Volume 16 • Issue 01 • 2017


Mar 28, 2017 Editorial
Considering the academy: academics, public intellectuals and activism

by Emma Weitkamp

Reflecting on the public role of academics, this issue of JCOM includes a set of commentaries exploring public intellectuals and intellectualism. The commentaries explore the role of academics in public debates, both as bringers of facts and passion. These pieces, together with past commentaries and letters to JCOM raise interesting questions about the role of academics in public debates that are, perhaps not those usually trodden in the academic literature.

Volume 16 • Issue 01 • 2017


Jan 11, 2017 Article
Volunteer recruitment and retention in online citizen science projects using marketing strategies: lessons from Season Spotter

by Alycia Crall, Margaret Kosmala, Rebecca Cheng, Jonathan Brier, Darlene Cavalier, Sandra Henderson and Andrew Richardson

Citizen science continues to grow, potentially increasing competition among projects to recruit and retain volunteers interested in participating. Using web analytics, we examined the ability of a marketing campaign to broaden project awareness, while driving engagement and retention in an online, crowdsourced project. The campaign challenged audiences to support the classification of >9,000 pairs of images. The campaign was successful due to increased engagement, but it did not increase the time participants spent classifying images. Engagement over multiple days was significantly shorter during the campaign. We provide lessons learned to improve targeted recruitment and retention of participants in online projects.

Volume 16 • Issue 01 • 2017

Jan 11, 2017 Article
Deliberating science in Italian high school. The case of the Scienza Attiva project

by Federica Cornali, Gianfranco Pomatto and Selena Agnella

This paper provides an analysis of the implementation and the outcomes of Scienza Attiva, an Italian national project for secondary school students, that makes use of deliberative democracy tools to address socio-scientific issues of great impact. The analysis has required a mixed method including surveys of students' pre- and post-project opinions, focus groups and interviews with students and teachers. The results from this evaluation study provide evidence that the project improves students' understanding of socio-scientific issues, strengthens their awareness of the importance of discussion and positively influences interactions in the classroom.

Volume 16 • Issue 01 • 2017

Jan 23, 2017 Article
Analysing Dutch Science Cafés to better understand the science-society relationship

by Anne Dijkstra

Science cafés offer a place for information and discussion for all who are interested in science and its broader implications for society. In this paper, science cafés are explored as a means of informal science dialogue in order to gain more understanding of the science-society relationship. Perspectives of visitors, organisers and moderators of science cafés were analysed. Findings show that science cafés stimulate discussion and engagement via informal learning processes. Visitors come to broaden their knowledge in an informal ambiance. Organisers and moderators hope to enhance understanding of science and confidence of people to participate in debates.

Volume 16 • Issue 01 • 2017

Mar 28, 2017 Article
Online video on climate change: a comparison between television and web formats

by Alicia De Lara, Jose A. García-Avilés and Gema Revuelta

This article proposes a classification of the current differences between online videos produced specifically for television and online videos produced for the Internet, based on online audiovisual production on climate change. The classification, which consists of 18 formats divided into two groups that allow comparisons to be made between television and web formats, was created through the quantitative and qualitative content analysis of a sample of 300 videos. The findings show that online video's capacity to generate visits is greater when it has been designed to be broadcast on the Internet than when produced for television.

Volume 16 • Issue 01 • 2017


Mar 28, 2017 Commentary
Science communication: frequently public, occasionally intellectual

by Rod Lamberts

This article provides a starting position and scene-setter for an invited commentary series on science communication and public intellectualism. It begins by briefly considering what intellectualism and public intellectualism are, before discussing their relationship with science communication, especially in academia. It ends with a call to science communication academics and practitioners to either become more active in challenging the status quo, or to help support those who wish to by engendering a professional environment that encourages risk-taking and speaking-out in public about critical social issues.

Volume 16 • Issue 01 • 2017


Feb 02, 2017 Letter
Should the science communication community play a role in political activism?

by Joseph Roche and Nicola Davis

This letter reflects on how the role of science in society evolved in 2016. While there were plenty of groundbreaking scientific discoveries, the shifting political landscape cultivated a tempestuous relationship between science and society. We discuss these developments and the potential role of the science communication community in political activism.

Volume 16 • Issue 01 • 2017

Book Reviews

Feb 22, 2017 Book Review
Synthetic biology: below the radar

by Emma Weitkamp

Englehard et al. provide a wide-ranging look at synthetic biology, from discussion of how one might classify different synthetic approaches to consideration of risk and ethical issues. The chapter on public engagement considers why synthetic biology seems to sit below the public radar.

Volume 16 • Issue 01 • 2017

Mar 13, 2017 Book Review
Spotlighting shared goals for science education and communication

by Laura Fogg-Rogers

van den Sanden and Vries curate reflections and insights about the shared goals, practices and processes which bring together academics and practitioners in science education and communication. The book spotlights areas of productive overlap but is just the beginning for meaningful collaboration.

Volume 16 • Issue 01 • 2017

Conference Reviews

Mar 09, 2017 Conference Review
New possibilities for science museums: Museological Reflections Group, 1st edition

by Blanca Cárdenas

This paper briefly describes a new academic discussion project first presented on November 29th, 2016, at the "Universum Sciences Museum" in Mexico City. Interdisciplinary professionals comprise the Museological Reflections Group (MRG), whose aim is to think and explore new possibilities for science museums. The group's first edition, offered the theme "The Sciences behind Showcases: Anthropological and Archaeological Processes".

Volume 16 • Issue 01 • 2017

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