Public engagement with science and technology

11/10/2021

WeObserve delivered the first European-wide Citizen Observatory (CO) knowledge platform to share best practices, to address challenges and to inform practitioners, policy makers and funders of COs. We present key insights from WeObserve activities into leveraging challenges to create interlinked solutions, connecting with international frameworks and groups, advancing the field through communities of practice and practitioner networks, and fostering an enabling environment for COs. We also discuss how the new Horizon Europe funding programme can help to further advance the CO concept, and vice versa, how COs can provide a suitable mechanism to support the ambitions of Horizon Europe.

11/10/2021

Positioning citizen science within the broader historical public engagement framework demonstrates how it has the potential to effectively tackle research and innovation issues. Citizen science approaches have their own challenges, which need to be considered in order to achieve this aim and contribute to wider and deeper public engagement. However, programme evaluations, which discuss lessons learned in engaging the public and other stakeholders with science are rare. To address this gap, we present the H2020-funded DITOs project and discuss the use of logic models in citizen science. We share the project’s assumptions, design considerations for deeper engagement and its impact pathways demonstrating how logic models can be utilised in citizen science to monitor programme effectiveness and for their successful implementation. We hope that this work will inspire citizen science practitioners to use similar tools and by doing so, share their experiences and potential barriers. This knowledge is essential for improving the way citizen science is currently practiced and its impacts to both science and society.

11/10/2021

Citizen science involves laymen in some steps of a scientific experiment: citizens are volunteers devoting their free time to citizen science projects. Therefore it is important to investigate the factors influencing their motivation and engagement. In this paper, we present our study to investigate the motivation factors of the TESS photometer network participants, an initiative to collect light pollution data. We present the results and insight of our investigation and the instrument we adopted, which can be useful for the broad citizen science community.

11/10/2021

Co-creation aims at integrating citizens in the entire research process. The citizen linguistics project German in Austria tests this approach in the humanities based on the assumption that language is ubiquitous. The project combines different forms of public participation, including a co-created format, where citizens can raise (and answer) research questions about the German language in Austria and a linguistic treasure hunt, where citizens collect and analyze data on linguistic landscapes. However, co-creation was hard to implement. Despite a high number of participants, their willingness to contribute to more than one research step was low.

11/10/2021

Acknowledging the consolidation of citizen science, this paper aims to foster a collective debate on two visible gaps of the field. First, how to overcome the limited participation of social sciences and humanities in the broader field of citizen science, still dominated by natural sciences. Second, how to develop a citizen social science that allows for an active participation of citizens and for a critical engagement with contemporary societies. The authors coordinate a state-sponsored program of scientific dissemination within a Portuguese research institution and this paper intends to lay the groundwork for a future project of Citizen Social Science based on a new concept of “engaged citizen social science”.

11/10/2021

Marine research is as important as very demanding since it requires expensive infrastructures and resources. Scientific institutions, on the contrary, have very limited funding so that the seas remain, still, mostly unexplored. Another serious concern is that society at large often resonates with fake news, while scientists sometimes tend to bias research with their backgrounds and paradigms. We think that all these issues can be addressed opening the process of knowledge building to the questions and needs of stakeholders and laypeople. The MaDCrow project proposed and tested several paths to attain these goals.

13/09/2021

The third edition of Bucchi and Trench's classic handbook offers a contemporary look at science communication. First published over 10 years ago, this latest edition includes new chapters focusing on contemporary issues, such as mediatization, as well as addressing new trends in science communication, such as the move towards STEAM. The text offers a useful introduction to the diverse debates and issues facing science communication today.

06/09/2021

Which genre of science writing contributes most to public understanding, and how does that understanding happen? Working within a science in society approach, this paper examines public engagement with science as it occurs in the comments and discussion boards of r/science. Researchers use content analysis to identify relevant concept categories and code comments for interaction with science content. The resulting data are analyzed by genre (scientific news journalism, press release, and research article) and open access status, revealing differences in public engagement with implications for science communicators and scholars seeking to understand how the public interacts with science news.

30/08/2021

Since early 2020, communicating risks associated with COVID-19 and providing safety advice have been top priorities for health agencies and governments. With an increase in employees working remotely following the global spread of coronavirus coupled with increasingly sophisticated marketing strategies, global brands unsurprisingly engaged consumers and publics by acknowledging the crisis that engulfed the world. An increase in online marketing was observed in an already existing trend online where hybrids of consumer, brand and product-as-object interacted as equals, using contemporary informal codes of social media discourse and often using irony and humour. However, this paper critically assesses how such important communication responsibilities about coronavirus were taken up by private companies. Online and social media outputs were analysed through a lens of anthropomorphising and posthuman brands. A typology of brand strategies was developed based on engagement and how COVID-19 science, care and prevention were communicated. The paper concludes with a reflection on where this may lead health and environmental communication and what it means for science communicators.

02/08/2021

In an increasingly rich and abundant context of publications on science and theatre, Simon Parry's “Science in performance: theatre and the politics of engagement” stands out for its multidisciplinary perspective on the topic, focusing on central issues in the field of science communication. Based on a detailed and dense analysis of a selection of theatre performances about science, Parry supports theatre as a space for negotiation and co-creation of knowledge.

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