Importance of scicomm


What Scientists Want Out Of Online Engagement

Posted 10 March 2016 by Matt Shipman

A recent article published in PLOS ONE looked at what scientists hope to achieve when engaging with the public online – via websites, blogs or social networks. The findings are interesting. Among other things, the study reports that scientists give the lowest priority to the communication objectives that may be most useful for actually engaging effectively with the public. The article, “Scientists’ Prioritization of Communication Objectives for Public Engagement,” was published Feb. 25. The paper was co-authored by Anthony Dudo... Read more

Selfish Reasons for Researchers to Publicize Their Study Findings

Posted 6 March 2015 by Matt Shipman

Researchers are not obligated to publicize their research findings – and they shouldn’t be. Some people enjoy public outreach. Some people don’t. But those who are on the fence should know that there are very practical, selfish reasons to publicize their work. I wrote about this on Scientific American Blogs several years ago, but thought it was worth revisiting the issue. A lot of the basic ideas haven’t changed, but I’ve added some new stuff – and included links to... Read more

From Policy to Funding, Science Communication May Be More Important Than Ever

Posted 30 January 2015 by Matt Shipman

If you think science should inform policy decisions or you just want to ensure that there is continued government support for scientific research, you should be alarmed by a new report from the Pew Research Center. Here’s the short version: the U.S. public is markedly less supportive of federal science funding than it was five years ago, and is less likely to be swayed by science on policy issues. This should be a wake-up call to the science community: science... Read more

Study: Talking To Reporters Can Boost Scientific Impact (And So Can Twitter)

Posted 23 September 2014 by Matt Shipman

A recent paper in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly highlights the role of public communications in boosting a researcher’s profile in the science community and finds that Twitter appears to increase the impact of those public communication efforts. This is only the latest article to link news coverage of research to scientific impact (I’ve written about related research here and here), but the new paper does a few things I haven’t seen before. First, it looks at a number of... Read more

Scicomm Accessibility: A Call For Shared Language

Posted 17 June 2014 by Matt Shipman

High profile policy issues, such as those related to global climate change or antibiotic resistance, highlight the need for helping people understand scientific concepts and how they relate to “real world” problems. And there seems to be an increasing level of awareness among scientists, reporters and bloggers (among others) that science communication, as a discipline, can help us communicate more effectively with a wide array of audiences. But there’s a stumbling block – and it’s an ironic one: science communication... Read more

NSF’s ‘Indicators’ Report: Science Communication, News and Television

Posted 11 February 2014 by Matt Shipman

If you want to engage in science communication, getting mainstream news coverage offers the most bang for your buck. But is anyone interested? And which news outlets should you try to reach? A recent report from the National Science Foundation (NSF) offers some interesting insights into science news coverage and public attitudes toward science. One of my take-home messages? Television matters even more than I thought. NSF released its Science and Engineering Indicators report on Feb. 6. The report, which... Read more

How Science Communication Can Help Build Public Support for Science Funding

Posted 13 January 2014 by Matt Shipman

Any scientist can tell you that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get research grants, which are the lifeblood of research programs at universities and other institutions. But there are things that can be done to boost public support for research funding, and they all involve science communication. As a percentage of gross domestic product, research and development funding stayed relatively constant (and even increased slightly) in the United States and European Union between 1995 and 2011 (according to this... Read more

NSF Driving Home Importance of ‘Broader Impacts’

Posted 8 January 2014 by Matt Shipman

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued another reminder that it thinks science communication and outreach are important. (Something I’ve written about before.) On Jan. 2, NSF’s Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems issued a notice reminding all potential grant applicants that they will need to include a separate section in the project description section of their proposals that specifically addresses the “broader impacts” of the proposed work. (I first read about the Jan. 2 notice in a... Read more

Canada’s Science Communication Problem (and Two Things That Could Change It)

Posted 19 December 2013 by Matt Shipman

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Stephen Strauss, a freelance science journalist and president of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association. These days when I start to talk to people outside Canada about our federal government’s muzzling of its scientists, I invariably say somewhere along the way “it’s kinda Rob Ford-like.” Ford is, for the 0.0001 per cent of you unfamiliar with the name, Toronto’s crack smoking, drunk driving, journalist defaming, woman groping, bullyboy of a mayor. And I... Read more

Scientists, Trust, Media and Climate Change

Posted 12 April 2013 by Matt Shipman

Who do you trust? That question is at the heart of public debate on climate change. If you trust the scientific community, which overwhelmingly acknowledges the reality of climate change, then you likely think climate change is a global problem that requires a global response. If you don’t trust scientists, then you may have no strong feelings about climate change – or you may think that it’s some sort of hoax. The relationship between trust and public perceptions of climate... Read more