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Sep 30, 2020 Article
Pharmaceutical influencers on Instagram and their communication during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis

by Zahaira Fabiola González Romo, Sofia Iriarte Aguirre and Irene Garcia Medina

Today, thanks to the consolidation of Internet, users have access to many sources of information on health issues. On social networks, there are profiles of health professionals who share content that generates credibility when published by specialists who are knowledgeable in the sector. These profiles include pharmaceutical professionals who disseminate and create content based on scientific knowledge. Pharmaceutical influencers on Instagram have an informative role on health, nutrition and cosmetic dermatology issues. This research aims to learn about the communication management of these influencers during the Coronavirus crisis in Spain and how they have modified their habitual discourse, as well as seeking to identify the formats of their publications that generate greater engagement and conversions among their followers.

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

Sep 30, 2020 Article
Exit only: harms from silencing employee voice

by Karen Adkins

The nationwide shortage of PPE for health care workers has been well documented. Reporting on this issue has been complicated by hospitals' imposition of gag orders on physicians and health care workers. There are harms that result from imposing these gag orders that go beyond the obvious harms to public and employee health and safety. Using Hirschman's ‘Exit, Voice, and Loyalty’ (1970) as a framework demonstrates that these orders represent a dangerous concentration of power in employer hands — health care workers are reduced to functionaries. Hirschman's argument, in part, is that organisations should seek to balance the availability of exit, voice, and loyalty for employees. Restricting employee options in morally untenable situations to exit only leads to direct and indirect harms. These gag orders are a pernicious practice, and bring with them long-term negative implications for employee morale, employee effectiveness, and public service.

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

Sep 30, 2020 Article
Rapid reaction: ethnographic insights into the Science Media Center and its response to the COVID-19 outbreak

by Irene Broer

This paper offers an ethnographic account of the editorial response to the COVID-19 outbreak by the Science Media Center Germany. Ethnographic research data was gathered during a 4-week fieldstay in January 2020 which coincided with the first weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak. The findings offer insights into how the editorial staff grappled with the scientific non-knowledge and uncertainty that marked the initial phase of the global COVID-19 outbreak, while simultaneously dealing with acute journalistic demands for expertise.

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

Sep 30, 2020 Article
The landscape of disinformation on health crisis communication during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine: hybrid warfare tactics, fake media news and review of evidence

by Sonny Patel, Omar Moncayo, Kristina Conroy, Doug Jordan and Timothy Erickson

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world in ways not seen since the 1918–1920 Spanish Flu. Disinformation campaigns targeting health crisis communication during this pandemic seek to cripple the medical response to the novel coronavirus and instrumentalize the pandemic for political purposes. Propaganda from Russia and other factions is increasingly infiltrating public and social media in Ukraine. Still, scientific literature has only a limited amount of evidence of hybrid attacks and disinformation campaigns focusing on COVID-19 in Ukraine. We conducted a review to retrospectively examine reports of disinformation surrounding health crisis communication in Ukraine during the COVID-19 response. Based on the themes that emerged in the literature, our recommendations are twofold: 1) increase transparency with verified health crisis messaging and, 2) address the leadership gap in reliable regional information about COVID-19 resources and support in Ukraine.

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

Sep 30, 2020 Article
COVID-19 in the South Pacific: science communication, Facebook and ‘coconut wireless’

by Vipul Khosla and Prashanth Pillay

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the criticality of science communication. Utilising a mixed-methods approach, this article takes an audience-focused perspective to analysing COVID-19 related social media posts on 23 popular South Pacific community Facebook pages over a four-month period across eight South Pacific countries. We analyse how audiences co-opt scientific terms, address information gaps and embed it in their lived experience. It is ascertained that online conversations around COVID-19 in the Pacific are intermeshed with both scientific fact and, personal accounts and rumours, referred to locally as ‘coconut wireless’, problematising established modes of empirical enquiry.

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

Sep 30, 2020 Article
COVID-19: a metaphor-based neologism and its translation into Arabic

by Amal Haddad Haddad and Silvia Montero-Martinez

‘Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)’ is the neologism coined in reference to the pandemic disease currently affecting countries worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) was the international entity that coined this neologism in all its official languages, Arabic amongst them. However, in mass media, the most commonly used term is ‘coronavirus’, which is a meronymic denomination. This corpus-based case study aims at giving new insights into the creation of these neologisms in English and their equivalents in Arabic, and to the adequacy of the meronymic use of the term ‘coronavirus’ in the English and Arabic mass media.

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

Sep 21, 2020 Article
Addressing diversity in science communication through citizen social science

by Lissette Lorenz

This article seeks to address the lack of sociocultural diversity in the field of science communication by broadening conceptions of citizen science to include citizen social science. Developing citizen social science as a concept and set of practices can increase the diversity of publics who engage in science communication endeavors if citizen social science explicitly aims at addressing social justice issues. First, I situate citizen social science within the histories of citizen science and participatory action research to demonstrate how the three approaches are compatible. Next, I outline the tenets of citizen social science as they are informed by citizen science and participatory action research goals. I then use these tenets as criteria to evaluate the extent to which my case study, a community-based research project called ‘Rustbelt Theater’, counts as a citizen social science project.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Sep 07, 2020 Article
Operationalizing science literacy: an experimental analysis of measurement

by Meaghan McKasy, Michael Cacciatore, Leona Yi-Fan Su, Sara K. Yeo and Liane Oneill

Inequalities in scientific knowledge are the subject of increasing attention, so how factual science knowledge is measured, and any inconsistencies in said measurement, is extremely relevant to the field of science communication. Different operationalizations of factual science knowledge are used interchangeably in research, potentially resulting in artificially comparable knowledge levels among respondents. Here, we present data from an experiment embedded in an online survey conducted in the United States (N = 1,530) that examined the distribution of factual science knowledge responses on a 3- vs. 5-point response scale. Though the scale did not impact a summative knowledge index, significant differences emerged when knowledge items were analyzed individually or grouped based on whether the correct response was “true” or “false.” Our findings emphasize the necessity for communicators to consider the goals of knowledge assessment when making operationalization decisions.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Aug 17, 2020 Article
Listen to the audience(s)! Expectations and characteristics of expert debate attendants

by Nina Wicke and Monika Taddicken

Expert debates have become a popular form to inform the public about scientific issues. To deepen our knowledge about individuals who attend such formats and to investigate what they expect of the dissemination of science, this study analyzes the attendants of scientific expert debates and their expectations. Cluster analysis is applied to survey data (n=358) to explore whether distinct segments may be distinguishable within this supposedly homogeneous audience. Four different segments were identified and, overall, the findings indicate that attendants expect science communication to not only present scientific findings comprehensibly and from different perspectives, but also to create everyday life applicability, whereas interacting with scientists is of less interest.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Jul 08, 2020 Article
Expertise and communicating about infectious disease: a case study of uncertainty and rejection of local knowledge in discourse of experts and decision makers

by Jennifer Manyweathers, Mel Taylor and Nancy Longnecker

Despite Australian horse owners being encouraged to vaccinate their horses against Hendra virus to reduce the risk of this potentially fatal virus to horses and humans, vaccine uptake has been slow. Discourse around the vaccine has been characterised by polarisation and dissenting voices. In this study we interviewed horse owners (N=15) and veterinarians (N=10), revealing how expert knowledge, disqualification of lay knowledge and inadequate handling of uncertainty impacted divisive discourse around Hendra virus. We assert that more inclusive, reflective and ultimately more effective risk communication practices will result if the legitimacy of diverse knowledge sources and the inevitability of uncertainty are acknowledged.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020