Participation and science governance

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.

20/04/2016

Community-based water monitoring (CBWM) provides essential baseline information on watershed health and engages the public in science, but those involved often encounter barriers to informing environmental management. We conducted qualitative interviews with watershed group coordinators and government counterparts from four CBWM organizations to explore instances where CBWM successfully influenced governmental decision-making. Our findings show that the level of rigor for quality standards, inclusion of volunteers, available resources, and desired goals are important considerations when designing community-based monitoring programs. Integrated program designs that include adequate quality standards and engage volunteers are more apt to maximize resources and realize both scientific and educational goals.

17/03/2016

In recent years, citizen science has gained popularity not only in the scientific community but also with the general public. The potential it projects in fostering an open and participatory approach to science, decreasing the distance between science and society, and contributing to the wider goal of an inclusive society is being explored by scientists, science communicators, educators, policy makers and related stakeholders. The public's participation in citizen science projects is still often reduced to data gathering and data manipulation such as classification of data. However, the citizen science landscape is much broader and diverse, inter alia due to the participation opportunities offered by latest ICT. The emergence of new forms of collaboration and grassroots initiatives is currently being experienced. In an open consultation process that led to the "White Paper on Citizen Science for Europe", the support of a wide range of project types and innovative forms of participation in science was requested. In this paper we argue for mechanisms that encourage a variety of approaches, promote emerging and creative concepts and widen the perspectives for social innovation.

21/01/2016

Citizen science is one of the most dramatic developments in science communication in the last generation. But analyses of citizen science, of what it means for science and especially for science communication, have just begun to appear. Articles in this first of two special issues of JCOM address three intertwined concerns in this emerging field: The motivation of citizen science participants, the relationship of citizen science with education, and the implications of participation for creation of democratic engagement in science-linked issues. Ultimately these articles contribute to answering the core question: What does citizen science mean?

21/01/2016

Citizen Science is part of a broader reconfiguration of the relationship between science and the public in the digital age: Knowledge production and the reception of scientific knowledge are becoming increasingly socially inclusive. We argue that the digital revolution brings the "problem of extension" — identified by Collins and Evans in the context of science and technology governance — now closer to the core of scientific practice. In order to grasp the implications of the inclusion of non-experts in science, the aim of this contribution is to define a role-set of non-certified knowledge production and reception, serving as a heuristic instrument for empirical clarifications.

03/03/2015

This study re-examines the survey responses of embryonic stem cell research prepared for UK Department of Health (DH) in 2006. Aided by the novel method of semantic network analysis, the main purpose of the reanalysis is to “re-present” the overlooked layer of public opinion with respect to embryonic stem cell research, and to reflect on the under-represented public opinion. This critical review attempts to shed light on potential concerns of the UK public in the face of emerging life science policy. The article argues that a new way to encourage people’s articulation and engagement in science policy should be discussed. This means more active incorporation of concepts that represent people’s opinion, belief and value in research. By applying semantic network analysis, we introduce an effective way to visualize and evaluate people’s core frame of embryonic stem cell research.

22/09/2014

Public participation in decision-making has in the last decades become a common refrain in political and scientific discourse, yet it does not often truly come to fruition. The present study focuses on the underlying issue, that of the construction of the difference between scientific and public knowledge and its consequences. Through discourse analysis of scientific texts on sustainable development three distinct groups of Slovenian social scientists were discerned that differed in their views on the relationship between scientific and public knowledge and consequently the role and nature of public participation in decision-making processes. With a rise in participatory practices the preponderance of the deficit model found in this study remains problematic.

07/10/2013

Scientists intermittently appear on television news as experts to inform and comment on current events. This study explores whether their appearance adds a critical measure of substantiated arguments and balanced judgements to public affairs reporting. An explorative analysis of a representative sample of news broadcasts from five public broadcasters in Western Europe in 2006 and 2007 suggests that this is to some extent the case. The implications of these findings for the deliberative quality of TV news are discussed, and a typology of scientific experts in the general news items is proposed.

01/03/2012

This paper explores the idea of the post-museum as an immersive knowledge experience facilitating conceptual and strategic directions in public engagement with science and technology. It considers the extent to which the museum has evolved from repository of cultural artefacts to experience-based process of knowledge acquisition and production. The post-museum is invoked as a model of participatory pedagogy that moves beyond traditional forms of learning, knowledge acquisition and knowledge interface, and conceptualisations of the learner in science. It is presented as an educational and recreational experience, which locates and translates knowledge to the novice or non-traditional patron using rich social narratives that ground scientific expertise in the practice of everyday life. The experience of science is thus made familiar and relevant and concurrently regulated and owned by the visitor. The learner is consequently recast from passive recipient of information-bites to choreographer, translator and innovator within a scientific knowledge continuum.

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