Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021


Aug 09, 2021 Article
A survey and evaluation of mobile apps in science centers and museums

by Maycon Gomes Barbosa, Luiz Antonio de Saboya and Diego Vaz Bevilaqua

This paper studies how science centers and museums around the world have used mobile apps with museum guide characteristics and tries to identify the best interface design principles to improve their use as a tool for interaction with the public. For this purpose, we mapped mobile apps from science centers and museums and applied an evaluation tool for each one to identify good practices. This allowed us to produce guidelines for identifying good practices in the development of apps as a way of expanding visitors' experience in these institutions through these devices.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Aug 16, 2021 Article
Citizen-driven participatory research conducted through knowledge intermediary units. A thematic synthesis of the literature on “Science Shops”

by Anne-Sophie Gresle, Eduardo Urias, Rosario Scandurra, Bálint Balázs, Irene Jimeno, Leonardo de la Torre Ávila and Maria Jesus Pinazo

A Science Shop acts as a mission-oriented intermediary unit between the scientific sphere and civil society organizations. It seeks to facilitate citizen-driven open science projects that respond to the needs of civil society organizations and which, typically, include students in the work process. We performed a thematic analysis of a systematically selected literature on Science Shops to understand how the scientific literature reflects the historical evolution of Science Shops in different settings and what factors the literature associates with the rise and fall of the Science Shop. We used the PRISMA methodology to search for scientific papers in indexed journals in eight databases published in English, French and Spanish, and employed the thematic theory approach to extract and systematize our results. Twenty-six scientific articles met the inclusion criteria. We identified three meta-categories and ten sub-topics which can serve as key pointers to guide the set-up and future work of Science Shops. Our results identify a major paradox: Science Shops incorporate public values in their scientific agendas but have difficulties sustaining themselves institutionally as they do not fit the current dominant research paradigm. Science shops represent a persuasive complementary approach to the way science is defined, executed and produced today.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Aug 30, 2021 Article
Steak and bleach as science communication heroes? The rise of post-corona, posthuman irony

by Padraig Murphy

Since early 2020, communicating risks associated with COVID-19 and providing safety advice have been top priorities for health agencies and governments. With an increase in employees working remotely following the global spread of coronavirus coupled with increasingly sophisticated marketing strategies, global brands unsurprisingly engaged consumers and publics by acknowledging the crisis that engulfed the world. An increase in online marketing was observed in an already existing trend online where hybrids of consumer, brand and product-as-object interacted as equals, using contemporary informal codes of social media discourse and often using irony and humour. However, this paper critically assesses how such important communication responsibilities about coronavirus were taken up by private companies. Online and social media outputs were analysed through a lens of anthropomorphising and posthuman brands. A typology of brand strategies was developed based on engagement and how COVID-19 science, care and prevention were communicated. The paper concludes with a reflection on where this may lead health and environmental communication and what it means for science communicators.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Sep 06, 2021 Article
Impacts of genre and access on science discussions: ‘The New Reddit Journal of Science’

by Ehren Helmut Pflugfelder and Alexander Mahmou-Werndli

Which genre of science writing contributes most to public understanding, and how does that understanding happen? Working within a science in society approach, this paper examines public engagement with science as it occurs in the comments and discussion boards of r/science. Researchers use content analysis to identify relevant concept categories and code comments for interaction with science content. The resulting data are analyzed by genre (scientific news journalism, press release, and research article) and open access status, revealing differences in public engagement with implications for science communicators and scholars seeking to understand how the public interacts with science news.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Sep 08, 2021 Article
How do we tackle the COVID-19 crisis? Mass media and psychological responses to the health crisis in Spain

by María Álvarez-Rementería Álvarez, Gorka Roman Etxebarrieta and Maria Dosil Santamaria

During global health crises, the mass media plays a key role in the construction of risk society. This paper analyses people's perception during the confinement in Spain regarding the role of mass media and its relationship with psychological responses and attitudes towards social control. Results from the survey (n=704) suggest that certain groups have been more affected by the messages distributed by the media, rendering them more vulnerable to suffering from negative psychological responses. The mass media interferes with the manner in which people psychologically deal with this crisis and the behaviour that results from their perception of risk.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Sep 15, 2021 Article
Science communication training as information seeking and processing: a theoretical approach to training early-career scientists

by Heather Akin, Shelly Rodgers and Jack Schultz

This study examines early-career scientists' cognition, affect, and behaviors before, during, and after a series of science communication training workshops drawing from the Risk Information Seeking and Processing (RISP) and Theory of Planned Behavior theoretical models. We find correlations between engagement (throughout the training), self-reported knowledge and intention to apply their science communication skills. We discuss implications of these findings for science communication training, in particular that science communication behaviors and investment in skill development appear to be more dependent on attitudes and motivations cultivated during the training, rather than their attitudes and motivations coming in.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Sep 29, 2021 Article
Understanding knowledge and perceptions of genome editing technologies: a textual analysis of major agricultural stakeholder groups

