Session notes, tweets, and resources from ScienceOnline Together 2014
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This publication has been made possible through a generous grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. We are deeply grateful for their support.
Each year, I return from ScienceOnline with a list of things to do: articles to read, hashtags to search, blogs to follow, and ideas to pursue. The list sits on the corner of the kitchen table, and I manage to check a few items off. But as days turn into weeks, the list loses importance until it becomes part of the past, and in the interest of pursuing the present, I recycle it.
This year I was lucky. Assembling the ePub of Scio14 enabled me to read the notes of every session, to search the hashtags, follow the links, and contact facilitators and participants. Until now, it never sank in how much material is out there. The volume of interesting posts and resources related to science and science communication amazed me, and I felt honored to be part of the community that produced it.
You never know which lead will be the one that changes your life. I hope that this resource will enable you to follow up on all the items on your list.
In 2007, we invited science bloggers to come to North Carolina for the N.C. Science Blogging Conference – we wanted the growing network of science bloggers and their readers to have a chance to meet face-to-face, to share their expertise and experiences, to make new friends and deepen the old. (This grew out of our local BlogTogether activities.) We’ve been gathering the community in the Triangle area of NC every January/February since.
In 2012, ScienceOnline became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in order to better carry out the vision and projects that we had been working on.
The mission of ScienceOnline has grown since our intial 2007 conference – which only makes sense because the web and the tools we use online continue to develop! Our mission is to cultivate the ways science is conducted, shared, and communicated online. We are excited about bringing together researchers, journalists, artists, students, developers, and all kinds of science communicators to discuss how they are using the web in their work. These conversations often lead to amazing collaborations.
We hope this publication captures some of the essence (and resources) of the 2014 flagship conference. We hope you will join us for a future conference and add your voice to the conversations!
About This ePub
Each chapter of this ePub includes the following information for one session:
General information: Facilitator, session type, hashtag, forum link, and description.
Introductory Materials: Materials posted on the session’s forum pre-conference or presented by the facilitator at the start of the session.
Video: The recorded video of the session, if available.
Discussion Highlights: Information recorded in the scribe notes.
Tweets: Storify slideshow(s) of the tweets that used the session’s hashtag, as well as a link to the hashtag search.
Resources: Links to relevant websites and blog articles that were mentioned or tweeted during the session.
The links to the session’s forum and hashtag search are included even if the online conversation has petered out or never began. It is our hope that conversations will continue, resume, or even begin.
Cover design: Mari Chijiiwa; cover photos: Russ Creech
Version 1.0; last updated 05-30-2014
Converge: Changing Challenges Into Opportunities
February 27, 2014
Video of the Converge Session: http://scienceonline.com/live/?id=87
Session 1A/2C. Women in Science: Reaching Equilibrium
Session type: Discussion
Hashtag: #sciowomen, #sciohack
Description: Most women entering a doctoral program say that they want to be professors. But only about one in five women with Ph.D.’s in the sciences end up becoming tenured professors. Why do the other women leave? Often, women are not comfortable talking about their experiences in public, but numbers do talk, as demonstrated in the recent blog post, "Unsettling Stats about Women in Science (http://www.the-understory.com/2014/01/23/unsettling-stats-about-women-in-science/). How do we get more people to recognize the reasons why women leave science, and then compel people to enact change? What kinds of changes would encourage women to stay in science? We will be tackling these questions in this discussion and compiling our ideas in a Google Doc for use in the next day’s mini-hackathon, where participants will create infographics that bring light to these issues and potential solutions.
Katie's preconference post and flashtalk (included below): http://www.the-understory.com/2014/02/26/women-in-science-reaching-equilibrium/
Similar numbers of women and men obtain PhDs, but many more men have careers in science. A majority (70%) of women want a research career when they enter degree programs, but this drops drastically by the third year. Many women leave during the postdoc phase. What holds women back?
- institutional gender bias
- subtle gender bias
- lack of career confidence
Why do degreed women leave the field?
- lack of opportunities
- inability to balance work and home life
- dislike of the workplace culture
- many more
What are the unintended reactions? Some see a movement to "force" women into science fields, not understanding the underlying causes of why they choose to leave.
The live stream of this session (embedded below) is archived at http://scienceonline.com/live/?id=88.
Who needs to hear about how women are held back in science? Who has the power to enact change?
- Funding agencies
- Editors and reviewers of journals
- Directors of research institutes
- HR departments and department chairs
- Grad students and PIs
- K-12 teachers
- Parents and children
- People who aren’t at Scio14
What issues exist or may appear?
- People may fear that they will appear unfair or as if they are favoring women.
- People may not believe that there is an imbalance.
- The peer review process itself favors men via subconscious bias; reviews should be non-biased for all people
- If funding agencies don’t use publication as the main criteria, they might also be biased.
- Role models are needed, but the pressure to be visible can be intimidating, discouraging, or isolating.
- Postdocs are contract workers; family leave policies often do not apply.
- There is a cultural issue that differentiates between medical and maternal leave.
- Adding more women scientists isn't enough; it's also about retention.
Do those on the other side of this issue have any practical considerations?
What is being done?
- There are inspirational opportunities for K-12 children (for example, the new GoldiBlox toys (http://www.goldieblox.com/)).
- There are visible role models of women in science, including women in science at the institutional level.
- There are “Women in Science” groups.
- There are programs such as USC's WISE (http://wise.usc.edu/) that directly address some of the problems faced by women in science.
- “Maternity leave” is changing to include “paternity leave,” “parental leave,” or “family leave.”
- Expectations are changing.
- Many organizations are doing a good job: for example, Upworthy (http://www.upworthy.com/), Planned Parenthood's Tumblr (http://plannedparenthood.tumblr.com/), and Smart Girls (http://amysmartgirls.com/).
What can we do? What other solutions are there? How can we enact change?
- We (women and men) can take an active role in finding and talking to female and/or minority experts.
- We can write about and promote successful programs.
- We can use data to help convince people.
- In addition to bringing more women into science, we can build awareness in everyone of the subconscious bias that exists.
- We can crowdsource to find others concerned with the issues.
- We can find a good resource of statistics.
- Writers can write about women scientists as scientists; they can check that their writing passes the Finkbeiner Test (http://www.doublexscience.org/the-finkbeiner-test/).
- Funding bodies (state and charitable) can require accreditation from initiatives like Athena SWAN (http://www.athenaswan.org.uk/) that affirm that an organization is actively seeking to address issues of gender equality at the highest levels. This puts pressure on the leadership of organizations.
- We can use forums and social media to reach wider audiences and allow two-way interactions.
- We can work to change the norms. These are cultural issues that go beyond a single department.
- We can continue to make science fun for all kids and to understand what kids would enjoy.
- We can communicate about possibilities, options, and "alternative" careers.
What do we do when the bias and vitriol is overt?
- Stay calm. Don’t punch anyone!
- Stand your ground.
- Use statistics.
- Address the problem as relating to the whole family.
- Find a way (such as an event) to reframe the issue so that people who see this as a “women’s issue” will be able to see it differently. Open new doors to help these people through.
- Continue to have discussions and be open.
- Find a connection with other women rather than competing with them.
What platforms would be best to communicate with each audience? What storytelling styles? How should these problems and solutions be posed to different audiences? The session participants divided into small groups. Each group was assigned an audience from the “Who” section and formulated a strategy to communicate with that audience. Here are some of the outcomes:
- Prompt people to commit to an action.
- Make parental leave available, including in academic settings. Does this improve retention? Maternity leave may be a red herring: it hasn’t solved the problem of gender bias. (But we still need it!)
- Reach other countries that also have problems of gender bias (and remember that many countries don’t have widespread internet access). Is it okay to do outreach in the developing world? What issues persist? Is it harder to get local funding or international funding?
- Encourage the science community to start valuing “immeasurables” such as microaggressions, microaffirmations, culture, and accountability, which cannot be tracked easily. These often play a role in communication and the cultivation of diversity.
- Produce more of what we want to see in the media: authentic content that challenges stereotypes.
- Note than solving these issues will benefit men, too. Men want more work/life balance. (Help men change their behavior by showing them what they can gain.)
- Recognize the stigma of men in women-dominated fields, which is part of this same issue.
- Learn to be an ally.
- Host an interactive event in which participants take a test on their subconscious bias. People are often shocked by their own bias.
- Use your leverage to increase diversity (for example, as a panelist at a conference or on a search committee) if you are in a position to at an organization.
- Talk about diversity issues even when we’d rather be talking about science.
- Combine science and social issues (for example, a pollution story that teaches biochem can also include the social story of why the pollution is in one location and not another).
- Normalize it: make it normal to promote diversity.
- Recognize the need for changes in policy and for the activism/advocacy to attain them.
- Keep trying no matter what!
Additional thoughts from the mini-hackathon:
- Does adhering to the scientific process (i.e., using hypotheses and data) lead to poor communication practices?
- Debate can be used as a tool to generate a dialog and to help people see a different point of view.
- Getting called out on discrimination is scary and difficult. Can we improve this process, to make it easier for people to admit their biases and change?
- A tool to help recognize personal bias is that if you question a tweet you are about to post, then you probably should not post it.
- Many an institution may see itself as the exception to gender bias and discrimination.
- Diversity should be internalized within organizations; leaders should set clear expectations.
- We need to get the public’s attention on these issues, to speak up, and to act.
Storified here by ScienceOnline: http://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciowomen
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciowomen&src=typd&f=realtime
Google doc (created in advance of the session and in use since). https://docs.google.com/document/d/14p7pHAXf_Mr-AXRJ9KuKP0IMS_ouhF8AleEOf_ejvk0/edit
“Unsettling Stats about Women in Science,” The Understory, by Katie Burke, 2014. http://www.the-understory.com/2014/01/23/unsettling-stats-about-women-in-science/
“6 Steps to Gender Equality” and more essays about how every university can get more women to the top and why they should, by Curt Rice, 2012. http://curt-rice.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/6-Steps-to-Gender-Equality1.pdf
“When Scientists Choose Motherhood.” A single factor goes a long way in explaining the dearth of women in math-intensive fields. How can we address it? American Scientist, by Wendy M. Williams and Stephen J. Ceci. http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/when-scientists-choose-motherhood/1
“Inequality quantified: Mind the gender gap.” Despite improvements, female scientists continue to face discrimination, unequal pay and funding disparities, Nature, by Helen Shen. http://www.nature.com/news/inequality-quantified-mind-the-gender-gap-1.12550
"Inequalities at Work." Policy reform needed to boost numbers of minority female science-faculty members, Nature, 2013. http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/science/articles/10.1038/nj7478-179b
"Stemming the Tide: Why Women Leave Engineering," an NSF-funded study at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2012. http://studyofwork.com/files/2012/10/NSF_Report_2012-101d98c.pdf
“Project on Women Engineers’ Retention (POWER),” a Research Survey for Women Engineers, by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. http://nsfpower.org/
Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries, Second Edition, by Sharon Bertsch McGrayne, National Academies Press, 2001. http://books.google.com/books/about/Nobel_Prize_Women_in_Science.html?id=-PqK3zxkRrIC
University of Southern California’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program. “The WiSE program is a groundbreaking effort to increase the representation and success of women in science and engineering at USC through a series of creative programs that enable women to thrive at every stage of their careers. Committed to developing fresh approaches to policies and to building a supportive environment for both women and men, the WiSE program is driving USC to the leading edge of diversity in science and engineering.” http://wise.usc.edu/
“The Finkbeiner Test.” What matters in stories about women scientists? DoubleXScience, by Christie Aschwanden. http://www.doublexscience.org/the-finkbeiner-test/
Athena SWAN Charter for Women in Science. Recognising commitment to advancing women’s careers in STEMM academia. http://www.athenaswan.org.uk/
The Gills Club. "The Gills Club is Atlantic White Shark Conservancy's signature action project dedicated to connecting girls with female marine biologists, sharing knowledge, and empowering them to take leadership positions and inspire others with their passion for sharks." http://www.gillsclub.org/
"The XX Question," a session at ScienceWriters2013 with speakers Christie Aschwanden, Maryn McKenna, Kathleen Raven, Florence Williams, and Emily Willingham, moderated by Deborah Blum. http://youtu.be/UVwiyRFLX-E
"The Presence of Female Conveners Correlates with a Higher Proportion of Female Speakers at Scientific Symposia," MBio, by Arturo Casadevalla and Jo Handelsman, 2014. http://mbio.asm.org/content/5/1/e00846-13.full
"Closing the Gender Gap for Women in Science," Immpress Magazine, by Payam Zarin, 2013. http://www.immpressmagazine.com/closing-the-gender-gap-for-women-in-science/
"Science Gender Gap: Five Reasons Women Trail Men In Science," Huffington Post, by Stephanie Pappas, 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/science-gender-gap-five-reasons-women-men_n_2827567.html
"How To Fix the Gender Gap in Technology." Make your daughter play video games. It will help her get a high-paying job, Slate, by Dana Goldstein, 2012. http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2012/06/gender_gap_in_technology_and_silicon_valley_.html
"Recline, don’t ‘Lean In’ (Why I hate Sheryl Sandberg)" The Washington Post, by Rosa Brooks, 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/02/25/recline-dont-lean-in-why-i-hate-sheryl-sandberg/
On breaking the stereotypes: "Who's the Scientist?" Seventh graders describe scientists before and after a visit to Fermilab, 2010. http://ed.fnal.gov/projects/scientists/index.html
A Chemical Imbalance, a new documentary about science and gender equality. http://chemicalimbalance.co.uk/
Comments on the film: "A Chemical Imbalance: Gender and Chemistry in Academia," Ever On and On, by biochembelle, 2013. http://biochembelle.com/2013/08/07/a-chemical-imbalance-gender-and-chemistry-in-academia/
"I Didn't Want to Lean Out." Why I Left, How I Left, and What It Would Have Taken to Keep Me in STEM, Model View Culture, by Frances Hocutt, 2014. http://modelviewculture.com/pieces/i-didn-t-want-to-lean-out
"The Loss of a Dress…" Elizabeth Pettigrew and the Women of the British Archaeological Association, TrowelBlazers, by @GabeMoshenska. http://www.trowelblazers.com/post/77904034484/the-loss-of-a-dress-elizabeth-pettigrew-and-the
"I Never Thought I'd Want To High-Five A Teacher For Yelling At A Student, But I Was Wrong," Upworthy, by Laura Willard. http://www.upworthy.com/i-never-thought-id-want-to-high-five-a-teacher-for-yelling-at-a-student-but-i-was-wrong
A Place at the Bench: Women in Biomedical Research, by Marla V. Broadfoot, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, 2009. http://www.bwfund.org/newsroom/special-reports/place-bench-women-biomedical-research
"Women Lead Nearly Half of US Households, Yet Still Lag Behind in Science." Thoughts for Breakfast, by Shermin de Silva. http://thoughtsforbreakfast.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/women-lead-nearly-half-of-us-households-yet-still-lag-behind-in-science/
On selection pressures in science: "Are We Evolving Science?" Thoughts for Breakfast, by Shermin de Silva. http://thoughtsforbreakfast.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/are-we-evolving-science/
Project to identify the gender disparity of google doodles and to highlight women who could have been featured. http://speakingupforus.wordpress.com
Do we need Peer Review 2.0 and, if yes, how should it differ from the current model? A question posted on Research Gate. http://www.researchgate.net/post/Do_we_need_Peer_Review_20_and_if_yes_how_should_it_differ_from_the_current_model?
"How to Level the Playing Field for Women in Science." The ‘baby penalty’ in academe could be eased with four key reforms, Chronicle, by Mary Ann Mason, 2014. http://chronicle.com/article/How-to-Level-the-Playing-Field/145037/
Session 1B. WISE UP
Facilitator: Doreen McVeigh
Session type: Discussion
Description: Women in Science and Engineering Under Pressure (WISE UP) is a group for women in the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Science at NCSU. Come learn about WISE UP (a supportive community, with meetings to encourage an open exchange of issues, ideas, and information in an atmosphere of trust) and brainstorm about a starting group in your own area. If you already have a group that you are a part of, share your own stories of working together to create healthy academic, professional, and social environment for men and women in their fields. We will discuss how groups such as WISE UP can address these issues in a supportive, positive manner. We all face a multitude of pressures in both our personal and professional lives; let’s support each other and rise above it.
For highlights from the discussion, please see the Storify below.
Storified here: http://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciowiseup
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciowiseup&src=typd&f=realtime
Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) at NC State. http://www.ncsu.edu/wise/
Association for Women in Science (AWIS). http://www.awis.org/
Graduate Women in Science (GWIS). http://gwis.org/
National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals, Inc (NOGLSTP). http://www.noglstp.org/?page_id=75
Minority Postdoc's list of diversity stakeholders and professional societies. http://www.minoritypostdoc.org/view/stakeholders.html
Coach: Assisting in the success and impact of women scientists and engineers. http://coach.uoregon.edu/coach/
If you attended this session and have any other notes or resources that were shared, we can add them if you send us the material. We would like the ePub to be as complete and helpful as possible. Thank you for contributing!
Session 1C. Boundaries, Behavior, & Being An Ally
Facilitator: Ashley Simons-Rudolph (@ncsu_womensctr)
Session type: Discussion
Description: This discussion will focus on identifying and communicating boundaries, dealing with inappropriate behavior, how to be an ally, and what to do when "no" is not enough. Ashley Simons-Rudolph is the director of NCSU's Women's Center. She will facilitate the attendee discussion. Ashley Simons-Rudolph joined the Women’s Center in August 2011. She is an NC State Alumna and a graduate of one of the first classes of WGS minors. She earned her PhD in Gender and Social Policy from The George Washington University in Washington DC. Dr. S-R has been teaching online in the NCSU Women’s and Gender Studies department since 2003 and most recently taught at the American University in Cairo. Her research interests include reproductive health, feminist economics, & international women’s issues. She has over 15 years of experience in research, education, and advocacy related to gender equity.
How do you set boundaries online, and how is this different than in a face-to-face interaction? Do you connect more quickly online?
- You can moderate the comments in blogs: pay attention to their tone, and do not allow comments that cross boundaries.
- You can make judgments on Twitter and choose to block or engage with others.
- Most people agree that they connect more quickly online. It is easier to put yourself out there and to speak to strangers (unless you are outgoing in person).
- Meeting people online is more productive, but there is no depth to the relationships.
- It’s easier to insult someone accidentally online, especially with abbreviated social media.
- It is easier to meet someone in real life after meeting online. However, it is sometimes jarring to meet in real life because you have built up false expectations.
Concerning online boundaries and harassment...
- Harassment is often only slightly inappropriate at first, but then it grows more so.
- Many people who harass online would not do it in person.
- A casual trust develops when you meet online; people jump into a discussion about a topic without knowing each other. This gives a false sense of security. A predator who meets you online has a “hook” to be in your life when you meet in person, before you’ve had a chance to get to know him/her. In “real life,” there is a safety net at first, in which you can keep your distance until you are comfortable.
- When you meet someone online, you might only be meeting one aspect of the person. Some people craft a personality that is only part of who they are. In “real life,” it’s harder to hide; your whole personality is there.
- There are myths such as that you are safe online or that violence is always physical.
Have you seen anyone use a successful strategy to fight online harassment?
- The worst harassment is insidious or hidden; this makes it hard to find an ally.
- Asking for help is difficult; many don’t want to seem “silly,” to hear others tell them “don’t worry,” or to create an awkward situation that others want to avoid getting involved in. Many do not trust their instincts. With Bora, people were scared to speak up because the response was often, “But he’s so nice!”
Concerning the sexual harassment events that involved Bora, one of the founders of ScienceOnline...
- It’s better to address issues directly, which is not what’s happening here. We want to draw attention to the problems that Scio had so that we can talk about constructive ways to fix it.
- Newcomers might be confused by discussions about Bora if they do not know the history; but on the other hand, they will be confused by the undercurrents if he is not discussed.
- Some of the responses to the event with Bora were support for Bora and negative comments on the posts of his accusers.
- Some who felt safe at Scio and who trusted Bora now feel betrayed. They’ve heard people say things like “I knew not to talk to him alone,” and they are upset that people who knew about the problem did not address it. They fear that they exposed people to a predator by introducing them to Scio. They want to know if the Scio organizers will take additional steps to make sure this does not happen again. Policies are well-intentioned and even obvious, but they are not always followed.
- People are uncomfortable talking about Bora. But, this session is a chance to talk.
How to speak up, both as a recipient of harassment and as an ally.
- There is a lack of successful communication of “This makes me uncomfortable.”
- We must recognize that discomfort is a part of speaking up.
- Speaking up as soon as possible is important, because if we keep something inside, it gets harder to speak up. Or, it builds until it comes out as anger and resentment.
- However, recognizing that speaking up is hard... a delayed reply/accusation does not mean that the accuser was not upset all along. Predators work slowly to get their victims to a position in which it feels too late to speak up.
- Some people have been brought up to keep quiet and not talk about themselves in public, or not to say negative things about others in public.
How not to harass.
- Many people don’t want to harass others and worry that they might harass someone by accident. How can they know what constitutes harassment?
- Social norms are always changing so it is important for people to communicate their personal boundaries effectively.
- Predators propagate the myth that harassment happens by accident. If you are worried about harassing someone, you can think, “Am I in a position of power? Am I using my position to [harassing activity] because I can get away with it?” But also, it is easier NOT to harass someone.
How to be an ally.
- To be an ally, value both parties. Don’t prioritize the comfort of one person because he/she has power or prestige or because he/she does good works.
- People who speak up are often criticized or trolled. The response to people who speak up must be addressed. If you need time to process before responding, say something like “I hear you” to acknowledge the speaker while still waiting to respond.
- Take people seriously. Where some harassment falls in the range from acceptable to offensive is subjective. After harassment, people often don’t take the victim seriously. Do not discount someone else’s experience just because you would not have reacted their way or felt harassed. (However, taking the person seriously does not automatically mean that the accused harasser should be punished.)
- If you know that someone is being made uncomfortable, you can offer to speak up for him or her. And, even if he/she is hesitant, you can speak to the offender in a general way.
- You don’t have to be personally involved to recognize bad behavior and to do something.
