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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
Open infrastructure and community: the case of astronomy

by Niels Taubert

This comment focuses on an early case of an open infrastructure that emerged in the 1990s in international astronomy. It targets the reasons for this infrastructure's tremendous success and starts with a few comments on the term ‘digital infrastructure’. Subsequently, it provides a brief description of the most important components of the infrastructure in astronomy. In a third step, the use of one component — the arXiv, an open access repository for manuscripts — is analyzed. It concludes with some considerations about the success and acceptance of this infrastructure in astronomy.

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

Apr 04, 2018 Editorial
Branching out: new JCOM América Latina for dynamic science communication community

by Emma Weitkamp and Luisa Massarani

April marks a milestone in the history of JCOM, with the launch of new features for the International, English language journal alongside the launch of a sister journal, JCOM América Latina which will cater for the dynamic and fast growing Spanish and Portuguese speaking science communication community. Luisa Massarani, a long standing JCOM Editorial Board member, has led the development of JCOM América Latina and will act as the Editor for the new journal. JCOM and JCOM América Latina will work closely together, providing free, open access publishing for science communication research across the globe.

Volume 17 • Issue 02 • 2018

May 03, 2017 Article
Science communication as a field of research: identifying trends, challenges and gaps by analysing research papers

by Lars Guenther and Marina Joubert

Research in the field of science communication started emerging about 50 years ago and has since then matured as a field of academic enquiry. Early findings about research-active authors and countries reveal that scholarly activity in the field has traditionally been dominated by male authors from English-speaking countries in the West. The current study is a systematic, bibliographic analysis of a full sample of research papers that were published in the three most prominent journals in the field from 1979 to 2016. The findings reveal that early inequities remain prevalent, but also that there are indications that recent increases in research outputs and trends in authorship patterns ― for example the growth in female authorship ― are beginning to correct some of these imbalances. Furthermore, the current study verifies earlier indications that science communication research is becoming increasingly institutionalised and internationalised, as demonstrated by an upward trend in papers reflecting cross-institutional collaboration and the diversity of countries where authors are based.

Volume 16 • Issue 02 • 2017

Mar 28, 2017 Editorial
Considering the academy: academics, public intellectuals and activism

by Emma Weitkamp

Reflecting on the public role of academics, this issue of JCOM includes a set of commentaries exploring public intellectuals and intellectualism. The commentaries explore the role of academics in public debates, both as bringers of facts and passion. These pieces, together with past commentaries and letters to JCOM raise interesting questions about the role of academics in public debates that are, perhaps not those usually trodden in the academic literature.

Volume 16 • Issue 01 • 2017

Mar 28, 2017 Commentary
Science communication and the public intellectual: a view from philosophy

by Patrick Stokes

While science communication has become increasingly professionalised, philosophers have been far less active in, and reflective about, how we talk to the public. In thinking about the relationship between the ‘public intellectual’ and science communication, however,  philosophy has some important contributions to make, despite the differences of content and disciplinary approach. What, then, can both these professions learn from each other about how to engage with the public - and the risks that this might involve?

Volume 16 • Issue 01 • 2017

Nov 17, 2016 Article
Communicating science in English: a preliminary exploration into the professional self-perceptions of Australian scientists from language backgrounds other than English

by Adam Huttner-Koros and Sean Perera

Scientists for whom English is not their first language report disadvantages with academic communication internationally. This case study explores preliminary evidence from non-Anglophone scientists in an Australian research organisation, where English is the first language. While the authors identified similarities with previous research, they found that scientists from non-Anglophone language backgrounds are limited by more than their level of linguistic proficiency in English. Academic science communication may be underpinned by perceptions of identity that are defined by the Anglocentric hegemony in science, which dictates not only how academic science is communicated but also who can communicate it.

Volume 15 • Issue 06 • 2016

Jul 20, 2016 Book Review
The new divide: how a scientist-gone-filmmaker thinks Hollywood can save science

by Victoria Gant

BOOK: Olson, R. (2015). Houston, we have a narrative: Why science needs story. Chicago, U.S.A.: University of Chicago Press

Scientist-turned-filmmaker Randy Olson makes a bold claim: scientists cannot adequately explain their own work. He attributes all of the issues facing science communication today ― false positives, an uninterested public, and unapproved grant proposals ― to scientists' lack of narrative intuition. Rather than turn to the humanities for help, Olson suggests scientists learn from the true masters of storytelling ― Hollywood filmmakers. His latest book examines the age-old divide between science and the humanities, as well as the new adversarial relationship between science and film, which he says can save science.

Volume 15 • Issue 05 • 2016

Jun 22, 2016 Editorial
Five years of JCOM ― inclusive, comprehensive or could we do better?

by Emma Weitkamp

Looking back over the past 5 years of articles published in JCOM, this editorial looks at the topics covered and the geographies represented and asks: are we tackling all main contemporary issues in science communication/popularisation or public engagement? It invites you to contribute with your papers, letters, essays and news to help address the holes in our coverage and to enter into dialogue on our Facebook page.

Volume 15 • Issue 04 • 2016