Author: Dominique Brossard, UW-Madison, United States

Co-authors: Haley Madden, Leona Yi-Fan Su, David S. Lassen, Molly Simis, Dietram Scheufele, Michael Xenos

Humor’s role in science communication has not often been studied. Researchers and practitioners have recently debated over the utility of humor and the ethical implications of its use in science communication. One popular humorous outlet in the scientific community is the Twitter hashtag #overlyhonestmethods, where (presumably) scientists discard the image of the infallible scientist, open the black box of conducting science, and share their methodological realities. To date, the conversations surrounding #overlyhonestmethods in the social science of science communication research have been primarily theoretical. Through a combination of human and machine coding, we offer an empirical analysis of the themes that emerge in this hashtag public and the kinds of humor that are employed, as well as an assessment the contributors to this discussion.

Author: Teresa Branch-Smith

Museology has made great strides in recent years to normalize what was once an institution specific practice of collecting and displaying objects. How objects are collected and displayed is the result of museum policy and represents the values of the institution. Furthermore, as museums continue to position themselves as epistemic authorities, the values presented by these institutions permeates public uptake of science. Therefore, having a value-conscious framework within a museum is crucial to the perception of objects. First, I will present the common argument for how science is value-laden. Then, I will go over some historical context to show how designers have discussed values in science communication before ultimately highlighting some issues with constructivist learning in particular. This will allow me to describe a best practices model for exhibit design. In exhibit design, whether with artifacts or not, being aware of the values presented in the exhibit as well as the ways in which meaning is made is important. This is especially true in constructivist exhibits where the visitor is encouraged to make meaning of the information semi-autonomously and can therefore chose how to interpret the information. While institutions are not entirely responsible for every modicum of information visitors uptake, they ought to at least present the material in such a way that they are aware of what values can be absorbed. Since museums and science centres are complex learning environments more attention should be paid to exhibit design from a normative perspective which is what my proposed Value-Conscious Exhibit Design offers. This presentation will use examples from the Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago, USA), the Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin, GER) and the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, CAN) as examples of values permeating exhibits and what can be done to improve them.

Author: Luí­s Amorim

Created in 2006, Piauí (a monthly magazine) is the most important of the few representatives in Brazil of the literary journalism genre – or “New Journalism”, the expression it first received from journalists and writers like Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese. The magazine covers different fields and science is one of the topics that receives great attention. Studies on media coverage of science have raised recurrent criticisms, such as: a tendency of overreaction about the results of a research; the overemphasis on a positive view of science; the stereotyping of the scientists image, the lack of different sources and specialists, the little attention given to the social construction of science, as well as to controversy themes.

In order to explore these aspects on Piauí stories, we are carrying out a study using a content analysis and some qualitative tools. Our sample was defined out of a search made of four keywords on the Piauí website, from which we got a total of 140 texts. In order to have a more in-depth analysis, we selected 42 representative texts. One of our main questions is whether the critics about the science journalism remains or not when this genre is combined with literary journalism. Our results indicate that the publication approach can help to create a scientific culture, by giving more editorial space, voice to different actors and by dealing with literary techniques that opens a door towards critical and more profound covering.

Author: Luí­s Amorim

Back in 2011, Brazilian neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis, a prominent researcher at Duke University (USA), announced that he would make a quadriplegic child operate an exoskeleton with his brain and then kickoff the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. The event would highlight the first public appearance of the Walk Again Project, coordinated by Nicolelis.

The objective of this study was to analyse the coverage carried by the major Brazilian newspapers Folha de São Paulo, Estado de São Paulo and O Globo about the Walk Again Project and the symbolic kickoff of the World Cup. We selected stories published between May 2011 and July 2014. Our preliminary analysis shows that the coverage in question contradicts in many ways the traditional way of covering science topics in Brazil.

Generically, we can say that science tend to be portrayed with an indelible aura, as if it wasn’t an activity subject to the same decision-making processes and disputes that permeate any other human activity. But our corpus presents a coverage that exposes the conflict between researchers and disputes over financial resources.