- In a setting like a faculty department, it can be difficult to know how to be an effective ally.
How to change the system.
- NCSU has a list of best practices.
- It’s important for organizations to have policies with clear boundaries stated from the beginning, even if it does not seem necessary. It is true that harassers do not live by the code of conduct that a policy mirrors; also, policies have different levels of enforcement in different situations (i.e., institutions, membership societies, events). However, the policy makes it possible to take action if someone speaks up. But, it is necessary for someone to speak up and to do so using the official channels (i.e., not just tweeting or telling a friend).
- We can work together to create a culture that directly addresses harassment.
- Create guidelines that make speaking up what you are expected to do and that address the proper response to speaking up. For example, you might say, “Different people have different levels of comfort. If someone makes you uncomfortable, it may be unintentional. Pretend this is the case and tell him/her that you are uncomfortable. And if someone tells you this, the correct response is, 'I’m so sorry - thank you for telling me.'”
- We cannot control what individuals do, but we can moderate the spheres over which we do have control.
- People in positions of power have a privilege - there is less risk if they speak up. So, if they want to help, they can speak up. (But do not cross the line of dominating the conversation).
- Some universities require sexual harassment training each year. Incidents are always taken seriously. Sometimes they are not sexual, for example, pressuring someone to do certain actions. It is each person’s duty to report or act; they know this.
“What to do” wrap up.
- If you or a friend is faced with an uncomfortable situation, address it and try to see it clearly. Is it safe to engage the offender? How best to?
- Give specifics when you engage someone else: “This made me uncomfortable because of _____. In the future, I expect _____.”
- Keep records to use in the future.
- Be familiar with the organization’s policies.
- Seek advice on your options.
Storified here by Anna Rascouet-Paz: http://storify.com/rascouet/science-online-boundaries
Storified here by Janet D. Stemwedel: http://storify.com/docfreeride/scienceonline-2014-scioboundaries-recap
Storified here by Alberto Roca: http://storify.com/MinorityPostdoc/scio14-scioboundaries
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23scioboundaries&src=typd&f=realtime
Resource about boundaries in general:
On setting boundaries: "Hexagram 6: Articulating." http://www.onlineclarity.co.uk/learn/gua/hexagrams/hexagram60.php
Articles that were tweeted with #scioboundaries (not Bora-related):
"May be extreme example, but I think this means always speak": http://encyclopedia.smokersclub.com/162.html
On selection pressures in science: "Are We Evolving Science?" Thoughts for Breakfast, by Shermin de Silva, 2014. http://thoughtsforbreakfast.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/are-we-evolving-science/
Why these conversations are needed: "Lawrence Lockman Sorry He Called Rape ‘Pursuit Of Sexual Freedom’ That Should Be Legal," Inquisitr, 2014. http://www.inquisitr.com/1153222/lawrence-lockman-sorry-he-called-rape-pursuit-of-sexual-freedom-that-should-be-legal/
“The Worst Part Is Not,” by Hope Jahren, 2013. http://labroides.org/2013/10/17/guest-post-the-worst-part-is-not/
Articles that were tweeted with #scioboundaries (related to Bora):
"Shakeup at Scientific American Over Sexual Harassment." Prominent blogger Bora Zivkovic reportedly on personal leave after accusations of harassment from two female bloggers, National Geographic, by Jane Lee, 2013. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/10/131017-sexual-harassment-bora-sexism-journalism-culture-science/
"Confronting sexism in the world of science communication," Talk Science to Me, by Amanda Maxwell, 2013. http://www.talksciencetome.com/confronting-sexism-in-science-communications/
"Don’t Be a Creep." Lessons from the latest terrible, sad, fascinating scandal in the science blogging world, Slate, by Laura Helmuth, 2013. http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/10/science_blogging_scandal_bora_zivkovic_and_sexual_harassment.html
"The Bora Zivkovic Controversy and American Values," Nikita's Blog, by Nikita Bernstein, 2013. http://nikitab.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/the-bora-controversy-and-american-values/
"The Elephant in the Room at #scio14," Whizbang, by Pascale Lane, 2014. http://scientopia.org/blogs/whizbang/2014/02/28/the-elephant-in-the-room-at-scio14/
Session 1D. Online Communication, Social Media, and the Law
Facilitator: Amanda Martin
Session type: Q & A
Description: A question and answer session with lawyer Amanda Martin.
Whether fielding one of the hundreds of calls that flood the North Carolina Press Association’s legal hotline each year or opposing the closing of a courtroom, Amanda Martin enjoys combining her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Florida and her law degree from the University of North Carolina.
Ms. Martin serves as General Counsel to the NC Press Association, a membership organization of approximately 200 North Carolina newspapers, and NC Press Services. She routinely counsels reporters and editors about resisting subpoenas, avoiding libel suits, or gaining access to closed government meetings and records. Ms. Martin has enhanced and applied her media law concentration as an adjunct instructor in Media Law at UNC School of Law, Campbell University School of Law and the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She is a frequent speaker and panelist at media law forums and workshops, including the Annual Media and the Law Seminar in Kansas City, MO, and Media Law in the Digital Age. In 2007, Ms. Martin, her colleague Hugh Stevens and UNC Professor Cathy Packer co-edited a new edition of the North Carolina Media Law Handbook. She regularly contributes articles to legal and media law newsletters and other publications.
Ms. Martin also handles trademark, copyright and other intellectual property matters as well as representing corporations in employment issues.
Ms. Martin’s professional activities have included serving as a director of the Wake County Bar Association and editor of its newsletter, chairing the NC Bar Association’s Constitutional Rights and Responsibility Section Council and serving on the Litigation Section Council of the Bar Association. She enjoys reading, cooking, and travel and is an active member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.
Please note that this discussion is not legal advice.
- Be careful when you accept the "I agree" button on a website. It matters if you are going onto a site that's interactive. If you are going onto a site to get info or to post info, then if you have clicked "I agree," you might have to abide by terms.
Q: Has any organization successfully fought Facebook privacy?
Q: Who owns the copyright?
A: Generally speaking, freelancers own their copyrights unless they sign them away. You certainly can transfer or give someone your copyright, but it has to be in writing. An email is sufficient. (If you're a freelancer, pay attention to that.) There are different licenses such as an unlimited worldwide license and an exclusive license.
If you work for an institution or organization, it owns the copyright. With your salary, they have bought your intellectual property. The work is theirs. This can be altered by an agreement in writing. If you want a different agreement with an employer, you can talk to them about it.
More information about copyright:
- The law changed in 1976. Now you don't have to register a copyright or write the little c. There is no notice requirement by the creator.
- The expression is copyrighted.
- Facts cannot be protected by copyright. For example, a friend running a newspaper recipe contest wondered if she had to worry about copyright. No: recipes are a set of facts/instructions.
- Plagiarism vs. copyright: Plagiarism is taking someone else's work & pretending it's your own. Copyright is taking someone else's work.
- Attribution does not cure a copyright claim. If you take someone's blog post, publish it on your site, and say "Originally published in Scientific American," all you've done is make it easier to get sued. Credit is not permission.
- Reading the newspaper on the radio is a copyright violation. Describing the story and discussing the facts is okay.
- Putting something online does not equal putting it into the public domain.
- Images more than 120 years old are probably in the public domain.
Q: What if you're retweeting someone's slides?
A. There are fair use exceptions if you are tweeting information.
Q: What about a mnemonic or clever name such as Fanny Fungus?
A: Something creative like that would be highly subject to copyright.
Q: What about creative commons?
A: This is an exception to this whole body of law. Take 20 minutes to study the nomenclature. People post to cc with varying expectations. It is important to pay attention to those distinctions.
Q: How does this apply to web empires based on sharing/curating content?
A: There is a distinction between news and a creative work. The information can't be protected, but the way you say/use the information can be.
Q: Can you plagiarize yourself? For example, if you come up with a great metaphor and then use it for two different people?
A: You can. If you're a freelancer and you've not transferred the copyright, then it's still your copyright, and you can give yourself permission to use it in the next iteration. Short phrases are less subject to copyright. There are varying levels of copyright-ability - that's why it takes so long when you submit to the copyright office. The process is more nuanced than this.
Q: What exactly is non-commercial use? For example, if you are using a photo on a site that has ads, can the photographer tell you to take it down because you're making money?
A: This is an area that has been litgated a fair amount. The bedrock libel case was New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Times_Co._v._Sullivan). That case was about an ad that was critical of events in Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement. The plaintiff argued that the NYT got paid for the ad and therefore did not have first amendment protection. The court decided that that is not the distinction of commercial use. That a newsppaper or magazine or website makes money is not something that transforms the use of a photo into commercial use. Commercial use would apply if someone put a photo on a greeting card or on a Wheaties box and sold it. News use is commentary. Commercial use does not boil down to "are you making money at this?"
Copyright & fair use: a tale of 4 factors.
- Purpose and character of the use (commercial vs noncommercial).
- Nature of the copyrighted work: was it commercial? For example, if Olan Mills sells you a photograph, they are not selling you the copyright to the photograph. This is inherently a commercial endeavor. A freelance photographer selling photos is commercial. The photo on an NC State student's Facebook page is less commercialized; there was never monetization and the original person was not paid.
- Amount of the work used vs. complete original work. This is inherently difficult to analyze with photos. It is easier with the written word. It is difficult to take less than a whole photo. Other tricky areas are taking a photo of a photo and crops of a photo. It is a difficult issue when it comes to graphic arts.
- Effect on the market of the original work.
Q: I write a blog about science books. How much material can I quote? Is using the cover image okay?
A: It is probably ok. How much text are you taking? The nature of your use matters; is it a noncommercial, critical use?
Q: Are graphs of information subject to copyright?
A: Some courts have protected things like this. Another example is the protection of the layout of a dropdown menu. It matters how creative the chart is.
Q: Does use by a nonprofit vs. a for-profit affect the commercial/non-commercial use?
A: It does not have much bearing. There are nonprofits that sell things and for-profits that don't make money. You need to look at the use.
Q: What about works by an organization that is funded by the NSF? They sometimes tell people that they cannot use the works for commercial use.
A: There is a law that all works created by the federal government cannot be copyrighted. The idea is that the taxpayers have paid for it once already. If an organization agrees to that in their funding contract, they have to abide by it.
Q: What about images shared on social media, including Pinterest?
Q: Regarding commercial vs. noncommercial use, what about a charity website? Can they use non-commercial creative commons images if they have a donate button? Does that make it commercial?
A: No. For example, consider sports photos. We took this photograph of a team winning; can we sell a teeshirt? Yes: that is still not commercial use. It's not about whether you get donations or make money. It is using the work for a commercial purpose.
Q: What if you make parody movies? Is there a parody subset under fair use?
A: Parody and satire do have exceptions to copyright rules and libel rules, but you have to consider the use carefully. In one case, Samsung did a parody/spoof of Vanna White using her image, her look, and a wheel. She sued and won: the company was using Vanna White's image to sell VCRs. To do that, they must get her permssion. In another case, though, a magazine had a fashion spread of evening gowns with cutouts of Hollywood actors' faces. One of the cutouts was Tootsie. That spread was considered satire; it was not selling a product, and it was a spoof. Magazines were sold. As long as you're not using something like Star Trek or Star Wars to endorse your product, you should be okay. (She wouldn't recommend using the score.)
Q: When you upload to Youtube, what rights are you giving up?
A: It is not a wholesale abdication of rights. If you put a download button, then you're implying consent.
Q: What can Youtube do with my videos (i.e., not users)?
A: [from someone in audience] Youtube is very careful. They approached him with a contract to use a still from one of his videos. [from another audience member] Youtube got more careful when major movie studios started using Youtube to promote movies. [from Amanda] Youtube has been a massive protector of intellectual property.
Q: How about the Texts from Hillary Tumblr (http://textsfromhillaryclinton.tumblr.com/) and the photo of Hillary in shades in the cargo plane?
A: There was a potentially plausible lawsuit: the Hillary photographer was mad, but she saw that people were having fun with it. (She spoke at the SXSW conference.)
Q: What about user-generated content (like comments)?
A: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act offers publishers protection for comments. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230_of_the_Communications_Decency_Act) (This act was passed in the mid-1990s when no one knew if the internet thing was going to catch on.)
- You are not responsible for the comments on your site. You have no libel liability for those comments.
- You can create rules. For example, you can decide to delete comments that are off topic, profane, or printed in purple.
Q: Do you have to define the policy on comments?
A: You should, but the law doesn't say that you have to. Few courts have found few exceptions. What you must do: almost nothing. What you can do: almost anything. However, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act) protection for intellectual property claims is a different story. You have to deal with it, and you must have proper notices in place.
Q: How about linking, tweeting, friending, and other gerunds?
A: Generally speaking, the usual rules of the road apply. Privacy rules are the same. The rules of the road haven't changed; there are just more ways to break them.
- Linking doesn't usually create liability either in libel or copyright. You cannot be held liable for libel if you link. Linking does not create a copyright claim. It becomes questionable when you do things like frame to keep people in your site. As long as you send someone away, you're protected.
- Friending is entitled to first amendment protection.
- You CAN commit libel in 140 characters or less. There is nothing about the medium/platform that means you cannot libel someone.
- The fact that you're in a hurry doesn't mean that other people don't have the right to protect their reputations. We make mistakes when we try to be brief or clever.
- Amanda's advice: be careful. In her 22 years, half of her cases haven't been front page stories. They've been cases about places like the local dog-grooming business. You have to be just as careful with the little stories as with the big stories. You have to resist the urge to put things out quickly without careful review.
Storified here by ScienceOnline: http://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciolaw
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciolaw&src=typd&f=realtime
About the Creative Commons licenses. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/
More info on Creative Commons licenses. http://expertedge.journalexperts.com/2013/05/24/creative-commons-licenses-an-introduction/
An example of a Creative Commons license in action (scroll down). http://www.slideshare.net/mobile/marydrozario/tweet-writinginfographic
Concerning authors' rights and scholarly communications. http://blogs.library.duke.edu/scholcomm/category/authors-rights/
"Online Media Law: the Basics for Bloggers and Other Publishers," an online course at NewsU. https://www.newsu.org/courses/online-media-law-basics-bloggers-and-other-publish
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230_of_the_Communications_Decency_Act
The actual Telecommunications Act of 1996. http://transition.fcc.gov/telecom.html
Digital Millenium Copyright Act. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act
The actual Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998. http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf
Session 2A. Critical Science Writing: Helping Readers Become Critical Thinkers of Science
Facilitator: Melinda Wenner Moyer
Session type: Discussion
Description: Science writers must walk a careful line. On the one hand, we play the role of science cheerleader, as we know science is one of the best tools available for answering difficult and important questions. On the other hand, the scientific method is not perfect. Not only do we do our readers a disservice if we share news about scientific findings without explaining possible caveats and limitations, but we also undermine their trust in us. This session will explore how science writers can write about science honestly, sharing both its strengths and its weaknesses with audiences in a way that keeps them engaged, builds their confidence in us and helps them understand science more deeply.
The live stream of this session (embedded below) is archived at http://scienceonline.com/live/?id=89.
Science writers must help readers become critical thinkers.
The impact of misusing science is huge.
- It leads to fear mongering.
- It leads to internet rumors that reach millions of people.
- Many people do not have the skills to tell what is true and what is not.
Science is mercurial.
Science writers need to be...
- critical thinkers.
- guides for their readers.
They need to evaluate the evidence and then take their readers through the research process.
- Show that correlation does not equal causation.
- Link to sources that explain important topics (such as relative vs. absolute risk).
- Use the comment section to explain more complicated methods or terms.
Things to do.
- Do not underestimate the reader's intelligence. It's better to overestimate it.
- "Break the fourth wall": insert yourself into the narrative.
- Use context; it goes a long way to reach readers.
- Think about how scientists fit into their science.
- Move away from the idea of "balance" toward the idea of "consensus" (for example, with climate change).
- Write a sharp, tight lead; get to the context quickly.
- Ask the right questions. (Not, "Is coffee good or bad?" but "What does coffee do?")
- Disconnect. People think that science is a body of knowledge. In fact, science is uncertain, dynamic, and working to solve what we don't know.
- When trying to communicate, think about what, how, who, why.
- Include links to further reading.
- Have a source of explainers/backgrounders that allow newcomers to access the story. (For examples, see the Resources.)
- Social constructs: how can we acknowledge that we are trying to reach people while not reinforcing these constructs?
- Sometimes article copy is not allowed to be seen by the interviewee; this is a big issue with lots of opinions on both sides. Paraphrase back to the researcher during the interview to make sure you have it correct.
- Scientists often soften their conclusions, which can create a disconnect between the scientist and the journalist. Find a balance between overstating ("significant results") and understating ("scientists are baffled!")
- Thinking about uncertainty: policymakers need to understand that some science is near certain, whereas other science is uncertain but that this is okay.
- How do you convey risk? You can talk about the methods, which helps explain the limitations and the risk.
- The error rate can cause confusion about the confidence of the results; consult with a statistician.
- Do you address a conflict of interest?
- When you have only a few paragraphs, how do you speak critically?
- Do you convey flaws? Discuss flaws and what they mean but put into context.
What are some different fields of writing?
- "Facts only" writing.
- "Educational" or "analytical" writing.
- "Critical" writing.
- Funding sometimes depends on media coverage. News releases out of universities are sometimes awful.
- Reader's persepective: an interesting lead sometimes leads to fluff; context is appreciated.
- If you are looking for information, substance matters.
- On the role of math in science communication: Qualitative vs. quantitative science. Think about conveying certainty in studies that use math.
How can a journalist decide what to cover?
- Journalistic basics.
Think about the audience. People read differently in the digital world; write to reach a broad audience.
Storified here by Jalees Rehman: http://storify.com/jalees_rehman/critical-science-writing-discussion-at-scio14-scio
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciocritsci&src=typd&f=realtime
"How Will Ezra Klein's 'Project X' Add Context to News?" The potential and pitfalls of an ambitious play for the future of digital journalism, The Atlantic, by Conor Friedersdorf, 2014. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/02/how-will-ezra-kleins-project-x-add-context-to-news/283568/
Example of explainers written by academics for the public: https://theconversation.com/topics/explainer
"Critical Science Writing: A Checklist for the Life Sciences," SciLogs, by Jalees Rehman, 2013. http://www.scilogs.com/next_regeneration/critical-science-writing-a-checklist-for-the-life-sciences/
"The need for critical science journalism." Too much contemporary science writing falls under the category of 'infotainment,' The Guardian, by Jalees Rehman, 2013. http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2013/may/16/need-for-critical-science-journalism
"Critical Science Writing Discussion at #Scio14: #scioCritsci," SciLogs, by Jalees Rehman, 2014. http://www.scilogs.com/next_regeneration/critical-science-writing-discussion-at-scio14-sciocritsci/
Session 2B. What Is Science Literacy?
Facilitator: David Ng
Session type: Discussion
Description: This session aims to explore “scientific literacy” and how this concept can inform science communication efforts. It attempts to address the challenges that come with a term that inherently sounds vague. This vagueness is due to the concept itself always being in a state of relentless change--which has a lot to do with differing opinions from academics and on-the-ground experts--as well as to the current information ecosystem with its media challenges, to a shifting science culture, and also (unfortunately) to the subversive activities from the likes of L.P.W.L.T.B.L.’s (loud people who like to be loud), P.W.S.P.O.M.I.’s (people with strong political or monetary interests), and of course, the D.C.D.s (dangerously clueless douchebags). In all, I’m hoping the session will provide a guided outlet for folks to share their opinions and expertise on this topic and whether their techniques are useful (or not) in a variety of settings such as journalism, education, PR, advocacy, and policy. (Note that the session began with a six-minute Pecha Kucha presentation that provided a summary of common elements in scientific literacy.)
Some themes are commonly discussed when considering what it means to be scientifically literate:
- knowledge of the scientific process.
- context-driven knowledge of a subset of scientific/technical facts.
- appreciation of science culture and how it interacts with other cultural perspectives.
David recounted an interaction he had with an inquisitive elementary school student. The dialogue between David and the student focused on three questions on the subject of unicorns.
Q1: Are unicorns real?
Q2: Could they be real?
Q3: But, what if you saw a unicorn make glitter and leap over a rainbow?
These questions form a good framework for the literacy discussion, given the answers provided:
A1: There is currently no strong evidence to support this. This is an answer that pays homage to the scientific method or the process of science. This also leads to discussions on how society generally obtains information (media consideration, as well as elements of biological and social behavior). Basically, the public needs to know that you don’t have to be a scientist to see merit in thinking like a scientist.
A2: It depends. If we are talking about what is simply a horse with a horn attached, then this arguably could exist. If instead we are referring to a unicorn that can make glitter from air and leap (in a single bound) over rainbows, then we would argue that such a unicorn could not exist. This would be very unlikely as such a unicorn would be breaking any number of scientific physical laws (e.g., the 1st law of thermodynamics). More importantly, this question segues into a facet of scientific literacy that considers the notion that involves knowledge of lists of technical facts.
A3: The frank answer here is that you would probably freak out. In other words, if strong evidence existed for such a fantastic unicorn, then one only has to imagine the historic significance of finding the existence of such a creature. Now try imagining the drama, the personalities involved, and perhaps most importantly, the scientific “creativity” required to make sense of it in existing frameworks of knowledge. All to say that science literacy is not just limited to the “process” or “technical facts,” but rather it should include a “science culture” angle whereby it’s evident that science participates in society in a variety of perspectives. For example, other perspectives worth noting include those concerning politics and ethics.
The discussion was framed around a set of questions. Below are the collected thoughts from the actual discussion as well as answers recorded via an online survey of contributing Scio14 participants. Survey answers are unedited and indicated by a description of the participant. A pdf of the survey can be found at http://popperfont.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/sciolit14surveyresponses1.pdf
Note that interested science communicators can still participate in the survey at https://popperfont.typeform.com/to/yNqUDX
As a science communicator, journalist, educator, etc – do you see merit in framing your translation of a science story by way of “increasing scientific literacy?”
The majority of the session attendees do, and all survey participants (n=16) also do.
As a science communicator, journalist, educator, etc – do you generally try to frame your translation of a science story by way of “increasing scientific literacy?”
