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Sep 07, 2020 Article
Operationalizing science literacy: an experimental analysis of measurement

by Meaghan McKasy, Michael Cacciatore, Leona Yi-Fan Su, Sara K. Yeo and Liane Oneill

Inequalities in scientific knowledge are the subject of increasing attention, so how factual science knowledge is measured, and any inconsistencies in said measurement, is extremely relevant to the field of science communication. Different operationalizations of factual science knowledge are used interchangeably in research, potentially resulting in artificially comparable knowledge levels among respondents. Here, we present data from an experiment embedded in an online survey conducted in the United States (N = 1,530) that examined the distribution of factual science knowledge responses on a 3- vs. 5-point response scale. Though the scale did not impact a summative knowledge index, significant differences emerged when knowledge items were analyzed individually or grouped based on whether the correct response was “true” or “false.” Our findings emphasize the necessity for communicators to consider the goals of knowledge assessment when making operationalization decisions.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Sep 01, 2020 Commentary
Disentangling the different layers of interdisciplinarity

by Renate Klaassen

Interdisciplinarity for complex problem solving is a rising phenomenon. Each self-respecting university is trying to realise different programmes and approaches to interdisciplinary teaching and research. The debate on what interdisciplinarity is, how it may work as a substantial part of a university, which barriers are encountered to realising interdisciplinary teaching and research and what the added value is, is addressed in this paper from a social science perspective. Based on the attendance of a conference at the Volkswagenstiftung organised by the Humboldt University of Berlin, different scholarly viewpoints and examples are explored on Interdisciplinary teaching and (researching). Collaborations across the at-times-fragmented subfields of research and education ultimately yield insightful, informative, and even educational experience that creates space for mutual understanding and new ways of thinking about seemingly-established approaches to knowledge-building and communication.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Jun 16, 2020 Commentary
The Australian Science Communicators conference 2020

by Linden Ashcroft, Mia Cobb, Lisa Bailey, Jenny Martin and Scott Daniel

This special issue of JCOM features six commentary articles from the research stream of the Australian Science Communicators conference, held in February 2020. These opportunistic assessments and deliberate analyses explore important themes of trust, engagement, and communication strategy across a diverse range of scientific contexts. Together, they demonstrate the importance of opportunities to come together and share the research that underpins our practice. The conference and these commentaries enable us to engage in professional development during these exceptional times when successful evidence-based science communication is of critical significance.

Volume 19 • Issue 03 • 2020

Jun 16, 2020 Commentary
Are we Foot and Mouth Disease ready?

by Jennifer Manyweathers, Marta Hernandez-Jover, Lynne Hayes, Barton Loechel, Jennifer Kelly, Simone Felton, Marwan El Hassan, Rob Woodgate and Yiheyis Maru

A transdisciplinary pilot study with Australia's livestock industries is bringing multiple stakeholders together as equal partners, to examine the complex problems around animal disease management. These problems include disease surveillance and on-farm biosecurity practices. The pilot groups are established in industries susceptible to foot and mouth disease, namely dairy and beef cattle, pork, sheep and goats. The Agricultural Innovation Systems framework is being evaluated to determine its effectiveness as a tool to improve partnerships between stakeholders. These stakeholders include livestock producers (farmers), private and government veterinarians, local council representatives, and industry personal including from saleyards and abattoirs. Stimulation of innovative solutions to issues arising from conflicting priorities and limited resources around animal disease management are also expected. Using a participatory communication approach, the impact of the pilot on trust and relationships is being evaluated. The sustainability of the Agricultural Innovation Systems approach to address complex issues around animal health management is also being assessed. The aim of the study is to strengthen Australia's preparedness for an emergency animal disease outbreak, such as Foot and Mouth Disease.

Volume 19 • Issue 03 • 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

Jun 14, 2019 Article
The possibilities of Open Science for knowledge transfer in the science-policy interface

by Arko Olesk, Esta Kaal and Kristel Toom

This paper explores the possible role of Open Science in the knowledge transfer between research and policy, focusing on its potential use by scientific councillors at Estonian ministries. Qualitative interviews with scientific councillors show that they perceive their role as intermediaries between research and policy and focus their work on improving the quality of research commissioned by their ministry. This process, for them, involves using existing academic articles and datasets to which, however, they lack official access. We show that Open Science can contribute to knowledge transfer if there are knowledge brokers in public sector organizations.

Volume 18 • Issue 03 • 2019 • Special Issue: Communication at the Intersection of Science and Politics, 2019

Sep 26, 2018 Letter
Peer-reviewed publishing of results from Citizen Science projects

by Gabriele Gadermaier, Daniel Dörler, Florian Heigl, Stefan Mayr, Johannes Rüdisser, Robert Brodschneider and Christine Marizzi

Citizen science (CS) terms the active participation of the general public in scientific research activities. With increasing amounts of information generated by citizen scientists, best practices to go beyond science communication and publish these findings to the scientific community are needed. This letter is a synopsis of authors' personal experiences when publishing results from citizen science projects in peer-reviewed journals, as presented at the Austrian Citizen Science Conference 2018. Here, we address authors' selection criteria for publishing CS data in open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journals as well as barriers encountered during the publishing process. We also outline factors that influence the probability of publication using CS data, including 1) funding to cover publication costs; 2) quality, quantity and scientific novelty of CS data; 3) recommendations to acknowledge contributions of citizen scientists in scientific, peer-reviewed publications; 4) citizen scientists' preference of the hands-on experience over the product (publication) and 5) bias among scientists for certain data sources and the scientific jargon. These experiences show that addressing these barriers could greatly increase the rate of CS data included in scientific publications.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Sep 10, 2018 Article
Structure and development of science communication research: co-citation analysis of a developing field

by Adrian Rauchfleisch and Mike S. Schäfer

Since the early 1990s, there has been a considerable increase in the number of scientific studies on science communication, and this increase has been accompanied by a diversification of the research field. This study focuses on one aspect of this development: it analyses how citation network structures within the field have developed over time, and whether science communication research shows signs of becoming a research field or a discipline in its own right. Employing a co-citation analysis of scholarly publications published between 1996 and 2015, it assesses to what extent a coherent communication network exists within science communication research. The results show a field with a diverse internal structure and clear internal changes over time which suggest an increasing emancipation of the field.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Apr 17, 2018 Commentary
Lots of data, lots of hurdles: aggregating usage information from distributed Open Access repositories

by Ulrich Herb

This article reflects the results of the project “Open Access Statistics”, which was designed to collect standardized usage figures for scientific documents. The data gathered were primarily intended to provide impact values based on document usage for Open Access documents as these were excluded from databases used to provide citation based impact scores. The project also planned the implementation of more sophisticated procedures such as network analyses, but was confronted with complex legal requirements.

Volume 17 • Issue 02 • 2018

Apr 17, 2018 Commentary
Introduction to “Specialised portals, online information services, scholarly online networks: the impact of e-infrastructures on science communication and scholarly community building”

by Dirk Hommrich

While most researchers still primarily use emails and simple websites for professional communication, the number of specialised online portals, information services and scholarly social online networks is constantly growing. This development led to the 6th workshop organized by the team of openTA, an online portal for technology assessment. This issue of JCOM pools commentaries on the workshop which deal with questions such as: what are the criteria of successful digital infrastructures? Which potential for changing workflows or scholarly interaction and collaboration patterns do we ascribe to digital infrastructures?

Volume 17 • Issue 02 • 2018