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Jan 18, 2023 Article
`Pandem-icons' — exploring the characteristics of highly visible scientists during the Covid-19 pandemic

by Marina Joubert, Lars Guenther, Jenni Metcalfe, Michelle Riedlinger, Anwesha Chakraborty, Toss Gascoigne, Bernard Schiele, Ayelet Baram-Tsabari, Dmitry Malkov, Eliana Fattorini, Gema Revuelta, Germana Barata, Jan Riise, Justin T. Schröder, Maja Horst, Margaret Kaseje, Marnell Kirsten, Martin W. Bauer, Massimiano Bucchi, Natália Flores, Orli Wolfson and Tingjie Chen

The Covid-19 pandemic escalated demand for scientific explanations and guidance, creating opportunities for scientists to become publicly visible. In this study, we compared characteristics of visible scientists during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic (January to December 2020) across 16 countries. We find that the scientists who became visible largely matched socio-cultural criteria that have characterised visible scientists in the past (e.g., age, gender, credibility, public image, involvement in controversies). However, there were limited tendencies that scientists commented outside their areas of expertise. We conclude that the unusual circumstances created by Covid-19 did not change the phenomenon of visible scientists in significant ways.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Nov 07, 2022 Commentary
Science communication: a messy conundrum of practice, research and theory

by Jenni Metcalfe

Theoretical perspectives of science communication were initially driven by practice, which in turn have influenced practice and further science communication scholarship. The practice of science communication includes a variety of quite diverse roles. Likewise, the scholarship of science communication draws upon a mix of disciplines. I argue that the apparent messiness of science communication scholarship and practice is also its wealth. If blame can be avoided in developing and applying science communication models, and if the coexistence of all science communication models can be embraced then both the scholarship and practice of science communication is likely to be more effective.

Volume 21 • Issue 07 • 2022

Mar 28, 2022 Article
Comparing science communication theory with participatory practice: case study of the Australian Climate Champion Program

by Jenni Metcalfe

While short-term participatory science communication activities have been well researched, long-term programs have received scant attention. Analysing survey data and participant discussions, I investigated interactions between Australian farmers and scientists engaged in the Climate Champion Program (2009–2016). I compared their interactions to three theorised science communication models: deficit, dialogue and participatory. I found their interactions illustrated a mix of the characteristics of all three models. While farmers and scientists appeared to be motivated to interact by deficit and dialogue objectives, respectful and trusting relationships emerged from long-term participation, which was key to making deficit- and dialogue-style communication more effective.

Volume 21 • Issue 02 • 2022 • Special Issue Participatory science communication for transformation (PCST2020+1)

Mar 28, 2022 Editorial
Participatory science communication for transformation

by Jenni Metcalfe, Toss Gascoigne, Fabien Medvecky and Ana Claudia Nepote

Participatory science communication featured in several sessions and individual papers at the 2021 online conference of the Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) Network. This coverage recognises the drive away from linear communication to more participatory forms of science communication. In this special edition we present practice insights, papers and essays that explore participatory science communication. These contributions explore definitions, processes and describe case-studies of participatory science communication which involve a variety of publics, from young school students to Indigenous groups to farmers. In this introductory editorial we reflect on the papers, describe the growth of a participatory approach as part of the continuing evolution of science communication; explore a definition for participatory science communication; and consider some of the key concepts and issues that emerged.

Volume 21 • Issue 02 • 2022 • Special Issue Participatory science communication for transformation (PCST2020+1)

Dec 14, 2020 Article
The COVID-19 mirror: reflecting science-society relationships across 11 countries

by Jenni Metcalfe, Michelle Riedlinger, Martin W. Bauer, Anwesha Chakraborty, Toss Gascoigne, Lars Guenther, Marina Joubert, Margaret Kaseje, Susana Herrera-Lima, Gema Revuelta, Jan Riise and Bernard Schiele