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

The promise of CRISPR-Cas9 (CRISPR) genomic editing applied to agriculture is promoted widely by scientists. We utilized textual analysis methods to compare perceptions of this innovation held by various stakeholder groups — scientists, policymakers, farmers, and the general public. Results reveal distinctions in the semantic structure and concepts emphasized across groups. Scientists and policymakers exhibited a high level of technical sophistication while emphasizing the potential societal benefits, while farmers and the general public focused on perceived personal benefits and familiarity with the issue. These results will aid development of message strategies bridging the gap between the scientific community and key publics.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Oct 04, 2021 Article
Co-benefits associated with public support for climate-friendly COVID-19 recovery policies and political activism

by Jagadish Thaker and Brian Floyd

Scientists highlight that actions that address environmental protection and climate change can also help with reducing infectious disease threats. Results using data from a national sample survey in New Zealand indicate that perceptions of co-benefits of actions to address environmental protection that also protect against infectious disease outbreaks such as the coronavirus is associated with policy support and political engagement. This association was partly mediated through perceived collective efficacy. Local councils with higher level of community collective efficacy were more likely to declare climate emergency. Communication about potential co-benefits is likely to shape public engagement and enact policy change.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021


Sep 27, 2021 Essay
Co-created citizen science: challenging cultures and practice in scientific research

by Jade Gunnell, Yaela Golumbic, Tess Hayes and Michelle Cooper

Co-created citizen science offers practical tools for implementing science communication theories by increasing public participation in scientific research, empowering communities and advancing situated scientific knowledge. However, delivering such an approach presents a number of key challenges around funding, fostering working partnerships between scientists and citizens and ensuring all stakeholders receive sufficient benefits from the process. In this essay we draw from science communication and citizen science literature to describe these challenges and discuss the opportunities that will enable co-created practices to prosper.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Book Reviews

Aug 02, 2021 Book Review
Theatre as a space for negotiation and co-creation of knowledge

by Carla Almeida

In an increasingly rich and abundant context of publications on science and theatre, Simon Parry's “Science in performance: theatre and the politics of engagement” stands out for its multidisciplinary perspective on the topic, focusing on central issues in the field of science communication. Based on a detailed and dense analysis of a selection of theatre performances about science, Parry supports theatre as a space for negotiation and co-creation of knowledge.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Aug 23, 2021 Book Review
A look at the complex issues of science communication: the Routledge Handbook of Public Communication of Science and Technology

by Andrea Rubin

In the year of the PCST Conference that brings together scholars and experts in public communication of science, Routledge published the new edition of the Handbook of Public Communication of Science and Technology, edited by Massimiano Bucchi and Brian Trench. The book, in its third edition, seeks to update and define the field of study and application of science communication from both a theoretical and empirical point of view mostly in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic which undoubtedly represents an event of historical significance that cannot fail to question scholars on the medium and long-term effects.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Sep 13, 2021 Book Review
A timely update to a classic text

by Emma Weitkamp

The third edition of Bucchi and Trench's classic handbook offers a contemporary look at science communication. First published over 10 years ago, this latest edition includes new chapters focusing on contemporary issues, such as mediatization, as well as addressing new trends in science communication, such as the move towards STEAM. The text offers a useful introduction to the diverse debates and issues facing science communication today.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Sep 20, 2021 Book Review
There is nothing new under the sun

by Erik Stengler

A novel and original take on the history of popular science showcases that making science accessible to the public has been part of scientific activity since ancient times. Under this lens, and through twenty-one case studies, current trends such as sci-art and virtual technology can be seen as part of a continuum that was already present in the use of aesthetic and rhetorical tools by the ancient Greeks. Thanks to a careful curation of the collection of texts, this volume as a whole offers more than the sum of its parts (chapters).

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

Conference Reviews

Sep 22, 2021 Conference Review
Embracing the future through science communication: the inaugural "Mr. Science" Science Communication Conference in China

by Guoyan Wang, Hepeng Jia, Jingyi Han and Yuqin Yang

The inaugural "Mr. Science" Science Communication Conference was held in Suzhou, China on July 9, 2021. It was the largest Chinese conference on science communication study since the start of the 21st century. More than 260 scholars discussed the spirit and culture of science, science communication during the COVID-19 crisis, the public understanding of science, and the ethical aspects of science communication. The conference aimed to develop a system for researching science communication within China. This review outlines the content of the conference and summarizes the key trends in science communication research in China.

Volume 20 • Issue 05 • 2021

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