All author's publications are listed below.
Computational social science represents an interdisciplinary approach to the study of reality based on advanced computer tools. From economics to political science, from journalism to sociology, digital approaches and techniques for the analysis and management of large quantities of data have now been adopted in several disciplines. The papers in this JCOM commentary focus on the use of such approaches and techniques in the research on science communication. As the papers point out, the most significant advantages of a computational approach in this sector include the chance to open up a range of new research opportunities: from the study of technical and scientific controversies to citizen science, from the definition of new norms and practices for science journalism to open science issues. On the other hand, difficulties are shared with other areas of application. The main risk is that the large quantity of data available can overwhelm the importance of theory. Instead, as the papers in this commentary demonstrate, big data should push scientists to pursue a deeper epistemological and methodological reflection also in the research on science communication.
Open Science may become the next scientific revolution, but still lingers in a pre-paradigmatic phase, characterised by the lack of established definitions and domains. Certainly, Open Science requires a new vision of the way to produce and share scientific knowledge, as well as new skills. Therefore, education plays a crucial role in supporting this cultural change along the path of science. This is the basic principle inspiring the collection of essays published in this issue of JCOM, which deals with many subjects ranging from open access to the public engagement in scientific research, from open data to the social function of preprint servers for the physicians' community. These are issues that go along with the targets of the FOSTER project (Facilitate Open Science Training for European Research) funded by the European Union, which has provided interesting food for thought in order to write this commentary.
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.
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.
Among the most interesting aspects of the changes in the media ecosystem a leading role is played by the impact of digital and networking technologies on the ways news reports are built. In this Jcom commentary, the issues of the relationship between digital storytelling and professional news production will focus on science journalism. The commentary will deal with theoretical reflections and practical examples of innovative experiences in which different narration methods were exploited for scientific information.
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.
This is an introduction to the essays from the Jcom commentary devoted to the statute and the future of research in science communication. The authors have a long experience in international research in this domain. In the past few years, they have all been committed to the production of collective works which are now the most important references for science communication research programmes in the next few years. What topics should science communication research focus on and why? What is its general purpose? What is its real degree of autonomy from other similar fields of study? In other words, is science communication its 'own' field? These are some of the questions addressed by the in-depth discussion in this Jcom issue, with the awareness that science communication is a young, brittle research field, looking for a shared map, but also one of the most stimulating places of the contemporary academic panorama.
Research systems are increasingly required to be more practically oriented and to address issues which appear more promising in economic and social results, with special reference to trans-disciplinary research fields, such as nanotechnology or ICTs; policy makers show a sharp tendency to establish research priorities and to drive research systems; universities and research institutions are asked to be more transparent and open to dialogue with social actors on contents, impacts, ethical implications and practical applications of scientific and technological research. These transformations affecting both the ways in which science and technology are produced and their relationships with society pose new challenges to European research. All the aspects of research activities are concerned, including the life of the research groups, the approaches to scientific evaluation, the development of European research policies and the interaction between researchers with their social environment. Continuing a reflection started in the last issue of JCOM, Luisa Prista, Evanthia Kalpazidou-Schmidt, Brigida Blasi, Sandra Romagnosi and Miguel Martínez López offered their contribution in identifying some of the key implications and risks which these changes are bringing about, mainly in the perspective of the construction of the European Research Area.
Jcom’s adventure was launched nearly eight years ago, when a group of lecturers and former students of the Master’s degree in Science Communication at SISSA of Trieste, decided to have training joined by the commitment to research on science communication issues.
In the last decades, production of science and technology as well as science-society relationships started changing rapidly. Research is asked to be more effective, fast, accountable, trans-disciplinary, result-oriented, policy-driven and able to generate benefits for people and firms in the short and middle run. While a strong intensification of science-society relationships is occurring, an increasing number of actors and stakeholders are involved in research production. At the same time, pervasiveness of technology is rendering users an active part in technological development; economic and social interests on science and technology are growing on a global scale; new democratic and ethical issues emerge. Despite the European institutions’ efforts, all those trends and phenomena are occurring in an extremely fragmented way. In this scenario, a fairly balanced and consistent co-evolution between science and society can no longer be taken for granted. This is just the starting point of the following comment section that, through the Luciano d’Andrea, Sally Wyatt, Erik Aarden, Jos Lejten and Peter Sekloča’s writings, aims to analyse the different aspects and questions around the socialisation of science and technology’s matter.