(Online survey results)
Yes. (From a librarian, parent; academic scientist, part-time blogger & writer; multimedia specialist, artist for health organization; science librarian; communications manager for scientific publisher; science communicator; science teacher; diversity in science advocate, science blogger; professor)
Depends. (From a college instructor, science blogger; physics professor, blogger, book author; higher ed. science teacher; science journalist, past scientist; science writer, designer, public information officer; editor)
No. (From a science-themed artistic curator)
If you do see merit in this mode of thinking (and even practice it), is there a sweet spot of content delivery that you find works well?
There is a sweet spot of content delivery.
- Finding and delivering it is an inherent challenge and a big project.
- The journalist increases the reader's interest.
- Share your passion in the story.
- Find the sweet spot by including things that the readers don't know, finding an angle where the science makes them see something, and teaching them something to think about.
- Scientists say that we should not have people in a story about science.
- PIO's try to get scientists to talk, but many shy away if the article is about them.
- Who is this "general public"? Think about scientific literacy for __________. Think about the "who." The audience changes depending on the content.
- How much do you know about your audience at any given time?
- Working with a non-profit: it’s a moving target with no best practices.
- Pop culture influences can interest people. For example, "Finding Nemo" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finding_Nemo) caused aquarium visitors to engage and ask questions. The "Mermaids" documentary/mockumentary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mermaids:_The_Body_Found): many people believed it was real. Using this video and the public reaction to it could be a strategy to debunk the media and to start a discussion and questioning.
For me, the sweet spot is focusing on process and approach to thinking. (From a college instructor, science blogger)
It works well to demystify and explain science as a human endeavor, in such a way that my listeners feel they could possibly have done the work themselves. Also works well to include elements of critical thinking/information literacy in discussions of science news or articles. (From a librarian, parent)
I try to leave out the process and focus on the 'facts.' I would like to shift more towards the process but this requires a conscious effort on my part. (From an academic scientist, part-time blogger & writer)
Start from introducing science as a way of knowing, equal in weight to other ways of knowing. (From a higher ed. science teacher)
I'm sort of stuck on this, as I'm not sure who the target of the "framing" is in the previous questions. Framing for who? The audience for the stories? The people who run ScienceBlogs? My faculty colleagues/ administrative superiors? My publishers? Myself?I don't really pitch what I do on the blog as "increasing science literacy" in the sense of telling the audience that that's what I'm doing, but if you asked me to justify spending time blogging, I'd probably say something along those lines. My books are a little more explicitly aiming at increased scientific literacy, some more than others.The "sweet spot" in terms of content is different in different media, and in different subsets of what I'm doing. If I'm writing about a new experiment published in a journal, the target level is different than if I'm writing about something I did myself for the purposes of posting about it on the blog. There's yet another level for history-of-science pieces, and still another for academic-culture stories, and so on. In other words, this isn't a well-formed question. (From a physics professor, blogger, book author)
I'm currently working on story boarding a video series that will hopefully be my sweet spot for this kind of content. I haven't gotten to the point where I can determine if it has worked well or not. But who knows? (From a multimedia specialist, artist for health organization)
I see science literacy more as an understanding of the scientific process than necessarily conveying facts. I need to incorporate it into the story, but if there is something unique or revealing about the process that I can incorporate into the existing story. Such as the finding coming about from an unusual collaboration, or an unexpected fortuitous discovery. (From a science journalist, past scientist)
The sweet spot from a librarian perspective, is balancing practical lessons on how to use the catalog, how to use scopus, with discussion on why these critical thinking and research skills are more important than for just finding articles for their papers, it's about learning how to evaluate any information they come across, and learn to recognize, analyze and process information (plagiarism, peer review process etc). (From a science librarian)
Something that's fun and engaging/interesting is usually what works well. (From a science writer, designer, public information officer)
Haven't found it yet. (From a communications manager for scientific publisher)
That would all depend on context. The most necessary thing is to make the subject relevant to the audience, and if not relevant, at least interesting to them. (From a science communicator)
Presenting real examples that students relate to and giving them the opportunity to identify misconceptions or limitations of their thinking. (From a science teacher)
Music. Talk about science using sing lyrics as analogy. (Connecting science to something most people like and defining terms around it). (From a diversity in science advocate, science blogger)
Enough background to clarify the topic without unnecessary side discussion, with reminders of things readers may have encountered and pointers to more info as appropriate. (From an editor)
Content delivery is about wrapping the science up in a story or having a personal perspective to draw in the reader(s). It's *never* about dumbing things down, but rather being clear and careful with terminology. I also think science literacy is (or should be?) more about the process of science rather than an end-point. (From a professor)
In our narrative work we explicitly set the line at, "Any exposition must be in service of moving the plot forward." The corollary is that we look for stories where some bit of science is essential to driving the plot. (From a science-themed artistic curator)
In the same vein, what are the inherent challenges associated with finding or being able to deliver this sweet spot?
The biggest challenge is conveying thought processes that have become inherently more intuitive to me through science training into a clear explanation that can be understood by someone else. (From a college instructor, science blogger)
Audience first needs to be engaged with the topic. It sometimes helps to address the topic through "big questions." (From a librarian, parent)
Having to define many terms without it turning into a text book. Losing the story by getting the details straight. (From an academic scientist, part-time blogger & writer)
The biggest challenge is time. I have a day job with teaching and administrative responsibilities, and two small kids. Finding the time to refine material to exactly the right level is the biggest challenge. (From a physics professor, blogger, book author)
Getting learners to disavow preconceived notions of what science is. (From a higher ed. science teacher)
Yes. For me, it's drawing people in with photos, video, graphics or other illustrations without confusing or distracting them. (From a multimedia specialist, artist for health organization)
Generally being able to fit it into the story without sacrificing the story. And keeping in mind what a reader is actually going to want to hear and be able to absorb. (From a science journalist, past scientist)
I don't teach a semester long class, I usually only get one or two lessons within the context of a semester. I need buy in from faculty to make sure students take my lesson seriously and I also need to make the lesson interesting, which is HARD, I try to convey my passion about it but students often just give me the blank stare response. So I am constantly trying to find relevant pop-culture-type examples to get their attentions. (From a science librarian)
Translating jargon! It's hard to take an academic paper and make it accessible/understandable to the public & kids. (From a science writer, designer, public information officer)
Money, changing tech, getting support & buy in from management. (From a communications manager for scientific publisher)
Working out unexpected or unforeseen relevance. (From a science communicator)
The lack of scientific scrutiny in pop culture/media/general public. The misconceptions can be heavily ingrained and reinforced continually. (From a science teacher)
Changes with audience. Audience is unpredictable. (From a diversity in science advocate, science blogger)
Most notably, providing enough info without providing too much, respecting readers without talking over their heads, and trying to focus on the most relevant context. (From an editor)
Avoiding jargon. That is absolutely key. Also, big challenge in describing/writing about areas of science that don't have an easy 'catch' for an audience. It's easier talking about monarch butterflies because everyone can relate to butterflies. It's much harder to discuss the process of, for example, epigenetics. (From a professor)
Boringness. So much boring. (From a science-themed artistic curator)
Is there a particular area of science literacy that is missing in the general public (process, facts, science culture)? Why is this and how problematic (from, say, a civics point of view) is this?
- The broad public misses that science is a human endeavor and that it is not infallible. Knowing this allows people to accept conflict without anxiety.
- As a journalist, you don't have the space to give the story and all of the information. You must use certain tactics for certain approaches.
- The teaching is that science is linear (which starts early in school.) We must help to illustrate that science is messy.
- The culture of science interacts with other cultures. But in some ways it can be exclusionary. Do we build a wall that pushes others out?
- We want people to think like a scientist (without it being necessary to be a scientist or to be in the scientist culture). Imagine substituting "music" for "science".
- Is it getting worse? Undergraduates are entering university lacking a number of skills including science literacy.
Not understanding the process of building knowledge through the scientific process as a cultural construct distorts how people interpret the information they receive. It is very problematic as the flaws in critical thinking this reinforces impact decision making in all fields. (From a college instructor, science blogger)
The process and culture aspects are most often missing. General public science discourse has traditionally focused on technical facts. This can make science seem dry to some.
It's very problematic that many citizens lack a basic understanding of what science is and does. Schools and informal science education environments both need greater focus on how we know what we know. (From a librarian, parent)
Terms related to process and science culture. Elements concerning science culture is the least known in my opinion. Mostly because the science world is insular and those who are not science literate have no desire to learn about the culture.
It's a problem because it creates a divide that reinforces a lot of class barriers (From an academic scientist, part-time blogger & writer)
The process is probably the biggest point of confusion.
I think it helps to be explicit about the process, and about the fact that the general process of science is something everybody uses every day, often without really being aware of it. This is the topic of my next book... (From a physics professor, blogger, book author)
That science is more than fact and the difference between fact, theory, and law.
Problematic because we can't converse about science unless we are all using a common vocabulary. (From a higher ed. science teacher)
I'm sure there is, or we wouldn't have people who don't know that the earth revolves around the sun.
Hugely problematic, and I think the solution is catching these folks when they are young and creating an interest in being scientifically literate in elementary school. (From a multimedia specialist, artist for health organization)
The process often is left out. In some ways it's inside the baseball. The general audience doesn't necessarily have to care about this, so the challenge is finding ways to make it a relevant story that people outside of the bubble have some reason to care about. (From a science journalist, past scientist)
Science culture is hard to get into and hard to leave. I grew up in it, it's a privilege I often forget I have. I think it's human nature to be comfortable in their privilege and to move out of it, whether it's inviting others in, or stepping out of your zone. Change is hard!
It's an issue for populations that need the science! And it also means that we are possibly missing chances to gain perspective from the benefit of diverse minds. I think being online and technology are greatly increasing access and spread of information, but we need leaders and groups who are making an effort to be sure globalization of information is not only free but fair. (From a science librarian)
CULTURE and support from government and industry to encourage science learning.
Education is the best way, but this has problems of its own - mostly because the US has lots of education. (From a science writer, designer, public information officer)
Disconnect about value, cost , usefulness of research in bigger picture. Loss of meaning in smaller stories. Loss of threads... Connecting to related content. (From a communications manager for scientific publisher)
Yes, there is. Neuroscience and psychiatry tend to be under-reported, since these areas are enormously complex, even for those who consider themselves very scientifically literate.
It is very problematic. Take for example the very widespread public ignorance about dementia, and the myths surrounding it, ignorance shared by many medical professionals. (From a science communicator)
Yes. School curriculums mainly focus on content of science and little on the inquiry of science. Also, the inquiry aspects should be included in most other core subjects, if only as a way of scrutinising knowledge within that subject.
Very problematic. The media should take some responsibility in promoting critical thinking. (From a science teacher)
The process overall. People don't broadly understand why the process lends to credibility. And when the process is misunderstood or undervalued, science can seem unproductive or lacking in credibility. (From a diversity in science advocate, science blogger)
(Side-note: Not sure I'd count science culture as part of literacy. Gut reaction, though, so no well thought out reason.) I think process & culture are more or less completely missing. No one reason -- harder to describe, of less practical import to people, less obvious emotional impact (vs. smoke causes cancer, say).
How problematic? Somewhere between very and not at all? Reasons it's a problem are talked about a lot.Reasons it's not a problem -- or rather is maybe unsolvable: there are a *ton* of things you could potentially expect people in society at large to know. What's the culture of art curation? The process in international manufacturing? It seems impossible that everyone could know all of them.How to get around that? I think normalizing the idea of science within the culture is the way to go. (Of course, I would.) Point being to get across: "Generally competent human people do these things, and other human & competent people know about and check their work. You might know about some of them, the others work more or less the same way." The trick, of course, is to do that without, "trust us." (From a science-themed artistic curator)
Perhaps science writers focus to quickly on asserting the findings without identifying the conditional nature of those findings.
Without an understanding of uncertainty, and more specifically, probabilities, the civilian lawmaker or voter will tend to see issues as two sided, yes or no, good or bad, not relative and adjustable. (From an editor)
Fundamentally, there are just not enough scientists entering discussions with people outside their own area of expertise.
Not sure how problematic this is --> it may just take time as the upcoming generation of scientists have a different approach (and in many ways, a better one). (From a professor)
If you don’t communicate science with a strategic view to “increase scientific literacy”, why not? Or put another way, what might be the detrimental effects of overanalyzing this facet of science content delivery?
- There is a whole body of literature on "the science of science communication."
- You are trying to engage readers, not to promote science literacy.
- Reading is the base level. Not every project requires science literacy.
It depends on the goal. Literacy is very important, but it is also important to convey the joy of a scientific approach to questions and the human-ness of scientists. If the goal is one of the latter two, then always placing a focus on literacy may detract from the effectiveness of the piece, potentially in relation to both goals. (From a college instructor, science blogger)
It is most important, first and foremost, to engage the reader/viewer/student. (From a librarian, parent)
You spend too much time analyzing ill-formed questions and don't do any actual communicating. (From a physics professor, blogger, book author)
I don't think that everything I do tries to increase scientific literacy. I think it's easy to give excuses like "not every story is strong" or "as communicators we are being asked to do too much with little resources" but when it comes down to it, we have to make an effort in making this kind of thing a priority. (From a multimedia specialist, artist for health organization)
I think there's a danger in trying to make the communication so "perfect" — from an accuracy or literacy point of view — that it eventually becomes something that no one wants to actually read. (From a science journalist, past scientist)
I usually think over analyzing can feed into burn out and the loss of 'fun' in what people are passionate about. (From a science librarian)
You lose the magic of the science, and the excitement (From a science writer, designer, public information officer)
You might be dumbing down the content. (From a communications manager for scientific publisher)
Spend too much time explaining or defining rather than telling the story. (From a diversity in science advocate, science blogger)
Nobody likes to be talked down to. Treating all writing as "teachable moments" may sound a lot like preaching. Furthermore, arguing a point with straight facts and logic often helps to solidify the listener's point of view as they review their reasons for believing what they do. Rather than simply focusing on "increasing literacy," writers might consider ways to share stories in a way that increases empathy with scientific perspectives. (From an editor)
I always communicate science with a view to increase scientific literacy. I see very few detrimental effects *except* the scientists must have his/her credentials - in other words, the science communicator has to have a program/background that provides real credibility. (From a professor)
It gets in the way of other goals. We're trying to do an exploration of what it means to be human in a scientific world. Putting in literacy goals will distort that. Of course, that doesn't mean literacy-aimed projects can’t be all good.They might be bad, for example, if the focus is on how stupid people are for not knowing things. I think that approach does a lot of damage. (From a science-themed artistic curator)
At what point does considering scientific literacy become a stepping stone towards science advocacy? Is this a bad thing? Or, in other words, is it for everyone? Should it be for everyone?
- Literacy is how you intellectually access scientific thinking or awareness.
- If I encounter information and I question it, where do I go? How do I be a skeptic?
- Would it be interesting to discuss scientific literacy in an unconventional format (such as a debate or a guided game)?
Literacy and advocacy can exist separately. Advocacy without literacy is potentially damaging in the long run. Literacy should be paired with material to also present the process as joyous. (From a college instructor, science blogger)
Science as a career or hobby isn't for everyone, but everyone should have a basic "science appreciation" -- an understanding and appreciation for what science is and does. (From a librarian, parent)
It’s not a bad thing. Music and sports journalists are allowed to like their topics... (From an academic scientist, part-time blogger & writer)
Science absolutely is for everyone, or should be. (From a physics professor, blogger, book author)
I say advocacy is good - it means we are passionate about what we say. It should be the basis for communicating science, not the other way around. (From a higher ed. science teacher)
I think it's hard to separate the two. But no, I don't think it's a bad thing. (From a multimedia specialist, artist for health organization)
It doesn't need to be for everyone. There are many different types of outlets and stories, they don't all need to be doing the same thing. (From a science journalist, past scientist)
Everyone plays a part, and it's good to be cognizant and be an ally. But there is also the risk of having too little information, and hindering instead of helping. I also think sometimes it feels like a responsibility which has been placed on you rather than something you volunteered for. It's a personal choice to be an active participant, but I also think if you aren't going to take an active role, you should be willing to be open and help 'spread the word' when asked to be a support. (From a science librarian)
Not a bad thing. (From a communications manager for scientific publisher)
The problem is not so much science advocacy, as unconscious fallacies in it, such as appealing to a mythical objective morality in the guise of science. (From a science communicator)
Scientific literacy in societies in general has been increasing constantly since the dawn of humans. It seems there is no other way and if there was, ironically, it would be a scientifically literate society that finds the other way. Unless, of course, we follow a N Korean model (which we did in some way or another). Therefore, the question of advocacy as a negative thing is only relevant when talking about specific scientific issues (especially politically charged ones). (From a science teacher)
It is science policy from the moment it conveys a need for something. Not bad. But not for everyone. (From a diversity in science advocate, science blogger)
I suppose it's a bit naive to operate as if a reader must understand the context and background of every point to qualify as understanding anything at all. If using stories can elicit empathy, writers may find it possible to share science without ensuring, or insisting, that the reader will become literate. (From an editor)
It's not for everyone because not everyone has the right skills for all forms of communication, but those willing to enter this discourse should and should be supported in doing so. But too few people do... and that's a problem. E.g., it's ALWAYS the same 2-3 profs in my Department doing this -we need our peers to take part more actively. (From a professor)
Haven't thought much about it. Based on the thoughts above the answer to the last question is probably no. (From a science-themed artistic curator)
How does the literature in PUS (public understanding of science) help you become a better communicator? (Or does it even?) How does it compare to other tactical devices? Are there defined metrics that allow analysis of the utility in different scientific communication methods?
- There is a scholarship to teaching and learning.
- Talk to your librarians. They are passionate about literacy and can connect you to resources about literacy.
I'm not well familiar with PUS research. In my limited familiarity, I have found discussion of PUS to be very thought provoking about my approach. (From a college instructor, science blogger)
I am not familiar with this literature. (From a librarian, parent)
Not familiar. (From a physics professor, blogger, book author)
I'm not familiar, but I would like to be. (From a multimedia specialist, artist for health organization)
Not familiar (From a science journalist, past scientist)
The PUS literature can be very helpful indeed - but then so can too a study of rhetoric and the history of rhetoric, or the history of narration. (From a science communicator)
Sorry, have to leave this blank. (From a professor)
It doesn't for a very frustrating reason. All the journals are closed access, so I almost never read them. I honestly think this is the biggest barrier, by far, to the theory -> practice movement. The articles need to be available, or a lot more translational work needs to be done. (From a science-themed artistic curator)
Storified here by ScienceOnline: http://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-scioscilit
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23scioscilit&src=typd&f=realtime
Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits, The National Academies Press, 2009. http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12190
"Science for All Americans," Project 2061, AAAS. http://www.project2061.org/publications/sfaa/
Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education. http://informalscience.org/
Science Festival Alliance. http://sciencefestivals.org/
"Can Doctors Be Taught How to Talk to Patients?" Well (a New York Times blog), by Timothy D. Gillian, M.D. and Mikkael A. Sekeres, M.D., 2014. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/27/can-doctors-be-taught-how-to-talk-to-patients/
Session 2D. Covering Big Science When It's Also Big Business
Facilitator: David Butler
Session Type: Discussion
Description: How do you approach science stories that come from corporate laboratories? Are you subconsciously (or consciously) skeptical of results and conclusions when talking to scientists who work in the private sector? Do you assume they have an agenda?
Are scientists and PR staff at large corporations nervous about the media's agenda when they release a story? Do they have to worry that each story about a new discovery will come with a discussion of any controversies or challenges the company has faced in the past? How can we build trust on both sides of the story and help promote science communication as a whole?
For highlights from the discussion, please refer to the Storify below.
Storified here by ScienceOnline: https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-scioscibiz
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=%23scioscibiz&src=typd
"Sergeant Scientist: McGill's Role in Military Research," The Abstract, by Kate Sheridan, 2014. http://msurjblog.com/2014/02/06/sergeant-scientist-mcgills-role-in-military-research/
If you attended this session and have any other notes or resources that were shared, we can add them if you send us the material. We would like the ePub to be as complete and helpful as possible. Thank you for contributing!
Session 2E. Non-English Science Communication
Session type: Discussion
Description: English has become the internationally accepted language for research communication; the vast majority of international scientific publications are in English, international collaborations are mostly carried in English, and online scientific content for non-scientists is overwhelmingly in English. While is fair to think that eventually English proficiency will become one of the multiple skills required by the scientific trade, the global audiences will not become English-literate in the near future. Are we failing to engage a majority of audiences by not going beyond English science communication?
Ivan's pre-conference blog post, including the list of bilingual participants who helped with input from non-English speakers. http://www.ivanfgonzalez.com/beyond-english-audiences/
The video of the session "#Scicomm with Spanish-Speaking Audiences" at ScienceOnline Seattle (embedded below). http://scienceonline.com/live/?id=85
A storify of the above session. https://storify.com/gonzalezivanf/engaging-the-invisible-americans-science-communica
Pro-English bias in scientific publication.
- English is the “lingua franca” of science, and that carries a lot of benefits but also carries the issues of fairness, marginalization, and pro-English bias in scientific publication.
- With sciences being strong and growing world-wide, we are also missing out on important research published only in languages other than English.
- Should we have an army of translators bringing the world’s science into English?
- Are Web of Science and Scopus giving us a proper snapshot of global scientific research?
Engaging non-English-speaking audiences.
- Engaging non-English-speaking audiences requires more than translation.
- True engagement requires the use of culturally-relevant examples, an understanding of the literacy levels, and an understanding of the problems and interest of the audience.
- Are international science communication collaborations a viable instrument to engage non-English-speaking audiences?
- Can we have effective non-English science communication by using a more visual (i.e., picture-rich) approach to science communication?
- What about videos?
- Are symbols really universal?
The session notes including the names of speakers are posted online. http://together.scienceonline.com/forums/topic/session-notes-by-cristina-russo/
- Who considers him or herself mostly a scientist? 5 people
- An editor/writer? 3 people
- A science communicator? 8 people
- A science teacher? 1 person
- 9 languages are represented in the room; 14 languages are represented on Twitter.
