Open Forum on Broadening Participation

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  • 1.  What would you like to see in science communication?

    Posted 07-19-2022 07:50 AM

    As a contributor to the podcast This Week in Science (which as the title hints is a podcast about science published in the preceding week), I am very interested to know what the AAAS community thinks the science communication community could be doing better. 

    We get some feedback from listeners about which subjects they find interesting or engaging, which can inform future story selections, but what do you think?

    What is your opinion of science communication and science communicators generally?  

    Who's getting science communication right and why?

    What areas of current research are under/ over reported?

    What suggestions do you have to better inform the public about current research?

    How closely do press releases represent the key concepts of studies? (i.e. Eurekalerts)

    Would you want to hear more from the researchers themselves?

    Would you want to be more involved in that public communication? (live or by email interviews)

    Would you be interested in hearing/ willing to provide (happy to do it vs team of wild horses dragging you kicking and screaming) ~2 min audio recorded summaries of a paper by a researcher on the study as a press release for the science communicator crowd? 

    (If it were agreed only to be used unedited and in context of course)


    Any and all feedback welcome!

    • Justin 


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    Justin Jackson
    Washington DC
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  • 2.  RE: What would you like to see in science communication?

    Posted 10-17-2022 05:08 PM

    What is your opinion of science communication and science communicators generally?
         If people want to learn what is going on in science they can set their browser preference to show science news. The result is iffy. You have to be a scientist in the field to pick out the real science from the speculation. Science, the magazine, itself really only goes to scientists.

    Who's getting science communication right and why?
         I am impressed by MSN reports. They tend to filter out the worst and emphasize the best. I think the biggest influence on children occurs in the earliest grades from kindergarten through 6th grade.

    What areas of current research are under/ over reported?
         The spectacular reports related to astrophysics and planetary science and technology is over reported -- often degraded into coming terror stories.
         The down to earth stories reported in Science that do not have sci-fi interpretations are under reported and the fascinating details of why these studies are so interesting are further under-reported.

    What suggestions do you have to better inform the public about current research?
         Considering that the public spends their time on sports and politics, science rarely gets a word in edgewise. The public will only be interested in science if the y are exposed at an early age to hands on science. Science projects are a good start in elementary school, but they tend to be rushed and emphasize oral reports, artwork, and typed reports more than the actual science.

    How closely do press releases represent the key concepts of studies? (i.e. Eurekalerts)
         The different news releases emphasize different things. I think MSN seems to try hardest to get it right and build some of the enthusiasm for science that scientists feel. There are numerous podcasts and YouTube presentations that do capture the true science behind physics and mathematics problems. When it comes to chemistry, biology, and the soft sciences, the presentations often contain flaws and errors. All of these formats, as they are limited to 1 hour, tend to oversimplify. People come away thinking they understand something that they are a long way from understanding.

    Would you want to hear more from the researchers themselves?
         Personally, I always go to the source. I may read the summaries, but the source often says something quite different from the summary.

    Would you want to be more involved in that public communication? (live or by email interviews)
         I publish books on academia.edu and avoid public speaking, though I have considered it.

    Would you be interested in hearing/ willing to provide (happy to do it vs team of wild horses dragging you kicking and screaming) ~2 min audio recorded summaries of a paper by a researcher on the study as a press release for the science communicator crowd?  (If it were agreed only to be used unedited and in context of course)
         I think I fall in the category of "kicking and screaming."



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    David Harden
    Senior Scientist
    Vista CA
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