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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 08, 2021 Article
“Britain's rainforests”: engaging the public with brownfield sites for conservation in the U.K.

by Rosie McCallum and Ana Margarida Sardo

This small-scale study aims to understand what different environmental organisations are doing to engage people with brownfield sites in the U.K. Interviews with staff members from different environmental organisations found a wide range of initiatives to be in practice, including collaboration with other organisations and local schools and involving volunteer groups with maintenance of the sites. Working with volunteers and partner organisations and the management of sites were often identified as essential contributors to the success of projects. Interesting themes which arose, including the lack of demographic data and issues engaging with developers, could act as springboards for further studies.

Volume 20 • Issue 04 • 2021

May 10, 2021 Article
Reorienting science communication towards communities

by Lindy A. Orthia, Merryn McKinnon, John Noel Viana and Graham Walker

Communities are rarely seen as the ideal level at which to focus science communication efforts, compared to the individual, psychological or mass, societal levels. Yet evidence from allied fields suggests building interpersonal relationships with specific communities over time is key to meaningful engagement, so orienting science communication towards communities is warranted. In this paper, we argue this case. We review previous studies, identifying three existing models of community-oriented science communication, which we label ‘neighbourly’, ‘problem-solving’ and ‘brokering’. We illustrate the effectiveness of the ‘problem-solving’ approach and the desirable ideal of ‘brokering’ using recent examples of community-oriented science communication from Australia.

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

May 10, 2021 Article
Communicating astronomy with the public: perspectives of an international community of practice

by Sara Anjos, Pedro russo and Anabela Carvalho

Communities of practice in science communication can make important contributions to public engagement with science but are under-researched. In this article, we look at the perspectives of a community of practice in astronomy communication regarding (relations with) their public(s). Most participants in this study consider that public(s) have several deficits and vulnerabilities. Moreover, practitioners have little to no contact with (and therefore make no use of) academic research on science communication. We argue that collaboration between science communication researchers and practitioners could benefit the science-public relationship and that communities of practice may be critical to that purpose.

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

Feb 01, 2021 Commentary
Community engagement and co-creation of strategic health and environmental communication: collaborative storytelling and game-building

by Maria Elena Villar

From a strategic communication perspective, for any communication to be effective, it must be audience-centered, with content and delivery channels that are relevant to its intended target. When trying to reach culturally specific communities or other groups that are not otherwise connected with science research, it is crucial to partner with community members to co-create content through media that is appealing and culturally competent. This commentary considers some examples including storytelling through ‘fotonovelas’ and radio stories, community drama and serious games.

Volume 20 • Issue 01 • 2021

Feb 01, 2021 Commentary
STEMroller: smashing stereotypes

by Helen Bayram and Karen Ironside

STEMroller events disrupt stereotypes surrounding STEM professionals within a neglected space in science communication; a sports hall. Roller derby inspired STEMroller, both the do-it-yourself culture and creating a space for women and genderqueer people to be themselves. Over 100 female and non-binary STEM professionals volunteered to put this event together for students aged 11–19. STEMroller includes networking with people from over 30 science, technology engineering and mathematics industries, watching roller derby and trying it out — albeit in socks not on wheels. STEMroller uses a pool of engaged volunteers to create a unique and memorable event. Feedback after the event was hugely positive.

Volume 20 • Issue 01 • 2021

Nov 24, 2020 Commentary
‘Science for social revolution’: People’s Science Movements and democratizing science in India

by Venkateswaran T.V.

Often, new social movements engaged with science and society are characterised as contesting objectivity; the neutrality of modern science seeking to legitimise ‘lay perspectives’. It has been an article of faith among scholars to view third world movements as anti-science, anti-modernity and post-developmentalist. This commentary describes ideological framework, modes of action and organisation of the All India People’s Science Network (AIPSN), one of the People’s science movement (PSMs) active for more than the past four decades. They dispute the dominant development trajectory and science and technology-related policies for reinforcing the existing inequities. Nevertheless, they see ‘science’ as a powerful ally for realising their radical emancipatory vision of ‘science for social revolution’. Mobilising ‘science activists’ as unique alternate communicators, they strive for lay-expert collaboration. The canonical framing of third world social movements as postcolonial and anti-modern does not capture this unique case from India. Further studies are required to tease out such strands of social movements elsewhere.

Volume 19 • Issue 06 • 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Article
Science communication for the Deaf in the pandemic period: absences and pursuit of information

by Alexandre G. Silva, Tiago Batista, Felipe Giraud, Andrea Giraud, Flavio Eduardo Pinto-Silva, Julia Barral, Juan Nascimento Guimarães and Vívian rumjanek

COVID-19 pandemic hit Brazil in February 2020. Controversial information, minimization of the problem, and difficulties resulting from extreme social inequality, led to the intensification of the disease and number of deaths. During this period, the government failed to provide information to the Deaf minority that uses Brazilian Sign Language to communicate. This study analyzes information provided by a TV with accessibility, as well as a Facebook page created by Deaf and hearing interpreters, and videos posted on Instagram and YouTube for that community. The novelty of the subject required linguistic efforts so that information could be coherent in sign language.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020

Sep 01, 2020 Commentary
From actors to space, through processes: reflections from co-production and commoning

by Paola Alfaro - d'Alençon and Horacio Torrent

Under new state-led governance models, a new generation of city entrepreneurs seeks to define work and living environments to meet their needs and aspirations in a collaborative way. In this field, international discourses are debating private investors as key players in urban development and the simultaneous withdrawal/absence of the state. This has led to more complex networks of participating actors and conflictive urban development patterns. Strategies are needed to understand the influence of commons-based space production. From the research project DFG-KOPRO-Int, the Authors aim to define learnings from urban development and housing projects, involved actors, processes and material quality of the projects.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020