Author: Santiago Nicolas Canete

There have been many calls to the mobilization of scientists to engage meaningful interactions with non-experts, but research seeking to explain and predict participation in science communication is still developing. This project used an expanded version of the theory of planned behavior as a model to examine whether determined demographic, institutional and cognitive factors influence researchers’ intention to participate in public engagement with science activities, such as giving public talks, writing popular science articles or talking to young students in schools. Data from a stratified random sample of researchers at North Carolina State University (n=404) were collected and subsequently analyzed through hierarchical multiple regression. Findings indicate that there are six significant independent predictors of scientists’ intentions to engage with the public: past training, past participation, attitude, moral norm, managerial norm and role in a funded project. Based on these results, it is concluded that experience, liking, and accountability are the major factors influencing this type of behavior. Implications of these results for initiatives aiming at stimulating researchers’ participation in public communication are discussed and overall recommendations are provided.

Author: Patricia Campbell

Recent STS literature has called for increased public participation in techno-scientific decision making, including formal processes such as consensus conferences, and informal processes, such as a broader recognition of laypersons’ expertise. However, in all of this policy-driven discussion, little attention has been paid to the everyday context of laypersons’ participation with expertise. Using the model of coproduction, this paper investigates the ways in which laypersons negotiate their care in an online social collective, using the injury forum of the online running community, Running Mania, as a case study. While Rabeharisoa and Callon (2004) conceptualize coproduction as an active collaborative effort of knowledge and know-how production between experts and laypersons, I argue that even in the absence of direct expert involvement, collective reflexivity toward medical expertise and sharing of experience produces new knowledge and can thus be considered a form of public participation. The coproduction, in this case, occurs as the mediated medical expertise articulates with lay experience within the collective. The ethnographic methods include observations of the injury forum and 17 interviews with participants recruited from among the website users. The results indicate that the sharing of experiential expertise that occurs online provides a space in which users may contextualize mediated medical expertise in light of their running practice, particularly in cases of controversial treatments or uncertain diagnoses. The online forum allows users to participate in the coproduction of an intermediary discourse on the body that combines the knowledge of both the expert patient and the lay expert. Users’ interactions illustrate how this articulation between running and caring practices results in knowledge that often challenges or reconfigures medical expertise. This study is complete and forms part of my dissertation that will go to defense Fall 2015.

Author: Jennifer Cabe

Canyon Ranch Institute, a U.S.-based non-profit, has developed a new framework for sustaining evidence-based partnerships through multiple funding sources that support the best practices of science and public communication of science to measurably improve individual and community health and well-being. This session will explain the CRI PRIMES model and be useful for anyone responsible for developing funding streams that have integrity and sustainability. The CRI PRIMES model has helped CRI to raise over USD$43 million in unrestricted funding. Funding raised through this model is through private and public foundations and philanthropists, as well as media companies and multinational corporations. The CRI PRIMES model is built on six steps and practices that can be used in any setting in which the goal is to engage a multi-sector approach to increasing evidence-based decision making. PRIMES is to Partner, Require radical equity, Insist on Infrastructure, Make it known (i.e. communicate with all stakeholders), Evaluate, and Sustain. The CRI PRIMES model has been effective in multiple locations and cultural contexts because it is based on innovative evidence-based approaches to address long-standing challenges of under-resourcing and lack of clarity. The CRI PRIMES model is applicable to organizations seeking tested, replicable approaches to finding and maintaining funding support, avoiding any restrictions on how and when to communicate about scientific basis of the work or the research outcomes, honoring and leveraging the knowledge resources of all social sectors and experts to solve previously intractable problems that they all agree should be solved for the public good, and applying a rigorous research-to-action logic model that can be tailored based on both current and historical practices and beliefs. This session will focus on helping session participants use the model to solve challenges within their own organizations, situations, and contexts.

