Participation and science governance

03/09/2018

At the beginning of May, 2018, the European Commission has presented its proposal for Horizon Europe, the framework programme which defines priorities and budget distribution for the future of European Research and Innovation (2021–2027). The announcement has raised concerns within the community of stakeholders engaged in Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), a democratization process leading to connecting science to the values and interests of European citizens by mean of participatory processes. Through this flash commentary we aim at providing a wide range of arguments, as well as strong examples and concrete suggestions, to the importance of maintaining and strengthening RRI within Horizon Europe, with the hope to inspire amendments to the current proposal.

25/06/2018

The characteristics of interaction and dialogue implicit in the Web 2.0 have given rise to a new scenario in the relationship between science and society. The aim of this paper is the development of an evaluation tool scientifically validated by the Delphi method that permits the study of Internet usage and its effectiveness for encouraging public engagement in the scientific process. Thirty four indicators have been identified, structured into 6 interrelated criteria conceived for compiling data that help to explain the role of the Internet in favouring public engagement in science.

21/06/2017

The future challenges within science communication lie in a 'grey area' where the frontiers between production and sharing of knowledge are blurred. An area in which we can satisfy at the same time and within the same activity the autonomous interests of researchers and those of other stakeholders, including lay publics. Settings are emerging, where we can provide real contribution to scientific research and at the same time facilitate the publics in their process of hacking scientific knowledge to serve autonomously defined and often unpredictable functions. Some are linked to research institutes, others to science centres, others are precisely inbetween. This editorial explores why these special places are needed, and present some case studies, leading to the need of interpreting science culture centres as research facilities.

18/04/2017

There is a gap between the discipline of economics and the public it is supposedly about and for. This gap is reminiscent of the divide that led to movements for the public understanding of and public engagement with the natural sciences. It is a gap in knowledge, trust, and opinions, but most of all it is a gap in engagement. In this paper we ask: What do we need to think about ― and what do we need to do ― in order to bring economics and its public into closer dialogue? At stake is engaged, critical democracy. We turn to the fields of public understanding of science and science studies for our approach, finding three themes of particular relevance: understanding, expertise, and audience. We then discuss participatory budgeting (PB) as an example of fertile ground for engagement. We argue that with an economic-engagement focus, activities such as PB could be extended into the public-economics gap and provide avenues for an economic equivalent of participatory science: a form of participatory economics.

28/03/2017

This article provides a starting position and scene-setter for an invited commentary series on science communication and public intellectualism. It begins by briefly considering what intellectualism and public intellectualism are, before discussing their relationship with science communication, especially in academia. It ends with a call to science communication academics and practitioners to either become more active in challenging the status quo, or to help support those who wish to by engendering a professional environment that encourages risk-taking and speaking-out in public about critical social issues.

09/11/2016

In response to Weingart and Guenther [2016], this essay explores the issue of trust in science communication by situating it in a wider communications culture and a longer historical period. It argues that the popular scientific culture is a necessary context not only for professional science, but also for the innovation economy. Given that the neutrality of science is a myth, and that science communication is much like any other form of communication, we should not be surprised if, in an innovation economy, science communication has come to resemble public relations, both for science and for science-based innovations. The public can be sceptical of PR, and may mistrust science communication for this reason.

21/09/2016

This study applies social network analysis to explore the role that one science festival has played in building the state's STEM learning ecosystem. It examines the breadth and extent of collaboration among STEM educators and their partners, reviewing past and present partnerships across 449 events during the 2015 festival. Three case studies provide in-depth illustrations of partnerships. These findings represent an important step towards (a) mapping a STEM learning ecosystem, and (b) trying to understand how a festival affects the ecosystem itself. Together, study results demonstrate how the festival has served to stimulate and foster STEM partnerships.

22/06/2016

Celebrating 15 years of success and growth, the STS Conference Graz on May 9 and 10, 2016, gathered nearly 200 delegates from all over the world who had the opportunity to discuss and share research and experiences on 6 main themes: Policy and Technology; Gender and Queer STS; Mobility, Energy and Sustainability; Responsible Research and Innovation Studies; Nutrition, Health and Biomedicine; and Information and Communication Technologies, Surveillance and Society.

09/06/2016

The twenty-first century has witnessed a shift in science communication ideals from one-way science popularization activities towards more reflexive, participatory approaches to public engagement with science. Yet our longue duéee histories of science communication's antecedents focus on the former and have neglected the latter. In this paper I identify parallels between modern science communication ideals and an iconic Enlightenment text, Condorcet's Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind (1795). I show that Condorcet's carefully negotiated balance between scientific reason and radical principles of democracy has much in common with twenty-first century debates about science communication.

20/04/2016

This issue forms Part II of JCOM's collection of articles and essays exploring the field of citizen science. Here I introduce the articles in Part II, outlining how they contribute to our understanding of the ways that volunteers participate in citizen science projects, what motivates this participation and what learning arises as a result of participation.

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