- The languages present in the room: 9 Spanish, 2 German, 1 Mandarin, 1 Italian (?), 3 Italian, 1 Swahili, 2 Portuguese, 1 Arabic, 2 Catalan, 1 Python (lol).
Communication in non-native-English-speaking countries.
- According to a survey, German science communicators prefer to use English so that they can be part of the global science community. However, they need to communicate to policy makers and the public in German and in an understandable fashion.
- Science in Arabic is non-existent. The political trauma in the Middle East often diverges the conversation and creates a disconnect from science. The available scicomm is in English. One participant writes his blog in Arabic (http://t3rfde.com/); he needs help to translate the science.
- Puerto Rican scientists prefer to communicate in Spanish.
- In Italy, researchers have to learn English on their own; their lessons are in Italian. They often have difficulty with translations, in presentations, and in Q&A sessions. Everybody speaks a “different” English.
- Establishing a network of scientists and science writers in Latin America has been challenging but great for offering them a voice.
- English has become the lingua franca of science, which is very useful even if it involves a question of fairness.
- English is needed for scientific conversations, but using the local language is necessary for outreach to society and decision-makers.
- If you are translating, where do you focus your efforts: on lay audiences or scientists? It depends on which audience is more importance for your goals.
- Should we translate content or create content in non-English languages in the first place? Translating content with videos can be unsuccessful because video is a very different way to communicate. But, in the absence of content, it’s better to translate.
- Where can we find writers of science in non-English?
- Idea: crowdsource for volunteer writers in other languages.
- How do you know you can trust the translated content, if you don't know the translator?
- Collaboration and networking can build bridges and help content creators find translators.
- Youtube has a tool to upload translations to YouTube videos.
- Translate science from English to other languages, but ALSO translate the other way.
- Many issues need two-way communication, and simple translation does not always allow for that.
- Many scientists don't have the time or training to translate their work to other languages.
- Americans and English-speakers dominate much of the online communication and can seem rude, patronizing, and confrontational. It is a cultural problem. In Swahili, their communication is considered extremely rude.
- Humor does not translate well.
- Different topics are popular in different places. For example, in Brazil, technology is currently popular because of the recent economic boom.
- Some topics are culturally-sensitive. For example, in America we discuss obesity, but in many other countries we would discuss malnourishment or starvation.
- We must be aware of cultural taboos when writing in other languages. Not all phrases/jokes translate well.
Thoughts on learning English or another language.
- Travel to places that speak the language you are learning.
- Best way to learn another language: Go abroad. A more economical option: watch a lot of TV.
- Watching MTV was useful to learn the slang needed to talk to young students that she was teaching.
- It is useful to travel abroad in particular while training as a scientist so that you can learn how your research is translated.
- Not everyone has access to becoming bilingual. How can we bridge the gap between the privileged and the unprivileged?
- Even after six months of classes and some travel, one participant uses "some form of Spanglish." There is a large population that does not have access to learning a new language.
- Can someone with a heavy accent give a successful presentation? It is recommended to speak slowly.
- Native English speakers should consider the audience at international conferences and speak slowly without using complex language.
- What about non-native-English speakers as peer reviewers? Many papers come from countries/researchers who speak other languages, but most reviewers speak English.
- Performing science is dancing alone, and translating science for lay audiences is dancing with a crowd!
- If you want your research to positively impact management, make sure to publish it in the manager's language.
There is a call in the #sciolang session to create a community for scientists and science communicators who are straddling languages. We can look into the networks of scientists to crowdsource content for translation.
Storified here by 2footgiraffe: http://storify.com/2footgiraffe/sciolang
Storified here by Cristina Rigutto: http://storify.com/cristinarigutto/sciolang
Storified here by Reiner Korbmann: http://storify.com/ReinerKorbmann/die-vielen-sprachen-der-wissenschaft-sollten-wir-a
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciolang&src=typd&f=realtime
Ivan's post-conference post. http://sciencesalsa.com/2014/03/21/the-seven-things-you-should-know-about-non-english-science-communication/
A bilingual site for science news out of Latin America. http://LatinAmericanScience.org/
"Engaging the Invisible Americans: Science communication for Spanish-speaking audiences at #ScioSEA," ScienceSalsa, by Ivan Gonzales, 2013. http://sciencesalsa.com/2013/11/23/engaging-the-invisible-americans-science-communication-for-spanish-speaking-audiences-at-sciosea/
Spoton2012 session on science communication in Europe.
- Storify. http://www.nature.com/spoton/2012/11/storify-round-up-on-spoton12-session-challenges-for-science-communication-in-europe/.
- Video. http://www.nature.com/spoton/spoton-media/spoton-london-2012-video-challenges-in-science-communication-in-europe/.
"The Language of (Future) Scientific Communication," Research Trends, by Daphne van Weijen, 2012. http://www.researchtrends.com/issue-31-november-2012/the-language-of-future-scientific-communication/
Does Science Need a Global Language? English and the Future of Research, University of Chicago Press, by Scott L. Montgomery, 2013. http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/D/bo10984617.html
"The Many Tongues of Twitter," infographic at MIT Technology Review. http://www.technologyreview.com/graphiti/522376/the-many-tongues-of-twitter/
"Coke, 'America the Beautiful,' and the language of diversity," Pew Research Center, by Neha Sahgal, 2013. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/02/03/coke-america-the-beautiful-and-the-language-of-diversity/
"Science Communication in Spanish: Ciencia Para Todos Project." http://www.ivanfgonzalez.com/science-communication-in-spanish-ciencia-para-todos/
"A Social Network to Inspire and Communicate Science, en Español," Communication Breakdown, by Matt Shipman, 2013. http://www.scilogs.com/communication_breakdown/ciencia-pr/
"Let’s Start a Dialogue: an Interview with Luis Quevedo," Communication Breakdown, by Matt Shipman, 2013. http://www.scilogs.com/communication_breakdown/luis-quevedo/
"Multilinguals and Wikipedia Editing," Cornell University Library, by Scott A. Hale, 2013. http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.0976
"How Authors Can Cope with the Burden of English as an International Language," Chest Journal, by John R. Benfield and Christine B. Feak, 2006. http://publications.chestnet.org//pdfAccess.ashx?url=%2Fdata%2FJournals%2FCHEST%2F22044%2F1728.pdf
"#ScioLang, a Grand Project to Share the Fun of Science with Non-English-speaking Audiences," In Scientio Veritas, by Kausik Datta, 2014. http://www.scilogs.com/in_scientio_veritas/sciolang-and-me/
"#ScioLang Conversation Continues: English as a Medium of Curricular Instruction?," In Scientio Veritas, by Kausik Datta, 2014. http://www.scilogs.com/in_scientio_veritas/sciolang-english-medium/
"#Scio14 in (Ki)Swahili," Stranger In an Even Stranger Land, by Gurdur, 2014. http://heathen-hub.com/blog.php?b=1765
"Science-communication (#scicomm) in East Africa - Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda," Stranger In an Even Stranger Land, by Gurdur, 2014. http://heathen-hub.com/blog.php?b=1769
(In Spanish) "La lengua franca de los científicos es el inglés, pero que pasará en el futuro?" ScienceSalsa, by Ivan Gonzales, 2013. http://sciencesalsa.com/2013/11/04/la-lengua-franca-de-los-cientificos-es-el-ingles-pero-que-pasara-en-el-futuro/
"The Language of Science - ScienceOnLine 2014," an event announcement by Cristina Rigiutto. http://en.lswn.it/eventi/convegni/la-lingua-della-scienza-inglese-o-italiano-twittatelo-a-scienceonline-2014/
(In Italian) "La lingua della scienza: inglese o italiano? Twittatelo a ScienceOnLine 2014," by Cristina Rigutto, 2014. http://lswn.it/eventi/convegni/la-lingua-della-scienza-inglese-o-italiano-twittatelo-a-scienceonline-2014/
(In Italian) "Quale lingua usano i ricercatori e i comunicatori scientifici per comunicare? Le sessioni di ScienceOnline 2014: 'ScienceOnline Language'," SciComm, by Cristina Rigutto, 2014. http://scicomm-it.blogspot.com/2014/03/quale-lingua-usano-i-ricercatori-e-i.html
(In German) "Science oder Wissenschaft – Englisch oder Deutsch?" Quantensprung, by Beatrice Lugger, 2014. http://www.scilogs.de/quantensprung/science-oder-wissenschaft-–-englisch-oder-deutsch/
Session 2F. Design Thinking and Innovation for Science Communication
Facilitator: David Harris
Session type: Discussion
Description: Design thinking refers to the methods and processes for investigating ill-defined problems, acquiring information, analyzing knowledge, and positing solutions.” – Wikipedia. Sounds like a good fit for science communication, right? There is a lot for science communicators to learn from designers and their way of thinking. Design isn’t just about making things look pretty, so let that misapprehension fade away. It’s a way of thinking about problems with a focus on action and solution. It involves empathy, creativity, and rationality in equal doses. A typical design thinking process might go: define, research, ideate, prototype, choose, implement, and learn. Notice the elements of research, prototyping, and learning hiding in there—areas that a lot of science communication fails at in the development process.
Questions to address:
- What types of problem-solving process are currently used in designing scicomm projects?
- How can we innovate in scicomm?
- How can design thinking be applied in practice to scicomm?
- What sorts of techniques have been found useful in developing new scicomm approaches?
- What is the role of risk in the development process? What is your organization's tolerance for risk? How can it be mitigated?
- How can we broaden our audiences with these approaches?
A talk on design thinking for science communication for theoretical physicists by David:
- Slides. http://www.slideshare.net/physicsdavid/design-thinking-for-science (embedded below)
- Video. http://pirsa.org/13060020/
Design thinking as a way of innovation.
- Innovation is hard.
- Scicomm today looks a lot like it did many years ago.
- What else can we do to satisfy real needs?
Problems can be simple, complex, or wicked. Scicomm problems are often wicked.
Thesis: We don't yet have solid evidence for what works in scicomm; therefore, we need something in the process to make up for our lack of knowledge and to make scicomm work.
The current dominant model for scicomm is probably not optimal: the deficit model assumes that if people simply knew more, they would understand and support.
- It's not linear.
- It has a few key components.
- Design is constructive rather than analytic.
- There are several variants of the process (see slideshow).
- It is important to understand your audience.
- Science communicators generally do not do this enough.
- Modes of thinking (see slideshow).
- Audience research.
- Matching a project with the needs and goals.
- Prototyping and testing.
- Learning from experiments.
Some examples of design thinking at work:
- At the Mayo Clinic, they ask patients about their experiences.
- A freelance illustrator walks her clients through the process and gathers resources to do the research on what they want; she builds uncertainty into their expectations.
- At PLOS, it is important to have the designer become the subject matter expert.
- Someone conducted interviews and later looked at how the final language came from the interviews.
- At Mosaic (a field sales and marketing company), they collect lots of user feedback and do agile development.
- A digital PR person used analytics tools to test what people are actually talking about and to get real feedback about who the audience actually is.
- Someone who runs the social media feeds at a national laboratory gets immediate feedback about what things people engage with; this determines how to move forward.
- Pew Ocean Science does A-B testing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A/B_testing) for emails to guide which headlines are going to catch people. This can be done very easily and at low cost.
- An example with videomaking: Usually, research papers do not contain enough visuals, so the process of translating the paper into some visuals is key. He needs to ID the audience right away. Where will the project be seen? The storyboard involves laying out the visuals and text together. If he does 5-6 videos per month, then he can do informal testing to see if viewers are engaged. Testing does not have to be a huge investment of time and resources.
Are there tips or specific tools to getting people's attention?
- It is really helpful to get people to agree early on with what the goals are and whom they want to reach. Ask, What would success look like? A creative brief is a good planning tool to use. (An example: http://www.mohawkconnects.com/feltandwire/2011/02/08/the-creative-brief-10-things-it-must-include/)
- Radical collaboration: collaborate with people from very different fields.
The challenge of prototyping: At what point do you run tests? Do you need to?
- You must balance the need for the results to be meaningful with the need to have time to continue to improve.
- Test "sooner than you are doing it now" is generally the answer.
- You can fall forward fast.
- It depends on the type of product. Some products do not require prototyping because you are doing many of the same type of product; you can use the actual products as your test.
- It is difficult to use a design framework at an institution that has a strict process. However, even if you cannot test early with the public, you can get value out of testing within your institution or with spouses/friends.
- Testing is critical because often in science, we get used to talking within a specialty and taking the framework for granted.
- It's okay to test within your circle, but it is important to test with others. For example, perhaps you should test with skeptics.
- This process should be uncomfortable. Find the people that you are uncomfortable talking to; they are the people you should be testing with.
- How do you measure success? You need to set metrics ahead of time.
- We cannot always meaure well, and we have to accept that. There is room for vision, too. You do the best you can.
Design thinking is not necessarily antithetical to good science and good scientists.
- Scientists often do this process when doing science but do not do it with scicomm.
- Scientists often resist engaging in scicomm, but ineffectual communication is a risk.
- For example, how can you tell your story in a way that politicians can engage with it? What will they respond to? Using a personal story? Involving cash?
- For example: "climate change" has become a "death word" that you should avoid using. To get people to engage on this topic, you might try talking about issues that people want to engage with: for example, the economic effects of sea level rise.
- It is good to connect with people on common ground.
- Think of "code-switching" from being a scientists to being everything else.
How do you overcome institutional barriers to innovation?
- Sell the idea with its cost: often innovative approaches are lower cost.
- Do it first and ask permission later.
- The Partnership for Public Service (http://www.ourpublicservice.org/OPS/) is a good resource.
Some additional thoughts on design thinking:
- You can transfer success among your channels; for example, a success in your email campaign can be applied to social media.
- You can get things done faster by cutting off a sliver rather than tackling a huge chunk of content.
- There is much to learn from creative writing: good stories and good narratives are compelling.
- The deficit model doesn't work. You cannot change people's minds by giving them facts. They actually tend to become more polarized.
- There's a misconception that simplification = "dumbed down." You can find a go-to person who represents your audience.
- You need to justify the investment in using design thinking; how do you sell this idea to the boss or to a client?
Wrap up: the facilitator's vision is to have an incubator design studio with the resources to support the people who gather ideas and collaborate. He is looking for funding, ideas, and collaborators.
Storified here by ScienceOnline (shorter version): https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciodesign
Storified here by Reiner Korbmann: http://storify.com/ReinerKorbmann/design-thinking
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciodesign&src=typd&f=realtime
A process for problem solving with design thinking. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_thinking#Design_thinking_as_a_process_for_problem-solving
Stanford d.school Bootcamp Bootleg (PDF). http://dschool.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/METHODCARDS2010v6.pdf
How to write a creative brief. http://www.mohawkconnects.com/feltandwire/2011/02/08/the-creative-brief-10-things-it-must-include/
The Partnership for Public Service: a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works. http://www.ourpublicservice.org/OPS/
In case you're wondering what "wicked problems" are: "SESYNC Word on the Street: Wicked Problems," SESYNC, 2013. http://www.sesync.org/blog/sesync-word-on-the-street-wicked-problems
The Ultimate Guide To A/B Testing," Smashing Magazine, by Paras Chopra, 2010. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/06/24/the-ultimate-guide-to-a-b-testing/
Real-time social media search and analysis. http://www.socialmention.com/
User-testing software. http://silverbackapp.com/
A school that has an advanced usability lab including eye-tracking hardware. https://aims.muohio.edu/
Session 2G. Alternate Careers in Science
Session type: Discussion
Description: Not every science graduate student will stay in academia. In fact, that is the minority. Science PhDs end up in industry, they work as teachers, lawyers, writers, entrepreneurs, politicians, and creative professionals. Many of those jobs are not addressed as possible options to graduate students, yet we welcome scientific representation in a wide range of fields, from screenwriting to politics. Can we make graduate students in the sciences feel confident about their abilities to find the career they want – even if they have never met anybody with that job? Are there changes underway in universities’ attitudes to training graduate students? How can we help inform students about their options post-graduation? How do we address stigma? Does vocabulary like “alternative careers” and “leaky pipeline” affect student career choices? This discussion welcomes contribution from anyone interested in discussing careers for science graduates.
First of all, let’s start talking about “careers” rather than “alternate/alternative” careers, because only a minority of PhD graduates eventually get their own research group.
As scientists and science communicators, we are able to reach out to graduate students and show them a more realistic image of what they can expect after they graduate.
- How have you advised students with interests different from your own?
- How can the #sciox community help inform students about the array of possible careers to chose from?
- Do you have insight into a career prospect for science graduates?
One new resource is MySciCareer, an online collection of first-person stories about science careers (http://myscicareer.com/). Read the stories and submit your own.
The state of the field.
- A teeny fraction of PhDs become professors (0.45% in the UK).
- Is this a bad thing? What do they do instead?
- There are obstacles to going into non-research careers: Lack of mentors. Stigma. Lack of training opportunities.
A flipboard magazine with links to relevant articles. https://flipboard.com/section/scioalt-bzbz92
How can we address science career issues?
1. Reduce the stigma.
- Increase transparency about PhD career path statistics; increase awareness of those statistics.
- Get accurate statistics! Don’t overinflate to make the school look better.
- Keep track of PhD alums; have them return to discuss their career paths.
- Be open and discuss options.
- Have career panels at universities to explore other options. (Some grad programs have mandatory non-academia training!)
- Tell PIs sooner? Maybe they would change their minds about the stigma. But some PhD programs (or PIs) don’t accept alternative academic (alt-ac) students.
- Alter the language that we use. Drop the “alternate” from non-research careers.
- “Science communicator” is powerful term; just having this term helps to validate the field.
- What defines whether you are still a “scientist”? Your training, your daily job, your worldview? Even if you're not painting, you're still an artist. It's in the way you see the world. It's the same with science.
2. Have an institutional infrastructure that encourages non-academia paths.
- Universities are recognizing the need to start alt-ac programs. How do we measure whether these are working?
- Have mandatory university courses about alt-ac.
- The support of alt careers needs to go above universities and include funding agencies like NSF and NIH.
- Training plans that include teaching/outreach/communications are frowned upon. How can we tell higher ups and grant funders that people pursuing alt degrees/careers are valuable?
- How can we move beyond lip service to actual funding?
- Program officers have the power to guide reviewers towards what matters; talk them up at conferences.
- Program officers are also good people to contact within your university to help encourage conversations about science careers.
What skills developed in academia translate to the outside world?
- “Being a PI is being an entrepreneur.” You have one great idea for which you get funding. You recruit bright students/employees to do the work. You travel to give talks about your work.
- The PhD training provides great preparation to launch your own company/project/startup and to deal with investors.
- A science degree provides training in organization, communication, problem solving, and technical skills that is applicable to many careers.
- You learn to address criticism on the spot and to use sharp and quick answers.
- Taking qualifying exams is like pitching to investors.
- A start-up is a series of experiments to see what does and doesn’t work.
- You learn to adjust on the fly.
Who wields the influence?
- Probably not grad students and post-docs (unfortunately).
- Grad students and post-docs should find allies in the faculty at academic institutions to get the ball rolling.
How can we help people see the value of non-academia science careers?
- We each have a toolbox of different skills. A happy career involves using the tools you're most comfortable and talented with.
- Training within academia can sharpen tools that are useful in non-academia careers and vice-versa.
- Require grad students to take elective courses in things like science communications.
- Position science communications as an ally of academia: the general public isn’t reading your publications, but they are reading blogs, Tweets, etc.
- People in alt careers can broaden the impacts of grants. PIs struggle to write outreach about their results, and reviewers struggle with how to evaluate the outreach.
Should people who know they don’t want to be academics go into research-focused PhD programs?
1. Arguments against getting a PhD.
- Maybe there’s an easier, more efficient, or healthier path towards your ideal science career.
- Having a PhD/advanced degree can be a liability - you can seem overqualified.
- Don’t discount a research-focused master’s degree. However, some schools undervalue the research-based masters program. Many only offer it as 'consolation prize.'
2. Arguments in favor of getting a PhD.
- Do it because you love both science and the work.
- If you start grad school knowing you’re doing it because you love science, not because you want to be a professor, it can make grad school much more enjoyable!
- There are non-academic jobs that require a PhD: teaching undergrads, patent research, work for non-profits.
- A PhD is a guaranteed 5-year job. Sometimes (like during a major recession), this is pretty good in its own right.
There is a need for advocacy for alt-ac.
- Students need a place to find mentors.
- Mentors who can provide confidential advice about science careers are very helpful; seek them out.
- Students need to learn how to prepare for a non-academic job.
- There are online resources (see below).
- Ask your school or professional organization about resources. They can build a database or alumni network.
Challenges of networking: if you’re in academia, how do you get your foot in the door in other fields? How do you find a mentor?
- Get involved. Join industry groups, go to conferences like ScienceOnline.
- Make friends outside of academia and outside of science. Increase your chances for serendipity.
- Attend meet-up groups.
- Leverage your network; use friends of friends.
- Have a social life! Join a club, a sports team, etc.
- Use LinkedIn for professional networking. You can message people to find mentors.
- Be open about sharing your goals and interests so that people know what you’re looking for and how they can help you.
- We're talking about PhDs. What about undergrads who think that grad school is their only option?
- Discuss with your PI how you can develop career tools (such as management and communication skills) that will be valuable to both parties.
- Create new careers. Science communicators fall between journalists and scientists.
Storified here by MySciCareer: http://storify.com/MySciCareer/scioalt-session-at-science-online
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23scioalt&src=typd&f=realtime
The original proposal for this session (much of which is included above). http://easternblot.net/2013/11/05/scio14-career-session/
"Oh, the Places You’ll Go," Berkeley Science Review, by Maria Alvarellos, 2013. http://sciencereview.berkeley.edu/article/oh-the-places-youll-go/
- The Versatile PhD. http://versatilephd.com/
- My Sci Career. First-person science career stories. http://myscicareer.com/
- Jobs for Astronomers. http://www.jobsforastronomers.com/
- Toastmasters. To develop speaking and leadership skills. http://www.toastmasters.org/
The first two links from the flipboard magazine mentioned above--see the rest in the magazine.
