Publications included in this section.
This issue sees the publication of several papers that contribute to our understanding of the challenges faced by researchers in communicating about their research, adding richness to our understanding of practices and policies in Zimbabwe as well as amongst non-Anglophone speakers working in Australia. The potential of incorporating documentary filmmaking tools and techniques into open science projects raises interesting questions about subjectivity, data and the collaboration skills needed for today's scientists.
This issue of JCOM presents some interesting challenges relating to trust and the media ecology that supports science communication. Weingart and Guenther have organised a set of commentaries considering the issue of trust and media from different points of view, by asking for responses to their paper 'Science Communication and the Issue of Trust'. The commentaries focus on traditional and social media and the actors that contribute to media content, though they do not consider 'paid for' content (also known as advertising), which is the subject of a paper by Silva and Simonian also published in this issue of JCOM.
Looking back over the past 5 years of articles published in JCOM, this editorial looks at the topics covered and the geographies represented and asks: are we tackling all main contemporary issues in science communication/popularisation or public engagement? It invites you to contribute with your papers, letters, essays and news to help address the holes in our coverage and to enter into dialogue on our Facebook page.
This issue forms Part II of JCOM's collection of articles and essays exploring the field of citizen science. Here I introduce the articles in Part II, outlining how they contribute to our understanding of the ways that volunteers participate in citizen science projects, what motivates this participation and what learning arises as a result of participation.
The academic journal paper has been around for several hundred years and during that time has seen shifts in style and structure. This editorial explores the traditional research paper and considers whether thinking about the research paper as a story, provides insights into style and structure that would make research both more transparent and more readable.
Citizen science is one of the most dramatic developments in science communication in the last generation. But analyses of citizen science, of what it means for science and especially for science communication, have just begun to appear. Articles in this first of two special issues of JCOM address three intertwined concerns in this emerging field: The motivation of citizen science participants, the relationship of citizen science with education, and the implications of participation for creation of democratic engagement in science-linked issues. Ultimately these articles contribute to answering the core question: What does citizen science mean?
The design, delivery and evaluation of JCOM Masterclasses has given us the opportunity to reflect on the audiences, training needs and training schemes available to people working at different levels and in different contexts to communicate STEM subjects to a diverse variety of people. Although not always widely available, short courses in the communication of science have been offered in a number of countries around the world over the past few years. We felt it is now time to open a discussion on the rationale, the methods and the objectives of such training programmes.
Taking the International Science in Popular Culture conference as a starting point, this editorial considers audiences for cultural products, considering the size of audiences (from blockbuster films, to intimate science slams), their pre-existing (or lack of pre-existing) interest in the subject and what this might offer the field of science communication.
Measuring impact may be challenging, but does that mean we should accept a lack of ambition? Researchers in all fields are grappling with the challenge of how to measure impact (in many different contexts, which naturally leads to many different approaches), and so perhaps it is not surprising that the ‘impact culture’ is spreading to public engagement. But is the field rising to the challenge or should we think more broadly about how we demonstrate impact, perhaps freeing individual and smaller projects from the need to measure public impact and allowing them instead to focus on formative development? This editorial explores some of the issues in the field.
This issue sees the implementation of new designs for the JCOM website and articles and there are plans for further updates over the next year. In a recent survey, we have explored readers opinions of the journal with a view to introducing improvements. Your interests are diverse, which is not surprising for a field which ranges from books and print media, to museums and interactive technologies. We are also reviewing our peer review process to ensure that it meets the needs of our authors.