Twelve researchers from 11 countries used autoethnographic techniques, keeping diaries over 10 weeks of the COVID-19 crisis, to observe and reflect on changes in the role and cultural authority of science during important stages of viral activity and government action in their respective countries. We followed arguments, discussions and ideas generated by mass and social media about science and scientific expertise, observed patterns and shifts in narratives, and made international comparisons. During regular meetings via video conference, the participating researchers discussed theoretical approaches and our joint methodology for reflecting on our observations. This project is informed by social representations theory, agenda-setting, and frames of meaning associated with the rise and fall of expertise and trust. This paper presents our observations and reflections on the role and authority of science in our countries from March 10 to May 31, 2020. This is the first stage of a longer-term project that aims to identify, analyse and compare changes in science-society relationships over the course of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Volume 19 • Issue 07 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part II, 2020

Apr 14, 2020 Article
Chanting to the choir: the dialogical failure of antithetical climate change blogs

by Jenni Metcalfe

Blogs provide potential for publics to engage more deliberatively through dialogue in controversial science than one-way dissemination methods. This study investigated who was commenting on two antithetical climate change blogsites; how they were commenting; and the quality of their dialogue. Most research into science blogs has focused on bloggers rather than commenters. This study found that both blogsites were dominated by a small number of commenters who used contractive dialogue to promote their own views to like-minded commenters. Such blogsites are consolidating their own polarised publics rather than deliberately engaging them in climate change science.

Volume 19 • Issue 02 • 2020

Oct 14, 2019 Practice Insight
Telling stories in science communication: case studies of scholar-practitioner collaboration

by Michelle Riedlinger, Luisa Massarani, Marina Joubert, Ayelet Baram-Tsabari, Marta Entradas and Jenni Metcalfe

Reflecting on the practice of storytelling, this practice insight explores how collaborations between scholars and practitioners can improve storytelling for science communication outcomes with publics. The case studies presented demonstrate the benefits of collaborative storytelling for inspiring publics, promoting understanding of science, and engaging publics more deliberatively in science. The projects show how collaboration between scholars and practitioners [in storytelling] can happen across a continuum of scholarship from evaluation and action research to more critical thinking perspectives. They also show how stories of possible futures and community efficacy can support greater engagement of publics in evidence-informed policymaking. Storytelling in collaborations between scholars and practitioners involves many activities: combining cultural and scientific understandings; making publics central to storytelling; equipping scientists to tell their own stories directly to publics; co-creating stories; and retelling collaborative success stories. Collaborative storytelling, as demonstrated in these case studies, may improve the efficacy of science communication practice as well as its scholarship.

Volume 18 • Issue 05 • 2019 • Special Issue: Stories in Science Communication, 2019

Oct 14, 2019 Editorial
Storytelling: the soul of science communication

by Marina Joubert, Lloyd Davis and Jenni Metcalfe

There is a renewed interest amongst science communication practitioners and scholars to explore the potential of storytelling in public communication of science, including to understand how science storytelling functions (or could fail) in different contexts. Drawing from storytelling as the core theme of the 2018 conference of the Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) Network, we present a selection of papers, essays and practice insights that offer diverse perspectives. Some contributions focus on the cultural and structural qualities of science stories and its key success factors, while others explore new formats, platforms and collaborators in science storytelling activities.

Volume 18 • Issue 05 • 2019 • Special Issue: Stories in Science Communication, 2019

Apr 23, 2018 Book Review
Discourse media analysis of risk and responsibility for environmental pollution

by Jenni Metcalfe

This book examines the media discourses about environmental pollution in Australia, China and Japan. The book's authors focus on the actors involved in discussions of risk versus those involved in responsibility for environmental pollution. The authors use novel and traditional means of analysis that combine techniques from a variety of disciplines to examine case studies of media discourse. The book provides an interesting, if at times simplistic, overview of the pollution issues facing each country. The conclusions made from the media analysis are relevant to those researching and practicing science communication in the context of such important environmental issues.

Volume 17 • Issue 02 • 2018

Jul 20, 2017 Article
The emergence of modern science communication in Australia

by Toss Gascoigne and Jenni Metcalfe

Modern science communication has emerged over the last 60 years as a field of study, a body of practice and a profession. This period has seen the birth of interactive science centres, the first university courses to teach the theory and practice of science communication, the first university departments conducting research into science communication, and a sharp growth in employment of science communicators by research institutions, universities, museums, science centres and industry. This chapter charts the emergence of modern science communication in Australia, against an international background.

Volume 16 • Issue 03 • 2017 • Special Issue: History of Science Communication, 2017