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Feb 11, 2014 Article
Use of scientific research by South African winemakers

by Nelius Boshoff

The study investigated the extent to which transmission and cognition, the first two stages in the research use process, are accomplished for winemakers. “Transmission-cognition” was operationalized as the frequency of engagement with information sources considered to be carriers of scientific research. The study also investigated the prominence of four types of research use among winemakers (conceptual, symbolic, instrumental and persuasive) together with their inter-relationship. Conceptual use of scientific information was reported by 90% of winemakers and is a precursor to the other types of research use. Findings are discussed with reference to knowledge creep and the dissemination of scientific research through central winemakers acting as nodes in social networks.

Volume 13 • Issue 01 • 2014

Dec 11, 2013 Article
The object of art in science: science communication via art installation

by Patricia Rios and Aquiles Negrete

Science is part of our everyday live; so is art. Some art installations that link the two require the active presence of the spectator. Thereby they help to raise the awareness, promote understanding, and generate an emotional response from the public. This project rests on the public participation model that seeks to explore the connection between art installations and science communication through experiential learning. In order to test the effectiveness of an art installation communicating science two groups were contrasted. The first was exposed to a list of scientific facts; the second participated in the creation of an art installation. The results of this research suggest that art installations do promote long-term fact retention. Therefore, the use of art installations can be considered an interesting method of conveying science in an attractive, reliable, and memorable way.

Volume 12 • Issue 3 • 2013

Dec 11, 2013 Article
Challenges and opportunities for science journalists in adopting new technologies: the case of Spain

by Carles Pont-Sorribes, Sergi Cortiñas Rovira and Ilaria Di Bonito

This paper analyses the adoption of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) by Spanish journalists specialising in science. Applying an ethnographic research model, this study was based on a wide sample of professionals, aiming to evaluate the extent by which science journalists have adopted the new media and changed the way they use information sources. In addition, interviewees were asked whether in their opinion the Web 2.0 has had an impact on the quality of the news. The integration of formats certainly implies a few issues for today’s newsrooms. Finally, with the purpose of improving the practice of science information dissemination, the authors put forward a few proposals, namely: Increasing the training of Spanish science journalists in the field of new technologies; Emphasising the accuracy of the information and the validation of sources; Rethinking the mandates and the tasks of information professionals.

Volume 12 • Issue 3 • 2013

Nov 05, 2013 Article
Combining citizen science and public engagement: the Open AirLaboratories Programme

by Hauke Riesch, Clive Potter and Linda Davies

Citizen Science (or “Public Participation in Scientific Research”), has attracted attention as a new way of engaging the public with science through recruiting them to participate in scientific research. It is often seen as a win-win solution to promoting public engagement to scientists as well as empowering the public and in the process enhancing science literacy. This paper presents a qualitative study of interviews with scientists and communicators who participated in the “OPAL” project, identifying three potential flashpoints where conflicts can (though not necessarily do) arise for those working on citizen science professionally. We find that although participation in the CS project was generally valued, it does not seem to overcome continuing (and widely reported) concerns about public engagement. We suggest that enthusiasm for win-win situations should be replaced with more realistic expectations about what scientists can expect to get out of CS-style public engagement.

Volume 12 • Issue 3 • 2013

Oct 07, 2013 Article
Scientists and deliberativeness of European public television news

by Richard van der Wurff, Piet Verhoeven and Maite Gadellaa

Scientists intermittently appear on television news as experts to inform and comment on current events. This study explores whether their appearance adds a critical measure of substantiated arguments and balanced judgements to public affairs reporting. An explorative analysis of a representative sample of news broadcasts from five public broadcasters in Western Europe in 2006 and 2007 suggests that this is to some extent the case. The implications of these findings for the deliberative quality of TV news are discussed, and a typology of scientific experts in the general news items is proposed.

