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Dec 06, 2021 Article
Perceptions of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work of science journalists: global perspectives

by Luisa Massarani, Luiz Felipe Fernandes Neves, Marta Entradas, Tim Lougheed and Martin W. Bauer

The article presents the results of a survey of science journalists from six world regions about their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The responses show perception of increasing workload for most participants. Local scientists and peer-reviewed articles are the main sources. According to the respondents, scientists have become more available during the pandemic. The use of preprint articles was a frequent practice, but a considerable proportion declared they did not adopt different procedures when reporting them. Most also said they take fake news into account when writing their stories.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Nov 29, 2021 Article
Uniquely disgusting? Physiological disgust and attitudes toward GM food and other food and health technologies

by Sedona Chinn and Ariel Hasell

Despite scientific consensus that genetically modified (GM) food is safe to eat, the American public remains skeptical. This study (N=73) investigates the proposed role of disgust in driving opposition to GM food, which is debated in extant literature. Using physiological measures of disgust, alongside self-report measures, this study suggests that disgust plays a role in driving skepticism toward GM food, but not other food and health technologies. We further discuss the possible influence of risk sensitivity and perceptions of unnaturalness on attitudes toward novel science.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Nov 22, 2021 Article
Exploration of social cues in technology-mediated science communication: a multidiscipline analysis on ‘Ask Me Anything (AMA)’ sessions in Reddit r/science

by Ying Tang, Jessica M. Abbazio, Khe Foon Hew and Noriko Hara

Social cues are used to facilitate online science communication, yet little is known about how they may play a role in online public engagement with science sites. This mixed-method study investigates r/science Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions on Reddit through content analysis and an online survey to identify the types and variations of social cues manifested in six r/science AMAs across varying disciplines. The study's contributions are twofold. One is to investigate social cue uses in online science communication; the other is to develop a coding scheme for social cues that incorporates both positive and negative social cues in the analysis.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Nov 15, 2021 Article
Follow the scientists? How beliefs about the practice of science shaped COVID-19 views

by Thomas G. Safford, Emily H. Whitmore and Lawrence C. Hamilton

“Follow the science” became the mantra for responding to COVID-19 pandemic. However, for the public this also meant “follow the scientists”, and this led to uneasiness as some viewed scientists as not credible. We investigate how beliefs about the way scientists develop their findings affect pandemic-related views. Our analysis shows that beliefs about scientists' objectivity predict views regrading coronavirus-related risks, behavioral changes, and policy priorities. While political party identity also predicts views about COVID-19-related concerns, these vary by political leaders whose approaches embraced versus dismissed science-based strategies, highlighting the importance of perceptions of scientists in shaping pandemic-related attitudes and beliefs.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Nov 02, 2021 Article
The matter of complex anti-matter: the portrayal and framing of physics in Dutch newspapers

by Sanne Willemijn Kristensen, Julia Cramer, Alix McCollam, W. Gudrun Reijnierse and Ionica Smeets

Physics is often perceived as difficult, but there has been little research on how physics is reported in the media. In this two-stage content analysis, we examine the portrayal of physics in five major Dutch newspapers. Results show that astronomy and astrophysics is the most prominent field. Furthermore, newspaper articles are triggered almost equally by scientific and non-scientific events. Finally, the majority of described physics concepts are framed as difficult, but journalists do provide explanations for them.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Oct 25, 2021 Article
“Science Festival” may not mean what we think it means: an analysis of how researchers and practitioners use this term

by J. Ross Ramsey and Todd Boyette

The modern science festival movement has grown significantly since the Edinburgh International Science Festival launched in 1989. Hundreds of science festivals now occur annually and vary widely. This article examines how the term “science festival” is used within research and practice. We find that most research articles fail to describe the science festivals they study. A subsequent analysis of festival websites and other publicly available information confirms the wide variability of science festival formats, which suggests the need for descriptive information about science festivals in scholarly work.

Volume 20 • Issue 07 • 2021

Oct 11, 2021 Article
Onto new horizons: insights from the WeObserve project to strengthen the awareness, acceptability and sustainability of Citizen Observatories in Europe

by Gerid Hager, Margaret Gold, Uta Wehn, Raquel Ajates, Linda See, Mel Woods, Chrysovalantis Tsiakos, Joan Masó, Dilek Fraisl, Inian Moorthy, Dahlia Domian and Steffen Fritz

WeObserve delivered the first European-wide Citizen Observatory (CO) knowledge platform to share best practices, to address challenges and to inform practitioners, policy makers and funders of COs. We present key insights from WeObserve activities into leveraging challenges to create interlinked solutions, connecting with international frameworks and groups, advancing the field through communities of practice and practitioner networks, and fostering an enabling environment for COs. We also discuss how the new Horizon Europe funding programme can help to further advance the CO concept, and vice versa, how COs can provide a suitable mechanism to support the ambitions of Horizon Europe.

Volume 20 • Issue 06 • 2021 • Special Issue: Third International ECSA Conference, Trieste 2020

Oct 11, 2021 Article
Reaching the limits of co-creation in citizen science — exemplified by the linguistic citizen humanities project ‘On everyone’s mind and lips — German in Austria’

by Barbara Heinisch

Co-creation aims at integrating citizens in the entire research process. The citizen linguistics project German in Austria tests this approach in the humanities based on the assumption that language is ubiquitous. The project combines different forms of public participation, including a co-created format, where citizens can raise (and answer) research questions about the German language in Austria and a linguistic treasure hunt, where citizens collect and analyze data on linguistic landscapes. However, co-creation was hard to implement. Despite a high number of participants, their willingness to contribute to more than one research step was low.

Volume 20 • Issue 06 • 2021 • Special Issue: Third International ECSA Conference, Trieste 2020

Oct 11, 2021 Article
Investigating the process of ethical approval in citizen science research: the case of Public Health

by Antonella Ficorilli, Giovanni Maccani, Mara Balestrini, Annibale Biggeri, Bruna De Marchi, Frederique E. M. Froeling, Florence Gignac, Regina Grazuleviciene, Gerard Hoek, Tjaša Kanduč, David Kocman, Valeria Righi and Xavier Basagana

Undertaking citizen science research in Public Health involving human subjects poses significant challenges concerning the traditional process of ethical approval. It requires an extension of the ethics of protection of research subjects in order to include the empowerment of citizens as citizen scientists. This paper investigates these challenges and illustrates the ethical framework and the strategies developed within the CitieS-Health project. It also proposes first recommendations generated from the experiences of five citizen science pilot studies in environmental epidemiology within this project.

Volume 20 • Issue 06 • 2021 • Special Issue: Third International ECSA Conference, Trieste 2020

Oct 11, 2021 Article
Engaged Citizen Social Science or the public participation in social science research

by Rita Campos, José Monteiro and Cláudia Carvalho

Acknowledging the consolidation of citizen science, this paper aims to foster a collective debate on two visible gaps of the field. First, how to overcome the limited participation of social sciences and humanities in the broader field of citizen science, still dominated by natural sciences. Second, how to develop a citizen social science that allows for an active participation of citizens and for a critical engagement with contemporary societies. The authors coordinate a state-sponsored program of scientific dissemination within a Portuguese research institution and this paper intends to lay the groundwork for a future project of Citizen Social Science based on a new concept of “engaged citizen social science”.

Volume 20 • Issue 06 • 2021 • Special Issue: Third International ECSA Conference, Trieste 2020