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Filter by keyword: Science and policy-making

Publications including this keyword are listed below.

Feb 12, 2024 Essay
Polio vaccine misinformation on social media: challenges, efforts, and recommendations

by Muhammad Ittefaq, Shafiq Ahmad Kamboh, Carina M. Zelaya and Rauf Arif

On April 22, 2019, false rumors regarding the side effects of the polio vaccine quickly spread across various social media platforms, including Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), WhatsApp, and YouTube. This rapid spread of misinformation had a detrimental impact on Pakistan's efforts to eradicate polio. This essay sheds lights on two critical aspects related to polio vaccine misinformation on social media in Pakistan. First, it examines the current state of polio vaccine misinformation on social media and finds it a significant threat to public health, resulting in vaccine refusals, erosion of trust in public health institutions, distrust in science, and providing opportunities for anti-vaccination groups and individual advocates to target healthcare workers involved in polio eradication efforts nationwide. Second, it highlights the collaborative initiatives undertaken by relevant government institutions and social media companies, which have proven inadequate in effectively addressing the persistent dissemination of mis/disinformation, particularly on Facebook. Lastly, we suggest Pakistan should adopt a more inclusive approach of engaging all stakeholders, promote independent fact-checking initiatives, and increase health literacy among the target population about the risks and benefits associated with the polio vaccine.

Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2024

Nov 20, 2023 Article
Found a fossil: improving awareness, engagement, and communication strategies for heritage discoveries

by Sally Hurst, Matthew Kosnik, Linda Evans and Glenn A. Brock

Fossils and Indigenous artefacts are often found by members of the general public. To gauge Australian awareness of heritage laws and willingness to report finds, the Found a Fossil project conducted a survey to understand barriers to reporting heritage material. Results showed enthusiasm to report but confusion over appropriate authorities to contact, lack of transparency by government, and poorly communicated legislation created barriers to heritage reporting. This project represents the first attempt to quantify reporting behaviours of Indigenous artefacts and fossils in Australia and recommends improvements for reporting, protection and communication of Australian heritage items and their historical narratives.

Volume 22 • Issue 05 • 2023

Jun 20, 2023 Essay
Designing (the) politics of participation in science

by Adalberto Fernandes

Living Labs foster participatory prototyping and technology testing in “real-life” situations. The literature exhibits a weak approach to Living Labs’ power relations. It is crucial to understand the visual apparatus employed by Living Labs because they model power relations inherent to participation, especially when commercial interests are involved. Some Living Labs’ visual models display indifference towards power imbalances and unquestioned faith in progress, diminishing the space for divergent positions. Living Labs are just the newest manifestation of the fundamental challenges of making ethical participation and technological innovation compatible, given that increased participation may not translate necessarily into novelty.

Volume 22 • Issue 03 • 2023 • Special Issue: Living labs under construction: paradigms, practices, and perspectives of public science communication and participatory science

Jun 12, 2023 Conference Review
Hindsight, Insight, Foresight: Australian Science Communicators (ASC) Conference 2023

by Lisa Bailey and Heather J. Bray

The recent conference of the Australian Science Communicators (ASC) association (15–17 February 2023) held in Canberra was an opportunity for the 140 delegates to reflect on a decade of the national strategy for public engagement with the sciences, “Inspiring Australia”, and consider the future role for science communicators in the Australian science and research landscape. The conference was the first in-person conference since the COVID-19 pandemic, and other discussions focused on the role of AI in science communication and the importance of networks.

Volume 22 • Issue 02 • 2023

Jan 30, 2023 Book Review
Handy guide and passionate call to engage

by Cissi Askwall

Andrew J. Hoffman, Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, has written “The Engaged Scholar — Expanding the Impact of Academic Research in Today's World” (2021 Stanford University Press). According to the author, most researchers want to make a difference, but academic institutions often do not value public engagement, leading to disengaged scientists. Hoffman gives and reexamines arguments for why scholars should engage with other parts of society. He conveys several tips on how to do it and encourages researchers to take part in public debate. The limitations of the current evaluation system are also scrutinized, and new measures of impact discussed. The book is worth reading for academic leaders and researchers, as well as science communicators and science journalists.

Volume 22 • Issue 01 • 2023

Aug 08, 2022 Conference Review
‘‘The future is now’’ — a European perspective on the future of science communication

by Erinma Ochu, Pedro russo and Ionica Smeets

The Future of SciComm 2.0 conference was a one-day event in Brussels on April 26th 2022. Focusing on the future of European science communication, sixty participants from twelve countries with different expertise discussed the current challenges and possible solutions for the field. Key themes centred around disinformation, communicating global challenges, evidence-based practices and institutional structures woven through the plenary opening, afternoon workshops and the closing public panel discussion. The conclusion is a need for an European science communication ecosystem that is transdisciplinary, connected and cooperative in practice, weaving between policy, research and industry. Finally, citizen science and open science could be included as scholarly praxes to facilitate societal interconnectivity.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022

Jun 10, 2022 Article
Levelling the playing field: lessons from sport on re-framing science engagement as a benefit to the individual

by Lindsay Keith and Gary Kerr

The workforces of the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) industries suffer from skills gaps and lack diversity. Science engagement activities often try to solve these problems through targeting audiences under-represented in the STEM workforces. There is limited data, however, to suggest that these engagement efforts are successful in translating into more diverse workforces. We draw upon Unicef’s ‘Sport for Development’ model and propose a new conceptual framework: ‘Science Engagement for Good’. This frames science engagement activities around the benefits to individuals, families and communities, rather than the benefits to STEM industries, the economy or society at large.

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

Mar 28, 2022 Essay
Participatory science communication for transformation in Colombia

by Mabel Ayure and Ricardo Triana

This essay approaches the question: ‘What does participatory science communication for transformation mean in Colombia?’ The answer comes from an examination of the public policy instruments that have promoted participatory scientific communication through the concept of social appropriation of science, technology, and innovation (STI). In the gaze of these public policy instruments, it is evident how the social appropriation of STI has been intended as a means of transformation.

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

Nov 15, 2021 Article
Follow the scientists? How beliefs about the practice of science shaped COVID-19 views

by Thomas G. Safford, Emily H. Whitmore and Lawrence C. Hamilton

“Follow the science” became the mantra for responding to COVID-19 pandemic. However, for the public this also meant “follow the scientists”, and this led to uneasiness as some viewed scientists as not credible. We investigate how beliefs about the way scientists develop their findings affect pandemic-related views. Our analysis shows that beliefs about scientists' objectivity predict views regrading coronavirus-related risks, behavioral changes, and policy priorities. While political party identity also predicts views about COVID-19-related concerns, these vary by political leaders whose approaches embraced versus dismissed science-based strategies, highlighting the importance of perceptions of scientists in shaping pandemic-related attitudes and beliefs.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Sep 29, 2021 Article
Understanding knowledge and perceptions of genome editing technologies: a textual analysis of major agricultural stakeholder groups

by Matthew Robbins, Christopher Calabrese, Jieyu Ding Featherstone and George A. Barnett

The promise of CRISPR-Cas9 (CRISPR) genomic editing applied to agriculture is promoted widely by scientists. We utilized textual analysis methods to compare perceptions of this innovation held by various stakeholder groups — scientists, policymakers, farmers, and the general public. Results reveal distinctions in the semantic structure and concepts emphasized across groups. Scientists and policymakers exhibited a high level of technical sophistication while emphasizing the potential societal benefits, while farmers and the general public focused on perceived personal benefits and familiarity with the issue. These results will aid development of message strategies bridging the gap between the scientific community and key publics.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021