Volume 13 • Issue 02 • 2014


May 06, 2014 Editorial
Shared spaces: a future for JCOM

by Emma Weitkamp

As academic communities across the globe are increasingly encouraged to share their knowledge outside the ivory towers of academia, it becomes ever more important to create a bridge that crosses continents and disciplinary boundaries. Sitting, as it does, at the nexus between science communication practice and research, JCOM has a vital role to play as just such a knowledge sharing platform.

Volume 13 • Issue 02 • 2014


Mar 25, 2014 Article
Examining perceptions of astronomy images across mobile platforms

by Lisa Smith, Kimberly Arcand, Jeffrey Smith, Randall Smith, Jay Bookbinder and Megan Watzke

Modern society has led many people to become consumers of data unlike previous generations. How this shift in the way information is communicated and received — including in areas of science — and affects perception and comprehension is still an open question. This study examined one aspect of this digital age: perceptions of astronomical images and their labels, on mobile platforms. Participants were n = 2183 respondents to an online survey, and two focus groups (n = 12 astrophysicists; n = 11 lay public). Online participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 12 images, and compared two label formats. Focus groups compared mobile devices and label formats. Results indicated that the size and quality of the images on the mobile devices affected label comprehension and engagement. The question label format was significantly preferred to the fun fact. Results are discussed in terms of effective science communication using technology.

Volume 13 • Issue 02 • 2014

Apr 02, 2014 Article
Narrative as a learning tool in science centers: potentials, possibilities and merits

by Mai Murmann and Lucy Avraamidou

In this theoretical paper we explore the use of narrative as a learning tool in informal science settings. Specifically, the purpose of this paper is to explore how narrative can be applied to exhibits in the context of science centers to scaffold visitors science learning. In exploring this idea, we analyze the theoretical, structural and epistemological properties of narrative. In the pages that follow, we first discuss the advantages and possibilities for learning that science centers offer alongside challenges and limitations. Next, we discuss the role of narrative in science, as a tool for supporting science learning. We then continue with an analysis of the structural and epistemological properties of narrative and discuss how those can serve to establish narrative as a learning tool.

Volume 13 • Issue 02 • 2014

Apr 08, 2014 Article
Framing engagement: expert-youth interaction in a PES event

by Sampsa Saikkonen and Esa Valiverronen

Previous studies on public engagement with science have identified various difficulties in the encounters between experts and lay people. However, there is a scarcity of research investigating expert-youth interaction. In this paper we focus on the interactive framings of an informal PES event. Based on a case study involving a climate change panel discussion and a simultaneous online chat, both aimed at young people, we discuss the multiplicity of framing. Further, we look for “misbehaviours” which challenge the rationality and norms of the event. Our findings indicate that the frame of deliberative participation is very fragile.

Volume 13 • Issue 02 • 2014


May 06, 2014 Commentary
Socially inclusive science communication

by Luisa Massarani and Matteo Merzagora

Social inclusion is an emerging preoccupation in the science communication field. The political value of science communication (e.g. in terms of empowerment) and the necessity to address all audiences has always been considered, but in recent times the participation agenda has enriched the rationale and methodologies of the communication of science: social inclusion is not only an issue of access to knowledge, but also of governance and co-production.

Volume 13 • Issue 02 • 2014