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Aug 21, 2023 Essay
Looking back to launch forward: a self-reflexive approach to decolonising science education and communication in Africa

by Temilade Sesan and Ayodele Ibiyemi

The imbalance in the global scientific landscape resulting from the enduring legacy of colonialism in the south and the hegemony of scientific paradigms originating in the north is immense. Our paper makes a case for employing traditional knowledge systems and paradigms as tools for redressing this imbalance in African societies. To achieve this goal, the paper argues, scholars and science communicators must actively pursue a radical, “power-literate” agenda of scientific decolonisation on the continent. Central to this mission is the need for scholars to be equipped with a keen sense of the past — including an understanding of what worked for knowledge production and perpetuation in pre-colonial African societies — without which science education and communication in those societies will remain untethered from the realities of the present and their visions for the future. Concurrently, attention must be given to nurturing home-grown paradigms and platforms for research in higher education that are rigorous yet unencumbered by the age-long tendency to refract African experiences through northern lenses.

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Aug 07, 2023 Article
"It's my job": a qualitative study of the mediatization of science within the scientist-journalist relationship

by Laura L. Moorhead, Alice Fleerackers and Lauren Maggio

Through 19 interviews with scientists, this study examines scientists' use of media logic and their relationships with journalists using research as the focal point. The authors identified that the scientists shared a basic understanding of media logic classified in three patterns. Two patterns were previously identified by Olesk: 1) adaption (ability to explain research in a simple, engaging fashion but with a reactive approach to journalist interaction) and 2) adoption (proactively create and manage media interactions for strategic aims through a more active use of media logic). The other emerged as a new, third pattern, affiliation (enthusiastic contributors to journalists' production practices and desire to engage in public outreach).

Volume 22 • Issue 04 • 2023

Jun 10, 2022 Commentary
Developing open, reflexive and socially responsible science communication research and practice

by Eric A. Jensen

There are many different pathways into science communication practice and research. But rarely do these pathways require critical reflection on what it means to be a ‘responsible’ science communicator or researcher. The need for this kind of critical reflection is increasingly salient in a world marked by the wilful disregard of evidence in many high-profile contexts, including politics and, most recently, public health. Responsible science communicators and researchers are audience- and impact-focused, beginning their decision-making process by considering their audiences’ starting positions, needs and values. This article outlines some key considerations for developing socially responsibility for science communication as a field both in terms of practice and research.

Volume 21 • Issue 04 • 2022 • Special Issue: Responsible science communication across the globe

Apr 11, 2022 Editorial
Welcome message from the new editorial duo

by Michelle Riedlinger and Marina Joubert

In this editorial, we reflect on our new roles as Editor-in-Chief and Deputy Editor of JCOM. We acknowledge the work of previous editors of JCOM, the Editorial Office and the wider JCOM community who have contributed to the success of the journal. We introduce the new Editorial Board and future directions for the journal, and we encourage suggestions from authors, reviewers and readers for taking the journal forward.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

Mar 28, 2022 Article
Practicing engaged research through pandemic times: do not feed the animals?

by Virginia Thomas and Angela Cassidy

From ‘Feed the Birds’ to ‘Do Not Feed the Animals’ takes an engaged approach in which science communication is both process and outcome of the research. The project started in the UK in March 2020, coinciding with government-imposed lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; since the project’s engagement had been designed around in-person interactions, a rapid and creative rethink was needed. This paper outlines the redesign of the project and describes a hybrid model of on-line and in-person engagement, integrating new skills and technologies which the pandemic catalysed, with well-established in-person practice in science communication. Our research develops good practice for online, participatory science communication, and supports the advancement of engaged research more widely.

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

Jan 13, 2022 Editorial
New year, new editorial team

by Emma Weitkamp

In this Editorial, I reflect on my time as Editor in Chief of JCOM and thank the community of scholars and practitioners who have helped to ensure the success of JCOM by generously contributing their time as reviewers, as well as authors and readers. This community has made my time as Editor in Chief rewarding and informative, as I have learned more and more about our diverse field. I am sure that JCOM will continue to grow and develop under the directorship of Michelle Riedlinger and Marina Joubert.

Volume 21 • Issue 01 • 2022

Nov 08, 2021 Practice Insight
Boundary spanners and thinking partners: adapting and expanding the research-practice partnership literature for public engagement with science (PES)

by Karen Peterman, Sarah Garlick, John Besley, Sue Allen, Kathy Fallon Lambert, Nalini M. Nadkarni, Mark S. Rosin, Caitlin Weber, Marissa Weiss and Jen Wong

This paper is the culmination of several meaning-making activities between an external researcher, PES practitioners, and social scientist researchers who considered the unique contributions that can be made through RPPs on PES (that is, research-practice partnerships on public engagement with science). Based on the experiences from three RPP projects, the group noted that the PES context may be particularly suited to RPPs, and identified the importance of working as thinking-partners who support reciprocal decision-making. Recommendations are made in support of using these approaches to advance practical knowledge-building and reduce shared frustrations about the disconnect between research and practice in PES.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Oct 25, 2021 Article
“Science Festival” may not mean what we think it means: an analysis of how researchers and practitioners use this term

by J. Ross Ramsey and Todd Boyette

The modern science festival movement has grown significantly since the Edinburgh International Science Festival launched in 1989. Hundreds of science festivals now occur annually and vary widely. This article examines how the term “science festival” is used within research and practice. We find that most research articles fail to describe the science festivals they study. A subsequent analysis of festival websites and other publicly available information confirms the wide variability of science festival formats, which suggests the need for descriptive information about science festivals in scholarly work.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

May 10, 2021 Essay
Conceptualizing science communication in flux — a framework for analyzing science communication in a digital media environment

by Birte Faehnrich

The pace and scope of digital transformation has brought about fundamental changes to science communication. These changes have so far hardly been reflected in the underlying concepts of science communication as field of research and practice. Against this backdrop, this paper asks how science communication can be conceptualized in response to fundamental societal changes brought about by digital transformation. In response to this question, this paper builds on the results of a Delphi study with 31 outstanding international science communication scholars. It presents a shared approach that conceptualizes online science communication broadly and tackles different points of view by identifying specific characteristics that enable the distinction of different settings of science communication. It is argued that such an approach should be more appropriate for a contemporary analysis of science communication and also helpful for professional communicators and policymakers to understand the interactions of science and society in the context of the digital media landscape.

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

Dec 14, 2020 Practice Insight
Manga-based risk communication for the COVID-19 pandemic: a case study of storytelling that incorporates a cultural context

by Yasumasa Igarashi, Nozomi Mizushima and Hiromi M. Yokoyama

This article is about manga-based messaging for risk communication on COVID-19, describing the practice of collaboration between a group of experts and a popular manga artist. Collaborative storytelling through popular manga provides an effective discussion platform for diverse experts in various specialties, ages, and genders to discuss a topic in a short time. These “stories” can integrate social meaning, legitimacy, and a local context into scientific messages. They also provide the public with a deeper understanding of the messages through the characters and their “real-life” situations, as long as the messages remain consistent with the worldview of the original work.

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