Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022


Apr 11, 2022 Editorial
Welcome message from the new editorial duo

by Michelle Riedlinger and Marina Joubert

In this editorial, we reflect on our new roles as Editor-in-Chief and Deputy Editor of JCOM. We acknowledge the work of previous editors of JCOM, the Editorial Office and the wider JCOM community who have contributed to the success of the journal. We introduce the new Editorial Board and future directions for the journal, and we encourage suggestions from authors, reviewers and readers for taking the journal forward.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022


Apr 26, 2022 Article
“Easy to join in your pyjamas”: benefits and barriers of online science engagement at Australia's 2020 National Science Week

by Olivia F. McRae, Ellie Downing, Alice Motion, Chiara O'Reilly and Reyne Pullen

In 2020, National Science Week events shifted online in response to Australian COVID-19 restrictions. Our research captures this rapid pivot from in-person to online science events, exploring experiences through audience and presenter questionnaires, and follow-up interviews. We examine characteristics of audiences for online science events, benefits and barriers of these events, and opportunities for online engagement. Key benefits were ease of attendance, new experiences enabled online, and greater control and flexibility. Lack of social interaction, technology issues, and audience reliability were identified as barriers. Our research suggests online events operate in a different sphere to in-person events and informs the delivery of engaging online experiences.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

May 09, 2022 Article
Does democratizing access to science imply democratizing science? A case study of non-corporate Spanish-speaking science YouTubers

by David Vasquez-Muriel and Jorge M. Escobar-Ortiz

In recent years, access to science content production has been democratized. New actors can make their discourses reach large audiences through popular platforms with no institutional gatekeeping. However, it remains unclear which conceptions of the science-society relationship underlie science content created by non-corporate individuals. To explore how science communication cultures of boosters and critics inform this kind of science content in Spanish, we conducted a qualitative content analysis of a sample of 50 videos from ten YouTube science channels. Our results suggest that more accessible science communication does not necessarily entail a democratized view of science but may reinforce a traditional perspective.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

May 16, 2022 Article
“Cover your mouth and nose”: communication about health protection behaviors by role models in YouTube COVID-19 videos for children

by Jocelyn Steinke, Carolyn A. Lin, Tamia Duncan and Viviana Zambrano

YouTube videos offer a potentially useful vehicle for the communication of science, health, and medical information about COVID-19 to children. Findings from this research showed that primary characters appearing in children's educational YouTube videos about COVID-19 were most often adults, with about an equal number of men and women and few characters from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Primary characters frequently demonstrated and modeled protective health measures. Adult expert characters (medical professionals and scientists) appeared to some extent in these videos. Directive discourse frames appeared most frequently, followed by the informative and persuasive discourse frames when communicating scientific and health information. Changes in the use of informative, directive, and persuasive frames before and after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced guidelines on how to communicate about COVID-19 with children are explored.

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May 23, 2022 Article
Anti-scientific beliefs predict health behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic

by Nathanael Johnson, Glenn Sparks and Cheri Sparks

There exist today many forms of anti-scientific beliefs, from extreme views like the QAnon conspiracies, to misconceptions about vaccines and cancer treatment. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented to us a situation in which the public is being asked by medical experts and politicians alike to trust in science and follow after various health recommendations like wearing masks or getting vaccinated against the virus. We used an anti-science belief scale [Morgan et al., 2018] to assess how preexisting beliefs that run counter to the scientific narrative predict behaviors during the pandemic. We found that people who were more accepting of those anti-scientific positions trusted medical information and experts less and engaged less in recommended health behaviors, while simultaneously showing a more favorable view of Trump's actions as President during the pandemic.

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May 25, 2022 Article
Understanding high-achieving publicly engaged scientists' commitment to engage: push, pull, and drag forces

by Niveen AbiGhannam and Anthony Dudo

This paper takes an ecological approach to examine the public engagement with science (PES) pressures and expectations perceived by publicly engaged scientists. Interviews with high-achieving, publicly engaged scientists reveal that unidirectional factors within science (‘push forces’) and engagement (‘pull forces’) contexts drive them towards PES. Running counter to those are ‘drag forces’, or pressures not to engage. Our analyses reveal that high-achieving publicly engaged scientists mitigate those pressures through employing certain engagement strategies, such as by overproducing academic research and selectively sharing PES news with institutions and colleagues. Findings enrich our understanding of the complex operation of norms in the ever-changing PES landscape.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

May 30, 2022 Article
Experiencing science communication from a local perspective: an analysis of the volunteer SciCom groups in Chihuahua, Mexico

by Iván Jalil Antón Carreño-Márquez and Marie Astrid Cereceres-Aguirre

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranks Mexico in one of the last places in science performance [OECD, 2019]. This has been a concern for some local science communication groups (SCGs) in small and medium-sized cities, whose mission is to fill this disparity by performing science communication (SciCom) activities. The SCGs were contacted via a survey to collect information about their dynamics and public reach. A descriptive analysis enabled the identification of the logistics and coordination issues found among SCGs. Consequently, a local network of science communication groups is advised to reinforce their impact.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

Practice Insights

Apr 20, 2022 Practice Insight
Science communication during COVID-19: when theory meets practice and best practices meet reality

by Christopher D. Wirz, Ashley Cate, Markus Brauer, Dominique Brossard, Lori DiPrete Brown, Kaiping Chen, Pauline Ho, D. Gavin Luter, Haley Madden, Sara Schoenborn, Bret Shaw, Cory Sprinkel, Don Stanley and Gail Sumi

This paper synthesizes the efforts of an interdisciplinary, University-convened communication task force in the U.S. that used science communication theory to develop an effective strategy during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. We outline recommendations for researchers and practitioners who are, or are interested in, implementing theory-based communication practices while describing how we dealt with the unforeseen realities we faced. Overall, we recommend that effective public health and science communication should be based on theory and formative evaluation while relying on established infrastructure, real-time data, a deep understanding of intended target audiences, and intentional coordination with community partners.

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May 02, 2022 Practice Insight
A standard for public consultation on science communication: the CONCISE project experience

by Carolina Llorente, Gema Revuelta, Malgorzata Dziminska, Izabela Warwas, Aneta Krzewińska and Carolina Moreno

Citizen consultations are public participation mechanisms designed to inform public policy and promote public dialogue. This article describes a deliberative consultation conducted within the CONCISE project framework. The aim was to gather qualitative knowledge about the means and channels through which European citizens acquire science-related knowledge, and how these influence their opinions and perceptions with respect to four socially relevant topics: vaccines, complementary and alternative medicine, genetically modified organisms, and climate change. In 2019, the CONCISE project carried out five citizen consultations in Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Italy and Portugal to explore the understanding of nearly 500 citizens, enabling the development of a standard for the carrying out of citizen consultations on science communication.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

Conference Reviews

Jun 01, 2022 Conference Review
Mainstreaming post-2020 biodiversity through science communication and education

by Shen Zhou, Chenxin Lv and xinchang Sun

The 5th Luosuo River Science Education Forum was held online from December 7 to 8, 2021, with the theme “Education for Ecological Civilization: Post-2020 Biodiversity Education and Communication”. The Forum assembled stakeholders to discuss four aspects of the topic: biodiversity conservation with Chinese characteristics, biodiversity education theory, biodiversity education practice, and biodiversity communication innovation, to promote “global vision and local action” in mainstreaming biodiversity conservation.

Volume 21 • Issue 03 • 2022

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