Science Communication

Published by SAGE Publications
Print ISSN: 1075-5470
Advances in neuroscience are increasingly intersecting with issues of ethical, legal, and social interest. This study is an analysis of press coverage of an advanced technology for brain imaging, functional magnetic resonance imaging, that has gained significant public visibility over the past ten years. Discussion of issues of scientific validity and interpretation dominated over ethical content in both the popular and specialized press. Coverage of research on higher order cognitive phenomena specifically attributed broad personal and societal meaning to neuroimages. The authors conclude that neuroscience provides an ideal model for exploring science communication and ethics in a multicultural context.
PIP This article examines how two important Brazilian newspapers (Floha de S. Paulo and O Globo) covered the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) or Earth Summit. The analysis will also determine the characteristics of the environmental media and its significance when it comes to coverage of environmental issues. This article provides historical background information on the environmental media in the US and in Brazil, contextual information on the Earth Summit, a content analysis of stories about UNCED published by the two Brazilian newspapers. Overall, 649 news items were used to determine the type of sources used, as well as the kind of issues covered. The analysis showed that government officials were the most frequently cited sources, while environmentalists and scientists were all but ignored as news sources. The analysis also indicated that economic issues were surprisingly prominent in the coverage. These results are compatible with the previous studies done in several countries and indicate that environmental media are still extremely reliant on "official" voices. The finding also highlight the fact that the range of issues covered by the environmental media largely reflects the perceived public agenda.
PIP Diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among members of a social system. The diffusion of innovations is a communication theory which has laid the groundwork for behavior change models across the social sciences, representing a widely applicable perspective. The diffusion of innovations paradigm began with the 1943 publication of the results of an hybrid seed corn study conducted by Bryce Ryan and Neal C. Gross, rural sociologists at Iowa State University. The diffusion paradigm spread among midwestern rural sociological researchers in the 1950s and 1960s, and then to a larger, interdisciplinary field of diffusion scholars. By the late 1960s, rural sociologists lost interest in diffusion studies, not because it was ineffective scientifically, but because of lack of support for such study as a consequence of farm overproduction and because most of the interesting research questions were thought to be answered. Since 1943, more than 4000 research publications have appeared and diffusion research became a widely practiced variety of scholarly study in sociology and other social sciences. This paper describes some of the history of rural sociological research on the diffusion of agricultural innovations with the goal of understanding how the research tradition emerged and to determine how it influenced the larger body of diffusion research conducted later by scholars in other disciplinary specialties. The authors describe how diffusion of innovations research followed and deviated from the Kuhnian concept of paradigm development.
Descriptive Statistics for Latency and Score Items on the Hinode Image Hinode Image Text Condition n Mean SD Latency Data (sec.) 
Descriptive Statistics for Latency and Score Items for M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy) Variable Expert/Novice Text Condition n Mean SD Comprehension 
Distribution of self-ratings of expertise.  
Graph of comprehension of text by all levels of self-reported expertise.  
Graph of helpfulness of text by all levels of self-reported expertise.  
Some 400 years after Galileo, modern telescopes have enabled humanity to "see" what the natural eye cannot. Astronomical images today contain information about incredibly large objects located across vast distances and reveal information found in "invisible" radiation ranging from radio waves to X-rays. The current generation of telescopes has created an explosion of images available for the public to explore. This has, importantly, coincided with the maturation of the Internet. Every major telescope has a web site, often with an extensive gallery of images. New and free downloadable tools exist for members of the public to explore astronomical data and even create their own images. In short, a new era of an accessible universe has been entered, in which the public can participate and explore like never before. But there is a severe lack of scholarly and robust studies to probe how people - especially non-experts - perceive these images and the information they attempt to convey. Most astronomical images for the public have been processed (e.g., color choices, artifact removal, smoothing, cropping/field-of-view shown) to strike a balance between the science being highlighted and the aesthetics designed to engage the public. However, the extent to which these choices affect perception and comprehension is, at best, poorly understood. The goal of the studies presented here was to begin a program of research to better understand how people perceive astronomical images, and how such images, and the explanatory material that accompanies them, can best be presented to the public in terms of understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the images and the science that underlies them. Comment: 49 pages, 14 figures, Science Communication, in press
The federally-sponsored Educational Resources Information Center, or ERIC, has, for over 20 years, been the major repository for research and practice-oriented information about education. Millions of scholars, teachers, and others have utilized the materials in this database, though few of them may have been aware of the various aspects of the entire ERIC system. This article summarizes the development of that system, examines some of the changes that are currently being made in it, and speculates briefly about its future.