"Why So Many Academics Quit and Tell," Vitae, by Syndi Dunn, 2013. https://chroniclevitae.com/news/216-why-so-many-academics-quit-and-tell
"Are we training too many scientists?" A glut of postdocs, too few desired positions, and a faculty invested in the status quo point to a need for change. Who will take responsibility? The Scientist, by Bijal P. Trivedi, 2006. http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/24301/title/Are-We-Training-Too-Many-Scientists-/
Session 3A. Expanding the Dialogue on Diversity
Facilitator: Danielle Lee
Session type: Discussion
Description: Expanding the dialogue on diversity and broadening participation of minorities (gender, sexual orientation, ability, religion, and ethnicity) includes addressing the role that social and economic barriers play on who is able to participate in science, technology, and engineering (STEM). This panel will address how the intersection of class and other minority labels must be considered in 21st Century STEM outreach and inclusion efforts. Addressing & admitting how privilege affects WHO has access to STEM education & opportunities is a very important part of the solution to plugging up the leaky pipeline.The goals of the session will be to 1) define privilege and examine the different types of privileges we each may have, 2) elucidate the small but insidious ways prejudices around privilege allow some to become successful in science and discourage others, and 3) offer real tactics for individuals (to share with others) to make science and science communication more accessible to all students.
1. Defining Privilege
"White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack." http://amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html
"It’s Not About You, and other adventures in privilege," by JaytheNerdKid. http://jaythenerdkid.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/its-not-about-you-and-other-adventures-in-privilege/
2. Participation Disparities in STEM
"A field guide to privilege in marine science: some reasons why we lack diversity," by Miriam Goldstein at Deep Sea News. http://deepseanews.com/2013/01/a-field-guide-to-privilege-in-marine-science-some-reasons-why-we-lack-diversity/
"A Dream Deferred: How access to STEM is denied to many students before they get in the door good," by DNLee at The Urban Scientist. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/urban-scientist/2013/01/24/a-dream-deferred-how-access-to-stem-is-denied-to-many-students-before-they-get-in-the-door-good/
3. A storify by Alberto Roca of some of the preconference discussion: http://storify.com/MinorityPostdoc/sciodiversity-scio14-preconference
The live stream of this session (embedded below) is archived at http://scienceonline.com/live/?id=90.
For highlights from the discussion, please see the video above and the Storify below.
Storified here by Alberto Roca: http://storify.com/MinorityPostdoc/scio14-sciodiversity
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciodiversity&src=typd&f=realtime
A storify by Lali of the #sciodiversity session from ScienceOnline Oceans 2013. http://storify.com/LalSox/sciodiversity-recruiting-and-retaining-diversity
"#Scio14 Expanding the Dialogue on Diversity: Privilege and the Pursuit of Science," The Urban Scientist, by DNLee, 2014. http://networkedblogs.com/U4SyY
i-Biology and Biology4Good. http://i-biology.net/about/biology4good/
"Your Ancestors, Your Fate," Opinionator, by Gregory Clark, 2014. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/21/your-fate-thank-your-ancestors/
"Out from the shadows of racist anthropology" (Guest Post), Absolutely Maybe, by Hilda Bastian, 2014. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/absolutely-maybe/2014/02/22/out-from-the-shadows-of-racist-anthropology/
"The Distress of the Privileged," The Weekly Sift, Doug Muder, 2012. http://weeklysift.com/about/
"Why volunteer field techs are a bad idea," The Lab and Field, by Alex Bond, 2013. http://labandfield.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/why-volunteer-field-techs-are-a-bad-idea/
"Knowing when to stop," Tenure She Wrote, by Sarcozona, 2014. http://tenureshewrote.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/knowing-when-to-stop/
"Diversifying My Sources: "Putting Soul into Science" #BHM2014," Hood Scientist, by Brandi VanAlphen, 2014. http://disruptivemeasures.blogspot.com/2014/02/diversifying-my-sources-putting-soul.html
"Economic barriers in the elite University (and in science)," Aetiology, by Tara C. Smith, 2014. http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2014/02/26/economic-barriers-in-the-elite-university-and-in-science/
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs diagram. http://0.tqn.com/d/psychology/1/0/h/5/hierarchy-of-needs.png
"Five Reasons Why People Code-Switch," Code Switch, by Matt Thompson, 2013. http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/04/13/177126294/five-reasons-why-people-code-switch
Papers on songbird vocalization. http://jarvislab.net/publications/
The Ada Initiative. https://twitter.com/adainitiative
Organizations that help minorities, at Minority Postdoc. http://www.MinorityPostdoc.org/view/stakeholders.html
Model View Culture, which works to improve diversity. http://modelviewculture.com/
"Science fairs: rewarding talent or privilege?" Sci-Ed, by Erin Salter (guest post), 2013. http://blogs.plos.org/scied/2013/04/15/science-fairs-rewarding-talent-or-privilege/
Session 3B. Online Tools: What Do We Use?
Session type: Discussion
Description: As online communicators, we use online tools for nearly every aspect of our jobs. From collaboration to task management, data tracking to conference calls, a spectrum of tools is available to make our lives easier, and our world more connected. The trick is finding the right tool for the job. In this session we’ll discuss the online tools we use to enhance our performance and lighten our work load. We’ll get to the bottom of which tools work best for our needs, and talk about challenges we face when using these tools (and hopefully how to overcome them!).
1. Tools to organize our day (task lists, calendars, reminders, etc).
- Google calendar: obtrusive. https://www.google.com/calendar/
- Google keep: more private. https://drive.google.com/keep/
- Doodle. http://doodle.com/
- Confluence wiki: used to write business notes; can be used within a group; can be used to move big data sets. https://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence
- Evernote: can put a timer on a note, collect files, organize stuff, and search easily. https://evernote.com/
- Evernotehello: to remember people. http://evernote.com/hello/
- Toggl: a time tracker. https://www.toggl.com/
- Rescue Time: a time tracker. https://www.rescuetime.com/
2. Tools to maintain and track data and documents.
- Devonthink: as you research, you can throw everything in there. http://www.devontechnologies.com/products/devonthink/overview.html
- Dropbox. https://www.dropbox.com/
- Box: simple, secure sharing. https://www.box.com/
- Zite: compiles websites by category. http://zite.com/
- Paper.li: compiles news sources (you pick them) to create online newsletter. http://paper.li/
- Pocket: saves articles so that you can read them offline, later. https://getpocket.com/
- Evernote. https://evernote.com/
- Feedly. http://feedly.com/
- Scrivener: helps you storyboard. http://www.literatureandlatte.com/
- Googledrive. https://drive.google.com/
- Zapier: links all these tools together. https://zapier.com/
- Trello: helps keep track of article ideas and who is doing what. https://trello.com/
- Zotero: used to collect, organize, cite, and share sources. https://www.zotero.org/
- Mendeley: also free, has more storage than Zotero. http://www.mendeley.com/compare-mendeley/
- Readcube: allows you to manage your papers and makes recommendations. http://www.readcube.com/
- Jira: used to manage tasks and to track who is doing what (not to edit; just project-based). https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira
- Kapost: allows you to customize workflows with different projects; beware: it does not save automatically. http://kapost.com/
- Easychair: allows you to set up online submission for all sorts of files. http://www.easychair.org/
- Figshare: collects data, can communicate with up to 20 collaborators. http://figshare.com/
- Dragon Dictate: transcribes voice recordings. http://www.nuance.com/dragon/
- AudioNote: lets you search for particular points in interviews. http://luminantsoftware.com/iphone/audionote.html
- Glossed It: used to highlight and to save quotes. http://www.glossed.it/
3. Tools to communicate with others (conference calls, emails, etc).
- Need suggestions.
4. Tools for Social Media Management
- Buffer: free, allows multiple Twitter accounts, can post to LinkedIn. https://bufferapp.com/
- Hootsuite: allows you to assign a project and to build up a dashboard. (Note: the room favored Hootsuite over Buffer). https://hootsuite.com/
- Klout. http://klout.com/
- Tweetdeck: manages Twitter streams and hashtags. https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/
5. Tools for analytics
- Google analytics. www.google.com/analytics/
- SocialBro: success metrics, tells you the best time to tweet and who your influencers are. http://www.socialbro.com/
6. Tools for posting/finding freelance jobs.
- Elance. https://www.elance.com/
- EByline. https://www.ebyline.com/
- Scribendi. http://www.scribendi.com/
- American Journal Experts (AJE). http://www.aje.com/
- Amazon Mechanical Turk: good for focus groups, data gathering, ideas, crowd-sourcing. https://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome
Storified here by Anna Miller: http://storify.com/nmillaz/scio14-sciotools
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciotools&src=typd&f=realtime
In addition to the items linked above...
For biomed research. https://www.pubchase.com/
"Online Tools: The Waaaave of the Future," Communication Breakdown, guest post by Eleanor Spicer Rice, 2014. Includes an overview of some of the tools discussed. http://www.scilogs.com/communication_breakdown/spicer-rice-online-tools/
An Italian website on online science communication. http://scicomm-it.blogspot.com/
A Googledoc for further sharing. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ag9n6g4ST57LdHVrM3ZsUTBtQk91RHZQbi1sQWtpbEE&usp=sharing#gid=0
Session 3D. The Science of Everything: Bringing Science to Popular Topics
Facilitator: Brian Malow
Session type: Discussion
Description: Science infiltrates every part of our lives so, as communicators seeking outlets, we needn’t limit ourselves to science magazines or even science topics. For instance, the Olympics isn’t “science programming” but it does offer opportunities to discuss various science topics, in a popular context that already has an engaged audience. How else can we connect science to what people encounter in their everyday lives? Food and cooking, health, parenting, beauty products, home maintenance--any of these topics could reveal an interesting science angle and also suggest a new (non-science) venue to pitch a story. Let’s talk about creative ways to bring science to the people - in print, web, or video venues - or physical venues like science festivals and cafes. We can expand the scope of our market and find new ways to engage people with science.
Not everyone is looking for science content. How do we reach these people with science in creative ways, using what might look like science in a non-science way? For example, the Olympics is not a science topic, but you can find science to talk about such as the physics of curling or the difference between artificial and real snow.
What kinds of subjects lend themselves to this kind of creative thought? As one example, there are videos on the science in makeup. The videos themselves deal with cosmetics, but science has been inserted.
What’s the right amount of science in an article about makeup? Questions like these are what this session will address.
On blending pop culture and science.
- Attract followers with something they’re ALREADY interested in. An example is discussing metallurgy with Game of Thrones fans and sword enthusiasts. These fans already love the pop culture, so there is no need to beat them over the head with it, and you can focus on the science.
- You have to respect the source of the material. You cannot say, “Makeup is dumb, but here is some science about it.” You’ll just alienate people if you’re not on board with what makes them excited.
- Fans are knowledgable. They think critically about every angle in these alternate universes. If you can add a little more information to their world, even if it’s with science, they are going to take it.
- Whether you use the pop culture reference intentionally or within your explanation/story, don’t just use it as a peg. Be mindful of how/why you’re using it.
- A scientist with an interesting Twitter handle (@thorsonofodin) uses it to attract attention and get a conversation going. Pop culture can be a hook to make connections and attract people to the work that is used not by a professional science communicator but by a scientist.
- It’s great when you reach someone who has an emotional connection to something and make them see that it has a real-life impact, too. But stop trying to make something that's magical science-y! There is a limit; science does exist only in the real universe, so it can’t be applied all around.
Q: If you, as a writer, are not a super-fan, how do you approach such a story without alienating your audience?
- Ask an expert!
- Whatever passion you have will shine through as long as it’s genuine.
Topics other than pop culture.
- How can one engage a general audience (not a niche audience) without being too science-y?
- Not everyone is tuned in to pop culture; to some, it is a luxury. Pop culture is not the only way in. People have other aspects of their lives such as gardening or baking that could be an in to talking about science.
- There have been popular posts about the human body, how a flower turns into a strawberry, poop and farts, things that are sort of prevalent, but things we don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about. Those can be the most interesting topics.
- Pick something within an area that’s the most interesting. An evolutionary biologist wants to talk about evolution but talks about sex because it’s interesting. Sex attracts attention, so use that part of evolution to talk about the broader topic.
- It doesn’t have to be “pop culture;” it could be something that is in the ether or in headlines, such as the forensic science of a crime/trial.
- It’s about bringing value into someone's life, whether it’s value for the earth that we live on, for each other as humans, or for any of the technology we use.
- There are really two things we’re trying to do: 1. Be a cheerleader of science (and get others to be). 2. Think critically about science (and get others to). It's easier to get others to think critically than to be cheerleaders. We need clear goals with any story or video before we do it.
- We also want to expand our market as science communicators. There are more outlets and unconventional science topics now, and we should take advantage of that.
- Should we try to incorporate the makers of culture into the world of science? Engaging with novelists, TV writers, filmmakers and with science? LabLit (http://www.lablit.com/) does some of this.
- If we insert a little bit of science into every news story, we won’t need a separate science section and separate science reporters, especially with science sections being slashed. There’d truly be science in everything!
Storified here by ScienceOnline: http://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciosciall
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciosciall&src=typd&f=realtime
These stories were suggested as examples that work well.
Quantum Physics in Minecraft: http://qcraft.org/
Man of Steel: http://thedavidmanly.com/category/man-of-steel/
Veritasium on Facebook fraud: http://youtu.be/oVfHeWTKjag
Physics romance novel: http://www.amazon.com/High-Energy-Dara-Joy/dp/0843944382
Science Caturday: http://www.pinterest.com/finchandpea/science-caturday/
Session 3E. Bringing Your Scientific Professional Society into the Social Media Age
Facilitator: Rebecca French, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency
Session type: Discussion
Description: Are you a member or communication staff with a society? Follow AAAS on twitter to get the hottest science? Then this session is for you. Societies are entering the social media age. In the old days, journals were the science communication method, but today societies are blogging and getting LinkedIn. Their conferences have hashtags. Their journals now tweet. You will drive the conversation because I’m just the facilitator, but here are a few topics that might come up. Teaching society members social media. Blog for your society. Tweeting hot science and connecting with journalists. Beyond tweeting hot science – what else to talk about on social media? More citations!!! Getting research noticed online. Using social media for professional development, job boards, science policy new, etc. What is fair game for science society social media? Crossing the (grey) line between science and opinion when you only have 140 characters.
If most of your society’s members are aging and don’t use social media, should you use social media?
- Members don’t use forums even though we set them up. (There is a consensus among participants that forums do not work.)
- We can use social media to lure young scientists into the field.
- It is easier to get participation if you don’t lead with “this will be on Twitter.”
- Perhaps we should engage older members through Facebook because older folks are more comfortable with Facebook.
- We can use Facebook groups for small groups of members.
Professional recruitment through social media.
- Remember that each platform has a different audience (e.g., LinkedIn vs. Instagram vs. Twitter).
- Be careful of having several Twitter handles within the society.
- The goal should be diversity through coordination.
What are we allowed to say on social media? Are we allowed to have our own voice?
- Have a policy/SOP for staff in terms of posting so that all the people who post are comfortable with the rules.
- It is good for accounts to have a “voice” and a real person behind the curtain.
- Right now, lots of experiments are happening, but best practices have not yet been decided upon.
Advocacy vs. science, as a part of the brand. How do we separate the science from the advocacy?
- Have different personalities for different accounts.
- Post a code of conduct so that you can moderate comments as you see fit.
- There are rules and consequences.
As a member of a society, do you want your conference tweeted?
Society members may want to learn about professional development and member benefits via social media.
- For example, use LinkedIn, Facebook, or Facebook groups.
- Social media is a great way to get this sort of information to your members.
Journalists would like to see social media as a curator of new studies in a field.
ORCID uses a number as a unique author identifier and to keep track of members. Is this something to explore? (It seems like not many people are familiar with this.)
What are the goals of social media, and is your society tracking outcomes?
- This is how you find a set of best practices.
Storified here: http://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciosociety
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciosociety&src=typd&f=realtime
Storify: What are Benefits of Twitter to Scientific Societies? http://storify.com/KarenLips/benefits-of-twtter-to-scientific-societies
Social Media Resources from AAAS. http://membercentral.aaas.org/social
"Scientists Can Find Outreach Success With Social Media." Before diving into the world of social media, scientists should decide what they want to achieve, experts advised, AAAS, by Sarah Zielinski, 2014. http://www.aaas.org/news/scientists-can-find-outreach-success-social-media
Session 3F. Collaborative Online Journalism
Facilitator: Rose Eveleth
Session type: Discussion
Description: There's a long standing picture of a journalist being a rogue reporter - a loner who gathers the facts, gets the good interviews and then sits alone in a room with books crafting a beautiful, compelling story. There are journalists like that. They are incredible. But not everybody is a lone wolf. Some of us like to work with people, do weird projects, figure stuff out together. Some want to tell stories with people, in weird ways, that don't just come from one singular brain but that come from a whole bunch of brains working together. But while that might sound really fun and awesome, actually executing it is really hard. This session is more brainstorm session than lecture - bring your ideas and suggestions for how to do projects (journalistic or otherwise) together. How do you find partners? How do you trust them? Who gets the byline? How do you pitch a collaborate project? When do you call it off? When do you call it done? Bring your ideas and we can talk about them, together.
Myth: journalists are loners.
Truth: today, collaboration is essential!
What's the best way to find collaborators?
- Meet at ScienceOnline.
- Interview someone (in this case, for a podcast); it's a great way to find someone who is sympathetic with you.
- Work with "connectors": people who are nodes in the network and like to connect others.
- Converse with people and hang out in non-work spaces to get to know them.
- Meet on Twitter.
- Should there be a database to connect people looking to collaborate?
- Look on freelancer networks to find possible collaborators: http://elance.com/ and http://www.skillshare.com/
- A shared audience is a good starting point.
How can you tell if someone will be a good collaborator?
- Find someone who shares your passion.
- Make sure you have the ability to establish trust.
- Look for a personality match.
- Realize that collaborating online is different than face-to-face.
- You get that "mind-meld" feeling.
- Look for someone with a match to the talents you need.
A journalist working with academics IS a collaboration.
- One good example is Duke/UNC's Scientists with Stories project (http://www.scientistswithstories.com) that pairs scientists with journalists.
- Another good example that pairs scientists with journalists is http://theconversation.com/uk.
- Does this collaboration mean being a PIO for the scientists?
- A non-scientist journalist who works with a scientist brings his ignorance (aka, lay-person perspective) with him.
Should projects be pitched as a collaboration? Does it hurt or help?
- The Discover magazine editor says that commissioning is now mostly for online work, and that having a photo collaborator may not be helpful to a writer pitching a story.
- The decision is budget-driven.
- Some editors are open to outside-the-box ideas of collaboration.
More thoughts on collaboration:
- Make sure that your project requires collaboration.
- The science illustration market is in flux; staff positions in museums and elsewhere have dried up.
- The Kavli Foundation has done a lot. http://www.kavlifoundation.org/
- Does one collaborator need to have the final say? LadyBits says Yes.
- Consider the scale of the collaboration: collaborations can occur between individuals, teams, or brands.
- Collaboration can include different media, for example This American Life (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/) (audio recording and narrated words) and Veritasium (http://www.youtube.com/user/1veritasium) (video and narration); the media should be complementary.
- Conflict is inevitable. Admit your mistakes.
Storified (a very short storify) here by ScienceOnline: http://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciocollab
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciocollab&src=typd&f=realtime
Session 3G. Communicating the Process of Science
Session type: Discussion
Description: This session will focus on how to communicate that science is a process, and why that matters to the public understanding of science. For example, grasping the concept of uncertainty, or the recursive aspects of the scientific method. Some people think that the "how" is boring, but it needn't be! So much in science is about the questions, and not the results. But often the process is slow and messy and doesn’t fit conventional narrative structures. So how do we tell engaging stories about the process of science? What would be good tools, technical and methodological? How can we use process to provide context, move beyond the "paper-of-the-week“ and develop longform techniques in journalism? In short: How can we follow the science as it unfolds?
Scientists do practical things all day.
We rarely hear about the day-to-day work of researchers.
Their work is perceived as a "black box" (or cuckoo clock!) that spits out results.
It is rare to see inside this box at the process of research.
Should we report on what's going on inside the box? If so, how?
Reasons for the rare communication of the process of science:
- not possible?
- not interesting?
- not important?
- lack of tools?
Problems that are encountered:
- Some attempts to let citizen scientists "behind the curtain" have not been successful.
- Sometimes the audience seems to have no interest.
- Ideas get lost unless they are quirky or big.
- Junior scientists are afraid of "wrongness" and won't stand behind their data.
- Scientists who report information that is later proven incorrect are criticized, even if they properly acknowledge and correct the misinformation.
What are some ways to make it work? Whom should we be trying to reach?
- Use online tools (see below).
- Use a story. This makes it easier to communicate a process.
- Look at discoveries by high school students; these make cool stories. However, they often involve flawed methodology.
- To find stories (before they becomes big), reach out to PIOs.
- Embed journalists among scientists; this may be difficult to do, but embedded journalists can discover that "boring" research is often not at all boring.
- Familiarity makes connections, which can lead to the process of science being conveyed.
- Use errors and disasters. People connect to them, and this shows that mistakes are important to the process (although this can be dangerous to funding).
- Change the image of science from problem->science->solution to problem->process->results.
How can journalists find and reach out to scientists?
- Build trust.
- Don't be a jerk: if a scientist makes an error and then corrects it, let it go. (This will encourage scientists to report day-to-day results and also to work with you.)
- Look for in-person meetings such as science cafes, which can be positive experiences.
- Arrange a meet-the-scientist session with a speed-dating format.
- Arrange community outreach events, for example a zoo field trip, that show the process.
- Twitter: For example, @realscientists has a new scientist each week who tweets about everyday experiences, jobs, and processes.
- Twitter: #realtimechem collects tweets from the daily life of chemists. (See more Twitter examples in the Resources section.)
- Reddit: Ask Me Anything (http://www.reddit.com/r/AMA/), in which someone posts information about himself/herself and invites questions. Reddit is enthusiastic about science.
- Google hangouts.
- There is a gap between research and industry; research is a small part of the public cycle, and we must communicate this to people.
- The public might attribute disagreements between scientists to the scientists' political or monetary connections; communicating the process can quell any misconceptions.
- It's not only the process of science that can be conveyed but also the culture of scientists.
