Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021


Feb 09, 2021 Article
The collaboration in the production of ‘Life of Galileo’ in a science museum in Rio de Janeiro

by Carla Almeida and Diego Vaz Bevilaqua

Science and theatre have a long history of interactions, which usually promote collaborations between artists and scientists. Focussing on the theatre performed in the context of science communication, this article aims to analyse the collaboration between artists and scientists in the production of the play ‘Life of Galileo’, by Bertolt Brecht, at the Museu da Vida. Based on the interviews with 12 people involved in the production, we identified a strong involvement in the project, which provided a rich exchange and knowledge acquisition, in addition to raising relevant questions about the theatre performed in the specific context of science communication.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Feb 15, 2021 Article
Examining the relationship between gene editing knowledge, value predispositions, and general science attitudes among U.S. farmers, scientists, policymakers, and the general public

by Christopher Calabrese, Jieyu Ding Featherstone, Matthew Robbins and George A. Barnett

Science communication scholars have debated over what factors are related to public support for science and technology. This study examines the relationship between factual knowledge of gene editing technologies, value predispositions, and general science attitudes among four major U.S. agricultural stakeholder groups: farmers, scientists, policymakers, and the general public. Understanding these factors will aid in guiding message strategies for engagement with stakeholder groups. Findings indicate that gene editing knowledge was positively associated with science attitudes for all four groups, while conservative ideology was negatively associated with science attitudes among three of the groups. Implications and limitations are discussed.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Mar 01, 2021 Article
The newsworthiness of the “March for Science” in Germany: comparing news factors in journalistic media and on Twitter

by Lars Guenther, Georg Ruhrmann, Mercedes C. Zaremba and Natalie Weigelt

Germany was second in the number of March for Science participants. Applying news value theory, this article analyzes the newsworthiness of the 2018 March for Science in Germany, comparing journalistic (online) reporting on the march (N=86) and Twitter communication about #marchforscience (N=591). The results of the content analyses reveal that news factors were more frequent and reached higher intensities in journalistic reporting than on Twitter. Relevance, prominence, personalization, and influence were the news factors most emphasized by journalists. On Twitter, reach was the only news factor correlating with social media engagement (likes, comments, and retweets).

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Mar 08, 2021 Article
Hocus Pocus: using comics to promote skepticism about the paranormal

by Richard Wiseman, Jordan Collver, Rik Worth and Caroline Watt

This study investigated the potential for comics to promote skepticism about the paranormal. Participants rated their interest in comics, read a skeptical account of alleged paranormal phenomena in one of three mediums (text, comic, and comic containing an interactive magic trick), and then rated their engagement, skepticism and recall. The text was rated as more interesting and entertaining than the comics, and participants' prior interest in comics positively correlated with engagement and shift in skepticism. This suggests that for certain cohorts, comics may be an effective way to promote engagement and attitude change. The implications for future work are considered.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Mar 15, 2021 Article
Science communication for social inclusion: exploring science & art approaches

by Ana Matias, Andreia Dias, Cláudia Gonçalves, Paulo Nuno Vicente and Ana Lúcia Mena

Engaging communities at risk of social exclusion poses a big challenge for science communicators. We schematize a framework for projects using science & art to promote social inclusion, composed of 3 phases — design, plan and collaboration; implementation; and evaluation. We present a case study that aimed to engage with a community of migrant senior women, mostly illiterate. Our findings suggest high engagement was achieved by building trust, involving emotions, choosing a relatable topic and following participatory practices. Inclusive activities occurred on the short-term, but for medium-term impact, community insiders need to be regarded as a second audience.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Mar 22, 2021 Article
The types of visible scientists

by Arko Olesk

We lack a good framework to characterize media-related adaptations of researchers. This paper explores Estonian scientists visible in the media to propose five dimensions to characterize the degree of mediatization of a researcher, and describes two basic types of visible scientists. Representatives of one type (‘adapters to media logic’) are able to explain the project simply and engagingly in the media, while those of the second type (‘adopters of media logic’) proactively create media interactions and manage them to achieve strategic aims. The results show how individual actors translate communication objectives into media practices, explaining variabilities in scientists' media presence.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Mar 29, 2021 Article
The coronavirus pandemic narratives in Italian digital media