This study of the correspondence between the director of the National Astronomical Observatory in Mexico and a variety of individuals produces a portrait of astronomy in the Mexican culture of the period. The letters analyzed here can be divided into three groups according to the author’s main interests: observing the sky, creating theories, and daily life. By inquiring about the previous knowledge, intentions, and attitudes of the senders, it is possible to understand the process of appropriation of knowledge about astronomy. The letters shed light on aspects of the public interested in science that other approaches cannot.
The Galathea 3 Expedition from 2006 to 2007 combined research and online news media, allowing journalists literally to “look over the shoulders of researchers.” The authors analyze 781 news articles published online by three media partners of the expedition, all well-established media companies including high-quality newspapers in their portfolio. Less than half of all articles covered research. The articles about research mainly represented researchers as knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and hardworking experts. Taking into consideration public criticism and clashes between journalists and researchers, the authors situate the research-media partnership and their findings in contemporary debates about science and the media.
The 4th World Conference of Science Journalists that was held in Montreal in October 2004 was a major success, with more than 600 participants from nearly sixty countries. Jointly organized by the national Canadian Science Writers’ Association and the Association des Communicateurs Scientifiques du Québec, the meeting featured thirty-two sessions and more than 100 speakers. With thirty presidents of regional, national, and international science writer associations present, the meeting provided the venue for the formal launch of the World Federation of Science Journalists, the goals of which include promoting excellence in science and technology reporting.
PCST Network as Geographical Distribution of the 341 Abstracts That Responded to the Open Call NOTE: PCST = Public Communication of Science and Technology. Copyright Quark 2004 Reprinted with permission.
Main Areas of Interest NOTE: Radar-type graph showing distribution of the keywords selected from the authors in first, second, and third place to define their abstracts.
Under the theme of “scientific knowledge and cultural diversity,” Barcelona brought together in the first week of June 2004 more than six hundred people from every continent at the 8th International Conference on the Public Communication of Science and Technology. This open network of professionals extends to more than fifty countries and embraces the different aspects of science communication, including journalism, museology, research into scientific communication, and policies for scientific culture promotion, among others. On this particular occasion, the need to establish effective dialogue between the different forms of local knowledge and scientific knowledge was discussed and developed. The aim was not only to preserve cultural diversity but also to contribute to developing human knowledge and instilling a culture of peace. Various experiences demonstrated the essential role of the scientific communicator in this context.
On May 11, 1921, the world’s most famous female scientist, Marie Curie, began a 10-week tour of the United States. Curie’s biographers have argued that instead of portraying Curie as a scientist, the American press’ emphasis on Curie’s role as a mother, widow, and healer created a mythic Curie with traditional female virtues that served to make this unconventional woman less threatening to traditional values. This article complicates that approach by considering coverage outside the daily press, such as magazines, which emphasized Curie’s accomplishments as a scientist. Tracing the development of Curie’s story in the press, the article offers insight into the way coverage of Curie’s trip both shaped and was shaped by notions of women’s place in science and American society.
Academic publishing requires peer review evaluation as part of its system. However, the review process reflects its participants' biases. When a work's topic, conclusions, or methodologies challenge conventional wisdom, established paradigms, or political views, then peer review may act as a form of insidious censorship or pressure to change one's topic, interpretations, conclusions, or methods. The effects of unmodified peer review may stifle discovery, hinder the dissemination of new "truths" that challenge conventional wisdom and political taboos, and ramify beyond institutions of knowledge. Scholars may unwittingly perpetuate social problems by impeding the production and diffusion of knowledge. Ethics, selection of reviewers, and appeal procedures need attention.
This article describes the structure of academic hyperlinks embedded in universities’ Web sites hosted in Korea and examines the relationship between the structure of this hyperlink network and the journal publishing of universities. Studying the two phenomena together helps in understanding the changing process of communication created and sustained through traditional and emerging communication media. Four groups with distinctive features were identified. One group (A) was composed of members who had the highest efficiency in terms of the structural whole concept, and they had received the highest number of hyperlinks with other universities. The first group (A) showed high numbers of out-links toward two other groups (C and D). However, one group (C) had a relatively significant number of links to other members in the same group (within-group links), while the other group (D) did not. Analysis confirmed that hyperlink creation and reception correlate with authorship, indicating that expanding one’s research identity via hyper-links might be an indicator of the productiveness of researchers and research institutes.
