Importance of scicomm

 

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

SciComm Matters Because … the Future Depends On It

Posted 17 December 2012 by Matt Shipman

(Note: This post is part of an occasional series about why science communication is important.) Science communication is important for a lot of reasons, and I’ve already discussed some selfish ones – increased citation rates, tracking journal articles and working with funding agencies. But here’s a selfless reason: the future depends on it. Earlier this month, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement issued the latest results of its Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). The... Read more

SciComm Matters Because … Funding Agencies Say So

Posted 5 December 2012 by Matt Shipman

(Note: This post is part of an occasional series about why science communication is important.) Science is not cheap. Whether you want to do research on cancer, fruit flies or computer malware, you’re going to have to find someone to pick up the tab. In many cases, that benefactor is going to be a government funding agency. And funding agencies want you to tell the world exactly what you did with their money. How common is this? From the European... Read more

Can News Media Boost Citations? Examining One (Old) Study

Posted 14 November 2012 by Matt Shipman

I recently raised the idea that media coverage of a research article may boost that article’s citations, and mentioned a 2003 study by Vincent Kiernan that found a correlation between news stories and citation rates. Now I’d like to talk about another, older study that makes a stronger claim regarding the link between news and citations. The paper, “Importance of the Lay Press in the Transmission of Scientific Knowledge to the Scientific Community,” was published in 1991 in the New... Read more

SciComm Matters Because…It’s Tough to Keep Up with Journals

Posted 12 November 2012 by Matt Shipman

(Note: this is the first in what will be a series of occasional posts about why science communication is important.) One reason that science communication, outside the peer-reviewed literature, is becoming more important is because of…the peer-reviewed literature. In my opinion, this is particularly true for researchers. If you’re a researcher, you want people to see your papers. You also want to stay abreast of new findings that are relevant to your work. For a number of reasons, both of... Read more