There is growing pressure within the scientific community for scientists to participate in public engagement of science (PES) activities. As such, science communication scholars have worked to identify factors that predict a scientist's intention to participate in PES activities. One factor that has not been explicated is the role of experience performing PES activities in the past on one's future behavioral intentions. Using an augmented theory of planned behavior, we examine how one's experience participating in a question-and-answer forum on the popular website Reddit affected scientists' willingness to participate in a future PES activity.
In ‘Strategic Science Communication: A Guide to Setting the Right Objectives for More Effective Public Engagement’, authors John Besley and Anthony Dudo recognize the existing divide between practice and research in science communication and work to bridge this gap. The authors admirably balance actionable information for practitioners and the theoretical literatures underpinning them. Both of the book’s intended audiences, practitioners and researchers, can glean informative insight from its pages. The text focuses on 12 communication objectives that research suggests are at the core of effective science communication and each chapter is written using straightforward language that makes the book accessible for newcomers to the discipline. For the time-pressed science communication practitioner, each chapter includes a summary with driving questions that relate to implementation of the tactic covered in that chapter. For scholars in science communication, the chapters are good starting points for deeper examination of the related literature. Throughout the book, the authors acknowledge that the strategic communication of science is a significant challenge, one that is not to be taken lightly and can, and should, be evidence-based.
It is often assumed that citizen science is inherently participatory in nature. However, citizen science projects exist along a continuum from data contribution to full co-creation. We invited 19 biologists to explore their conceptions of citizen science. Almost all participants defined citizen science as involving non-scientists in data collection. This definition acted as a barrier for scientists who did not see how citizen science could suit their research objectives. While interviewees perceived many societal and experiential benefits of contributory citizen science, deliberate design is needed to realise the full potential of citizen science for public engagement.
Our 20th anniversary this year is a special milestone for JCOM. It is a time to reflect on our past performance and future prospects. We pause to consider the activities of this journal, and the broad field of science communication over the past 20 years.
This paper describes a school intervention focused on visual art and solar physics using science capital and STEAM methodologies to develop STEM engagement activities. Data from 40 children (aged 8–11) in two primary schools in the North East of England are presented, using pre- and post-intervention surveys which contained free-response and likert-scale questions. The paper presents a novel, and transferable, method of evaluating children’s drawings using online comparative judgement marking software, particularly suited to those without a background in qualitative research. Using comparative judgement this paper shows that the intervention led to a moderate increase in girls’ knowledge of solar physics.
The ocean has a vast capacity for absorbing heat and carbon dioxide, seriously threatening local habitats for marine life. Challenges in connecting wider society with this crisis may originate in its poor visibility for non-specialists: the data can be inaccessible and hard to relate to. In a series of immersive community workshops, participants created artworks combining recent physical ocean climate data recorded in Otago, New Zealand, with impacts on local species from published studies. We found that crafting visual stories was a powerful way to distill greater meaning from complex climate data, and engage participants with harmful changes underway locally.
Although Science Art (“SciArt”) is increasingly used in science communication as a way to make content more engaging or accessible, little is known about why artists pursue this practice or what they hope to achieve through their work. This project addresses these questions through a thematic analysis of interviews with 131 practicing science artists. We identify a diversity of goals for creating SciArt, only some of which involve communicating science.
Sustainability communication has been an increasing focus globally for many diverse and complex resource-based industries, including beef production, due to an increase in public scrutiny. However, this has received limited research interest. This study, drawing on in-depth interviews, explores key internal and external stakeholders’ perceptions of sustainability communication challenges using the Australian beef industry as a case study. Diverse views about public perceptions, the role of communications in trust, and internal issues reflect challenges such as industry culture, isolation, and industry complexity and breadth. This research highlights and discusses a range of sustainability communication issues in complex contexts.
The Public Awareness of Research Infrastructures (PARI) three-day conference held in July 2022 at the SKA Observatory’s Global Headquarters (U.K.) discussed the science communication issues that practitioners face at research infrastructures, like community building, science diplomacy and equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM. We concluded that we need to bring society within the walls of the scientific facilities as much as we need to help scientists engage with society.
We experimentally examined how messaging strategies that prompted differences in how scientists are categorized as a group increased positive science attitudes among non-scientists. Results from the first study showed that messaging which personalizes science or highlights shared common identities with scientists diminishes outgroup effects through recategorization or decategorization, respectively. Study 2 largely replicated these results in an ecologically valid setting: a zoo. Collectively, these studies support the use of the recategorization strategy for improving trust and science attitudes, but produced less consistent effects for decategorization. The results emphasized the importance of contextualized messaging when creating effective appeals in science communication.