Another distinction is the representation of scientists; usually, they are portrayed in the media as cold, rational and far away from any personal disputes; in our case, the main character of the coverage, neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis, is passionate, fanatic supporter of his football team, charismatic, stripped, popular but also controversial, egocentric and megalomaniac.

Author: Alexandre Braga, UFMG and Silvania Sousa do Nascimento

This paper addresses the state’s role in supporting, fostering and development of science and technology expressed in the constitutional documents of some Latin American countries. From the reading of texts from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela we can infer that the democratization period these countries science and technology are placed as pillars of development. We will highlight the infra-constitutional aspects that.

Our poster is an initial reading of the constitutions of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela, with a view to understanding the relationship between the legislative and infra-constitutional principles comments arising from the implementation of discussion of these principles in those countries.

Author: Nina Amelung

Citizen science, science magazines or science slams all come along with particular scripts about what science and what publics are, how science should be communicated and publics should get engaged. Scripts guide action, they guide specific performances, actor roles or procedures. People act according to explicit or even agreed upon scripts, but also to scripts which rather remain implicit (for instance following specific feeling rules or aesthetic rules).

Since science communication requires purposefully creating spaces and processes scripts prefigure interaction orders for experts and lay persons, science journalists and readers, curators and visitors. We are interested in those scripts which imply specific imaginaries and worldviews of science and the public(s).

We are interested in the processes of how scripting takes place in designing science communication, what outcomes are produced and how to face ambiguities and conflicts resulting from unintended effects of scripts. The following questions will be discussed: What “type of science” and what specific “public(s)” are facilitated by selected methods, strategies and genres of science communication? How to deal with conflicts and unintended effects resulting from scripts in practice? Does reflexivity about often implicit value decisions in designing and planning communicative processes make a difference for the practice of science communication?

The panel follows the purpose of making the implicit notions and normative implications of scripts visible to make them accessible to reflexive analysis and evaluation of public communication of science and technology.

  • Dorothea Born, Universität Wien. Visual scripts in popular science magazines: A comparison between GEO and National Geographic
  • Barbara Hendricks, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Science and justification patterns: How economic rationality prescribes science communication
  • David Marçal, Associação Viver a Ciência, Lisbon. Scripts about the boundaries of science: science communication and pseudoscience
  • Lisa Pettibone, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. Using scripts to build respect: Experiences from citizen science

Author: Sara Yeo, University of Utah, United States

Co-authors: Andrew R. Binder, Michael F. Dahlstrom, Dominique Brossard

The partisan divide in U.S. public opinion on climate change has far-reaching effects on a variety of social aspects of global warming, ranging from attitudes toward climate change to climate-related government policies. Opinions are often shaped by media content and online media have increasingly become primary sources of scientific information for many non-expert audiences (National Science Board, 2014). The present study focuses on visual media in the online environment and audience perceptions of credibility in the context of climate change. A long-standing axiom in communication scholarship holds that the purpose of a specific communication message is in the eye of the beholder. Much research has followed this tradition by focusing on the influences of different types of sources, various types of message attributes, and the micro-level effects of information processing. Yet, elements concerning specific visual characteristics of messages and how they impact audiences have been overlooked. Here, we empirically test the interaction of visual aspects of multimedia messages with more traditional source factors on judgments of credibility. This line of inquiry is directly applicable to the changing contemporary media environment, where individuals of different backgrounds and perspectives are able to broadcast their opinions through user-generated content delivered online. In our investigation, we systematically vary the source and setting of a visual stimulus about climate change. Results find that the source of information, labeled as either a scientist or a politician, has implications for perceptions of credibility given the polarized opinions on the issue. With respect to the visual stimulus, we manipulate the apparent reach and congruency between the message and its source. Our findings suggest that differences all three factors play a role in perceived credibility. The implications of our findings are discussed.

