 • Issue 03 • 2024