Many academics are reluctant to enter policy-making forums. Those who do so are an important and intriguing minority. This study takes a close look at faculty active in advisory mechanisms to government and reveals them to be individuals whose careers include considerable experience outside academia, whose time commitments on c ampus are highly varied, and whose attitudes are supportive of university service to government. Most of the expert advisers also engage in political activities as citizens, and the relationship of participation in these dual modes poses questions for future research.
The social system of knowledge—or knowledge system, for short—is an accounting scheme that helps organize the search for social impact of science (SIS) indicators. The accounting scheme specifies six related knowledge functions (production, structuring, storage, distribution, utilization, and mandating) that are performed in different domains (industry, agriculture, education, and so forth) by many institutions and organizations that vary in size, autonomy, specialization, and complexity. By mediating relations between science and society, these institutions and organizations facilitate and retard the impact of science on the larger society. The knowledge systems accounting scheme also helps identify aspects of science impacts on society (e.g., scientific evidence), aspects of society on which science impacts (e.g., the economy, polity, and culture), and structures by which social impacts of science are mediated (e.g., technical communities). The knowledge system provides a conceptual base for the future development of what has been called “knowledge systems accounting” (see Dunn and Holzner, this volume).
The Participative Ergonomic Blueprint Model 
Conceptual Framework: Building interorganizational networks to facilitate knowledge transfer. 
This article offers an overview and an evaluation of the process of transferring a complex body of knowledge from a research institute to workplace parties. It includes practical insights into the “how” of building knowledge transfer networks. It also describes the development of a network-based strategy to transfer knowledge about workplace safety/ergonomics to a group of practitioner-based associations within Ontario’s Health & Safety Prevention system. The purpose of the practitioner network was to have them become knowledge brokers of the research linking to multiple workplaces in many different sectors. This strategy builds on the theoretical frameworks of knowledge transfer and network theory. Through multiple group interactions, the practitioners became familiar with the research, identified matching concepts between the research and their experiences, saw the research as relevant, adopted the principles of the research, and went on to apply it with their client workplaces.
This study focused on the impact of dentists' attitudes and orientations on acquisition of knowledge about the prevention of bacterial endocarditis. Excperts' recommenda tions for the prevention of the disease are periodically revissed: each succeeding revision therefore represents an innovation. Analysis of data collectedfrom a telephone survey revealed that orientations seemingly compatible with the innovation (preventive, innovative) were not predictive of knowledge acquisition concerning it. The predictive power of other orientations (professional, educational) varied according to practice setting (urban/rural). The generalizability of the notion of "compatibilty" as facilitating innovation adoption was found to be limited.
Computer-based readability measures were used to examine the clarity of texts written in the sciences, the social sciences, and the arts and humanities. Five studies examined texts that were written in these different disciplines for different audiences, moving from fellow researchers to students and the general public. Readability increased across these genres until it reached an asymptote. In several cases, the scientific texts used shorter sentences and were easier to read than were their parallel texts in the other disciplines.
Presence of frames over time.  
Dominant frames over time.  
Presence of Causes, Solutions, and Mobilizing Information Over Time. 
Proportions of top four sources over time.  
This study explores agenda setting, framing, and the concepts of media advocacy and mobilizing information through content analysis of The New York Times and The Washington Post news coverage of autism from 1996 to 2006, the year the Combating Autism Act was passed. Findings revealed that science frames decreased over time, while policy frames increased. Medical, government, family, and nonprofit sources were most common in news coverage. Solutions were mentioned more frequently than causes; however, mobilizing information was limited. Theoretical implications and practical applications are discussed.
Collaboration among community residents, environmental scientists, and local health agencies and providers in the Casa de Salud (Health House) project informs the environmental health agenda for Lawrence, Massachusetts, a largely Latino-populated city suffering from industrial decline, antiquated rental housing, and myriad environmental hazards. For example, when Casa learned from residents that localbotanicas sold mercury in capsules for ritual purposes, the project conducted a community-based, participatory research study that documented and described extensive mercury use among Spanish-speaking residents; in response, the Casa project partners generated educational outreach activities in Spanish and English. This report describes this community-based, participatory research study.
Zero-Order Correlations Based on American and Korean Respondents. 