Author: Franka Buurmeijer

When faced with the challenge to communicate about a new field of research, you can’t rely on a traditional approach. Scientific results are not available yet and there isn’t a clear view on the necessary science. The Networks-project in the Netherlands is such an example. The aim of this project is to develop new mathematics and computer science techniques on the theory of large-scale networks such as energy, transportation and communication. The project offered an unique possibility to communicate about science in a wide sense, not the result, but the process, societal relevance and elementary skills. The nature of the project forced us to take a different approach.

Author: Monica Bucciarelli Rodriguez, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil

Co-authors:: Juliana Santos Botelho, Adlane Vilas-Boas

A graduation in Biology provides students with a choice in their career as scientists, teachers and education consultants, for instance. However, science communication is often seen as a minor activity of specialization for university students especially because laboratory and field investigations may be more appealing during this period. This work aims to investigate the professional choices of undergraduate biology students who had an opportunity to work in projects of science communication and popularization while at the University. Our assumption is that experience during undergraduate education may determine professional choices. What are the positive and negative aspects about working in science communication and popularization projects? In what ways do people think this experience may have changed them? To evaluate the impact of science communication experiences on their professional career choices, we decided to survey a sample of 40 former or current students. All of them were involved in a specific science communication project, which exists now for over 10 years at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

The project, called “Science for reading and listening” (“Ciência para ler e ouvir”), deals mostly with texts produced for the radio and distributed in metropolitan buses and over the Internet. The undergraduate students involved were mainly from the Biological Sciences, but also from Communication and Arts. By using semi-structured interviews, we aimed to analyze the perception of their experiences and the impact on the professional choices and views of career opportunities both in present or former participants. The questions scrutinized a number of subjects, including their original motives for working in Science popularization and possible changes in their view of Science and professional opportunities in this field.

Supported by FAPEMIG

Author: Massimiano Bucchi

Since Hooke’s Micrographia (1665), modern science has put images at the center of its communicative processes: drawings, diagrams, schemes and later photographs, satellite images, film. In age of digital communication, specialists and publics live constantly immersed in aa visually dense environment, particularly when it comes to science and technology content. The quality – and sometimes even the beauty – of images has acquired great importance in order to publish papers in academic journals in areas like the physical, astronomical or life sciences. In the popular domain, think of the pervasive role played by the “modern cult of infographics”, the presentation of data in sophisticated/interactive form which has become common place for leading digital outlets. Do we have the competence to decipher all these images, often complex and elaborate? If the so-called scientific literacy is a standard indicator of public understanding of science, much less studied so far is visual scientific literacy. The initial results of a pilot experimental survey of visual scientific literacy conducted on a representative sample of Italian population will also be presented.

Author: Massimiano Bucchi

Massimiano Bucchi, University of Trento, Italy
Sarah R. Davies, University of Copenhagen
Marina Joubert, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Bruce Lewenstein, Cornell University, USA
Brian Trench, President PCST

Over recent years, there has been much discussion of the status of science communication as a discipline, as a field of empirical research and theoretical reflection. But when a major international academic publisher commissions an anthology of ‘major works’ in our field, we can surely say that science communication studies have come of age. From a scattering of personal stories, manuals and essays there has emerged a growing stream of publications that now constitute a ‘literature’ in public communication of science. Analytical and critical work in science communication has consolidated in the past two decades, and the rate of publication has accelerated greatly. But what is the legacy of five decades of science communication research? What we know and what we still don’t know? Which theories and models have become most influential and which empirical results stand the test of time? Which works can be considered classics and what are the most recent and relevant trends? What do the best of science communication studies say to science communication practice? Is it inevitable that contemporary science communication studies revisit old themes again and again? The publication a four-volume ‘mini library’ of public communication of science (Routledge, Major Works series 2015) is the occasion to reflect on the state and maturation of research in our field with the two editors Massimiano Bucchi (also new editor of the journal Public Understanding of Science) and Brian Trench (President PCST); Bruce Lewenstein (one of the key figures in establishing science communication as a university subject, who has written extensively on the history of public communication of science); Sarah Davies (preparing a book on science communication theory) and Marina Joubert (with a longstanding experience in science communication practice and now also active as researcher in the field).