Volume 12 • Issue 3 • 2013

Sep 24, 2013 Article
Science journalists' selection criteria and depiction of nanotechnology in German media

by Lars Guenther and Georg Ruhrmann

For lay people, mass media are the main source of scientific information; that is why science journalists’ selection and depiction of scientific issues is an important field to study. This paper investigates science journalists’ general issue selection and additionally focuses on science journalists’ depiction of nanoscale science and technology and its related scientific evidence (certainty/uncertainty of research findings). Face-to-face interviews with science journalists (n = 21) from different German media channels were conducted. The results show that the professional role conception, personal interest, news factors and organizational processes mainly influence the selection of science journalists. Overall, journalists have increasingly positive attitudes towards nanoscale science and technology. But results indicate that the coverage of scientific evidence differs according to the science journalists’ focus on beneficial or risky aspects of this emerging technology: journalists stress scientific uncertainty predominantly when discussing the risks of nanoscale science and technology.

Volume 12 • Issue 3 • 2013

Jun 24, 2013 Article
Public anxiety, trust, and the role of mediators in communicating risk of exposure to low dose radiation after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant explosion

by Saho Tateno and Hiromi M. Yokoyama

The explosion at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant highlighted serious social concerns about risk communications; the public found it difficult to take preventive actions based on scientific information of radioactive fallout. We investigated public perception of the risks from low dose radiation and the role of information providers through the Internet survey focusing on parents in four Japanese regional groups. Mothers felt more anxious than fathers in Fukushima but not in further groups, and that the furthest group felt the most ambiguous anxiety. Their anxiety derived from distrust of the government and uncertainty about scientific information, rather than the lack of knowledge although risk communication emphasized learning the scientific mechanism. The mediators should provide more information for individual decision-making of day-to-day risk management in regions with different levels of radiological contamination; key issues include improving parents’ perceived control to their lives and easing their tension of responsibility to children’s health.

Volume 12 • Issue 02 • 2013

Jun 12, 2013 Article
Meat market reaction towards mass media and science communication on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

by Fabiano Nunes Vaz, Homero Dewes, Antônio Domingos Padula and Edson Talamini

This study assesses the correlation between reports on food risk published in scientific journals and in the printed mass media and changes in the meat market. It focuses on the case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United Kingdom. The findings suggest that during the time BSE and its related human disease were of noticeable public concern, there was a predominantly negative correlation between the number of reports on BSE published in the British printed mass media and meat market variables. In contrast, reports of scientific research on the disease contributed to reducing the perception of food risk because these numbers correlated positively with the meat market.

Volume 12 • Issue 02 • 2013

May 20, 2013 Article
Improving communication and increasing adoption of innovations in the beef industry

by Hayley Moreland and Paul Hyland

Agriculture has adopted many scientific innovations that have improved productivity. The majority of innovations in agriculture have been communicated to end users through a simple diffusion and dissemination model. However, as the science underpinning the innovations becomes more complex, research and development organizations need to look at better ways to communicate their innovation to end users. This paper examines innovations in the beef industry in Australia and investigates how complex innovations are being communicated and identifies the nature and level of communication with end users and the role of intermediaries. The findings support the need for greater involvement of end users in the innovation development process and a more vibrant two-way communication process between scientists, intermediaries and end users. The results also suggest that the traditional diffusion processes are insufficient to ensure high levels of awareness and adoption.

Volume 12 • Issue 02 • 2013

Mar 21, 2013 Article
Diffusing scientific knowledge to innovative experts

by Svend Tveden-Nyborg, Morten Misfeldt and Birte Boelt

Communicating science to scientists works well thanks to well-defined communication structures based on both printed material in peer-reviewed publications   and oral presentations, e.g.\ at conferences and seminars. However, when science is communicated to practitioners, the structures become fuzzy. We are   looking at how to implement Web2.0 technologies to Danish seed scientists communicating to seed consultants, agricultural advisors, and seed growers, and  we are met with the challenge of securing effective knowledge diffusion to the community. Our investigation's focal point is on Rogers' theoretical framework  ``Diffusion of Innovation'' (DOI), as we look at how DOI may affect the Danish seed industry if science communication is redesigned in accordance with the  framework. During our project workshop, participants recognized trends and characteristics from DOI in the Danish seed community and argued for more  collaboration between scientists and practitioners. This can be done by implementing fast-learning via online website, but it needs to be assisted by   slower-paced face-to-face learning to lessen the risk of a digital knowledge divide within the community.

Volume 12 • Issue 01 • 2013