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Jun 28, 2022 Article
Plausibility of scientific findings: institutional factors in lay evaluations

by Elizaveta P. Sheremet and Inna F. Deviatko

One of the recent “crises” experienced by science is associated with a decline in its public support. We conducted two factorial surveys among university students aiming at broadening our understanding of the information cues influencing the wider publics' judgments of science. We found that sociological and criminological research results are perceived as less plausible compared to neuroscientific and physiological research, but as more plausible than results from genetics. In contrast with the previous data on the importance of funding and institutional prestige cues as the indirect indicators of the research quality among academic experts, we discovered the absence of any effects of funding or institutional prestige for the selected type of general audience.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022

Jun 10, 2022 Article
Towards the reflective science communication practitioner

by Tessa Roedema, Virgil Rerimassie, J. E. W. Broerse and J. F. H. Kupper

The practice of science communication is fundamentally changing. This requires science communication practitioners to continuously adapt their practice to an ever-changing ecosystem and highlights the importance of reflective practice for science communication. In this study, we supported 21 science communication practitioners in developing a reflective practice. Our study shows that reflective practice enabled practitioners in becoming aware of their own stance towards science or assumptions regarding audiences (single-loop learning), underlying and sometimes conflicting values or worldviews present in science communication situations (double-loop learning), and facilitated practitioners to adapt their practice accordingly. Triple-loop learning, allowing practitioners to fundamentally rethink and transform their mode of science communication, was less observed. We argue that reflective practice contributes to opening-up public conversations on science — including a conversation on underlying values, worldviews, and emotions, next to communicating scientific facts.

Volume 21 • Issue 04 • 2022 • Special Issue: Responsible science communication across the globe

Jun 10, 2022 Article
Levelling the playing field: lessons from sport on re-framing science engagement as a benefit to the individual

by Lindsay Keith and Gary Kerr

The workforces of the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) industries suffer from skills gaps and lack diversity. Science engagement activities often try to solve these problems through targeting audiences under-represented in the STEM workforces. There is limited data, however, to suggest that these engagement efforts are successful in translating into more diverse workforces. We draw upon Unicef’s ‘Sport for Development’ model and propose a new conceptual framework: ‘Science Engagement for Good’. This frames science engagement activities around the benefits to individuals, families and communities, rather than the benefits to STEM industries, the economy or society at large.

Volume 21 • Issue 04 • 2022 • Special Issue: Responsible science communication across the globe

Jun 10, 2022 Article
Roles, incentives, training and audiences for science communication: perspectives from female science communicators

by Clare Wilkinson, Elena Milani, Andy Ridgway and Emma Weitkamp

Both research and anecdote in science communication suggests that it is a field where women feel ‘at home’, with high numbers of women science communicators and students on training programmes, but why might this be the case? Using data gathered from a survey of 459 science communicators based in Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Sweden and the U.K., we examine the perspectives of female science communicators, in terms of working practices, motivations and barriers to communicate.

Volume 21 • Issue 04 • 2022 • Special Issue: Responsible science communication across the globe

Jun 10, 2022 Article
The ‘Engagement Incubator’: using design to stimulate reflexivity about public engagement with science

by Jo Bailey, Rhian Salmon and Maja Horst

Public Engagement with Science calls for scientists to think more reflexively about their research, and how assumptions, power and contexts influence associated communication. To interrogate this, we utilised design to stimulate reflexive thinking about science communication through a residential ‘Engagement Incubator’ that took the form of a pop-up cardboard laundromat. Participants reported an increased appreciation for, and insight into, PES theory, and its relevance to their work. In addition, our experience of enacting PES theory, and reflexive thematic analysis of data collected through the process, deepened our own understanding of PES and reinforced our appreciation of engagement as reproductive, and inherently circular work.

