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Science for the masses


Rationale behind openscience.gr, an international website for science communication, run by scientists and researchers

Rationale behind openscience.gr, an international website for science communication, run by scientists and researchers

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  • 1. Science for the masses Opportunities for ...keen researchers/communicators
  • 2. Some background notes
    • Information from a Eurobarometer study
      • “ Scientific research in the media”, publ. 12/2007
    • And two reports from the DG for research
      • European Research in the Media: the Researcher’s point of view
      • European Research in the Media: what do Media Professionals think?
  • 3. Some background notes
    • Eurobarometer studies are conducted across Europe (not just EU-27)
    • Usually 1000 people/country are presented with questionnaires
    • Indicates trends across Europe, EU-27, regions, or within countries
  • 4. Scientific research in the media
    • The majority of the EU population is interested in scientific research
      • Medicine and environment attract highest degree of public interest
    • Positive view of the current presentation of scientific research in the media
      • Virtually a half of respondents say scientific news is difficult to understand
  • 5. Scientific research in the media: when and by whom?
    • EU citizens would prefer science documentaries to be broadcasted during prime time on weekdays
    • Europeans would prefer scientists rather than journalists to present scientific information in the media
      • They consider this would be more trustworthy and more precise
  • 6. Scientific research in the media: what exactly?
    • In exactly two thirds of the EU Member States the majority of the population is interested in the topic, but…
    • EU citizens say they are more interested in sports, entertainment and celebrities, politics and arts and culture
      • Respondents might have felt the term ‘scientific research’ was not closely related to their everyday life
  • 7. Scientific research in the media: european perspective
    • A third believe that research and researchers are not given enough importance in the media
    • The largest segment of EU citizens believes that the media reports more often about research from outside the EU
  • 8. The scientists’ view
    • Covering a scientific story can be driven by other imperatives than the science itself
      • E.g. political agenda behind interest in climate change
    • Prominence is given to the need to have an attention-grabbing angle at the expense of factual accuracy
      • Instead of a balanced portrayal
  • 9. The media pros’ view
    • 8/10 journalists rank energy and environment, particularly related to global warming, along with health and medicine, as the ‘hottest’ topics
    • Newsworthiness
      • Relevance to everyday life
      • Novelty, easy to understand
      • Less popular: proximity, political angle, sensation
  • 10. The media pros’ view
    • Current challenges
      • lack of time, lack of space in the media for science stories
      • if the researchers provide easy to understand stories, they will be allocated more space
    • Why not fill this gap ourselves?
  • 11. The Web as a medium
    • Everywhere, these days!
      • Even cell phones
    • Easy, quick to update
      • Easier than TV, extremely quicker than print newspapers/books
    • Penetration to the younger audience
      • Decision makers of tomorrow
      • Scientists of tomorrow
      • Policy makers of tomorrow
  • 12. The Web as a medium
    • Open source software
      • Free and accessible, sometimes harder to maintain, requires personal effort
      • Everything related to science should be free and abundant!
  • 13. openscience.gr
    • Based on Drupal Content Management System
      • Supports multiple user roles (editor, contributor, etc.)
      • Blogs, forums, comments  interaction with users
      • News aggregator from other popular sites
      • Search with keywords and categories
  • 14. openscience.gr
    • Populated with
      • Stories, written counterparts of FL presentations
      • Blog post by FLers and key players in research
      • Book reviews
      • Science videos with written commentary
      • News service updated 24/7
  • 15. openscience.gr
  • 16. openscience.gr
  • 17. An openscience network ?
    • Scientists, communicators and key players reach the public with no intervention!
    • One article in English can be translated to all FL languages
      • A single scientist can communicate with millions of Europeans!
      • Promotes scientists as role models
      • Promotes European science
      • Informs citizens on important prospective decisions