Community action


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.


This small-scale study aims to understand what different environmental organisations are doing to engage people with brownfield sites in the U.K. Interviews with staff members from different environmental organisations found a wide range of initiatives to be in practice, including collaboration with other organisations and local schools and involving volunteer groups with maintenance of the sites. Working with volunteers and partner organisations and the management of sites were often identified as essential contributors to the success of projects. Interesting themes which arose, including the lack of demographic data and issues engaging with developers, could act as springboards for further studies.


Communities of practice in science communication can make important contributions to public engagement with science but are under-researched. In this article, we look at the perspectives of a community of practice in astronomy communication regarding (relations with) their public(s). Most participants in this study consider that public(s) have several deficits and vulnerabilities. Moreover, practitioners have little to no contact with (and therefore make no use of) academic research on science communication. We argue that collaboration between science communication researchers and practitioners could benefit the science-public relationship and that communities of practice may be critical to that purpose.


Communities are rarely seen as the ideal level at which to focus science communication efforts, compared to the individual, psychological or mass, societal levels. Yet evidence from allied fields suggests building interpersonal relationships with specific communities over time is key to meaningful engagement, so orienting science communication towards communities is warranted. In this paper, we argue this case. We review previous studies, identifying three existing models of community-oriented science communication, which we label ‘neighbourly’, ‘problem-solving’ and ‘brokering’. We illustrate the effectiveness of the ‘problem-solving’ approach and the desirable ideal of ‘brokering’ using recent examples of community-oriented science communication from Australia.


COVID-19 pandemic hit Brazil in February 2020. Controversial information, minimization of the problem, and difficulties resulting from extreme social inequality, led to the intensification of the disease and number of deaths. During this period, the government failed to provide information to the Deaf minority that uses Brazilian Sign Language to communicate. This study analyzes information provided by a TV with accessibility, as well as a Facebook page created by Deaf and hearing interpreters, and videos posted on Instagram and YouTube for that community. The novelty of the subject required linguistic efforts so that information could be coherent in sign language.


Political, economic and social actors have begun to implement the 17 SDGs (UN 2030 Agenda) to build a desirable future for everyone. To reach this goal, a mix of systemic alteration and individual change is needed. “Free Bright Conversations” is a dialogue-based science communication event developed at MUSE-Science Museum in Trento that focuses on people's engagement with sustainable development. The paper describes the format and provides an evaluation based on preliminary data collected on two occasions. The authors conclude that participatory science communication furthers involvement with our common, sustainable future.


Meaningful science engagement beyond one-way outreach is needed to encourage science-based decision making. This pilot study aimed to instigate dialogue and deliberation concerning climate change and public health. Feedback from science café participants was used to design a panel-based museum exhibit that asked visitors to make action plans concerning such issues. Using intercept interviews and visitor comment card data, we found that visitors developed general or highly individualistic action plans to address these issues. Results suggest that employing participatory design methods when developing controversial socio-scientific exhibits can aid engagement. We conclude by recommending participatory strategies for implementing two-way science communication.


CONFERENCE: Citizen Science Association Conference, Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A., 17–20th May 2017

The second biennial Citizen Science Association Conference was held from the 17–20th of May 2017 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The conference is the biggest of its kind in the world and brought together more than 1,000 delegates for hundreds of conference presentations as well as workshops, panels, screenings, a hackathon and a citizen science festival. In this paper we review the history of the conference and outline the key events leading up to the 2017 conference.


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.


Determined to learn the extent to which a local contaminated site was impacting community health, the Native American community of Akwesasne reached out to a research university, eventually partnering on the first large-scale environmental health community based participatory research project (CBPR). Based on interviews with scientists, community fieldworkers, and study participants, this article examines the ways in which collaborating on these studies was beneficial for all parties — especially in the context of citizen science goals of education and capacity building — as well as the challenges they faced, including communicating the limits of what scientific studies could accomplish for the community.

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