Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2024

Editorials

Jan 15, 2024 Editorial
Welcome to 2024: issues and trends occupying JCOM this year

by Michelle Riedlinger

As we usher in 2024, we highlight some of the issues and trends that are occupying JCOM, and the fields of science communication and academic publishing more generally.

Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2024

Articles

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

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

Review Articles

Jan 29, 2024 Review Article
Confronting misinformation related to health and the environment: a systematic review

by Thaiane Oliveira, Nicolas de Oliveira Cardoso, Wagner de Lara Machado, Reynaldo Aragon Gonçalves, Rodrigo Quinan, Eduarda Zorgi Salvador, Camila Almeida and Aline Paes

Confronting misinformation related to health and the environment comprises one of the major global concerns. Therefore, this systematic literature review, aims to identify the most used strategies to confront misinformation related to health, and the environment. The relevance of the interventions was assessed considering the frequency with which they are used and reported as effective. Five widely used databases were searched between 2010 and 2021 (Web of Science, Scopus, PsycINFO, Science Direct, IEEE Xplore). A total of 14.285 records were initially retrieved. Then, after applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, 32 peer-reviewed papers were included and analyzed in depth through this review. The results indicate that interventions based on credible information (debunking) were the most used among the included studies, followed by exposure and correction (debunking), inoculation, information, and media literacy (prebunking), and deliberation prompts (nudging). Most {interventions had }an effect size between small and medium, but most effects are limited to a specific myth/belief. We also found that most studies are conducted in the U.S. Therefore, experimental replication with same and different beliefs as outcomes and interventions cross-cultural adaptation to other countries are recommended.

Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2024

Practice Insights

Jan 22, 2024 Practice Insight
Engaging young people in science communication about mental health during COVID-19

by Signe Herbers Poulsen, Nina Maindal, Kristian Dahlmann Oddershede, Mathias Sejerkilde, Stine Breiner Pedersen, Manizha Haghju, Emma MacLean Sinclair, Anne Harrits, Ulrik Bak Kirk, Jacob F. Sherson and Gitte Kragh

Many young people struggle with their mental health and the COVID-19 pandemic compounded these challenges. However, young people are rarely involved in research and communication about causes and coping strategies. We used an online game as a conversation starter and co-created a list of coping strategies with young people to apply the dialogue model of science communication and facilitate social conversation about mental health during COVID-19. The young people found the involvement was valuable as it led to self-reflection, social reflection with peers and an experience of recognition and contribution. We discuss challenges and urge researchers to explore ways for open dialogue and co-creation as strategic and contributing parts of the research process.

Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2024

Feb 19, 2024 Practice Insight
University-led dialogues with society: balancing informing and listening?

by Nina de Roo, Tamara Metze and Cees Leeuwis

In response to a growing understanding that scientific knowledge is not always trusted at face value, many universities organise dialogues to `open up' to society. In four exploratory case studies at the Dutch Wageningen University & Research, we looked into the adherence to dialogue principles and the roles that researchers performed while engaging in dialogues. We found that researchers face three challenges when interacting with societal stakeholders in dialogues: (1) moving from knowledge provider to “letting in” and listening to different perspectives (2) balancing attention toward knowledge with attention toward values and emotions (3) navigating different aspired and perceived roles of researchers in dialogue (e.g. Pure Scientist versus Issue Advocate).

Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2024

Essays

Feb 12, 2024 Essay
Polio vaccine misinformation on social media: challenges, efforts, and recommendations

by Muhammad Ittefaq, Shafiq Ahmad Kamboh, Carina M. Zelaya and Rauf Arif

On April 22, 2019, false rumors regarding the side effects of the polio vaccine quickly spread across various social media platforms, including Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), WhatsApp, and YouTube. This rapid spread of misinformation had a detrimental impact on Pakistan's efforts to eradicate polio. This essay sheds lights on two critical aspects related to polio vaccine misinformation on social media in Pakistan. First, it examines the current state of polio vaccine misinformation on social media and finds it a significant threat to public health, resulting in vaccine refusals, erosion of trust in public health institutions, distrust in science, and providing opportunities for anti-vaccination groups and individual advocates to target healthcare workers involved in polio eradication efforts nationwide. Second, it highlights the collaborative initiatives undertaken by relevant government institutions and social media companies, which have proven inadequate in effectively addressing the persistent dissemination of mis/disinformation, particularly on Facebook. Lastly, we suggest Pakistan should adopt a more inclusive approach of engaging all stakeholders, promote independent fact-checking initiatives, and increase health literacy among the target population about the risks and benefits associated with the polio vaccine.

Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2024

Conference Reviews

Jan 25, 2024 Conference Review
Reimagining science communication in the age of AI

by Lourdes López-Pérez

This review analyses the presentation of “Campus Gutenberg Museo de la Ciencia CosmoCaixa 2023” held in September 2023 in Barcelona and reflects on the connection of the event with the necessary redefinition of the social communication of science in the face of the impact of artificial intelligence.

Volume 23 • Issue 01 • 2024

Archive