We have published this issue of JCOM while the call for papers is open for the twelfth Public Communication of Science and Technology conference. The biennial meeting will be held in April 2012 and for the first time in Italy: the hosting city in Florence. The 2012 edition of the PCST conference is being held after more than twenty years of growth of the network of scholars that founded it and the expansion of its boundaries outside the European context from which it was created. JCOM is a part of this network, made up not only of individuals but also of organisations, university departments, journals, national conferences and so on.
In colonial times in New Zealand the portrayal of science to the public had a sense of theatre, with nineteenth and early twentieth century grand exhibitions of a new nation’s resources and its technological achievements complemented by spectacular public lectures and demonstrations by visitors from overseas and scientific ‘showmen’. However, from 1926 to the mid-1990s there were few public displays of scientific research and its applications, corresponding to an inward-looking science regime presided over by the Government science agency, the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. The subsequent development of science centres with their emphasis on visitor participation has led to an increase in the audience for science and a revival of theatricality in presentation of exhibitions, demonstration lectures, café scientifiques, and science-related activities.
Regenerative medicine (RM) has the potential to strongly impact on society. To determine non-experts’ impressions of RM, we analyzed opinions obtained from workshops in which participants freely discussed RM. Three major features were apparent. First, non-experts were most concerned with the possible effects of RM after it has been fully realized in society. Second, non-experts expressed concerns not only about RM itself, but also about the governance and operation of the technology. Third, non-experts were not only concerned about direct influences of RM, but also about its potential indirect influences. These identified features are likely to be controversial issues when RM is introduced into society. It is important to promote early discussion of these issues by society as a whole.
A significant number of mass media news stories on climate change quote scientific publications. However, the journalistic process of popularizing scientific research regarding climate change has been profoundly criticized for being manipulative and inaccurate. This preliminary study used content analysis to examine the accuracy of Danish high quality newspapers in quoting scientific publications from 1997 to 2009. Out of 88 articles, 46 contained inaccuracies though the majority was found to be insignificant and random. The study concludes that Danish broadsheet newspapers are ‘moderately inaccurate’ in quoting science publications but are not deliberately hyping scientific claims. However, the study also shows that 11% contained confusion of source, meaning that statements originating from press material or other news outlets were incorrectly credited to scientific peer-reviewed publications.
What role and citizenship has the scientific thought on the web, or rather on the social side of the web? Does it benefit from the debate between peers and with the general public, or else does it only risk to become a monologue? How to deal with the number of instruments the Internet is able to provide in making, discussing and disseminating research? These are some of the questions tackled by the reflections from scholars and experts which were the basis for our debate.