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May 10, 2021 Article
Bringing back the debate on mediated and unmediated science communication: the public's perspective

by Ana Delicado, Jussara Rowland and João Estevens

When analysing the actors of the science communication ecosystem, scholarly research has focused on the perceptions and attitudes of scientists, science journalists, and science communicators. How the public envisages the roles of science producers and mediators is mostly uncharted territory. We address this gap, by examining the results of a public consultation in Portugal concerning science communication. We show that the public demonstrates a clear preference for science communication performed by scientists, over journalists, although credibility and trust depend on multiple factors. We also ascertain that professional science communicators are mostly invisible, though the public recognises the value of `translators'.

Volume 20 • Issue 03 • 2021 • Special Issue: Re-examining Science Communication: models, perspectives, institutions, 2021

Nov 17, 2014 Article
The Holy Grail of energy? A content and thematic analysis of the presentation of nuclear fusion on the Internet

by Christian Oltra, Ana Delicado, Ana Prades, Sergio Pereira and Luisa Schmidt

The Internet is increasingly considered as a legitimate source of information on scientific and technological topics. Lay individuals are increasingly using Internet sources to find information about new technological developments, but scientific communities might have a limited understanding of the nature of this content. In this paper we examine the nature of the content of information about fusion energy on the Internet. By means of a content and thematic analysis of a sample of English-, Spanish- and Portuguese-language web documents, we analyze the structural characteristics of the webs, characterize the presentation of nuclear fusion, and study the associations to nuclear fission and the main benefits and risks associated to fusion technologies in the Web. Our findings indicate that the information about fusion on the Internet is produced by a variety of actors (including private users via blogs), that almost half of the sample provided relevant technical information about nuclear fusion, that the majority of the web documents provided a positive portrayal of fusion energy (as a clean, safe and powerful energy technology), and that nuclear fusion was generally presented as a potential solution to world energy problems, as a key scientific challenge and as a superior alternative to nuclear fission. We discuss the results in terms of the role of Internet in science communication.

Volume 13 • Issue 04 • 2014