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Jun 14, 2019 Article
Between offensive and defensive mediatization. An exploration of mediatization strategies of German science-policy stakeholders

by Andreas Scheu

The study contributes to mediatization research. Mediatization is understood as a process during which individual and collective actors adapt towards the demands of publicity and public attention. The manuscript introduces a differentiation of mediatization strategies, ranging from defensive to offensive strategies. This conceptual differentiation is applied empirically regarding relevant stakeholders within the German science-policy constellation from politics, science, and science funding. Results are based on 35 in-depth interviews with decision makers. The results section deals with similarities and differences considering the mediatization of organizations, and introduces a typology of science-policy stakeholders based on the conceptual differentiation of mediatization strategies.

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

Jun 14, 2019 Editorial
‘Operator, please’ — Connecting truth and power at the science-policy interface

by Birte Faehnrich and Alexander Ruser

Today, science and politics are in a complex status of reciprocal dependency. Politics is dependent on scientific expertise in order to adequately address highly complex social problems, and science is fundamentally dependent on public funding and on political regulation. Taken together, the diverse interactions, interrelations and interdependencies of science and politics create a heterogenous and complex patchwork — namely, the science-policy interface. The societal relevance for phenomena such as scientific policy advice, science governance or (politically fostered) science communication have been amplified by the developments of digitalisation and now call for new approaches to clarify the ambiguous relationships within the science-policy interface. This special issue aims to provide a platform for researchers to address communication at the intersection of science and politics from different angles. The research presented in the special issue, thus, aims to reduce the contingency of science-policy communication in its various dimensions and looks to spur further investigations into the science-policy interface.

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

Jun 14, 2019 Article
The rise of skepticism in Spanish political and digital media contexts

by Lorena Cano-Orón, Isabel Mendoza and Carolina Moreno

Currently in Spain, there is a political and social debate over the use and sale of homeopathic products, which is promoted mainly by the skeptical movement. For the first time, this issue has become significant in political discourse. This study analyzes the role that homeopathy-related stories are playing in that political debate. We analyzed the viewpoints of headlines between 2015 and 2017 in eight digital dailies (n = 1,683), which published over 30 stories on homeopathy during the three-year study period. The results indicated that the stance on therapy's lack of scientific evidence gained ground during the period studied.

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

Feb 25, 2019 Article
Societal problem solver or deficient discipline? The debate about social science in the online public sphere

by Brigitte Huber, Irmgard Wetzstein and Ingrid Aichberger

This study uses the online discourse surrounding an Austrian publicly-funded study about “Islamic kindergartens” as a case study to approach communication about the social sciences in the online public sphere. Results from a discourse analysis of 937 user comments in online forums of two Austrian daily newspapers show that the social sciences are often referred to as a “special case”. While some use this argument to neglect its societal relevance, others use it to highlight its role as societal problem solver. Moreover, users discuss characteristics of “true” social scientists and scrutinise the independence of institutionalised social science.

Volume 18 • Issue 02 • 2019

Feb 18, 2019 Book Review
Research catches up with the unstoppable reality of science communication through online video

by Erik Stengler and Hannah Sherman

A timely arrival in the academic literature on science communication through online video, this book reports on the results of a major international project that has explored in depth this emerging field of research.

Volume 18 • Issue 02 • 2019

Nov 06, 2018 Book Review
Ethics and practice in science communication

by Clare Wilkinson

It can be argued that ethical considerations in science communication are a significantly overlooked area although these considerations are implicit in many ongoing academic debates within the field, and within the practical implications of work which is being both constructed and shared within the discipline. Priest, Goodwin and Dahlstrom's [2018] edited collection, ‘Ethics and Practice in Science Communication’, is therefore a significant step forwards in allowing for contemporary reflection on the ethical considerations currently influencing the field. In shining a light on some of the ethical questions currently concerning the field of science communication, this enjoyable and detailed selection of chapters draws together a number of key examples and authors, to begin to consider such ethical quandaries, as well as identifying spaces, which are primed for further ethical exploration in the future.

Volume 17 • Issue 04 • 2018

Aug 22, 2018 Conference Review
The land of rising science communication: the first Japan Scicom Forum

by Ayumi Koso and Amanda Alvarez

The first Japan Scicom Forum in Tokyo on April 20, 2018 gathered nearly 120 attendees to discuss the growing need and demand for English-language science communication in Japan and Asia. Keynotes and workshops addressed both the philosophy and motivations for scicomm in Japan and also the best practices for international outreach. Global science communication has reached a critical mass in Japan but securing sustainable funding, integrating the community and retaining momentum present ongoing challenges. As an online community and (hopefully) a recurring event, Japan Scicom Forum will foster a network of science communicators, professionalize and legitimize the field and boost English-language science communication in a country where it is still nascent.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Aug 06, 2018 Article
Science created by crowds: a case study of science crowdfunding in Japan

by Yuko Ikkatai, Euan McKay and Hiromi M. Yokoyama

“Science crowdfunding” is a research funding system in which members of the public make small financial contributions towards a research project via the Internet. We compared the more common research process involving public research funding with science crowdfunding. In the former, academic-peer communities review the research carried out whereas the Crowd Community, an aggregation of backers, carries out this function in the latter. In this paper, we propose that science crowdfunding can be successfully used to generate “crowd-supported science” by means of this Crowd Community.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Jul 09, 2018 Article
The story is that there is no story: media framing of synthetic biology and its ethical implications in the New York Times (2005–2015)

by Sara Giordano and Yi-Lin Chung

Despite low public knowledge of synthetic biology, it is the focus of prominent government and academic ethics debates. We examine the “NY Times” media coverage of synthetic biology. Our results suggest that the story about synthetic biology remains ambiguous. We found this in four areas — 1) on the question of whether the field raises ethical concerns, 2) on its relationship to genetic engineering, 3) on whether or not it threatens ‘nature’, and 4) on the temporality of these concerns. We suggest that this ambiguity creates conditions in which there becomes no reason for the public at large to become involved.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Jul 02, 2018 Article
What do people know about climate change ― and how confident are they? On measurements and analyses of science related knowledge

by Monika Taddicken, Anne Reif and Imke Hoppe

The measurement and analysis of people's knowledge on scientific topics, such as climate change, is challenging for researchers. One reason is that objectives are multi-dimensional and that probability is inherent. Moreover, uncertainties can exist on the individual's level among the public, but are rarely grasped by existing scales. Therefore, researchers must thoroughly consider what to measure and how. This paper theorizes five different dimensions of climate change knowledge. Three response scales including different degrees of confidence are applied on data from a German online survey (n=935); empirical results of multivariate regression analyses on attitudes are compared. Results highlight the importance of distinctively measuring dimensions and types of knowledge.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018