Author: Achintya Rao, CERN, Switzerland

Co-authors: Kate Kahle, Ayelet Baram-Tsabari, Aviv J. Sharon, Lauren Biron

Particle physics provides an especially challenging topic for science communication: It is abstract, esoteric and dependent on massive and publicly-funded machines, yet it can be uniquely awe-inspiring.

Physicists and physics institutes are increasingly being called upon to engage with the public through social media. However, little is known about the ways in which lay audiences interact with physics content on these media. Open questions include: What do social media users want to know about particle physics? How does social media shape public engagement with physics? This paper explains how an in-depth analysis of CERN social media grew from CERN’s communication strategy. It examines the characteristics of scientific items on social media that attracted high engagement and draws conclusions for shaping future content.

Author: Joachim Allgaier

Traditionally journalistic mass media and compulsory and informal science education were the main sources of citizens’ knowledge about science, technology and medicine. The availability of new online media has changed the media and information infrastructure. The use of digital and social media for scientific practice and science communication and its impact on public perceptions of and citizens’ knowledge about science, technology and medicine still need to be examined.

From the point of view of scientific institutions the problem with social online media is that virtually everybody can post content there. There are no gatekeepers and hence no quality control is taking place. Social media websites must also be understood as social communities where conspiracies, false and potentially harmful and inaccurate information on scientific topics can be disseminated. However, they can also be powerful tools for disseminating useful and correct scientific information and to engage and involve citizens with and in scientific research.

The research presented here is particularly interested in the role of online video-sharing platforms, such as YouTube, for the public communication of science. In many countries YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google. Many citizens do use it as a source of information about issues concerning science, technology and medicine.

In the presentation results from an empirical pilot study on climate science and climate manipulation on YouTube will be presented. The results indicate that YouTube can be a very valuable tool for informing citizens about science for some key issues. However, users of YouTube are also confronted with conspiracy theories and erroneous and misleading information that strongly deviates from scientific consensus views. Hence, the public communication and discussion of science via YouTube offers new opportunities but also faces serious and difficult challenges that should be addressed by combining science communication and (social) media research.

Author: Cátia Rodrigues Barbosa, UFMG, Brazil

Co-authors: Renata Maria Abrantes Baracho

The purpose of this article is to show how to develop information strategies in different contexts and media in the environment of scientific communication in the digital age, particularly, under the conditions of web media and its role in museum activities that can influence the decisions made to promote the democratization of knowledge and to support lasting relationships among science, technology and society. It is argued that the construction of communication and the use of information in different contexts and media requires organizational communication strategies. These are able to manage and to make the information available in different media, in the analyzed case, the museums.

These are also able to establish relationships between motivation and the interest in information retrieval. These technologies include virtual reality, virtual spaces, database, information systems, graphic computer, digital image processing, expert systems, knowledge representation, information organization and information retrieval.

Considering the scientific communication, this paper aims to reflect on the information strategies of appropriation in the context of site media museums. This depends not only on coordinated work between computer professionals (from different areas?) for the implementation of systems, but also on the capacity of professionals of information science and applied social sciences to overcome differences and to find solutions on the role of technology in creating processes and the use of information in the cultural background. This proposal includes revealing how the images of widespread spaces by virtual means, through social networks can minimize such disagreements.

Author: Purnama Alamsyah

The use of twitter as a communication tool is not only dominated by the private, but also is used by public institution such as public research institutes. Twitter can be used by public research institutes as a means to communicate their activities and research results to the public, and in return to receive the feedback accordingly.

This study is using content analysis to investigate and evaluate how Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) as an oldest public research institute in Indonesia using Twitter as their communication and relationship-building tools with the public. In general, this study is trying to examine how a public research institute such as Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) build an engagement with the public through their tweets. In particular, this study examined the frequencies of tweet, hashtags, retweet, public message and hyperlinks that they create. The main finding of this study is that the communication model used by Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) in incorporating Twitter tended to be dominated by one way communication model.

