Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022


Jun 28, 2022 Article
Plausibility of scientific findings: institutional factors in lay evaluations

by Elizaveta P. Sheremet and Inna F. Deviatko

One of the recent “crises” experienced by science is associated with a decline in its public support. We conducted two factorial surveys among university students aiming at broadening our understanding of the information cues influencing the wider publics' judgments of science. We found that sociological and criminological research results are perceived as less plausible compared to neuroscientific and physiological research, but as more plausible than results from genetics. In contrast with the previous data on the importance of funding and institutional prestige cues as the indirect indicators of the research quality among academic experts, we discovered the absence of any effects of funding or institutional prestige for the selected type of general audience.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022

Aug 01, 2022 Article
Communicating urgency through humor: School Strike 4 Climate protest placards

by Matthew Hee, Anna-Sophie Jürgens, Anastasiya Fiadotava, Karina Judd and Hannah R. Feldman

Protest placards are an important part of School Strike 4 Climate (SS4C) protest culture and illustrate how protesters view, understand and share their environmental concerns. Many of the placards use humor to convey the messages of their creators. Bringing together science communication and humor studies, this paper examines the communicative functions of humor in Australian SS4C posters by asking to what extent protest signs can be understood as a vehicle of science communication. The paper reveals how humorous protest placards become the means of grassroots creativity, exploring bottom-up science communication in an ambiguous, but accessible and enjoyable form.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022

Aug 16, 2022 Article
Making science communication inclusive: an exploratory study of choices, challenges and change mechanisms in the United States from an emerging movement

by Sunshine Menezes, Kayon Murray-Johnson, Hollie Smith, Hannah Trautmann and Mehri Azizi

This qualitative study explores perspectives of U.S.A.-based science communication researchers and practitioners who attended a symposium focused on advancing inclusive science communication (ISC). ISC is a growing global movement that aims to center equity, inclusion, and marginalized perspectives in science communication. Findings underscore the complexity of systemic barriers to ISC, the critical need for resource sharing and network building, and the importance of evaluation frameworks. The authors also highlight critical dialogue as a strategic tool that might help support intentional, reciprocal, and reflexive practices in science communication.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022

Aug 22, 2022 Article
Increasingly polarised or finding common ground? Exploring pro- and anti-vaccine rhetoric on two South African Facebook pages

by Karien Connoway, Hannah Keal, Milandré van Lill and Marina Joubert

We investigated pro- and anti-vaccine rhetoric on two South African Facebook pages to identify the nature, sources and justifications of the vaccine-related claims published on these pages. Our dataset consisted of 440 Facebook posts made by page administrators during 2019. Statements related to the safety and necessity of vaccines dominated the pro-vaccine page, while the anti-vaccine page focussed primarily on claims about the dangers of vaccines. Posts on both pages frequently contained content shared from within Facebook, with much of the content originating from the United States. Both pages made equal use of scientific justifications (i.e. published journal articles) to support claims, and most of these articles were published in accredited journals. The authors hope that a better understanding of the nature, sources and justifications of pro- and anti-vaccine rhetoric may lead to more constructive dialogue about vaccines, including the ongoing debate about COVID-19 vaccines.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022

Aug 29, 2022 Article
Vaccination rates in Europe are not associated with online media intensity

by Catarina Luís, Veronica Romina Di Marzo, Mandeep Kaur, Christos Argyropoulos, Declan Devane, Fiona Anne Stewart, George Antoniou, Greet Hendrickx, Helena Hervius Askling, Margot Hellemans, Miriam Cohen, Orly Spivak, Pierre Van Damme, Rebecca Jane Cox, Sirkka Vene, Sofie Sibia, Zoi Dorothea Pana, Ole Olesen and on behalf of VACCELERATE Consortium

To map the public information about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine trials in Europe, we have compiled an inventory of online communication materials from official sources (e.g., governments, public agencies, and NGOs) via directed online research. While information for the general public was abundant across Europe, we found a large variation in number, type and target audiences among countries. Little or no information was found for population groups that are typically underrepresented in vaccine clinical trials. Materials about clinical trials and trial participation were also limited. Interestingly, higher number of media materials was not reflected in higher national vaccination rates.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022


