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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)

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)

Jan 17, 2022 Article
Participation brokers in the making: intermediaries taking up and embedding a new role at the science-society interface

by Jantien W. Schuijer, Marjoleine G. van der Meij, J. E. W. Broerse and J. F. H. Kupper

Although research has been performed on participatory mechanisms in science and technology such as brokering, little seems written on intermediary organizations, e.g. science museums, taking up and embedding a participation brokerage role and systemic factors influencing these. This paper presents a qualitative case study in which six different intermediary organizations developed their participation brokerage role in a European RRI project. We demonstrate how structuring factors in the project context, the intermediary organization and the broader systemic context influenced the participation brokerage role take-up and embedding. Our findings yield implications for future capacity building endeavors among participation brokers in the making.

Volume 21 • Issue 01 • 2022

Oct 11, 2021 Article
Investigating the process of ethical approval in citizen science research: the case of Public Health

by Antonella Ficorilli, Giovanni Maccani, Mara Balestrini, Annibale Biggeri, Bruna De Marchi, Frederique E. M. Froeling, Florence Gignac, Regina Grazuleviciene, Gerard Hoek, Tjaša Kanduč, David Kocman, Valeria Righi and Xavier Basagana

Undertaking citizen science research in Public Health involving human subjects poses significant challenges concerning the traditional process of ethical approval. It requires an extension of the ethics of protection of research subjects in order to include the empowerment of citizens as citizen scientists. This paper investigates these challenges and illustrates the ethical framework and the strategies developed within the CitieS-Health project. It also proposes first recommendations generated from the experiences of five citizen science pilot studies in environmental epidemiology within this project.

Volume 20 • Issue 06 • 2021 • Special Issue: Third International ECSA Conference, Trieste 2020

Sep 27, 2021 Essay
Co-created citizen science: challenging cultures and practice in scientific research

by Jade Gunnell, Yaela Golumbic, Tess Hayes and Michelle Cooper

Co-created citizen science offers practical tools for implementing science communication theories by increasing public participation in scientific research, empowering communities and advancing situated scientific knowledge. However, delivering such an approach presents a number of key challenges around funding, fostering working partnerships between scientists and citizens and ensuring all stakeholders receive sufficient benefits from the process. In this essay we draw from science communication and citizen science literature to describe these challenges and discuss the opportunities that will enable co-created practices to prosper.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Aug 16, 2021 Article
Citizen-driven participatory research conducted through knowledge intermediary units. A thematic synthesis of the literature on “Science Shops”

by Anne-Sophie Gresle, Eduardo Urias, Rosario Scandurra, Bálint Balázs, Irene Jimeno, Leonardo de la Torre Ávila and Maria Jesus Pinazo

A Science Shop acts as a mission-oriented intermediary unit between the scientific sphere and civil society organizations. It seeks to facilitate citizen-driven open science projects that respond to the needs of civil society organizations and which, typically, include students in the work process. We performed a thematic analysis of a systematically selected literature on Science Shops to understand how the scientific literature reflects the historical evolution of Science Shops in different settings and what factors the literature associates with the rise and fall of the Science Shop. We used the PRISMA methodology to search for scientific papers in indexed journals in eight databases published in English, French and Spanish, and employed the thematic theory approach to extract and systematize our results. Twenty-six scientific articles met the inclusion criteria. We identified three meta-categories and ten sub-topics which can serve as key pointers to guide the set-up and future work of Science Shops. Our results identify a major paradox: Science Shops incorporate public values in their scientific agendas but have difficulties sustaining themselves institutionally as they do not fit the current dominant research paradigm. Science shops represent a persuasive complementary approach to the way science is defined, executed and produced today.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Jul 01, 2021 Article
Characteristics of Spanish citizen participation practices in science

by Carolina Llorente, Gema Revuelta and Mar Carrió

A new regime of science production is emerging from the involvement of non-scientists. The present study aims to improve understanding of this phenomenon with an analysis of 16 interviews with Spanish coordinators of participatory science practices. The results indicate a majority of strategic and captive publics and point to communication as a key tool for the development of successful practices. Five key elements of the degree of integration required to develop a citizen participation in science practice were analysed: derived outputs, level of participant contribution, participation assessment, practice replicability, and participant and facilitator training. Proposals for strategies to remove barriers to citizen participation are the study's principal contribution.

Volume 20 • Issue 04 • 2021

Apr 06, 2021 Article
Science in the media: the scientific community's perception of the COVID-19 media coverage in Spain

by Javier de Sola

The COVID-19 pandemic was the most prominent feature in the media in 2020. This research analyzes the scientific community's perception of the journalistic coverage of the pandemic in the Spanish media. Based on a survey with the participation of 818 respondents, the study revealed that scientists believe that radio did the best job in reporting the pandemic, whereas television did the worst. Among our findings, it is worthwhile to mention that — according to scientists — the media used sensationalistic tones and reports were not particularly accurate nor realistic. Finally, we included the scientific community's recommendations to treat the subject more appropriately.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Nov 24, 2020 Commentary
Socioenvironmental activism and emerging science communicators in Mexico

by Susana Herrera-Lima

Activists, social organizations and members of citizen collectives in Mexico and Latin America have assumed not only the fight for water and territory, but also the difficult task of interacting with experts in different scientific fields, and the challenge of placing their causes in the public space. They take the role of cultural mediators between affected people, scientists and politicians within hybrid transdisciplinary working groups. Within the framework of these groups' actions, a new current of communication of science has emerged, one that shifts its interest from encouraging involvement with scientific knowledge for its own sake, to untangling, understanding and communicating socio-environmental issues for the explicit purpose of contributing to social transformation.

Volume 19 • Issue 06 • 2020

Nov 24, 2020 Commentary
Activists as “alternative” science communicators — Exploring the facets of science communication in societal contexts

by Birte Faehnrich, Michelle Riedlinger and Emma Weitkamp

For many decades, NGOs and social movements have acted as “alternative” science communicators. They have made strategic use of science to promote their ideological stances, to influence political and/or economic decision-making and to motivate civic action. To date, however, our understanding of science communication in activism has received little critical attention. This set of commentaries acts as a starting point for further research and reflection. The different cases and perspectives urge readers to consider the impact, democratic legitimacy, and relevance of alternative science communication, and the challenges that alternative science communicators pose for science communication and society.

Volume 19 • Issue 06 • 2020