Indonesian Institutes of Sciences (LIPI), as public research institute in Indonesia, had not optimized Twitter as a media to build an engagement with public in their activity and research report. They only used Twitter in conveying news and information to public related with their activities, but they rarely used it as a dialogue tools with the public.

Author: Boulila Mustapha, Institute of Press and Information Sciences (IPSI), Tunisia

In the digital age, social networks fill the PCST void in the Arab world. Social networks have made science more democratic today than ever before “Arab Spring”. In fact, there appeared since 2012, dozens of Arabic scientific pages which have attracted millions of followers. The twenty-third Facebook page in our ranking has above 100000 fans, exceeding the number of readers of all the Arab scientific paper magazines combined. Despite the war in Syria, some 50 young people from Damascus launched a scientific page that reached more than one million fans. In the same way, the number of fans of National Geographic Abu-Dhabi channel exceeded 55 millions surpassing its US counterpart, reflecting
the Arab public’s thirst for science.

In the traditional mass media, para sciences dominate the scientific discourse in the Arab world, with support of the current of scientific miracles in the Koran, and that of the Intelligent Design of the universe, through the conservative control of the traditional media, where we find only one scientific television channel against 112 religious ones. And 20% of publishing houses and printing presses specialised in printing yellow books. Scientific and environmental journals are issued only in 5 out of 22 Arab countries, where 13 magazines have, combined, a circulation of one hundred thousand copies per month for a readership of 350 millions people, that is less than 1% of the US share.

There is a wave of growing scepticism about many scientific realities, such as disbelieving the rotation of the Earth around the sun, the prohibition to travel to Mars, the reject of the theory of evolution, and the call of “Salafist movement” for drinking camel urine as a drug in accordance with the Prophet’s alleged medicine. Science is at the centre of the battle of modernity on the southern bank of the Mediterranean.

Author: Emilia Hermelinda Lopera Pareja, CIEMAT, Spain

Co-author: Carolina Moreno Castro

The media panorama in the Spanish society has changed dramatically over the last decade. The current situation is characterized by an overlapping of news “containers” where traditional printed and audio-visual news outlets coexist with an ever increasing use of exclusive online sources, such as digital versions of traditional media, social networks, blogs and search engines. In the light of this changing context, research on science and technology communication has to go beyond the news content and pay attention to the implications and consequences of these new trends in information source, which might be the case of possible effects on public attitude and perception on controverted and socially debated subjects. The main objective of this paper is therefore to explore the possible relationships between the use of certain sources of information and the perceived effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This research was carried out through the statistical analysis of the data obtained from PIKA Online Survey on Science. PIKA means Perception, Information, Knowledge and Attitudes. The PIKA questionnaire was applied to a sample of 2,138 Spanish college students from March 18 to May 4 in 2014. The questionnaire featured on purpose a specific section to measure perception on pseudoscientific issues and CAM therapies along with another set of questions aimed at further knowing about the consumption of news outlets among digital natives in Spain. After applying different SPSS procedures such as Crosstabs and Standardized Adjusted Residuals, the results show that there is a positive association between higher consumption of certain sources of information, such as internet or TV, and a positive attitude towards the most popular CAM therapies. With respect to online sources, individuals that trust the most popular CAM admitted an extensive use of search engines when looking for information about interesting and scientific topics or technological risk.

Author: Juliana Botelho, Pegasus Scientificus, Brazil

Co-authors: Rosa Pereira, Marco Anacleto, Enaile Siffert

Home of the world’s largest biodiversity, Brazil still has a vast unexplored territory, either for the identification of new species or for descriptive scientific illustration for taxonomy purposes. While the country has been considered a source of scientific investigation since the first scientific and military expeditions in the 19th century, the majority of the newly found species were firstly recorded, historically speaking, by foreign researchers and illustrators.

The Biological Scientific Illustration courses by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil, aims at filling a professional gap to cover the demands of the fields of Biological Sciences and Science Communications, by training illustrators to act in a variety of biological research fields.

