Science and media

25/02/2019

This study uses the online discourse surrounding an Austrian publicly-funded study about “Islamic kindergartens” as a case study to approach communication about the social sciences in the online public sphere. Results from a discourse analysis of 937 user comments in online forums of two Austrian daily newspapers show that the social sciences are often referred to as a “special case”. While some use this argument to neglect its societal relevance, others use it to highlight its role as societal problem solver. Moreover, users discuss characteristics of “true” social scientists and scrutinise the independence of institutionalised social science.

18/02/2019

A timely arrival in the academic literature on science communication through online video, this book reports on the results of a major international project that has explored in depth this emerging field of research.

06/11/2018

It can be argued that ethical considerations in science communication are a significantly overlooked area although these considerations are implicit in many ongoing academic debates within the field, and within the practical implications of work which is being both constructed and shared within the discipline. Priest, Goodwin and Dahlstrom's [2018] edited collection, ‘Ethics and Practice in Science Communication’, is therefore a significant step forwards in allowing for contemporary reflection on the ethical considerations currently influencing the field. In shining a light on some of the ethical questions currently concerning the field of science communication, this enjoyable and detailed selection of chapters draws together a number of key examples and authors, to begin to consider such ethical quandaries, as well as identifying spaces, which are primed for further ethical exploration in the future.

22/08/2018

The first Japan Scicom Forum in Tokyo on April 20, 2018 gathered nearly 120 attendees to discuss the growing need and demand for English-language science communication in Japan and Asia. Keynotes and workshops addressed both the philosophy and motivations for scicomm in Japan and also the best practices for international outreach. Global science communication has reached a critical mass in Japan but securing sustainable funding, integrating the community and retaining momentum present ongoing challenges. As an online community and (hopefully) a recurring event, Japan Scicom Forum will foster a network of science communicators, professionalize and legitimize the field and boost English-language science communication in a country where it is still nascent.

06/08/2018

“Science crowdfunding” is a research funding system in which members of the public make small financial contributions towards a research project via the Internet. We compared the more common research process involving public research funding with science crowdfunding. In the former, academic-peer communities review the research carried out whereas the Crowd Community, an aggregation of backers, carries out this function in the latter. In this paper, we propose that science crowdfunding can be successfully used to generate “crowd-supported science” by means of this Crowd Community.

09/07/2018

Despite low public knowledge of synthetic biology, it is the focus of prominent government and academic ethics debates. We examine the “NY Times” media coverage of synthetic biology. Our results suggest that the story about synthetic biology remains ambiguous. We found this in four areas — 1) on the question of whether the field raises ethical concerns, 2) on its relationship to genetic engineering, 3) on whether or not it threatens ‘nature’, and 4) on the temporality of these concerns. We suggest that this ambiguity creates conditions in which there becomes no reason for the public at large to become involved.

02/07/2018

The measurement and analysis of people's knowledge on scientific topics, such as climate change, is challenging for researchers. One reason is that objectives are multi-dimensional and that probability is inherent. Moreover, uncertainties can exist on the individual's level among the public, but are rarely grasped by existing scales. Therefore, researchers must thoroughly consider what to measure and how. This paper theorizes five different dimensions of climate change knowledge. Three response scales including different degrees of confidence are applied on data from a German online survey (n=935); empirical results of multivariate regression analyses on attitudes are compared. Results highlight the importance of distinctively measuring dimensions and types of knowledge.

20/06/2018

We investigate the impact of a science documentary on individuals' intention to engage in information-related behaviors by experimentally testing the effects of source type (scientist, politician, or anonymous source) and communication setting (interview or lecture) using a manipulated clip from the documentary, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. Our results indicate that, compared to anonymous sources, use of authoritative ones result in greater intention to engage in some information-related behaviors. Additionally, our results suggest that increased intentions to engage in exchanging information can be attributed to negative affect induced by the clip featuring a politician. Implications for documentary films and science communication are discussed.

15/05/2018

This paper deals with the journalistic coverage of biologically active compounds presented as promising drugs in Brazil. The sample consists of 214 journalistic stories on 40 compounds published in two daily newspapers and a monthly science magazine from January 1990 to December 2016. After 27 years, although journalists and scientists had claimed that all compounds would become drugs in a few years, only two completed the evaluation tests and were approved for commercialisation. The paper provides a series of strategies to build a more analytical view on drug research and development.

23/04/2018

This book examines the media discourses about environmental pollution in Australia, China and Japan. The book's authors focus on the actors involved in discussions of risk versus those involved in responsibility for environmental pollution. The authors use novel and traditional means of analysis that combine techniques from a variety of disciplines to examine case studies of media discourse. The book provides an interesting, if at times simplistic, overview of the pollution issues facing each country. The conclusions made from the media analysis are relevant to those researching and practicing science communication in the context of such important environmental issues.

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