- The bottom line: the process is important!
Storified here by Kerstin H: http://storify.com/quinoat/scioprocess
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23scioprocess&src=typd&f=realtime
Examples of people and projects that focus on communicating the process of science.
This November, paleoanthropologists @LeeRberger, @johnhawks, @RisingStarExpedition and others tweet from their excavation in South Africa. #risingstarexpedition
A great post by paleoanthropologist John Hawks about the communication goals of #risingstarexpedition: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/20/rising-star-hominid-what-we-know-and-dont-know/
Excerpt from the Q&A:
So if you don’t know any of these answers, what use is it to release anything? We’re here sharing science. Science isn’t the answers, science is the process. As we move through the analysis of these remains, we are going to continue to share what we’re doing. We are confident that will improve the science.
A post from the field by John Hawks (during the Rising Star Expedition): http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/15/in-the-hot-seat/
Danielle N. Lee, or @DNLee5, studies animal behavior and behavioral ecology and reports regularly from the lab at #DNLeeLab. This is a great way to observe the ups and downs of working with live animals. One example:
#DNLeeLab my fave procedure in Barnes maze: “Gently pull tail in opposite direction of the target, this will cause them to run inside the escape tunnel.” ROFL. Pull the tail of a Pouched rat & it will turn around, rear up at you & being aggressive warning displays. It may run to escape but never to retreat in the escape hole, it may in fact try to leap off of the table.
On Twitter, @realscientists has a new scientist each week who tweets about everyday experiences, jobs, and processes.
The hashtag #overlyhonest is used by scientists conveying items beyond the usual.
The hashtag #realtimechem is used for conveying the science process.
The @BeijingAir data feed gives hourly reports on air quality.
The Mars Images App: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mars-images/id492852224?mt=8
National Geographic’s Explorers Journal: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/blog/explorers-journal/
Significant Details: Video-Interviews with Women in Science: http://www.significantdetails.de/en/panfilio
A tumblr for scientists to communicate the process of science: https://www.pubchase.com/essays
"Equipping people to make sense of science and evidence": http://www.senseaboutscience.org/
"Learning from the mistakes of others: Journal of Negative Results in BioMedicine moves to open peer review," BioMed Central, by Daniel Shanahan, 2014. http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcblog/2014/02/27/learning-from-the-mistakes-of-others-journal-of-negative-results-in-biomedicine-moves-to-open-peer-review/
"Taking science journalism 'upstream,'” Through the Looking Glass, by Alice Bell. http://alicerosebell.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/taking-science-journalism-upstream/
The concepts and a good discussion, too. In essence, it’s an argument for showing more of science in the making, not just waiting for publication of “ready-made” peer-reviewed papers. Imagine science as a river. Upstream, we have the early stages of communication about some area of science: meetings, literature reviews or general lab gossip. Gradually these ideas are worked through, and the communicative output flows downstream towards the peer-reviewed and published journal article and perhaps, via a press release and maybe even a press conference, some mass media reporting.
"Do Science Journalists Need to Focus More Upstream in Their Coverage?" Big Think, by Matthew C. Nisbet, 2010. http://bigthink.com/age-of-engagement/do-science-journalists-need-to-focus-more-upstream-in-their-coverage
In order to provide this necessary context, science coverage and journalist norms need to change. Gone would be the standard science journalism narrative of an individual hero scientist (or team) struggling against the complexity and uncertainty of a problem and the personal costs of his/her work. In its place would be a broader, more thematic view of science not as a collection of a few individuals and personalities, but as an institution, with coverage examining research and policy decisions as they are embedded within a social and cultural context that is shaped by norms, economic factors, ideology, and culture.
"What Alien Bacteria Can Teach Us About Health PR," WCG CommonSense, by Brian Reid. http://blog.wcgworld.com/2010/12/what-alien-bacteria-can-teach-us-about-health-pr
"What moving science writing 'upstream' could mean for embargoes," Embargo Watch, by Brian Reid. http://embargowatch.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/what-moving-science-writing-upstream-could-mean-for-embargoes/
Almost by definition, it [the "upstream" idea] emphasizes narrative. It illustrates that science is open-ended, and that today’s breakthrough is merely the starting point for tomorrow’s hypothesis. [...]
I don’t expect upstream reporting to suddenly become mainstream. It’s intense work without an immediate payoff. But reporters, increasingly, now have a choice: they can try to keep up with the 20,000+ clinical trial reports flooding their inbox, or they can take a step back and explain the scientific process. The latter option is looking better and better.
"Improving Science Journalism," The Gleaming Retort, by John Rennie, 2011. http://blogs.plos.org/retort/2011/01/26/improving-science-journalism/
"Time for change in science journalism?" The Guardian, by John Rennie, 2011. http://www.theguardian.com/science/2011/jan/26/science-online-2011-journalism-blogs
Most categories of news are built around discrete events. A building burns down; a law is passed; a sports team wins a match: these things happen once and they cannot unhappen. News media race to inform the public quickly about these events and the consequences that unspool from them.
Science progresses more gradually, however. Investigators may accumulate findings on one discovery slowly, through repeated experiments. They may discuss preliminary results at scientific meetings. They may write and publish a research paper on their work in a professional journal but others in their field may not accept the conclusions until they have replicated the results, which might later be revised or retracted. There is rarely a distinct moment when a finding or theory comes to be accepted as canon by a consensus of scientists. Scientific publication is thus like a debutante’s ball: it formally presents a discovery to society but makes no guarantees about its eventual prospects. Yet journalism typically treats the publication of a paper in a journal as a newsworthy, validating event.
"The Case for an Open Science in Technology Enhanced Learning," Int J Technology Enhanced Learning, Peter Kraker et al. http://know-center.tugraz.at/download_extern/papers/open_science.pdf
"How could code review discourage code disclosure? Reviewers with motivation," Simply Statistics, by Jeff Leek, 2013. http://simplystatistics.org/2013/09/26/how-could-code-review-discourage-code-disclosure-reviewers-with-motivation/
"Code review for science: What we learned," Mozilla Science Lab, by Kaitlin Thaney, 2013. http://mozillascience.org/code-review-for-science-what-we-learned/
How it could be done
"This Is What Happens When Publishers Invest In Long Stories," Fast Co Labs, by Chris Dannen. http://www.fastcolabs.com/3009577/open-company/this-is-what-happens-when-publishers-invest-in-long-stories
Our Big Experiment With “Stub” Stories
In mid-April, we went live with a half dozen articles which we call “stubs.” The idea here is to plant a flag in a story right away with a short post–a “stub”–and then build the article as the story develops over time, rather than just cranking out short, discrete posts every time something new breaks. One of our writers refers to this aptly as a “slow live blog.”
"The cleanroom: An experiment in granular reporting," SciLogs, by Kerstin Hoppenhaus as an “embedded” science journalist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, 2013. http://www.scilogs.com/i_eva/tag/granular-reporting/
The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin community site, #HZBzlog: A community site that follows the construction and implementation of some new large scale research instruments. http://hzbzlog.com/ and http://hzbzlog.com/info/about
"Stock and Flow," Snark Market, by Robin Sloan, 2010. http://snarkmarket.com/2010/4890
"2013: The Year ‘the Stream’ Crested," The Atlantic, by Alexis Madrigal, 2013. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/12/2013-the-year-the-stream-crested/282202/
Session 4A. Healthy Online Promotion
Facilitator: David Wescott
Session type: Discussion
Description: Most science communicators don’t have a publicist. If you want to get noticed, self-promotion is often the only option – but it’s also fraught with reputational risks. You have a Facebook page and a Twitter account, but how do you effectively strengthen your public image as an expert or a resource without going overboard? Further, how do you know you’re doing it right? This session will provide tools to help you think systematically and strategically about your public image and reputation while staying true to yourself. We will share tips and resources on how to identify the right opportunities for you, how to build important relationships to strengthen and protect your reputation, how to get the most out of your public interactions, and how to measure success. We will also discuss how background, gender, race or class can affect engagement and reputation.
Who wants to be a sci-comm superstar? The people who attend #scio14 have so much talent and passion, and deserve much more attention than currently afforded them. Some have a lot of trouble translating that into well-deserved and constructive promotion of their work.
What are the things you think are holding you back? Are you worried about coming off as a shameless self-promoter? Are you worried your peers won’t take you seriously anymore? Are you concerned about racism, sexism, homophobia, or some other kind of prejudice? Or is it more a case of not knowing where to start, or how to present yourself publicly, or something systemic?
Nick Kristof has never heard of you. You may have seen the op-ed in The New York Times from Nick Kristof imploring scientists to step up their game. I hope we can demonstrate to him that he’s just not paying attention…what are your thoughts on his comments?
If there’s one thing you will take away from this session, it’s this: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! And, there's a difference between getting noticed and GETTING NOTICED.
The live stream of this session (embedded below) is archived at http://scienceonline.com/live/?id=91.
Who’s your audience? What are your goals?
- Don’t say the public at large. If you want to reach them, buy ads.
- Be specific.
- Set goals for yourself. E.g., I’m going to have X amount of followers on Twitter. How am I going to get there?
- Think about the many other things in your life. Use them to set reasonable goals.
- How will you know if you’re doing things right? What are your metrics?
- Question: What are reasonable goals for a beginner freelancer?
How can one make the most of a small portfolio?
- Use an online portfolio.
- Put the portfolio onto other sites, such as Contently (https://contently.com/); places like this allow you to post portfolio and also hear about jobs.
- Another place: LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/).
Question: How can I draw readers to a blog or a new book? How can I do it without wasting time?
- Start conversations on social media. Ask questions. Engage, don't just talk at people.
- Offer things for free (e.g., book giveaway or e-product).
- Leverage connections with others in the subject area.
- Connect with others who have blogs and do guest posts.
- Ask others whose writing you admire if they like your writing and, if so, if they’d promote it.
- On Twitter, tag others whom you follow and respect, and ask if they’ll retweet.
- Go to relevant meetings.
- Do a science demo, e.g., with the Science Ambassadors program (http://scienceambassadors.org/).
- Set up a Google alert for issues that you write about; then enter conversations about them.
- In addition to Twitter and Facebook, try Google+, Reddit, and Pinterest. (Make sure to find the correct subReddit.) However, science communicators should focus on PEOPLE, not platforms.
- Submit your stuff on guest blog sites like Reddit (via a buddy), Boing Boing, or Neatorama. What have you got to lose? If the editors like it, they’ll promote it.
- Find the niche you want to read by targeting with Buffer (a social media sharing app--https://bufferapp.com/).
- Don't wait for the community to come to you; go to them.
- Share your passion.
Question: Where do you get started as a writer?
- Use the audience and resources that you already have. What’s your day job? Your hobby?
- Mutually promote. Talk about people.
- Who are the people you care about? Where are the people you care about? Do they go to conferences? Go there. Do they communicate by smoke signals? Do that.
- Find the people you want to reach and ask them what they want.
- Talk to people who are slightly outside of your audience. Listen first, then demonstrate your relevance to them.
- Know your audience, but also find new audiences.
Question: I work for an organization. How do I separate the promotion of my organization from that of myself?
Question: My blog has two different audiences. Some posts appeal more to scientists, and some appeal more to a general audience (especially mothers). Is it possible to grow and promote a blog with two different audiences?
- Use tabs or subheadings to make it clear which audience will be most interested in the content.
- Collaborate – have a Reddit buddy, link to other similar blogs, meet people.
- Schedule online meetups with certain groups; schedule times to make sure that you get on/off.
Question: Some people do an annoying amount of self-promotion. How do you do it without annoying people? Where’s the line? What is too much self-coverage?
- Keep a balance. Make most of your links (e.g., on Facebook) be to news that’s relevant to your topic, with only the occasional link to your stuff.
- Be generous and promote others; use a 60/30/10 ratio: share topics of interest (but not your work), promote others, promote yourself. Another version of 60/30/10 is promote others, engage in conversations, promote yourself.
- Promoting others can lead to shares of your promotion, which leads to more attention for you.
- “To thine own self be true.”
Question: What kind of promotion is appropriate in an academic context?
- What’s your goal? If it’s tenure, then impress the right people.
- Know your audience, go there, and give them what they want.
Question: How do you get companies to give money for organizations like SciOBrain?
- Start a hashtag such as #BLACKandSTEM, which has a large Twitter following.
- Stay true to yourself.
- Find helpful, supportive, and diverse online communities.
- Within the confines of your life, branch out.
- Go to conferences outside of your comfort zone. Listen, and then show how what you do is relevant.
- Consider the time/time zone when you tweet – it will affect how many people see it.
- Shares are the best online metric.
- Use a crowdfunding site like Patreon to raise money for your writing. For an example by a science blogger, see http://www.patreon.com/rkpendergrass.
- Another crowdfunding site is Beacon. For an example, see http://www.beaconreader.com/projects/science-in-plain-sight.
Storified here by David Wescott: http://storify.com/dwescott1/healthy-online-promotion-at-scienceonline-2014
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23scioselfPR&src=typd&f=realtime
A worksheet from David Wescott: the Personal Positioning Plan. https://twitter.com/dwescott1/status/439136760170553344/photo/1
Concerning the op-ed in The New York Times by Nick Kristof: "'Turgid prose.' Seriously," It's Not a Lecture, by David Wescott, 2014. http://itsnotalecture.blogspot.com/2014/02/turgid-prose-seriously.html
"Great Ways to Use Pinterest: 11 Examples from the DGC Board," Don't Get Caught, 2013. http://www.dontgetcaught.biz/2013/02/great-ways-to-use-pinterest-11-examples.html
Includes cool stats: "Why Do Academics Blog?" Euroscientist, 2014. http://euroscientist.com/2014/02/why-do-academics-blog/
Session 4B. Post-Publication Peer Review on the Web: Benefits, Risks and Ways Forward
Facilitator: Ivan Oransky
Session type: Discussion
Description: The past few years have seen the rise of anonymous sites dedicated to post-publication peer review and critiques. One of the most aggressive, Science-Fraud.org, for example, identified a number of papers that were corrected and retracted, but was shut down following legal threats. But there have been other entrants, such as PubMed Commons and PubPeer. The latter, which allows anonymous comments because junior scientists may fear reprisals, led to the correction of a high-profile stem cell cloning paper in Cell, among others. Some are even arguing for all of peer review to take place after an article is posted, saying that increased specialization by researchers, and an avalanche of studies published every week, means traditional peer review is less likely to be effective. We’ll look at these issues, including best practices (subtitle: how to avoid lawsuits), how to foster constructive criticism, and how anonymity and blogging fit into the mix.
There have been many changes in the past year:
- The Science Fraud website was shut down. It had posted an anonymous critique of many papers in molecular/cellular biology. It was threatened with lawsuits and closed.
- PubPeer (https://pubpeer.com/) was launched. @PubPeer was put on the map by a paper about human stem cell cloning. The many errors in the paper were addressed on PubPeer.
- PubMed Commons (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedcommons/) is in the pilot phase. It allows people to leave comments on any paper/abstract that’s in PubMed. It is open to all authors of publications in PubMed. (Note: the eligibility explanation (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedcommons/help/join/) was edited by Hilda Bastian (@hildabast) from PubMed Commons.)
PubPeer is anonymous.
- The user who leaves comments as “Peer 1” on one paper could be “Peer 10” on another paper.
- Are all the comments by one user linked? Not sure.
- People can choose to be named.
PubMed Commons is not anonymous.
- PubMed Commons decided to require names partly for the moderation issue.
- There is concern about requiring names: there’s not a lot of incentive for young scientists to leave critiques.
- Should a comment be evaluated on its own merit, regardless of whose it is?
Q: How do comments on papers translate to a meaningful commentary on the paper? (From Patrick Polischuk at PLOS): People will go to different platforms to leave different types of comments. This makes them difficult to integrate. CrossMark (http://www.crossref.org/crossmark/) could technically integrate various places but isn’t doing this as far as we know.
Comment: F1000Prime always has glowing comments even on papers that are critiqued elsewhere. (From Eva Amsen of F1000Research): By definition recommendation in F1000Prime. F1000Research uses the phrase "post-publication peer review” for formal invited reviews and now adds the phrase “invited.” Can we come up with a new phrase?
Suggestions for other phrases:
- “score” (because sometimes there is not much “review” happening)
Suggestions for other systems:
- A Rotten Tomatoes site (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/) for papers.
- A system for upvotes/downvotes (would also be more popular).
- When people comment, they tend to be constructive; it would therefore be better not to just have a yes/no system or scoring.
Question: What is the percentage of publications that get commented on in PubPeer? Answer: It’s very low, but nobody knows the exact stats.
Problem: There is a selection bias inherent in PPPR: people comment because they have a strong opinion. Because of this, the comments are about the problems or controversy with the research.
- Solution: Much time is invested in reviewing. Currently, this happens pre-publication. With the same amount of resources, it could be done post-publication (but it would still be a thorough review).
- Another solution: Ideally, everyone who reads a paper will say something about it. Therefore, have a "review paywall": you cannot see other articles until you comment on one. This would give a more realistic overview of how an article is perceived. (Note: this might take a lot of time.)
Concerning comments, validation, and replication.
- An acid stem cell paper underwent much pre-publication review, and it was still trashed online. A blogger asked people to explicitly replicate it, rather than just trashing the paper. Now there is an investigation going on of the original work.
- In ecology, replication is either impossible or takes ten years. Data collection takes a long time, but data can be reanalyzed.
- Peer review is not experimental validation. PPPR is a continuation from merely commenting to full validation.
- To what extent do readers use the comments and reviews? We need to let the public know what peer review and commenting are and how to interpret them.
- The distinction between replication and confirmation is too much for peer review.
- What are people hoping to get out of PPPR and validation? E.g., validation and/or replication can catch Type 1 errors.
- If something doesn’t work with one antibody and does with another, does that mean that the paper shouldn’t be published? No, but it should be clear (in the comments) that there is a difference.
- Context is important. The whole audience needs to continue to put the paper in context.
- Researchers should not give up on reproducibility. They need to know all of the parameters.
- A BMC study found that open reviews did better than anonymous ones: http://f1000.com/posters/browse/summary/1094564
- ScienceSeeker (http://scienceseeker.org/) aggregates blog posts about peer-reviewed papers.
- Peer review is a quality indicator.
- Rubriq (http://www.rubriq.com/) does "independent peer review" before publication. This is to gather opinions about the paper. Post-publication peer review (aka, comments) is similar: it is an assessment of the paper, but at a different time.
- In some fields (such as economics), students replicate earlier studies as “grunt work” that is part of the educational process. This is now occurring done in the (life/natural) sciences as well.
- Economics has papers that are gold-standard papers but that are not formally published, just “posted” (similar to Arxiv (http://arxiv.org/)).
- A good thing about the conventional peer review is that the reviewers are considered knowledgeable. With comments, anyone can comment. This would make a big difference in the perception of climate change papers, for example.
- A lot of papers that are commented on in PubPeer are high-profile papers. As a community, we can take it upon ourselves to comment on lesser-known papers.
- PLOS (http://www.plos.org/) is collaborating with the Reproducibility Initiative (http://reproducibilityinitiative.org/). The first project will be published soon.
Storified here: http://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-scioreview
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23scioreview&src=typd&f=realtime
"Peer Review: Trial by Twitter." Blogs and tweets are ripping papers apart within days of publication, leaving researchers unsure how to react, Nature, by Apoorva Mandavilli, 2011. http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110119/full/469286a.html
PubPeer comment on "Should readers get a refund when they pay to access seriously flawed papers?" Retraction Watch, 2014. http://retractionwatch.com/2014/02/26/should-readers-get-a-refund-when-they-pay-to-access-seriously-flawed-papers/#comment-79474
"It's Not Only Peer-Reviewed, It's Reproducible," OKF Open Science Working Group, 2013. http://science.okfn.org/2013/10/18/its-not-only-peer-reviewed-its-reproducible/
PLOS Labs Open Evaluation: http://www.ploslabs.org/openevaluation/
Session 4C. How Traditional Research Literature Should Change to Improve Access to Scientific Knowledge
Facilitator: Stephanie Willen Brown, Director at Park Library @ UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Chapel Hill (CogSciLibrarian@gmail.com, @CogSciLibrarian)
Session type: Discussion
Description: Many of us at ScienceOnline read primary research literature, but even here, the audience of readers is quite diverse. We range from high school students to professors of PhD students; we include journalists and public relations experts; some of us are science fans with no scientific training.
Is there a way for teachers and/or journalists to teach readers not only how to read the scholarly literature, but also how to be skeptical of science? How can scientists help non-experts understand their work?
Finally, how do we access the primary literature? How can we encourage publishers and authors to participate in more open access publishing, and is that realistic? What are other ways that students, faculty, journalists, and the general public can access the primary literature?
Stephanie's blog post about the upcoming session: http://cogscilibrarian.blogspot.com/2014/02/sciotradlit-at-scio14.html
Questions to address:
- How to read the primary literature.... Is the skill taught? Is it taught well?
- How do you learn? Rarely do you learn formally. Do you learn by listening to others?
- How do you read the literature that you are retrieving?
- Does the role of information specialist still exist? Now, people just use Google Scholar and get massive results. People do not use librarians to read the literature; librarians are now there to teach users how to search.
- How can the publishing model change to help? Publishers are very good at making a good author, but they provide no training on how to do a good peer review or how to read well.
First we covered who we are. There was a mix of people, no high school students, and a large representation of librarians. (Surprise!)
Publishers are good at building their own curriculum map, plugging in some papers, and attaching a grade. Problems:
- Not open access.
- Too many different publishers.
- It is resource-intensive for publishers to keep it current. But this is where they could show relevancy.
How do we read papers?
- In graduate school, you cover foundational papers – socratic discussion – and learn how to discuss them.
- This depends on how the teacher expects you to teach. You can skip most parts and focus on the results.
- As a blogger, you must actually write a synopsis of some of the other parts of a paper.
- How do people read papers these days? Only the figures? (Directly from DOI (digital object identifier).)
What is being or could be done?
- Publishers can have peers explain the papers to help readers absorb the content properly.
- We can teach college students (in a 1-credit course) how to read the primary literature, as well as how to digest seminars and how to ask good questions.