Volume 21 • Issue 04 • 2022 • Special Issue: Responsible science communication across the globe

Jun 10, 2022 Article
A methodological approach to co-design citizen science communication strategies directed to quadruple-helix stakeholders

by Joana Magalhães, Blanca Guasch, Rosa Arias, Paolo Giardullo, Ana Elorza, Inês Navalhas, Esther Marín-González, Marzia Mazzonetto and Cristina Luís

Citizen Science (CS) can help change the paradigm of science communication. To test this, 38 ongoing CS projects from Italy, Portugal and Spain have been selected by the H2020 NEWSERA project to act as pilots in the development of communication strategies, specifically targeting stakeholders in the quadruple helix. The projects, together with stakeholder representatives and science communication and journalism professionals participated in a series of workshops — #CitSciComm Labs — where communication strategies were co-designed, using adapted design-thinking methods. The innovative methodological approach is hereby presented and can be an inspiration for others willing to implement improved communication strategies to target different stakeholders.

Volume 21 • Issue 04 • 2022 • Special Issue: Responsible science communication across the globe

May 30, 2022 Article
Experiencing science communication from a local perspective: an analysis of the volunteer SciCom groups in Chihuahua, Mexico

by Iván Jalil Antón Carreño-Márquez and Marie Astrid Cereceres-Aguirre

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranks Mexico in one of the last places in science performance [OECD, 2019]. This has been a concern for some local science communication groups (SCGs) in small and medium-sized cities, whose mission is to fill this disparity by performing science communication (SciCom) activities. The SCGs were contacted via a survey to collect information about their dynamics and public reach. A descriptive analysis enabled the identification of the logistics and coordination issues found among SCGs. Consequently, a local network of science communication groups is advised to reinforce their impact.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

May 25, 2022 Article
Understanding high-achieving publicly engaged scientists' commitment to engage: push, pull, and drag forces

by Niveen AbiGhannam and Anthony Dudo

This paper takes an ecological approach to examine the public engagement with science (PES) pressures and expectations perceived by publicly engaged scientists. Interviews with high-achieving, publicly engaged scientists reveal that unidirectional factors within science (‘push forces’) and engagement (‘pull forces’) contexts drive them towards PES. Running counter to those are ‘drag forces’, or pressures not to engage. Our analyses reveal that high-achieving publicly engaged scientists mitigate those pressures through employing certain engagement strategies, such as by overproducing academic research and selectively sharing PES news with institutions and colleagues. Findings enrich our understanding of the complex operation of norms in the ever-changing PES landscape.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

May 23, 2022 Article
Anti-scientific beliefs predict health behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic

by Nathanael Johnson, Glenn Sparks and Cheri Sparks

There exist today many forms of anti-scientific beliefs, from extreme views like the QAnon conspiracies, to misconceptions about vaccines and cancer treatment. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented to us a situation in which the public is being asked by medical experts and politicians alike to trust in science and follow after various health recommendations like wearing masks or getting vaccinated against the virus. We used an anti-science belief scale [Morgan et al., 2018] to assess how preexisting beliefs that run counter to the scientific narrative predict behaviors during the pandemic. We found that people who were more accepting of those anti-scientific positions trusted medical information and experts less and engaged less in recommended health behaviors, while simultaneously showing a more favorable view of Trump's actions as President during the pandemic.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

May 16, 2022 Article
“Cover your mouth and nose”: communication about health protection behaviors by role models in YouTube COVID-19 videos for children

by Jocelyn Steinke, Carolyn A. Lin, Tamia Duncan and Viviana Zambrano

YouTube videos offer a potentially useful vehicle for the communication of science, health, and medical information about COVID-19 to children. Findings from this research showed that primary characters appearing in children's educational YouTube videos about COVID-19 were most often adults, with about an equal number of men and women and few characters from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Primary characters frequently demonstrated and modeled protective health measures. Adult expert characters (medical professionals and scientists) appeared to some extent in these videos. Directive discourse frames appeared most frequently, followed by the informative and persuasive discourse frames when communicating scientific and health information. Changes in the use of informative, directive, and persuasive frames before and after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced guidelines on how to communicate about COVID-19 with children are explored.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022