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Jul 05, 2021 Article
Exploring the use of positive humour as a tool in science communication: do science and non-science undergraduates differ in their receptiveness to humour in popular science articles?

by Alfred Chan and Chammika Udalagama

This study aims to test for differences in the receptiveness of science and non-science undergraduates to positive, non-aggressive humour being used in a science article, as an exploration into the utilization of such humour as a tool for more engaging science communication. The majority of the 76 respondents to an online survey were generally receptive to such use, with some differences between the two groups. It was also noted that a receptiveness to such humour may not necessarily be associated with a receptiveness to its actual use in science articles.

Volume 20 • Issue 04 • 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

Jun 21, 2021 Article
Providing health information via Twitter: professional background and message style influence source trustworthiness, message credibility and behavioral intentions

by Lars König and Priska Breves

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the global community, politicians as well as scientists increasingly turn to Twitter to share urgent health information using various message styles. The results of our 2x2 between-subject experiment show that if a Tweet is written in lower-case letters, participants perceive the information source as more trustworthy. Furthermore, the information is perceived as more credible, and people are more willing to read the health information and share it via social media. Furthermore, scientists are perceived as possessing more expertise than politicians. However, politicians are perceived as possessing more integrity and benevolence than scientists.

Volume 20 • Issue 04 • 2021

Jun 14, 2021 Article
Step by step towards citizen science — deconstructing youth participation in BioBlitzes

by Julia Lorke, Heidi L. Ballard, Annie E. Miller, Rebecca D. Swanson, Sasha Pratt-Taweh, Jessie N. Jennewein, Lila Higgins, Rebecca F. Johnson, Alison N. Young, Maryam Ghadiri Khanaposhtani and Lucy D. Robinson

BioBlitzes, typically one-day citizen science (CS) events, provide opportunities for the public to participate in data collection for research and conservation, potentially promoting deeper engagement with science. We observed 81 youth at 15 BioBlitzes in the U.S. and U.K., identifying five steps participants use to create a biological record (Exploring, Observing, Identifying, Documenting and Recording). We found 67 youth engaged in at least one of the steps, but seldom in all, with rare participation in Recording which is crucial for contributing data to CS. These findings suggest BioBlitzes should reduce barriers to Recording for youth to increase engagement with science.

Volume 20 • Issue 04 • 2021

Jun 07, 2021 Article
Undifferentiated optimism and scandalized accidents: the media coverage of autonomous driving in Germany

by Lena Jelinski, Katrin Etzrodt and Sven Engesser

When, to what extent and under what conditions autonomous driving will become common practice depends not only on the level of technical development but also on social acceptance. Therefore, the rapid development of autonomous driving systems raises the question of how the public perceives this technology. As the mass media are regarded as the main source of information for the lay audience, the news coverage is assumed to affect public opinion. The mass media are also frequently criticized for their inaccurate and biased news coverage. Against this backdrop, we conducted a content analysis of the news coverage of autonomous driving in five leading German newspapers. Findings show that media reporting on autonomous driving is not very detailed. They also indicate a slight positive bias in the balance of arguments and tonality. However, as soon as an accident involving an autonomous vehicle occurs, the frequency of reporting, as well as the extent of negativity and detail increase. We conclude that well-informed public opinion requires more differentiated reporting — irrespective of accidents.

Volume 20 • Issue 04 • 2021

May 26, 2021 Article
Learning without seeking?: Incidental exposure to science news on social media & knowledge of gene editing

by Joshua T. L. Anderson, Emily Howell, Michael A. Xenos, Dietram A. Scheufele and Dominique Brossard

Little is known about how incidental exposure to news, interpersonal discussion, and the diversity of social networks interact in social media environments and for science-related issues. Using a U.S. nationally representative survey, we investigate how these features relate to factual knowledge of gene editing. Incidental exposure to science-related news interacts with interpersonal discussion and network heterogeneity and reveals that the relationship between incidental exposure to news and knowledge is strongest among those who discuss the least. Incidental exposure could alleviate knowledge gaps between the Facebook users who are the most and least involved in interpersonal discussions about science.

Volume 20 • Issue 04 • 2021

May 10, 2021 Article
The landscape of European science communication

by Sarah Rachael Davies, Suzanne Franks, Joseph Roche, Ana Lucia Schmidt, Rebecca Wells and Fabiana Zollo

European science communication project QUEST surveyed and reviewed different aspects of European science communication, including science journalism, teaching and training in science communication, social media activity, and science in museums. This article draws together themes that collectively emerge from this research to present an overview of key issues in science communication across Europe. We discuss four central dynamics — fragmentation within research and practice; a landscape in transition; the importance of format and context; and the dominance of critical and dialogic approaches as best practice — and illustrate these with empirical material from across our datasets. In closing we reflect upon the implications of this summary of European science communication.

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

May 10, 2021 Article
A question of dialogue? Reflections on how citizen science can enhance communication between science and society

by Katherin Wagenknecht, Tim Woods, Christian Nold, Simone Rüfenacht, Silke Voigt-Heucke, Anne Caplan, Susanne Hecker and Katrin Vohland

Citizen science is a transdisciplinary approach that responds to the current science policy agenda: in terms of supporting open science, and by using a range of science communication instruments. In particular, it opens up scientific research processes by involving citizens at different phases; this also creates a range of opportunities for science communication to happen This article explores methodological and practical characteristics of citizen science as a form of science communication by examining three case studies that took different approaches to citizens' participation in science. Through these, it becomes clear that communication in citizen science is ‘÷always’ science communication and an essential part of “doing science”.

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

May 10, 2021 Article
Quality indicators for science communication: results from a collaborative concept mapping exercise

by Arko Olesk, Berit Renser, Laura Bell, Alessandra Fornetti, Suzanne Franks, Ilda Mannino, Joseph Roche, Ana Lucia Schmidt, Barbara Schofield, Roberta Villa and Fabiana Zollo

Although the need to improve quality of science communication is often mentioned in public discussions, the science communication literature offers few conceptualizations of quality. We used a concept mapping approach, involving representatives of various science communication stakeholder groups working collaboratively, to propose a framework of quality. The framework organizes individual elements of quality into twelve indicators arranged into three dimensions: trustworthiness and scientific rigour, presentation and style, and connection with society. The framework supports science communicators in reflecting on their current practices and designing new activities, potentially improving communication effectiveness.

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

May 10, 2021 Article
Public online engagement with science information: on the road to a theoretical framework and a future research agenda

by Monika Taddicken and Nicole Krämer

Internet technologies and specifically social media have drastically changed science communication. The public no longer merely consume science-related information but participate (for example, by rating and disseminating) and generate their own content. Likewise, scientists are no longer dependent on journalists as gatekeepers to spreading relevant information. This paper identifies and reflects on relevant theoretical strands that help to inform theoretical frameworks and research agendas. Therefore, we discuss the technological structures and resulting affordances, a new knowledge order and its actors, as well as trust and rationality as important constructs.

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