- We can try to find articles that tie things together, such as primary literature and newspaper articles. Mendeley is getting there.
- State libraries purchase and license resources for all state residents with a library card. (Most U.S. states offer their residents online access to articles and other library resources; NCLive.org is an example.)
- Why do publishers add this additional content that they are now adding? To bring more traffic in. (Not sure if it works.)
- Why add more visual content? Infographics of real content may not be very effective. They may not tell a story.
- Videos are being used in which the scientist quickly tells what he/she did and what he/she found. "Publish or perish" is now "video or vanish." See the Journal of Visualized Experiments (http://www.jove.com/), for example.
- The version of a paper that is the record is now the html version. (It would be great if you could actually compare different data sets by overlaying your own work with other people’s work.)
- There are interactive designs. (An example: http://worrydream.com/ScientificCommunicationAsSequentialArt/)
- There are mini-documentaries.
- There are PLOS and F1000.
Issues with multi-media.
- There are multi-media needs and integration needs.
- Multi-media is very resource intensive.
- Scientists are not actors or videographers. (But maybe the standards of the media need to change.)
Concerning open access.
- Could this be a repository of data?
- Lots of cost and time is involved in submitting to an open data journal.
- It is easier to go with a traditional journal.
- Some researchers do not want to share their data until / unless it is published.
- Ultimately, the funders will decide for us.
Storified here: http://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciotradlit
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciotradlit&src=typd&f=realtime
"Why I Don’t Care About Open Access to Research—and Why You Should," Pacific Standard: The Science of Society, by Michael White (@genologos), 2014. http://www.psmag.com/navigation/nature-and-technology/dont-care-open-access-research-73577/
A scientific paper that has been redesigned as a sequence of illustrations with captions. "Scientific Communication as Sequential Art," by Bret Victor, 2011. http://worrydream.com/ScientificCommunicationAsSequentialArt/
Journal of Visualized Experiments. http://www.jove.com/
IEEE Access OA mega journal does really cool mini documentaries! https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/RecentIssue.jsp?punumber=6287639
At @F1000Research, not only can you see the data, but you can also play with it! http://f1000research.com/articles/1-70/v1
"Video abstracts, the latest trend in scientific publishing." Will "publish or perish" soon include "video or vanish"? University Affairs, by Jacob Berkowitz, 2013. http://www.universityaffairs.ca/video-abstracts-the-latest-trend-in-scientific-publishing.aspx
Session 4D. Fighting Burnout (When Dealing with Pseudoscience, Climate Science, etc)
Facilitator: Jen Davison, research scientist, University of Washington College of the Environment (@JenEDavison)
Session type: Discussion
Description: As scientists and science communicators we are on the front lines of sharing new information with the world in a way that is relevant and compelling. We believe that this is important. But daily we are faced with a lack of trust in science, online trolling, and the distortion or misuse of scientific research – or no use at all – for decision-making. Moreover, often the science itself is a serious bummer. What do we do when sharing science seems pointless, or thwarted from all sides? What keeps us going? In this session we will focus on the causes of and the solutions to burnout, and how we might cultivate individual resilience and optimism in the practice of science communication.
Questions to consider.
- Why did we get into doing this in the first place?
- What do we mean when we say burnout?
- What comprises being burned out, or are there different flavors?
- How do we know when we're burning out? Can we recognize the symptoms?
- When is a good time to intervene?
- What are the assumptions that underly that insidious moment when we feel it's no longer worth it?
- Can we challenge those assumptions?
- What is resilience from an individual perspective?
- What tools can we employ to endure in a context of such instability: in science writing, with the wicked problems, in academia?
- What saps your energy for research/scicomm the most?
- Are you a scientist or science communicator? Do you sometimes feels a bit weary with your work? (I.e., are you alive?)
This session will explore the weariness, burnout, overwhelmed-ness, despair, paralysis-induced-apathy, or other results of the draining forces inherent in much of the science and the science writing that we do today. Whatever it is that makes you less productive on an emotional level, share it here!
What builds your energy for research/scicomm the most? As scientists and science communicators we can’t do our job well if we have no energy to keep on engaging, through depressing science news, abhorrent trolls, polarized discussions online, and other drains. Some people, however, seem unfazed. How do they do it? How do YOU do it? Share your tips, tricks, thoughts, and questions about how to build and maintain energy and to fight burnout.
More things to consider:
- Why are you here?
- What makes you feel like you don't want to do it anymore?
- Is my scicomm effort making a difference? (And getting an ROI?)
- Tough topics: vaccines
- Skeptic topics: ghosts, alternative medicine, mermaids, "unsinkable rubber ducks"; how much effort do you put into these re-emerging pseudoscience issues?
Let's focus on solutions, not on burning out.
Thoughts on burnout.
- (From a high school science teacher) There are new students every year, and the same issues occur (e.g., evolution).
- Science teachers are on the front lines.
- News about the science literature suggests that something is wrong with education.
- Working on climate change, evolution, vaccines: there are big organizations funding the effort to refute the science; it is no longer about helping a misguided person but about fighting a big, well-organized machine.
- We need a social science approach: what are strategies we can use to combat people/ideas that are resistant to information (i.e., going beyond the deficit model)?
- One participant was working in Brazil on transgenic trees; activists burned down her research labs.
Thoughts on science and morality.
- James Hanson et al. had a December paper in PLOS that introduced a moral argument into the scientific paper. It inspired a call for a multidisciplinary response to climate change via submissions of papers to a new PLOS ONE Collection entitled, "Responding to Climate Change." (http://blogs.plos.org/everyone/2013/12/03/james-hansen-and-colleagues-offer-evidence-for-a-disruptive-call-to-action/)
- Some feel that we should not imbue science with morality; we should go back to the bench and not have expectations or preconceived notions; science is a method, not an ideology.
- One person struggles with personal burnout working on conservation issues (endangered and extinct species); she feels panic and a sense of urgency; can she still be an effective advocate?
- Invasive species work, where there are few "wins" due to the difficult nature of the task at hand, is also difficult.
- There is also a sense of grief: we are losing things. How do we stem the tide Re: science literacy?
- A science journalist was asked to be an authority on scientific topics; it is frustrating to defend the issues.
Reasons for hope.
- A woman from Spain was shocked by an anti-evolution sign; working with youth gives her hope for the future.
- One person teaches reconciliation ecology, the "silver linings course." Pessimism implies that we have certainty, but that is not the case and therefore there is hope. Find joy in scientific discovery. Go through grief, experience it for extinct organisms, but celebrate the organisms and ecosystems that we do have.
- One person wanted to be an environmental writer since she was young; now she is a climate journalist. Her family is conservative and are climate deniers. Her dad recently admitted that he now gets it (the scientific consensus); that conversation keeps her moving forward. (She still has to walk away or avoid the conversations with her mom.)
- (From a high school science teacher) Most students accept that the climate is changing, which suggests that sci comm work is paying off. But there is a time lag. Stop taking it personally.
- The new Cosmos: there is hope that it will reinvigorate the public, and we can use that momentum.
What can we do to keep going?
- Have a cup of tea.
- Take a walk.
- Buy a terra pass.
- Think about your loved ones and hope for something better.
- Find a community, e.g., Scio Seattle, that is an "oasis" locally or online, a place to share passions.
- Curate a personal support system: keep only people who can be supportive or constructive.
- Look for support from your peers or your blog network.
- (From a practicing scientist) Use outreach as a way to deal with burnout; he writes about food science.
Things to do at work.
- Scientists need to engender trust before educating.
- We must recognize personal limitations: "I'm not the right person to do this."
- One person's solution: move to a new focus (such as biodiversity) and focus on strengths.
- PLOS blogs take a hard line on comments from trolls; they want a civilized discussion.
- How do you scale up from a one-on-one conversation? Ask and listen.
- Target youth (K-20) as the future; change will come from them.
Burnout implies that something is not working. How can we change the way in which we deal with pseudoscience?
- Change the frame. Shift our tactics.
- Use touchstones that matter to the skeptics.
- When you are fighting climate skeptics, creationists, etc, their views are ideologically and deeply held, which means that they are difficult to change. We need to frame issues with respect to what matters to them, e.g., energy efficiency.
- Consider the burnout of the audience. Empower them by giving them actionable items on an achievable scale.
- We need to de-mystify the process by which evidence is collected (especially in the classroom).
Final thoughts: What can you do today, here at Scio14, to take care of yourself? What can we commit to?
- Remind yourself how hard these topics are.
- Feel lucky that we are at this place and this time in science: feel patience and gratitude.
- Read Douglas Adams "Life Is Absurd."
- Read/Watch George Carlin's Earth Day Rant: http://youtu.be/p5Miv4NHsDo
Storified here by Jen Davison: http://storify.com/jenedavison/fighting-burnout-in-science-communication
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciohope&src=typd&f=realtime
Session notes from “Hope and Optimism in the Long Run” (also known as #sciohope) at #scioClimate in August 2013. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1X6T3NPkvBoRZockUZrVHavEftW5ze5n4i9dVFrIJq0A/edit
Storify of the above session: http://storify.com/jenedavison/hope-and-optimism-for-the-long-run
"Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene," The New York Times Opinionator, by Roy Scranton, 2013. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/learning-how-to-die-in-the-anthropocene/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
“Five Stages of Climate Grief,” Friends of 2 Rivers, by Dr. Steven Running, 2007. http://www.friendsof2rivers.org/dr.-steve-running-5-stages-of-climate-grief.html
An extension of the previous work: "The Six Stages of Climate Grief," Huffington Post Green, by Daphne Wysham, 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daphne-wysham/the-six-stages-of-climate_b_1852425.html
So Far From Home: Lost and found in our brave new world, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, by Margaret Wheatley, 2012. http://www.amazon.com/So-Far-Home-Found-Brave/dp/1609945360
Active Hope: How to face the mess we’re in without going crazy, New World Library, by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, 2012. http://www.amazon.com/Active-Hope-without-Going-Crazy/dp/1577319729
"If You See Something, Say Something," The New York Times, by Michael E. Mannjan, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/if-you-see-something-say-something.html
"Fine weather for creepy melancholia," SF Gate, by Mark Morford, 2013. http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2014/01/21/fine-weather-for-creepy-melancholia/
On not feeding the trolls: "Science in an Age of Scrutiny: How Scientists Can Respond to Criticism and Personal Attacks," Union of Concerned Scientists, 2012. http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/abuses_of_science/science-in-an-age-of-scrutiny.html
"Grief and Science," The Science Unicorn, by Faith Kearns, 2013. http://scienceunicorn.blogspot.com/2013/12/grief-and-science.html
"The Emotional Lives of Scientists," The Science Unicorn, by Faith Kearns, 2014. http://scienceunicorn.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-emotional-lives-of-scientists.html
Session 4E. How Psych Research Can Inform Effective Communication
Facilitators: Melanie Tannenbaum and Erika Salomon
Session type: Q & A
Description: Many SciO attendees ask questions about effective communication strategies and how to be persuasive, and a lot of these conversations end up being based around anecdotes and personal experiences. However, as social psychologists, we have data on this sort of thing! In this session, we will be discussing empirical research from the domains of cognition, communication, risk perception, persuasion, and more. After sharing some relevant empirical findings from these domains and the ways in which these findings could be applied to help improve science communication practices, we will particularly welcome any questions that attendees might have regarding whether or not certain studies/findings exist, empirically supported “best practices,” and discussion about the ethical implications of applying these academic findings to the real world.
According to the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elaboration_likelihood_model), a person sees something and comes to a decision about it. According to Dual-Process Theory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_process_theory), there are two ways that this happens:
automatic: happens all the time
controlled: happens only if the person has the motivation and the ability to do it
- Stereotypes are automatic but can be corrected if the person has motivation/ability.
- Fundamental Attribution errors (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_attribution_error) lead people to wrong conclusions.
There are two types of arguments:
peripheral: include flashy pictures and celebrity endorsements
central: include strong arguments, facts, and reasons
Which argument a person should use (i.e., which will be the most effective) depends on which way the subject is going to make a judgment. This depends on different factors.
- It can be dispositional.
- It can depend on the domain that the person is in: if it is related to a person's professional work, he/she is more likely to think harder about it.
- It can depend on a person's initial intuition.
- It can depend on a person's confirmation bias, i.e., he/she only listens to facts that reinforce what he/she thinks.
We often think that the way to reach people is through the controlled decision-making; we focus on motivating them (i.e., "You should care") and on giving them ability (i.e., helping them to understand). But we can also "meet people where they are at" and use the automatic route.
- One example of the automatic route is when people do not pay attention to individual arguments but simply notice how many arguments there are; they are convinced when there are more arguments. The peripheral route would be to show them the quantity of arguments rather than trying to explain one argument.
- Another example of the automatic route is when a person's feelings determine his/her judgment. A person can develop the skill of recognizing the emotion, finding the source of it, and analyzing its validity.
- In general, people are primed to pay attention to something (examples: zombies, themselves).
- We are used to thinking about big questions, but this also applies to small decisions (e.g., what chair do I sit in?)
Question: Is it ethical or manipulative to pander to people using a peripheral argument?
- You are catering to the audience and paying attention to its needs.
- An analogy is communicating with an illiterate person by using pictures.
- Public health organizations have been doing this for years: using manipulation to encourage people to make good health choices.
- An example is encouraging people to take medications to prevent the development of resistant tuberculosis by paying them.
- Whenever you write, you choose your words and quotes: this is already manipulative.
How to increase a person's motivation:
1. Make something relevant to the audience.
- Ex: With undergrads reading a message about upcoming exams, you can manipulate their motivation to read/understand the message by changing whether the message affects them in particular.
- Ex: When talking about vaccines, it is not as useful to say "Look at how this affects people who aren't you!"
- Ex: Once you identify publicly as "X," you feel pressure to maintain how people see you. (This is how "flip-flopper" became an insult.) This is why sidewalk petitioners start by saying something like, "Do you care about whales?"
2. Use descriptive norms: if people think that others think something, it convinces them.
- Ex: Hotels try to make you re-use your towels by telling you "Most people who stay here re-use their towels."
3. Fight pluralistic ignorance: if there is a strong cultural norm, people do not want to speak out against it. This influences their public behavior (even if their thinking on the subject is not private).
- Ex: A teacher asks "Does anyone have a question?" Students who don't understand will think that everyone else does if no one raises a hand, and they will not raise a hand.
- Ex: In gangs, members who privately do not like the initiation rituals will not speak up.
- Ex: In the Asch conformity study, participants were asked an easy question. There were 4 actors and 1 clueless participant. All the actors gave the wrong answer, and the participant did, too. He privately knew it was the wrong answer but still conformed. But, if one person breaks the pattern (even if he does not give the correct answer), then the participant is willing to go against the group.
- Ex: A "first clapper" is planted in an audience to get the audience to clap.
- Solution: To combat this, get information on people's private opinions and make it public.
- Solution: Explain the concept of pluralistic ignorance and the effect of one person's actions.
- Solution: Approach with a trusted person.
- Solution: Approach with a person who is similar; people trust similar others (such as a pastor instead of a climate scientist). For ex: in the Bill Nye debate with Ken Ham on creationism, Ken Ham showed clips of creationist scientists. http://youtu.be/k9yQEG7mlTU
- In the Heuristic Systematic Model (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heuristic-systematic_model_of_information_processing), both peripheral and central arguments can operate in tandem.
- You can use the peripheral argument to increase a person's interest level, which makes him/her pay attention to the central arguments.
It does not always help to present facts because people employ Motivated Cognition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias).
- Selective attention/exposure: people read and watch stuff that they want to see.
- Selective evaluation: people evaluate information to confirm what they already think. For example, women who drink coffee will read a study that links coffee to breast cancer and will find problems with it and decide that it is BS.
- People can find reasons to believe or not believe things.
- You can test your strategy on the audience that you want to reach.
To convince someone:
- Establish similarity.
- Have credentials that they care about.
- Get an advocate to vouch for you. Even being introduced by a stranger can boost your credibility.
- When you make a mistake or change your mind: show that you understand how the mistake happened and that you know how to prevent it in the future.
Storified here by Sarah Keenihan: http://storify.com/sciencesarah/selected-sessions-from-scio14-sciopsych-how-psych
Storified here by Reiner Korbmann: http://storify.com/ReinerKorbmann/communication-psychology
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciopsych&src=typd&f=realtime
"The Line Between Persuasion and Manipulation," Doing Good Science, by Janet Stemwedel, 2014. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/doing-good-science/2014/02/21/the-line-between-persuasion-and-manipulation/
"Thinking That We Know," SacklerColloquia, by Daniel Kahneman, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=di6kl4ViWgk
The number/quality of arguments influences opinion: "The Effects of Involvement on Responses to Argument Quantity and Quality: Central and Peripheral Routes to Persuasion," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, by Richard Petty and John Cacioppo, 1984. http://psychology.uchicago.edu/people/faculty/cacioppo/jtcreprints/pc84a.pdf
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Harper Collins Publishers, Robert Cialdini, 2009. books.google.com/books?isbn=0061899879
An overview of Cialdini and his research: http://cialdini.socialpsychology.org/
"The 6 Principles of Influence," MajorLeagueBusiness, by Robert Cialdini, 2011. http://youtu.be/_4ZcStMsss8
"Twitter Offers Entire Data Pool, but Some Wary of Diving In," Science, by John Bohannon, 2014. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/343/6174/958.summary
On pluralistic ignorance: "How Skeptics Can Break the Cycle of False Beliefs." Pluralistic ignorance and the last best hope on Earth, Scientific American, by Michael Shermer, 2013. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-skeptics-break-the-cycle-of-false-beliefs/
"Exposing Pluralistic Ignorance to Reduce Alcohol Use Among College Students," Journal of Applied Social Psychology, by Christine Schroeder and Deborah Prentice, 1998. http://psych.princeton.edu/~psych/psychology/research/prentice/pubs/Exposing%20Pluralistic%20Ignorance.pdf
Asch conformity experiments:
"The dynamics of audience applause," The Journal of the Royal Society Interface, by Richard P. Mann, Jolyon Faria, David J. T. Sumpter, and Jens Krause, 2013. http://22.214.171.124/content/10/85/20130466.short
"Do Messages about Health Risks Threaten the Self? Increasing the Acceptance of Threatening Health Messages Via Self-Affirmation," Pers Soc Psychol Bull, by David A. K. Sherman, Leif D. Nelson, and Claude M. Steele, 2000. http://psp.sagepub.com/content/26/9/1046.abstract
"Creating a Moving Case for Climate Action." To move the public on climate change, the public must be moved, Ensia, by Bill Chameides, 2013. http://ensia.com/voices/creating-a-moving-case-for-climate-action/
"Rethinking Our Moral Vocabulary on Climate Change." Efforts to combat climate change may be most effective when they are localized and personalized, Ensia, by Matthew C. Nisbet, 2013. http://ensia.com/voices/rethinking-our-moral-vocabulary-on-climate-change/
"But what do we DO with the science of science communication?" CompassBlogs, by Liz Neeley, 2014. http://compassblogs.org/blog/2014/02/24/scioscicomm1/
"Inferring the popularity of an opinion from its familiarity: a repetitive voice can sound like a chorus," J Pers Soc Psychol, by K. Weaver, S.M. Garcia, N. Schwarz, and D.T. Miller, 2007. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17484607
"Accepting Threatening Information: Self-Affirmation and the Reduction of Defensive Biases," Current Directions in Psychological Science, by David Sherman and Geoffrey Cohen, 2002. http://people.psych.ucsb.edu/sherman/david/cd.pdf
Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion, Profile Books, by Noah Goldstein, Steve Martin, and Robert Cialdini, 2007. books.google.com/books?isbn=1847651321
"Pro-Vaccine Messages Actually Backfire, Study Finds," NBC News, by Jonel Aleccia, 2014. http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/pro-vaccine-messages-actually-backfire-study-finds-n41611
Session 4F. Beyond the Press Release: Developing Online Press Materials
Facilitator: Matt Shipman, PIO at NC State University and Communication Breakdown blogger (email@example.com, @ShipLives)
Session type: Discussion
Description: “Beyond the Press Release: Developing Online Press Materials” will be a group discussion about online press materials – the stuff that public information officers (PIOs) make available to reporters online. What do reporters want or need in an online press package? What do PIOs think reporters want or need? And what do scientists make of all this? We want this to be an open conversation. We need reporters to show up, so that we can learn what they want. This is in the best interests of reporters because it can change the behavior of PIOs to make things easier for reporters! We also want to hear about best practices from PIOs.
Despite conversations in recent years on whether or not the press release is dead and how to improve press releases, the standard press release model remains stubbornly in place. This session could explore possibilities beyond the press release that would still give institutions the publicity they want, journalists the compelling and original stories they look for, and scientists the peace of mind that their work is being represented accurately.
Here are some questions for everyone to consider and weigh in on:
- How can writers find stories from institutions without a press release?
- What other kinds of materials do journalists want, that PIOs or scientists can produce given realistic resources and constraints?
- Example: Data visualization. The National Academy of Sciences produced this interactive chart to accompany a report on US health rankings compared with other industrialized nations, but a few minutes playing with data could lead reporters to other interesting angles or entirely new stories. (http://sites.nationalacademies.org/DBASSE/CPOP/DBASSE_080393#deaths-%20from-all-causes)
- Should PIOs produce other “original” or “packaged” material? If so, what’s left for the journalist to do? Or should PIOs provide ideas and leave journalists to come up with their own stories? How can they do that? Which do journalists prefer?
- Should scientists be required to produce ancillary material as part of submissions to or publications in peer-reviewed journals?
- Example: The New Journal of Physics accepts video abstracts for their papers, which are free to watch, include transcripts, and give journalists insight into scientists’ personalities, topics of study, and possible story angles. (http://iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/videoabstracts)
- Should scientists forgo public relations completely?
- A recent CJR article proposed that eLife paper authors (http://www.elifesciences.org/) could refrain from involving PR departments and instead work with journal staff to produce “digests,” or brief descriptions of the work that would be included as part of the technical paper and held to the same scientific standards. (http://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/elife_open_access_scientific_p.php?page=all )
What online materials can help reporters tell a science news story? I recently wrote a blog post, with help from Lauren Rugani, asking what online materials are best suited to help reporters tell science news stories. The blog post is here: http://www.scilogs.com/communication_breakdown/online-press-materials/
I might also have asked: what online materials can help a reporter decide whether they want to tell a particular science news story?
