Volume 15 • Issue 06 • 2016


Dec 16, 2016 Editorial
Filling the Gaps: exploring researchers communication experiences

by Emma Weitkamp

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.

Volume 15 • Issue 06 • 2016


Oct 21, 2016 Article
A reexamination of the neurorealism effect: the role of context

by Maria Popescu, R. Bruce Thompson, William Gayton and Vincent Markowski

The phenomenon of lay readers of neuroscience being positively biased by the mere presence of brain images (fMRI), has been hotly debated, with recent failures to replicate the phenomenon, and suggestions that context is important. We experimentally investigated the potentially biasing effect of neuroimagery on participants' beliefs and explored an important facet of context within a neuroscience article: whether the article was supportive or critical of fMRI use in detecting states of mind. Results supported recent arguments that a “neurorealism” effect may in part be an artifact of experimental design; but we also report evidence that context may be critical.

Volume 15 • Issue 06 • 2016

Nov 17, 2016 Article
Open Media Science

by Kristian Martiny, David Budtz Pedersen and Alfred Birkegaard

In this article, we present three challenges to the emerging Open Science (OS) movement: the challenge of communication, collaboration and cultivation of scientific research. We argue that to address these challenges OS needs to include other forms of data than what can be captured in a text and extend into a fully-fledged Open Media movement engaging with new media and non-traditional formats of science communication. We discuss two cases where experiments with open media have driven new collaborations between scientists and documentarists. We use the cases to illustrate different advantages of using open media to face the challenges of OS.

Volume 15 • Issue 06 • 2016

Nov 17, 2016 Article
Communicating science in English: a preliminary exploration into the professional self-perceptions of Australian scientists from language backgrounds other than English

by Adam Huttner-Koros and Sean Perera

Scientists for whom English is not their first language report disadvantages with academic communication internationally. This case study explores preliminary evidence from non-Anglophone scientists in an Australian research organisation, where English is the first language. While the authors identified similarities with previous research, they found that scientists from non-Anglophone language backgrounds are limited by more than their level of linguistic proficiency in English. Academic science communication may be underpinned by perceptions of identity that are defined by the Anglocentric hegemony in science, which dictates not only how academic science is communicated but also who can communicate it.

Volume 15 • Issue 06 • 2016

Nov 29, 2016 Article
Science, Twitter and election campaigns: tracking #auspol in the Australian federal elections

by Merryn McKinnon, David Semmens, Brenda Moon, Inoka Amarasekara and Léa Bolliet

Social media is increasingly being used by science communicators, journalists and government agencies to engage in discourse with a range of publics. Despite a growing body of literature on Twitter use, the communication of science via Twitter is comparatively under explored. This paper examines the prominence of scientific issues in political debate occurring on Twitter during the 2013 and 2016 Australian federal election campaigns. Hashtracking of the umbrella political hashtag auspol was used to capture tweets during the two campaign periods. The 2013 campaign was particularly relevant as a major issue for both parties was climate change mitigation, a controversial and partisan issue. Therefore, climate change discussion on Twitter during the 2013 election was used as a focal case study in this research. Subsamples of the 2013 data were used to identify public sentiment and major contributors to the online conversation, specifically seeking to see if scientific, governmental, media or ‘public' sources were the more dominant instigators. We compare the prominence of issues on Twitter to mainstream media polls over the two campaign periods and argue that the potential of Twitter as an effective public engagement tool for science, and for politicised scientific issues in particular, is not being realised.

Volume 15 • Issue 06 • 2016

Nov 29, 2016 Article
Public science communication in Africa: views and practices of academics at the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe

by Heather Ndlovu, Marina Joubert and Nelius Boshoff

This study of the science communication views and practices of African researchers ― academics at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Zimbabwe ― reveals a bleak picture of the low status of public science engagement in the developing world. Researchers prioritise peer communication and pay little attention to the public, policy makers and popular media. Most scientists believe the public is largely not scientifically literate or interested in research. An unstable funding environment, a lack of communication incentives and censoring of politically sensitive findings further constrain researchers' interest in public engagement. Most NUST academics, however, are interested in science communication training. We suggest interventions that could revive and support public science engagement at African universities.

Volume 15 • Issue 06 • 2016

Dec 06, 2016 Article
Online science videos: an exploratory study with major professional content providers in the United Kingdom

by María Carmen Erviti and Erik Stengler

We present an exploratory study of science communication via online video through various UK-based YouTube science content providers. We interviewed five people responsible for eight of the most viewed and subscribed professionally generated content channels. The study reveals that the immense potential of online video as a science communication tool is widely acknowledged, especially regarding the possibility of establishing a dialogue with the audience and of experimenting with different formats. It also shows that some online video channels fully exploit this potential whilst others focus on providing a supplementary platform for other kinds of science communication, such as print or TV.

Volume 15 • Issue 06 • 2016


Nov 09, 2016 Essay
The price of trust — a response to Weingart and Guenther

by Jane Gregory

In response to Weingart and Guenther [2016], this essay explores the issue of trust in science communication by situating it in a wider communications culture and a longer historical period. It argues that the popular scientific culture is a necessary context not only for professional science, but also for the innovation economy. Given that the neutrality of science is a myth, and that science communication is much like any other form of communication, we should not be surprised if, in an innovation economy, science communication has come to resemble public relations, both for science and for science-based innovations. The public can be sceptical of PR, and may mistrust science communication for this reason.

Volume 15 • Issue 06 • 2016


Dec 16, 2016 Commentary
Science communication and innovation: zooming out for micro-level insights close to reality

by Maarten van der Sanden

Much of science communication is peer-to-peer communication in collaborative networks for innovation from the fuzzy front-end of innovation until the marketing back-end. Scientists and engineers at meetings tables talking about new developments. Or scientists and engineers in collaboration with industry and policy makers, discussing various scenarios for implementation of e.g. health care services. However, this focus on science communication 'within the action' of uncertain development of science and technology and its attached academic domains such as innovation studies, high-tech marketing and branding, is not often discussed in the science communication literature. Lacking these considerations at this micro-level communication, means we have an incomplete picture of the ways that discourses develop and are shaped by actors, particularly during the upstream phases of innovation.

Volume 15 • Issue 06 • 2016


Oct 10, 2016 Letter
Communicating trust and trusting science communication ― some critical remarks

by Alan Irwin and Maja Horst

Written in response to a previous article by Weingart and Guenther [2016] in JCOM, this letter aims to open up some critical issues concerning the ‘new ecology of communication’. It is argued that this evolving ecology needs to be openly explored without looking back to a previous idyll of ‘un-tainted’ science.

Volume 15 • Issue 06 • 2016

Conference Reviews

Nov 29, 2016 Conference Review
The new trend in Science Communication research ecology: 2016 PCST conference review

by Kangyou Wang and Xuan Liu

This is a conference review on PCST 2016 Istanbul. PCST 2016 Conference, with the theme of "Science Communication in Digital Age", was held in Turkey Istanbul on April 26, attracting more than 400 science communication experts and scholars from 52 countries and regions. This conference featured vast topics and rich contents, covering 6 conference reports, 52 sub-forums, 133 oral reports and 52 poster papers focusing on science communication changes, scientists participation, public object, ethics and art, tendency and policy under the background of the digital age.

Volume 15 • Issue 06 • 2016