Social inclusion


The 2022 Ecsite conference took place in Heilbronn, Germany, from 2–4 June after two years of virtual meetings due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This review presents some highlights of this event, including two memorable keynote talks by disability activist Sinéad Burke and author/educator Lucy Hawking.


“The Queer Variable” is an edited collection of 40 interviews with LGBTQ+ people working in STEM. The interviews reveal the breadth of issues related to exclusion, discrimination, prejudice that LGBTQ+ people face; but also a remarkable progress and advancement of the whole STEM field to be more diverse, inclusive and equitable. The book is an empowering and enlightening reading for all those who are professionally active in STEM.


To map the public information about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine trials in Europe, we have compiled an inventory of online communication materials from official sources (e.g., governments, public agencies, and NGOs) via directed online research. While information for the general public was abundant across Europe, we found a large variation in number, type and target audiences among countries. Little or no information was found for population groups that are typically underrepresented in vaccine clinical trials. Materials about clinical trials and trial participation were also limited. Interestingly, higher number of media materials was not reflected in higher national vaccination rates.


This qualitative study explores perspectives of U.S.A.-based science communication researchers and practitioners who attended a symposium focused on advancing inclusive science communication (ISC). ISC is a growing global movement that aims to center equity, inclusion, and marginalized perspectives in science communication. Findings underscore the complexity of systemic barriers to ISC, the critical need for resource sharing and network building, and the importance of evaluation frameworks. The authors also highlight critical dialogue as a strategic tool that might help support intentional, reciprocal, and reflexive practices in science communication.


The workforces of the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) industries suffer from skills gaps and lack diversity. Science engagement activities often try to solve these problems through targeting audiences under-represented in the STEM workforces. There is limited data, however, to suggest that these engagement efforts are successful in translating into more diverse workforces. We draw upon Unicef’s ‘Sport for Development’ model and propose a new conceptual framework: ‘Science Engagement for Good’. This frames science engagement activities around the benefits to individuals, families and communities, rather than the benefits to STEM industries, the economy or society at large.


The EU-funded RETHINK Project has demonstrated the critical need for transformational pathways in how science communicators navigate the increasingly challenging landscape of the field, in an era of growing public distrust, the expansion of online ‘mis-information’ digital platforms, and the resulting disconnection between science communicators and the general public. This Commentary seeks to locate, contextualise, and interrogate the good practice outcomes and recommendations of the RETHINK Project within the African regional scenario, and within the contexts, challenges and opportunities that exist therein. To achieve this, the author argues, African science communicators must actively pursue a radical and explicitly transformational agenda of intellectual Afrocentricity, the decolonisation of their practices and programmes, and address the multiple gaps inherent across the policy, practice, research, resources, and capacity-building divides on the continent. The prospects for the delivery of this agenda are further elaborated in a transformative and re-defined — ‘SMART’ Framework for Science Communication & Public Engagement in Africa.


The invitation to ReThink science engagement is irresistible and timely. And that rethinking will be informed by the location in which its done. While ‘speaking for’ wide swaths of the world, in this case, Australia and its region, would be meaningless and probably not terribly useful, the call to ReThink science engagement with this place in mind is encouraging and welcome. The following commentary, then, will focus on what rethinking science engagement might look like from Australia with the guiding frame of “responsible science communication” at hand and some of the core concepts of ReThink at the fore — reflection, co-creation, and openness in science engagement. To add a counterpoint to the ReThink projects core concepts, I briefly suggest some further concepts to ‘trouble’ easy interpretations of approaches to science communication — reflexivity, co-production, and science communication for the public good. Taken together, all of these concepts provide a useful frame for some of the major issues and opportunities for science communication in our region but also highlight the tensions in current approaches to science engagement. These tensions are worth struggling over and unpacking in relation to global differences and aims for science engagement.


In this “practice insight” we present a series of experiences run by Association Traces, injecting participatory approaches into science engagement activities by valuing the knowledge of the public rather than focusing on their ignorance. Starting from the observation that a sort of hybridization is occurring between cultural activities and public engagement with science on one side, and co-creation and participatory activities on the other, we provide some insight on the features of each approach. Examples are then used to highlight the potential value of this hybridization: as a way of making participatory activity more recognizable and accessible to a wide audience; to ensure that scientists have a professional interest in engaging in the communication activity; to raise a sense of ownership and empowerment in the audience, etc. These examples will eventually show that participation may lead to science communication practices that are socially-inclusive and/or productive for research, and ideally both.


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”.


Citizen science (CS) is promoted as a useful practice for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this contribution we explore how CS aligns to the SDGs overarching pledge to ‘Leave no one behind’. We propose a framework to evaluate exclusionary processes in CS. We interlink three dimensions of CS inspired by existing CS typologies with five factors underpinning exclusionary processes. With this, we are able to situate existing literature on various exclusionary effects in CS within a structured framework. We hope this contribution sparks a discussion and inspires practitioners’ reflections on a more inclusive practice in CS.


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