Hierarchical Regression Predicting Pro-Environmental Behavioral Intentions. 
This study employs the theory of reasoned action and protection motivation theory to predict American and Korean students’ intentions to engage in behaviors that can help mitigate climate change. The results indicate that one’s attitudes toward the prevention of climate change, perceived severity of climate change, response efficacy, and self-efficacy regarding climate change prevention were significant predictors of one’s intentions to engage in a series of pro-environmental behaviors. In addition, there were few cross-cultural differences. These results suggest that protection motivation theory, together with the theory of reasoned action, is a useful framework for understanding pro-environmental behaviors.
Descriptive Statistics and Correlations Between the Study Variables
Hierarchical Multiple Regression of Public Engagement Intentions on Putative Predictors
There is a drive for more scientists to engage with the lay public. The authors used an augmented version of the theory of planned behavior and identified three factors that predicted scientists' intentions to participate in public engagement activities, over and above their past actions: attitude (whether participation was regarded as positive), perceived behavioral control (beliefs about whether participation was under their control), and descriptive norms (whether scientists believe their colleagues participate). Factors such as career recognition and time constraints did not significantly predict intentions. These findings will contribute to the design of interventions to promote public engagement.
This article contributes to a more reflexive mode of research on public engagement with science-related issues through presenting an in-depth qualitative study of the actors that mediate science-society interactions, their roles and relationships, and the nature of learning and reflexivity in relation to public dialogue. A mapping framework is developed to describe the roles and relations of actors mediating public dialogue on science and technology in Britain. Learning within public dialogue networks is shown to be instrumental only, crowding out potentials for reflexive and relational learning. This calls for renewed critical social science research alongside more deliberately reflexive learning relating to participatory governance of science and technology that is situated, interactive, public, and anticipatory.
Adaptation is a dynamic diffusion of innovations process in which adopters change innovations according to their individual needs. Adaptation may be explained by three factors: (a) the differing interpretation of innovation components by individual adopters, (b) an individual's level of adopter innovativeness or readiness to accept change, and (c) the generative learning process whereby an individual relates new information to prior knowledge and experience. Adaptation may occur unconsciously at the beginning of the diffusion process. Those who study the adaptation process should begin at the initial awareness stage when potential adopters are forming their opinions and ideas about an innovation.
Exactly how genetic factors contribute to the onset of disease is not fully understood. All the same, information and images pertaining to genetics and disease remain arguably serviceable when they produce agreeable diagnostic, prognostic, and, ultimately, therapeutic results. This article begins with a historical survey of graphical techniques concerning hereditary disease. The article then goes on to show how information gathering and representation broadened steadily to accommodate genetic diagnostic tests. This leads, in a final step, to an examination of the capacity of computational genetics and genomics to generate working models of what causes disease.
Adolescents’ wishful identification with televised scientist characters was examined as related to interactions among the following variables: gender of participant, gender of scientist character, program genre, and selected character attributes. Findings indicated some gender differences in adolescents’ wishful identification with scientist characters they viewed on television. Boys showed more wishful identification with male scientist than with female scientist characters for all character attributes, and girls showed more wishful identification with female scientist than with male scientist characters portrayed dominant or as working alone. Both girls and boys showed more wishful identification with scientist characters in drama programs than for those in cartoon and educational programs across all character attributes. Both girls and boys showed more wishful identification for some character attributes depending on the program genre viewed. Implications of these findings for producers of television programs and other media are discussed related to efforts to encourage adolescent girls’ interest in science careers.
Attitudes toward genetically modified (GM) foods have been extensively studied, but there are very few studies of actual consumer purchasing behavior regarding GM foods offering a consumer benefit. Using a field choice-modeling experiment, the authors investigate the trade-off between price and social desirability in consumer choices with regard to conventional, organic, and GM fruit. What consumers say they will choose in a survey and what they actually choose in a real-purchase situation may differ substantially when their decision is framed by a socially charged issue such as genetic modification. The results are analyzed in relation to established principles of diffusion of innovation.
Main Effects for Verbal Aggression (Study 1).
This study investigated effects of frames, science background, and stem cell source on attributions of ethicality, credibility, and usefulness of stem cell research. Framing did not influence perceptions of ethicality, but science majors tended to perceive embryonic research to be more ethical than did nonscience majors. Nonscience majors perceived stem cell research to be less credible than did science majors in an Economic Prospects frame. Science majors perceived embryonic research to be more useful than did nonscience majors except in a Conflict frame. Results suggest that frames cue heuristics that bias science and nonscience majors’ cognitions about stem cell research differently.
