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Feb 08, 2024 Article
"That's some positive energy": how social media users respond to #funny science content

by Michael A. Cacciatore, Sara K. Yeo, Leona Yi-Fan Su, Meaghan McKasy, Liane O'Neill and Sijia Qian

Many scientists make use of social media and take various approaches to humor in their posts to encourage online public engagement, yet little is known about how publics respond to particular types of online science humor. This study investigates the behavioral effects of the presence of different types of science humor, specifically anthropomorphism, wordplay, and the two combined, shared by a scientist on Twitter. Individuals who experienced higher levels of mirth after exposure to humorous science content were more likely to leave a comment on the social media post. Additionally, individuals' need for cognition moderated the relationship between humor exposure and mirth, as well as the relationship between mirth and leaving a comment. These results and future research are discussed.

Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2024

Feb 05, 2024 Article
A comparative study of frames and narratives identified within scientific press releases on ocean climate change and ocean plastic

by Aike N. Vonk, Mark Bos, Ionica Smeets and Erik van Sebille

To understand how scientific institutions communicate about ocean climate change and ocean plastic research, 323 press releases published between 2017 and 2022 were analyzed. A clustering method revealed 4 ocean climate change and 5 ocean plastic frames that were analyzed qualitatively. Ocean plastic was presented as a biological and health issue, placing an emphasis on solutions and society's obligation to implement them. Ocean climate change was framed as environmental and socio-economic problem, highlighting politics' responsibility for mitigation. Narratives were only used to personify science and represent scientists, indicating that future press releases could include more social dimensions to engage audiences in ocean issues.

Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2024

Dec 11, 2023 Article
The distribution of science communication teaching around the globe

by Luisa Massarani, Heather Bray, Marina Joubert, Andy Ridgway, Joseph Roche, Fiona Smyth, Elizabeth Stevenson, Frans van Dam and Willian Vieira de Abreu

In the context of a special issue of this journal focused on teaching science communication, we present a map of the geographical distribution of 122 science communication teaching programmes from 31 countries around the world. This mapping study resulted from a collaboration between members of the PCST Teaching Forum and the research team at GlobalSCAPE, a research project funded by the European Commission to explore the global state of science communication. Our findings highlight the concentration of these programmes in the U.S.A. and Europe, and the dominance of English as the language of instruction. We ponder the causes and implications of the disparities in opportunities for studying science communication in other world regions and languages. The dearth of science communication educational pathways in developing countries may limit the professionalisation of the field, as well as research and evidence-based practice that is locally needed and relevant.

Volume 22 • Issue 06 • 2023 • Special Issue: Science communication in higher education: global perspectives on the teaching of science communication

Dec 11, 2023 Article
Training researchers and planning science communication and dissemination activities: testing the QUEST model in practice and theory

by Ebe Pilt and Marju Himma-Kadakas

This study tests the potential of using the QUEST model in science communication teaching and applying the model in planning communication and dissemination (C&D) activities for research applications. Based on the training analysis, we reason that the QUEST model provides relevant criteria for understanding the function of science communication. We argue that the QUEST indicators create a theoretical foundation that can be applied in science communication courses at different levels of higher education. However, the model functions better as a supportive tool for reasoning and perceiving communication activities. The qualitative analysis of research applications' C&D activities indicates the applicability of the QUEST model for analysing C&D activities, and single indicators of the model are evident in most of the conducted activities. In the theoretical framework, we look at the dependence of the quality of science communication on general trends: the functioning of deficit and dialogical or deliberative communication models in contemporary society and in the context of mediatisation.

Volume 22 • Issue 06 • 2023 • Special Issue: Science communication in higher education: global perspectives on the teaching of science communication

Dec 11, 2023 Article
Is training in science communication useful to find and practice a specialised job?

by Nuria Saladie, Carolina Llorente and Gema Revuelta

This study investigates how knowledge, skills and competences obtained during science communication postgraduate programmes impact alumni's experience in entering the workforce and in practicing their roles. Spanish programmes have been analysed with a double methodology: semi-structured interviews with programme directors (12 out of a total of 13) and a survey for programme alumni (134 answers). Results show that programmes are useful for alumni to find and practice a job. Teachings that are the most useful for alumni to find and practice a job, as well as programme shortcomings, are identified.

