Science for the masses


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

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Science for the masses

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