Scientists entering the policy-making arena as advisers find themselves in an environment characterized by trade-offs among competing values, goals, andgroups. This environment makes it difficult for scientists to adhere to the methods and values of science on which their cognitive authority rests Resulting concerns about the foundations and impact of expert advice inspired this study, which examines the experiences and contributions of academic advisers to an American state government. The majority of the faculty stay within the scope of their academic endeavors when providing advice. Almost half of their advice is based on analytical work, the remainder on judgment and opinion. To guard their image as objective truth seekers, most faculty are careful to qualify remarks not based on research. Faculty are seldom to be found in the policy-making forefront; most frequently they play supporting roles by providing information at staff and middle-management levels.
As a model of the creation and dissemination of knowledge, diffusion of innovation theory should be as applicable to the emergence of new art and artists as it is to new tehcnologies and scientific discoveries. However, the art world has rarely been used as a context for the study of the communication of new ideas, either by sociologists of art seeking to understand its social structures, or by communication scholars concerned with the movement of information within social networks. Therefore, in this article we explore the applicability of the diffusion model to communication processes in art, with a special emphasis on wheter contemporary artwork fits the characteristics of an aesthetic innovation.
Guided by the risk information-seeking and processing model, this study examines positive and negative affect separately in their influence on information-seeking intentions and avoidance through structural equation analyses. The highlight is that information avoidance seems to be driven by positive affect, while information seeking seems to be more heavily influenced by negative affect. Another interesting finding is that informational subjective norms are positively related to both seeking and avoidance, which suggests that one’s social environment has the potential to strongly influence the way he or she handles climate change information. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Starting nearly from scratch in the early 1960s, Africa has experienced an academic boom and an impressive increase of scientists, much of the growth occurring in the 1970s. Valiant efforts have also been made to build up national research systems. But the results are far from satisfactory and the conditions under which scientific research is carried out in Africa today are clearly deteriorating. This situation has brought increasing concern among funding agencies and African decision makers who are now looking for new approaches and strategies for scientific cooperation. Following a brief overview of scientific research in Africa, the debate on African research and the evolution of policies supporting science and technology for development from the 1960s onward are reviewed. Donors' strategies, for the most part, are to argue for a revision of domestic policies on research management toward a policy of regional inte gration and of selective support to a limited number of "centers of excellence. " The questions raised by these new strategies are examined in the conclusion of this article.
The media coverage of climate change issues is in decline in both the developed and developing countries. This situation calls for innovative ways by which the costs associated with climate change coverage can be shared and defrayed; it needs to attract true partners within the media sector and beyond in addressing climate change issues; and it must develop practical solutions to overcoming the systemic public apathy toward climate science and climate science journalism in developing countries.
This article addresses three questions: What is the extent of instrumental, conceptual, and symbolic use of university research in government agencies? Are there differences between the policy domains in regard to the extent of each type of use? What are the determinants of instrumental, conceptual, and symbolic use of university research? Based on a survey of 833 government officials, the results suggest that (1) the three types of use of research simultaneously play a significant role in government agencies, (2) there are large differences between policy domains in regard to research utilization, and (3) a small number of determinants explain the increase of instrumental, conceptual, and symbolic utilization of research in a different way.
Over 6 years, a U.S. Federal health agency, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, has developed a science-based communications strategy. Agency staff reviewed the scientific literature, discussed implications of it for meeting communications goals of the agency, created a strategy based on what was learned, and refined it over time as informed by experience. Doing so led to eight significant changes in ongoing operations of the agency’s Office of Communications. Discussion of these activities is followed by an analysis of possible next steps this agency or others like it could take to enhance communications strategy.
The interplay between agency and structure explains a scientist's readiness to disclose information about research efforts. In a survey of 628 Israeli researchers, personal strategies in the pursuit of collegial appreciation were influenced by conflicting value guidelines at different time-space frameworks for scientific work. When researchers encountered the value of communality, they were encouraged to communicate freely to obtain community recognition. When a greater stress was placed on universalism, restricting communication became a reasonable strategy to protect acknowledgment rights. The influence of universalism was intensified when researchers inferred a structural vulnerability because of exposure to contextual conditions that increased the possibility of losing acknowledgment. A balanced impact of the two values—communality and universalism—may be postulated as contributing to a more rapid development of the scientific enterprise.