Jul 25, 2022 Essay
CLADISTICS ruined my life: intersections of fandom, internet memes, and public engagement with science

by Luke-Elizabeth Gartley

In an increasingly mediated culture, social institutions such as science, public health, and civic engagement exist within the same modes of discourse as popular media. As a human endeavor, science is also a cultural phenomenon, and there are webs of multidirectional and layered communication that occur between formal science communication, pop science, and, indeed, popular media. For public participants, engagement with science and entertainment may be one in the same. This essay draws from research of transformative works, fan studies, and memetics to examine how the public engages with science and popular media within digital cultures.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022


Jul 04, 2022 Commentary
The science communication of ‘Don't Look Up ’

by Hannah Little

In December 2021, Netflix released a comedy feature film, ‘Don't Look Up’. The film follows two scientists who discover an extinction-level comet heading for Earth, which they then attempt to warn humanity about. The makers of the film have publicly stated that the film is meant as a satirical metaphor for the response to the climate emergency. The film presents representations of science, scientists, and science communication. In this set of commentaries, experts have been selected to explore these representations and the lessons the film presents for using satire in science communication.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022

Book Reviews

Jul 12, 2022 Book Review
Elusive science cultures

by Padraig Murphy

The latest in a growing number of edited volumes that take science communication as a phenomenon to be explored through science cultures is a rich book full of theoretical and methodological rigour. There are 17 chapters included here from 33 authors across 16 different countries containing selected paper contributions from the 2018 Science & You conference in Beijing jointly organised by the Chinese National Academy of Innovation Strategy and the University of Lorraine, France. With an opening address by Massimiano Bucchi, chapters are arranged thematically, with emphasis on the roles of institutions, state and media in the social dynamics and public understandings of science and technology across global cultures.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022

Jul 18, 2022 Book Review
Scratching an itch: a new perspective on health communication in Africa

by Greer Van Zyl

At last, a compilation of essays that provide fascinating insights into Health Communication and Disease in Africa. Falade and Murire (eds.) have produced a volume which needed to be written and will delight those with an interest in health and science communication, public health, social and behaviour change, and theoretical approaches to health communication. Broad themes cover stigma, beliefs and traditions, and rethinking approaches to health communication. A key element is the effort to bridge ‘classical’ approaches to health communication and behaviour change with indigenous knowledge systems of people in Africa.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022

Conference Reviews

Aug 08, 2022 Conference Review
‘‘The future is now’’ — a European perspective on the future of science communication

by Erinma Ochu, Pedro russo and Ionica Smeets

The Future of SciComm 2.0 conference was a one-day event in Brussels on April 26th 2022. Focusing on the future of European science communication, sixty participants from twelve countries with different expertise discussed the current challenges and possible solutions for the field. Key themes centred around disinformation, communicating global challenges, evidence-based practices and institutional structures woven through the plenary opening, afternoon workshops and the closing public panel discussion. The conclusion is a need for an European science communication ecosystem that is transdisciplinary, connected and cooperative in practice, weaving between policy, research and industry. Finally, citizen science and open science could be included as scholarly praxes to facilitate societal interconnectivity.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022

Aug 24, 2022 Conference Review
Engaging communities in citizen science

by Cathrine Winther

How can citizen science (CS) be engaging? What does engagement entail? Who needs to be engaged? What are the challenges and opportunities of engagement in CS? After two years of lockdown and isolation, these were some of the questions debated by engaged researchers, students, and practitioners at the ‘Engaging Citizen Science Conference 2022’, (CitSci2022), held April 25th–26th at Aarhus University, Denmark. The conference aimed to showcase and share knowledge, ideas, and innovations on engaging citizens in scientific processes to secure the field of citizen science to thrive and expand. Nearly 250 participants, mainly from Europe, participated in an extensive programme with various session formats that provided an interactive and inspirational space for presenting and negotiating experiences, challenges, and enthusiasm for CS. This review presents highlights from the event and some reflections from the reviewer, including thoughts on what engagement means, and concluding with focus points that practitioners, researchers, and students may consider when engaging citizens in science and organizing similar events in future.

Volume 21 • Issue 05 • 2022

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