by Jorge Milan Fitera, Natalia Abuín-Vences and Javier Sierra Sánchez

In this paper we discuss the SARS-CoV-2-related information coverage (beginning of the epidemic) in Italian digital media narratives. We surveyed the digital articles that reported the highest engagement level. The aim was to identify the most prominent variables (topics, players and news coverage area). Similarly, a discourse analysis was carried out by analyzing the tone used in relation to the variables mentioned. The results show that the most important topics were health, politics and the economy. Headlines appeared to be more likely to have a negative tone, although neutral headlines were the most common. The main feature in digital media headlines was civil society.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Apr 06, 2021 Article
Science in the media: the scientific community's perception of the COVID-19 media coverage in Spain

by Javier de Sola

The COVID-19 pandemic was the most prominent feature in the media in 2020. This research analyzes the scientific community's perception of the journalistic coverage of the pandemic in the Spanish media. Based on a survey with the participation of 818 respondents, the study revealed that scientists believe that radio did the best job in reporting the pandemic, whereas television did the worst. Among our findings, it is worthwhile to mention that — according to scientists — the media used sensationalistic tones and reports were not particularly accurate nor realistic. Finally, we included the scientific community's recommendations to treat the subject more appropriately.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Apr 12, 2021 Article
Policing orthodoxy on Wikipedia: Skeptics in action?

by Brian Martin

Wikipedia has been accused of being biased against challengers to scientific orthodoxy due to efforts by editors having affinities with the Skeptics movement. Examination of Wikipedia, including entries on fluoridation, the origin of AIDS and vaccination, reveals several characteristics typical of a Skeptics sensibility, including the definition of scepticism, lists of deviant ideas, derogatory labelling of heterodox viewpoints, and categories established without reference to reliable sources.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Apr 19, 2021 Article
Affordances and tensions in recording bird observations: how coordinators and volunteers perceive and experience citizen science in birding

by Helen Verploegen, Wessel Ganzevoort and Riyan van den Born

Digital citizen science projects differ greatly in their goals and design. Tensions arise when coordinators' design choices and conceptions of citizen science conflict with users' motivations and expectations. In this paper, we use a combination of qualitative methods to gain new insights into the ways citizen science is understood and implemented digitally. This includes a study into the affordances of two citizen science portals for bird observations, and qualitative interviews with users and coordinators of the portals. This reveals tensions related to data sharing, community hierarchies, and communicated expectations. Awareness of these tensions can benefit the future design of online citizen science projects.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

May 05, 2021 Article
Female voices marginalised in media coverage of science in Uganda, both as authors and sources

by Ivan Nathanael Lukanda

Studies on women's marginalisation as authors and sources of science stories in the media in developing countries are few, and fewer in the context of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Using feminist media theory, this study surmises that women are accordingly underrepresented in GMO stories. Based on a content analysis of 317 stories published in two Ugandan newspapers, findings indicate that chances of females being published as authors and sources increase if they collaborate with a male. There is a need for female scientists to collaborate with male counterparts and journalists to increase their visibility in the media in an agricultural sector where women are great contributors to the labourforce.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021

Practice Insights

Feb 22, 2021 Practice Insight
Searching for the Sources of the Nile through a podcast: what did we find?

by Emanuele Fantini and Emilie Buist

Podcasts are gaining traction in academic practice and debates. This article reflects on the experience of “The Sources of the Nile”, a podcast on media, science, and water diplomacy. By presenting the podcast structure and production process, we sketch a “podcast pathway” that might serve as a guide for others. We share the results of a survey conducted among our listeners and we review the episodes discussing what we learned on distributions of voice, knowledge and water in the Nile basin. We conclude by reflecting on the connection between the technical production of the podcast and the type of knowledge that it generates, and by pointing at the importance of placing the podcast within a broader community of interests and practice.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021


Apr 27, 2021 Essay
Rethinking science communication: reflections on what happens when science meets comic art

by Anna Jonsson and Maria Grafström

In this essay, we explore what happens when science meets comic art and how such meeting offers an opportunity to rethink science communication. We base our discussion on our own experience, as research scholars, of engaging in a collaboration with a comic artist. Three key reflections are developed: how comic art may help to (1) conceptualize ideas in an early research phase, (2) clarify the main argument by making the (un)written word visible; and (3) communicate science with an open end. These aspects contribute to an increased understanding of science communication in both research and society.

Volume 20 • Issue 02 • 2021