This nationwide study of local television news health reporters examined health and medical news gathering from the reporters' perspective. Data from this study, revealed significant insight into how these health reporters receive ideas for their health stories and what motivates a health reporter to cover a particular topic. The findings suggest a link between agenda building and health reporting, suggesting that a health reporter's reliance on sources is exacerbated by the technical nature of health and medical news. For example, more than half of respondents received ideas for their health reports directly from a health source who personally contacted them. Sixty percent said that they must frequently find a health expert to explain technical information and agreed that health sources often affect the health content making air.
This article examines discussions between innovators and patient users about emergent medical technologies in the field of celiac disease. Using discursive psychology and conversation analysis, the authors analyze participants’ talk with regard to the social activities performed. They find that the topical agenda, preference structure, and presuppositions incorporated in the innovators’ questions restrict patients’ scope for saying things in and on their own terms. Not participants’ intentions per se but what the questions indirectly communicate profoundly shapes the agenda of these meetings. This may explain why some of the difficulties of innovator-user interaction are persistent and hard to pinpoint.
There has been an assumption that agricultural research carried out by developed country research institutions would be ultimately transferred to developing countries through national research and extension organizations. In recent years, this paradigm has been increasingly challenged by the increased prominence of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in agricultural development. In this context, the authors investigated U.K. NGOs'access to and perceptions of U.K. expertise in agricultural and environmental science. The article examines the problems most often encountered by NGOs in agricultural development, current sources of advice, links with U.K. science institutions, and their short-term and long-term suggestions for improving NGO-research collaboration
Technological Optimism in Austria, 1993 SOURCE: Adapted from Torgersen and Seifert (1997).  
Percentage Organic Acreage SOURCE: Austrian Ministry of Agriculture (2001).  
Technological Optimism in Austria versus the European Union (EU), 1996 versus 1999 SOURCE: Torgersen et al. (2001), reprinted with permission from the Science Museum, London.  
In contrast to shifts in other European countries in the late 1990s, the Austrian position on agricultural biotechnology has remained constant over the past decade. Although Austria's position was initially considered restrictive in comparison, developments elsewhere narrowed the gap, and the European Commission adopted measures that Austria had endorsed for a long time. Taking Austria as an example, this article considers some frequent explanations for the transatlantic divide in agricultural biotechnology that emphasize the link between public opinion and policy. Such explanations stress nongovernmental organizations and media campaigns triggering technophobia among an uninformed public, governments giving in to public pressure and abandoning sound science, and protectionism in agricultural policy that prevents free trade. While not entirely to be dismissed, there also are arguments against a cause-effect relationship between public pressure and policy. Differences in the perceived roles of agriculture seem more important, however.
This study uses a descriptive survey to examine the perceptions agricultural scientists have of the news media and the perceived need for media relations skills. The results showed that respondents were more negative about national news coverage and more positive about local news coverage of agricultural and scientific stories. They also were more favorable in their perceptions of coverage of general science topics than of stories in their agricultural discipline. Significant differences were found in respondents’ confidence in communicating with the news media on the basis of gender and age. Overall, respondents were confident in their media relations capabilities; however, areas in which respondents indicated they might take training included communicating in crisis situations and writing newspaper columns.
This study examines climate scientists’ views on media science communication and their strategies for dealing with journalists and climate deniers. Drawing on scholarly calls for openness and public engagement, particularly the concept of “socially robust knowledge,” this article discusses how climate scientists weigh concerns of control, openness, and transparency when considering how to best communicate with the public through the mass media. The author argues that “socially robust knowledge” neglects the challenges of “medialization” of climate science and proposes that the climate scientists’ strategy can better be described as attempts to achieve “politically robust” communication.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is not only increasingly popular and frequently used in Western societies, it is also a growing scientific field. But how are results from clinical CAM studies received and represented by other researchers? This article discusses the migration and representation of three clinical CAM studies, published in high-impact medical journals, analyzed with help from quantitative and qualitative citation context analysis. The results indicate a great variety concerning the migration of results and that this kind of research is subject to different kinds of boundary work, especially concerning biomedical standards and design of the studies.