Created in 2005 by Rosa Alves Pereira, illustrator and a former coordinator at the UFMG Illustration Program, the scientific illustration courses are taught today by a selected team of illustrators from the Biological Research Institute. Ever since, Rosa Alves Pereira, Marco Antonio Anacleto, and Enaile Siffert have been offering a number of courses on a series of biological themes, such as entomological
illustration, medical illustration, zoological vertebrate illustration and paleontological illustration. The main goal is to qualify professional illustrators to act on the Biological Sciences, following international scientific illustration standards. The target audience is composed of professionals and students coming from the fields of Arts, Communications, and Biological Sciences. Classes are both theoretical and practical, aiming at the production of illustrations in a variety of research fields. The course pack is provided by the Scientific Illustration Laboratory, which has also been producing the Scientific Illustration Handbooks since 2007.

In 2015, classes started to get documented by Juliana Botelho in a blog called “Ilustração Científica UFMG”, using with a variety of sources of photos, videos and scientific illustrations that describe the illustration techniques, the production process and well as the final outcomes.

Author: Eric Jensen, University of Warwick, United Kingdom

Are you feeling uncertain about how to set up a survey-based evaluation of science communication events, exhibitions or activities, or looking to explore your options? Surveys can be a great tool for learning about science communication audience expectations, quality of experience and impact. However, accurate measurement of audience outcomes requires following principles of survey research methodology that have been developed over decades of research in the social sciences. This workshop presents some of the highlights from this existing body of knowledge, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of different options. This event includes presentations some ‘top tips’ on how to design good questionnaires and observation-based evaluations, as well as time for discussion to address the specific challenges that attendees are facing. This practical workshop offers a very brief introduction to good practice in questionnaire design for science communication evaluation. This includes how to evaluate existing survey questions and develop new ones for quantitative evaluations. The workshop will be delivered by Dr Eric Jensen (Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick), a social scientist specializing in impact evaluation of science communication in a variety of settings, including science festivals, science centers, natural history museums, zoos and aquariums. He has numerous publications in journals such as Public Understanding of Science and Conservation Biology. His forthcoming books include ‘Doing Real Research’ (SAGE, 2016) and ‘Making the Most of Public Engagement Events and Festivals’ (Cambridge University Press, 2016). Jensen’s PhD is in Sociology from the University of Cambridge (UK). He teaches quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods social research. He has led several ground breaking projects on the value of new social research technologies for evaluating cultural and informal learning experiences, funded by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the European Commission (Horizon2020).

Author: Guoyan Wang, Department of Scinece Communication, University of Science and Technology of China, China

Science and art, which like two sides of a coin are often combined together since the development of technology on computer graph since 1970s. For some top scientific journals such as Nature, Science and Cell (CNS), the images used on the cover are not only a display of the journal’s creation style, but also a visualized carrier of the scientific results, which are often submitted by the research team themselves and created by some artists. After published on academic journals, the image and the science achievements then become sci-tech news to the public via mass media.

The author has worked on more than twenty forefront science achievements, created vivid images for cover story of Nature, Science and scientific news image. According to our statistical analysis, the impact of the cover story article is much higher than that of the common articles in the same journal according to five-year citations, which may come from both the editor’s excellent judgement about the most significant paper and the alert of value by its appearance as a cover story. The degree of visualization used for top journals is generally higher than that used for regular journals. Furthermore, quantitative analysis also supports that significant differences do exist in visualization among various disciplines in both top 20 journals in Journal Citation Reports (JCR) and all scientific journals in the National Library of China. Some disciplines are more likely to express the substance and thus have higher degrees of visibility, while some others are more abstract and could only be expressed from the perspective of attribute and relationship, thus showing lower degrees of visualization.

Supported by the Chinese National Fund of Social Science: Visual communication research on cutting-edge science achievements, (grant 14CXW011); Science Communication Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences: Beautiful cutting-edge science (grants KP2015A12).