Volume 22 • Issue 06 • 2023 • Special Issue: Science communication in higher education: global perspectives on the teaching of science communication

Dec 11, 2023 Article
The teaching of science communication in higher medical education in Peru in the context of the COVID-19 post-pandemic

by Alessandro Strobbe, Michelle C. Chirinos-Arias, Joe Lucero and Enrique Rojas

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of effective science communication skills among medical students. Developing countries, in particular, face unique challenges in assessing the adequacy of such training. To bridge this knowledge gap, we designed and administered a survey in Spanish to evaluate science communication skills among Peruvian medical students (n=69). Our preliminary study demonstrates the statistical robustness of the survey and provides valuable insights into self-reported science communication proficiency. By identifying the strengths and areas for improvement in science communication, this research represents a crucial step in addressing the communication challenges within the Peruvian healthcare system.

Volume 22 • Issue 06 • 2023 • Special Issue: Science communication in higher education: global perspectives on the teaching of science communication

Dec 11, 2023 Article
Integrating sustainability into a higher education science communication course

by Sabrina Vitting-Seerup and Marianne Achiam

The global problems we face call for universities to prioritise science communication education and training. Here, we describe how we integrated sustainability into a master-level course in science communication through three iterations. By retrospectively analysing our actions and reflections, we demonstrate how and why we progressed from education about sustainability to education for sustainability, and finally education as sustainability. We conclude by discussing our findings, and offering our implications for the teaching and learning of sustainability science communication and of science communication.

Volume 22 • Issue 06 • 2023 • Special Issue: Science communication in higher education: global perspectives on the teaching of science communication

Dec 06, 2023 Article
Which scientist are you? Creating self-outgroup overlap with a scientist through a personality matching game

by Alexandra L. Beauchamp, Su-Jen Roberts and Craig Piper

Based in intergroup contact theory, we investigated how messaging about shared characteristics affects perceived closeness with scientists (i.e., self-outgroup overlap). In an online study, participants ($N=486$) played a personality matching game that matched them with a real scientist, then they responded to a survey. We replicated the study at a zoo ($N=63$) to examine implementation as a facilitated game. Self-scientist overlap improved in the online setting; in the in situ setting, trust increased, but not self-scientist overlap. Findings suggest that learning about how one scientist is similar to one's self can increase perceived closeness to scientists overall.

Volume 22 • Issue 05 • 2023

Dec 04, 2023 Article
Emotional responses from families visiting the zoo: a study at Parque das Aves in Foz do Iguaçu

by Graziele Scalfi, Luisa Massarani, Waneicy Gonçalves, Adriana Aparecida Andrade Chagas and Alessandra Bizerra

In this study, we aim to analyse human emotional responses towards animals, specifically birds, in the context of a visit to a zoo. The study was carried out with seven families in Parque das Aves. The visits were recorded using the point-of-view-camera method, and the data was analysed using qualitative software to identify emotion descriptors. The findings from our study reveal that the physical characteristics of birds, such as their patterns and colours, as well as their behaviours and abilities, triggered emotional responses that were associated with admiration for the species, concern for their well-being and awareness of conservation issues, enabling these families to construct meaning.

Volume 22 • Issue 05 • 2023

Nov 27, 2023 Article
Science communication practices and trust in information sources amongst Nigerian scientists and journalists

by Emma Weitkamp, Ruth Larbey, Mahmoud Bukar Maina, Katy Petherick, Mustapha Shehu Muhammad, Abdullahi Tsanni, Xinyang Hong and Abdulhamid Al-Gazali

Relatively few studies have explored the communication practices of researchers and journalists working in African contexts. We set out to explore the communication activities undertaken by Nigerian health researchers and journalists, their motivations and the barriers they face in communicating about health topics with lay audiences, as well as their trust in a range of sources of scientific information. The study adopted a survey methodology, recruiting 69 participants at a communications training workshop for both health researchers and journalists. We found high levels of participation in research communication amongst health researchers compared with previous work. While many barriers are similar to those faced by researchers in other contexts, our respondents highlighted that lack of support from managers is a significant hurdle, which has not been highlighted in other studies. Both journalists and researchers primarily communicate science with the aim of educating, informing, entertaining or inspiring their audiences. Regarding trust, both researchers and journalists broadly trust sources linked to science, such as academic journals. However, trust in industry, NGOs and other media was higher amongst journalists than health researchers. Least trust was invested in social media sources, with the exception of material posted on accounts linked to universities.

Volume 22 • Issue 05 • 2023