This study examined the portrayal of climate change in four national newspapers from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and the United States. The results indicated that leading media in Brazil and the United States highlighted the policy progress being made to mitigate climate change and presented the issue in economic terms, whereas coverage in Argentina and Colombia portrayed the issue as being urgent and emphasized the catastrophic consequences of climate change. The findings are consistent with previous work indicating a lack of focus on scientific controversy from non-U.S. media and present implications for comparative studies examining nuances in international coverage of climate change.
The common scientific metaphor linking microscopic phenomena to new or subvisible worlds in images and text has also been used to describe nanoscale phenomena. However, on closer examination, some images of the nanoscale reveal a shift away from the trope’s association with microscopic worlds and toward participatory, computer-generated worlds. This shift articulates different relations between the nanoscale and the macroscopic scale, relations that also affect how we position ourselves in relation to nanoscale phenomena and so affect the formation of nanotechnology. These different relations also create different ways to understand the nanoscale, scientific communication, and the shaping of scientific knowledge.
An analysis of David Ben-Gurion's correspondence with a leading scientist over the nature of knowledge brings to light an underlying philosophical conflict between them. It is then demonstrated how competing views over the nature ofknowledge significantly constrained Ben-Gurion's communication with scientists in the policy-making process.
Natural-resource managers have used a variety of computer-mediated presentation methods to communicate management practices to diverse publics. We explored the effects of visualizing and animating predictions from mathematical models in computerized presentations explaining forest succession (forest growth and change through time), fire behavior, and management options. In an experimental design using purposive samples, rural-mountain, town, and student groups gained substantial information from both the visualized, animated presentation and the nonvisualized, nonanimated presentation. Mountain residents gained significantly more information from the visualized and animated presentation than from the nonvisualized and nonanimated presentation.
The scientific knowledge quiz included in the Eurobarometer 63.1/2005 questionnaire Source: European Commission (2005a, p. 14).  
The article discusses acceptance of evolution and its relevance for measuring scientific literacy. The author analyzes the National Science Foundation knowledge quiz in relation to theoretical, methodological, and moral arguments, proposing a distinction between quiet and animated scientific constructs. When a public learns of evolution as an animated construct, its acceptance is a poor indicator in a reflective model of scientific literacy. Acceptance of evolution may constitute a valuable indicator in reflective models of science knowledge for publics that engage with it disinterestedly, as well as in formative models of scientifically shaped worldviews, and it may also be studied in itself.
We analyzed articles from major newspapers in the United States and Canada (1998-2002) to determine the extent to which articles presented information related to antibiotic resistance. Almost three quarters of the articles analyzed mentioned the problem of antibiotic resistance, but most did so in qualitative terms (e.g., stating that antibiotic-resistant bacteria were “ increasingly present”) rather than in numerical (e.g., “Twenty-five strains were resistant”) or statistical terms (e.g., “Twenty-five out of 100 Streptococcus pneumoniae strains sampled were resistant to vancomycin”). Only one quarter of all articles contained information on two key risk-reduction measures people can take to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance: taking antibiotics only for bacterial infections, and taking the full course of a prescription. These findings suggest that the print media could improve their reporting on issues associated with antibiotic resistance.
This study examines the rhetorical aspects of social contestation of climate change in reader comments published in the Daily Mail, subsequent to climategate. The following themes are reported: (1) denigration of climate scientists to contest hegemonic representations, (2) delegitimization of pro–climate change individuals by disassociation from science, and (3) outright denial: rejecting hegemonic social representations of climate change. The study outlines the discursive strategies employed in order to construct social representations of climate change, to contest alternative representations, and to convince others of the validity of these representations. It examines how social representations of science are formed, maintained, and disseminated.
The study explored environmental communication strategies within the Okavango Delta, northwest Botswana. A survey instrument was administered to 120 respondents, randomly sampled across four villages. The findings show that respondents obtain environmental conservation information from diverse source organizations. Agencies use a multimix approach that utilizes different channels of communication, such as mass media and group channels. Statistically significant associations were found among the radio audience by education and among the television audience by age, education, and gender; and no statistically significance association was found between the kgotla group channel and the three demographic variables. Findings suggest that the interventions have promoted proenvironmental behaviors and attitudes among the respondents. Implications for environmental communication practice and directions for future research are discussed.
Top-cited authors
Saffron O'Neill
  • University of Exeter
Sophie Day
  • University of East Anglia
Sharon Dunwoody
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison
Réjean Landry
  • Laval University
Bruce V Lewenstein
  • Cornell University