What online materials can help a reporter tell (and/or want to tell) a story?
- The goal is for the press release to be picked up but not posted verbatim - we want the reporter to tell a compelling story.
- Good art (animation, photo, sketch): visuals make it interesting. (Remember credits and captions.)
- High-resolution images.
- Images with a narrative arc: they represent key points in the research at different stages, help move the story forward, and require a minimum of graphic annotation.
- Photos of the research team at work in the lab and the field.
- The actual paper.
- Other papers related to the research, for context. (Note: some journals allow researchers to post PDFs on the researchers' websites; you can link to such a PDF and/or ask the publisher.)
- Sources, including external sources.
- Contact info of the researcher.
- Video press release (2-3 minutes).
- Lay summaries help reporters share stories, for example at Functional Ecology: http://www.functionalecology.org/view/0/summaries.html
- Sound bites: Twitter-like quotes.
- Animated GIFs can be captivating.
- Content with simplicity.
- Compelling content: it should make someone care.
- How important is the source of the art? Very. Make sure you have permission to use the material.
- Is it worthwhile to have visualizations when they are commissioned? Infographics are much-lauded but expensive to commission.
- Infographics are often picked up by press aggregators, sometimes at a later date.
- Even if the infographic is not used by the press, it still informs the press.
- An infographic can also be used internally.
- Be cautious because infographics can lead to bad PR pitches for universities--the infographic should support a good pitch, not try to replace a good pitch.
How do PIOs reach journalists?
- Use your press release as support material for a personalized pitch to a reporter.
- Look at the other ways that journalists find stories, aside from press releases.
- Remember that news reporters are looking for the "big" stories; science reporters work/write differently--they’re more likely to be interested in stories about incremental (but important) stories that advance a specific field of study.
- Use press releases when it makes sense: when there is a paper or other news related to a subject that people are talking about.
- Keep a press "hit list" so you can demonstrate impact (and have a record of which reporters are interested in a given subject).
- Send a press release in the desired manner: some reporters love press releases but not in their email; instead, send a two-sentence pitch with contact info and a link to the press release and paper.
- Cold pitch on Twitter: works when a relationship with the reporter exists. (You can also use Twitter to follow conversations that relate to an upcoming story/research.)
- Don't pitch multiple people on Twitter regarding the same topic--reporters can see what you’re doing and are likely to ignore or block you.
EurekAlert vs. pitching.
- If something is forthcoming, individual pitching is favored.
- Use EurekAlert (http://www.eurekalert.org/) as a news source.
- Embargo matters.
- EurekAlert has a specific audience.
- Some reporters have to make contact first and share their beat.
- Non-peer-reviewed sources? Newswise (http://www.newswise.com/) and AlphaGalileo (http://www.alphagalileo.org/).
- Help a Reporter Out is a good resource, but the vetting process can be tedious (http://www.helpareporter.com/).
How to pitch using one area with multiple researchers and/or schools?
- Describe the integrative and collaborative science to help with the pitch.
- Take the high road (and share the credit).
- Tie the research to a specific narrative news peg.
- Bring everyone together.
- Use a story package with individual stories.
Build relationships! Developing a degree of trust is essential to establishing a good working relationship between PIOs, Journalists, and Scientists.
Storified here by Reiner Korbmann: http://storify.com/ReinerKorbmann/beyond-the-press-release
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciopress&src=typd&f=realtime
"Instead of a press release: Options to add to your press release diet," Don't Get Caught, by Denise Graveline, 2012. http://www.dontgetcaught.biz/2012/08/instead-of-press-release-options-to-add.html
“Thou Shalt Not: the Science PIO Commandments,” Communication Breakdown, by Matt Shipman, 2013. http://www.scilogs.com/communication_breakdown/pio-commandments/
“Embargoes as Self-Defense, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Live with Embargoes,” Communication Breakdown, by Matt Shipman, 2013. http://www.scilogs.com/communication_breakdown/using-embargoes/
“How to Pitch a Story to a Reporter (Without Being Annoying),” Communication Breakdown, by Matt Shipman, 2012. http://www.scilogs.com/communication_breakdown/pio-how-to-pitch/
Session 4G. Reporting Incremental Science in a World that wants Big Results
Session type: Discussion
Description: What makes a scientific story "newsworthy", other than someone deciding to cover it? Big breakthroughs are rare and sometimes only recognized as such years after the fact. Ordinary science works incrementally and even conversationally. If we throw out the idea that every discovery needs to be groundbreaking or (ptui!) paradigm-shifting, maybe we can convey some of the workings of normal science. And in the process, we can help non-scientists understand the workings of research. This discussion will focus on examples and ideas on how to do this kind of reporting right (rather than dragging out examples of hyped-up stories). We will talk about how to take preliminary, marginal, or otherwise ordinary results and place them in their proper contexts.
The problem of reporting incremental results can be illustrated with three anecdotes:
1. Stephen Hawking and black holes.
- Stephen Hawking gave a provocative talk claiming black hole event horizons don’t exist, but there’s no paper (yet) supporting his arguments. Here’s my take on the story: "Did Stephen Hawking Just Eliminate Black Holes?" Celebrity science can be weirder than quantum mechanics, Slate, by Matthew R. Francis, 2014. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/mysteries_of_the_universe/2014/02/stephen_hawking_says_black_holes_don_t_exist_quantum_physics_and_scientific.single.html
- Further thoughts on this: "Pulling back the curtain of science," Galileo's Pendulum, by Matthew Francis, 2014. http://galileospendulum.org/2014/02/13/pulling-back-the-curtain-of-science/
- And: "Scientists On the Loose! My AAAS Talk," The Loom, by Carl Zimmer, 2014. http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/02/19/scientists-on-the-loose-my-aaas-talk/
2. The inheritance of mice fears.
- "Mice Inherit the Fears of Their Fathers," Only Human, by Virginia Hughes, 2013. http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/15/mice-inherit-the-fears-of-their-fathers/
- And the followup: "Do Mice Really Inherit the Fears of Their Fathers? Scientists React," Only Human, by Virginia Hughes, 2013. http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/17/do-mice-really-inherit-the-fears-of-their-fathers-scientists-react/
- And another one: "Mice Inherit Specific Memories, Because Epigenetics?" Only Human, by Virginia Hughes, 2013. http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/12/01/mice-inherit-specific-memories-because-epigenetics/
3. New exoplanets.
- "Rife with hype, exoplanet study needs patience and refinement (PNAS)," Princeton Journal Watch, by Morgan Kelly, 2014. https://blogs.princeton.edu/research/2014/02/18/rife-with-hype-exoplanet-study-needs-patience-and-refinement-pnas/
- "We ‘Hype’ Alien World Findings Amid Little Data, Exoplanet Scientist Says," Universe Today, by Elizabeth Howell, 2014. http://www.universetoday.com/109595/we-hype-alien-world-findings-amid-little-data-exoplanet-scientist-says/
- "Oh geez, not another exoplanet story," Galileo's Pendulum, by Matthew Francis, 2013. http://galileospendulum.org/2013/03/15/oh-geez-not-another-exoplanet-story/
What do you think? What are examples of a story that’s...
- good reporting of incremental science?
- hyping of incremental science into a Big Story?
- valuable commentary on incremental science (can be critical or praising)?
- poor commentary on incremental science (e.g. “side effect is worse than the disease”)?
A post in preparation for Scio14:
"How should we report incremental science?" Galileo's Pendulum, by Matthew Francis, 2014. http://galileospendulum.org/2014/02/23/how-should-we-report-incremental-science/
Breakthroughs are very rare - yet we still report individual results as news, as if they are breakthroughs.
And, we do not report the incremental results.
The process of science involves building results upon results. We should not skip reporting on the incremental results; we can emphasize that they are incremental to lessen the blow if future results contradict them.
What is an increment vs a breakthrough?
How can we report on incremental results?
- Annotate and link back to previous work.
- Use different types of media (e.g., video and text) that work together.
- Use explainers in hypertext; hyperlinking is key!
- Use the header/lead: this area has a tangible impact on how the story is perceived.
- Have responses by authors to their own reported pieces; this can be helpful and important.
- Use craft to get people to read the whole article (because otherwise they may miss the context).
- Avoid context overload. (Note: Stories may reach a tipping point at which general knowledge does not need to exist.)
- Use the narrative form/style for specific audiences; remember, science doesn't end!
- Create a citation map to pull together full narratives.
More complexities of incremental reporting:
- Problem: there is no way to communicate incremental science other than the research paper (i.e., there are no press releases or popular articles), so the only recourse of people wanting to write about it is to read the original paper.
- Online journals allow updates: PLOS, F1000Research, PeerJ.
- PLOS may be "re-evaluating 'updates' to 'living and breathing documents'."
- Story stubs use an evolving news story format.
- Content is no longer terminal.
- Reporters have a responsibility to cover a story thoroughly, even though the story may evolve.
- However: don't get into the mindset that stories on the internet can mutate: most readers will not come back.
- The real incrementalism of science is that we do not know where each result may end up. This is tough to report even though it may have unforeseen consequences. The original curiosity-based inquiry is often forgotten when the new technical applications of the results are discussed.
- What is incremental "follow-up" news to some might be brand new to others.
- Communicators of basic research face problems in reporting without getting bogged down with techie details; but, not every story is for every audience.
- Are we writing just for the sake of writing and thereby CAUSING the fatigue from overload? Journalism is becoming detached from what the public needs from us.
Many things in the world are incremental or repetitive (like sports!): why is there a disconnect when it comes to science?
- We have the perception that science is about breakthroughs by Great Men; we need to change the perception.
- People are more involved with a political discourse (and its incremental nature) because it is closer to home.
- Science uses inaccessible lingo compared with other subjects that have an accepted incremental nature (politics, sports).
- Some people only look at science articles that impact them; this makes reporting tricky.
- Funding and the expectation of a return on investment causes pressure to have "big results."
- Technology applications are always included in papers because saying, "We do it because it's awesome" doesn't fly with funding agencies.
- Many publications no longer have a dedicated science staff.
Storified here by Matthew Francis: http://storify.com/DrMRFrancis/sciobigsci-reporting-incremental-science-in-a-wor
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciobigsci&src=typd&f=realtime
In addition to the articles mentioned in the Introductory Materials...
"On Dolphins, Big Brains, Shared Genes and Logical Leaps," Not Exactly Rocket Science, by Ed Yong, 2014. http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/01/22/on-dolphins-big-brains-shared-genes-and-logical-leaps/
"Overblown Statements in Press Releases Undermine Science," American Astronomical Society, by Scott Tremaine, 2014. http://aas.org/posts/letter/2014/01/overblown-statements-press-releases-undermine-science
"Pop culture isn't knowledge and pop-science isn't science: why society seems unable to tell the difference," The Mermaid's Tale, by Ken Weiss, 2014. http://ecodevoevo.blogspot.com/2014/02/pop-culture-isnt-knowledge-and-pop.html
Regarding story stubs: "This Is What Happens When Publishers Invest In Long Stories," Fast Co Labs, by Chris Dannen, 2013. http://www.fastcolabs.com/3009577/open-company/this-is-what-happens-when-publishers-invest-in-long-stories
"Questioning 'Incremental Science'," Environmental Science and Technology, by William H. Glaze, 1995. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es00007a706?journalCode=esthag
"Incremental and continuous – a new paradigm for scientific publishing?" I Was Lost But Now I Live Here, by Shirley Wu, 2008. http://shirleywho.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/incremental-and-continuous-a-new-paradigm-for-scientific-publishing/
A good format for nested explanations: "Dead or Alive?" Is it time to kill off the idea of the ‘Selfish Gene’? We asked four experts to respond to our most controversial essay, by Robert Sapolsky, Laura Hercher, Karen James, John Dupré and David Dobbs, 2014. http://aeon.co/magazine/nature-and-cosmos/an-expert-roundtable-on-the-selfish-gene-and-evolution/
And for a little humor:
"Modern Science Still Only Able To Predict One Upcoming Tetris Block," The Onion, 2014. http://www.theonion.com/articles/modern-science-still-only-able-to-predict-one-upco,35394/
"Negative Data," The Upturned Microscope, by Nik Papagiorgiou, 2013. http://theupturnedmicroscope.com/comic/negative-data/
And see the #negativeresults campaign on Twitter: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23negativeresults&src=hash&f=realtime
Converge: Reaching Diverse Audiences
February 28, 2014
This session included a talk by Jorge Cham of PhD Comics (http://phdcomics.com/comics.php) about his experiences making a video and comic explaining the Higgs boson (http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1684).
Monica Feliu-Mojer presented on Ciencia Puerto Rico (http://www.cienciapr.org), an organization that curates science content (mostly from Puerto Rican scientists) in Spanish to people in Puerto Rico. Monica gave an example of using the topic of the island’s migration from the Pacific Ocean as an introduction to plate tectonics. Her slides (embedded below) are online at http://www.slideshare.net/moefeliu/communicating-science-to-underserved-communities.
A scribe of the converge session by Perrin Ireland.
Session 5A. Beyond Blogs, Twitter & FB: Using OTHER social media to find new audiences for science
Session type: Discussion
Description: In 2013, social media overtook porn as the #1 activity on the web. Without a doubt, social channels are the cornerstone of modern science communication, if not all of modern communication. But the social web of today is only the beginning. There are new audiences to reach, and an evolving whack-a-mole ecosystem of social networks and tools to keep track of. Will the Big Ones, Facebook and Twitter, always be the Big Ones? How do YouTube, Tumblr, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat (or whatever comes next) fit in to the present and future of science communication? Which work best, and for whom? Which are worth it, and why? We’ll discuss best practices, worst practices, whether Google+ will ever be a “thing”, and debate the correct pronunciation of “GIF”.
What social tools are we using?
I’d love to know what social tools and networks you are using to both consume and communicate your science, which you are NOT using, and why. Facebook and Twitter are well-accepted by this point, but what about things like Tumblr, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and whatever new ones I don’t even know about?
What works well? Why? What doesn’t work, and why? Do you use some networks for personal stuff and not for science? Why?
The live stream of this session (embedded below) is archived at http://scienceonline.com/live/?id=93.
New platforms have allowed science communicators and scientists to reach new audiences - this is the goal!
- Email newsletters
Problems and questions.
- The internet explodes with a diversity of media, and we have to keep up.
- Is the blog dead?
- The Nature Pinterest account was great but was not driving traffic to their site.
- Social media reaches kids, but are we speaking the language of the internet, or of youth?
- What's with the hesitation to join Instagram or Vine?
- Pinterest is full of infographics that suck and spread misinformation; some people just like what looks pretty, and they end up misinformed.
- All of this takes time; you need to post daily, you need the support of your institution, you need to know your audience.
- Should we have to seek an audience, or should the info reach them automatically? The audience is where it is at; if they are not looking, don't bother. Whom do you want to reach? Where are they?
- All platforms focus on the instantaneous... are we losing the skill to archive? There is a movement to curate content, but some platforms (like Facebook) don't work well for this.
- Science isn't now; it is history and future, and not all of its content is online.
- The competition is huge. You have to grab their attention from cats, inappropriate frat pictures, etc.
- How do we track who uses these platforms?
Things to do.
- We need to redefine how we view blogging; traditional ideas are not working anymore.
- Visual aids are important for communicating science. Images seem to be the new social currency; how do we use them correctly and fairly?
- Google+ can be used for live broadcasts, live Q&A sessions, and virtual field trips to show what it is like to be a scientist; it allows two-way communication.
- As we use the "fluffier" platforms, we can use a best-practices breadcrumb trail, not necessarily to a science paper but maybe to a good blog post that relates to the content.
- Breadcrumbs are great, but what is the gingerbread house? Where are you leading your followers?
- Note: Pinterest has auto-breadcrumbs.
- We need to change our behavior: instead of automatically clicking "reflag," we need to follow the links and fact-check.
- We can rethink our content: challenge kids and followers to vine/instagram their own content.
- We can use a media curation tool that pulls related content about an article from the internet.
- Know your mission/goal; different platforms achieve different goals.
- Kids have finely tuned bullshit detectors; we need to talk to them, not at them.
- Social media needs to be hit hard and taken seriously; commit to it and don't think of it as just for the kids.
- Use all platforms as a pipeline: pictures and video -> blogs and Facebook -> website -> articles and papers. However, be careful because too many clicks will lose much of the audience.
- Make content specifically for a platform; for example, create content exclusively for Tumblr; keep people there and bring people together.
- Tagboard helps users follow specific hashtags on multiple platforms.
Social networks take up 16-18 minutes of each hour, whereas blogs and news take up only 2 minutes. How does a science Facebook page get 10 million likes? What can we learn about how that particular science Facebook page shares science to inform our own scicomm, for better or worse?
Storified here by ScienceOnline: http://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciobeyond
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciobeyond&src=typd&f=realtime
"The blog turns 20: a conversation with three internet pioneers." Dave Winer, Megan Hourihan and Justin Hall on the web's transformation from 'small village' to 'megalopolis,' The Guardian, by Katie Rogers and Ruth Spencer, 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/jan/29/blog-turns-twenty-conversation-internet-pioneers
Nature on Pinterest. http://www.pinterest.com/naturepubgrp/
"The Art of Science" Pinterest board by @finchandpea. http://www.pinterest.com/finchandpea/the-art-of-science/
Pinterest picture about science experiments for kids. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/70579919132375065/ This pin leads back to her blog post. http://kitchenpantryscientist.com/science-kit-for-fund-raiser/
NASA on Instagram. http://instagram.com/nasa
On #SciStuChat (scientists tweeting with high school students): "The Easiest Out-Reach You Will Ever Do," 2footgiraffte's Blog, 2014. http://2footgiraffe.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/the-easiest-out-reach-you-will-ever-do/
An example of preserving instantaneous content: Open Lab 2013 - blogs become a book. https://scienceonline.creatavist.com/openlab2013#story-cover
On the PLOS media curation tools. "Connecting all the dots – looking at the research paper & beyond," PLOS Tech, by Jennifer Lin, 2014. http://blogs.plos.org/tech/connecting-dots-looking-research-paper-beyond/
Short science films at Imagine Science are original content that is shared daily. http://www.imaginesciencefilms.org/
Short science videos: #6secondscience on Vine/Twitter. https://twitter.com/search?q=%236secondscience&src=hash
GE's #6secondscience Fair on Tumblr. http://6secondscience.tumblr.com/
Facilitator Joe Hanson's Tumblr. http://www.itsokaytobesmart.com/
Tagboard, "the cross-network, hashtag-powered social hub." https://tagboard.com/
Session 5B. Broadening Participation of the Disability Community in Online Science
Session type: Discussion
Description: This discussion will focus on the challenges of tackling a career in science for those with various disabilities, including mobility limitations. Other groups to consider include the deaf community, autistic people, etc. The conversation will also discuss the “invisible glass ceiling” for many scientific professions. Many underserved audiences face similar challenges--including women and ethnic minorities--and we may find lessons and ideas from these groups to apply to the disability community. Let’s talk about ways that the online science community can become a catalyst for more inclusivity of individuals with disabilities in science professions.
Disabilities can include mental disorders, deafness, blindness, physical limitations, and more. How can we promote access to this broad community? How can a teacher make a topic accessible? As bloggers and journalists, how do we reach underserved audiences?
What brings us here? We see an imbalance in diversity.
How can we help?
- Consider privilege vs. inclusiveness. In citizen science, inclusiveness is incredibly important; we want to promote a removal of barriers so that everyone feels welcome to participate. So, we identify who is missing and ask why?
- Guerilla Science connects people with live events and immersion experiences.
- Consider the little details that will determine the accessibility of a campus/conference/meeting/lab.
- Ask someone about their abilities.
- (Suggested resources have been listed below.)
On overcoming mental blocks.
- There is a dialog of "can't" surrounding many disabilities, particularly physical limitations. We must overcome our mental blocks and perceptions.
- We must overcome the stigma. Kids do not experience this: they are curious about a wheelchair or cane until their parents say "Don't stare."
- We must avoid "tokenism"--calling too much attention to a person because of his/her disability or misrepresenting the experience of being disabled.
- Those with disabilities may experience imposter syndrome: "The only reason I'm here is because of my condition." Singling someone out because of his/her disability can contribute to these doubts.
- Talk about the person, not the disability.
- Think about how you frame your narrative. Is it a scientist who happens to be disabled, or a disabled person who gets to do science?
More items to consider.
- There are invisible disabilities such as panic disorder or being on the autism spectrum.
- Everyone is one accident away from disabled.
- We should all be aware of the challenges of disabilities because there is this thing called "aging."
- Little things can make big differences if you open your eyes to them.
- You may not know what someone's limitations are unless you ask him/her and are open and welcoming to discussing them.
- Everyone has his/her own super power(s) AND limitation(s).
- Think about code-switching and ability: people code-switch with their abilities in different situations.
Storified here by Alberto Roca: http://storify.com/MinorityPostdoc/scio14-scioable
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23scioable&src=typd&f=realtime
In the Canopy with Wheelchairs & Tardigrades, National Science Foundation Research Opportunity. http://www.bakeru.edu/canopy
A web portal on the minority postdoc experience that allies with various communities. http://www.minoritypostdoc.org/
List of Diversity Bloggers. http://www.minoritypostdoc.org/view/bloggers.html
Resources for Minority Postdocs. http://www.minoritypostdoc.org/view/resources.html
Foundation for Science and Disability (works with AAAS). http://www.stemd.org/
White Rose Inter-Disciplinary Disability Studies Network at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield, and York. http://www.york.ac.uk/sociology/postgraduate/pg-funding/disabled-sellfhood/
Guerilla Science. http://guerillascience.co.uk/
NC State has a Disability Services Office. http://dso.dasa.ncsu.edu/
@PhDisabled on Twitter: Capturing thoughts and experiences at the intersection of #disability, #chronicillness and the #PhD. Submissions welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org. See also phdisabled.wordpress.com.
Black Chemists, Black Engineers. https://www.nobcche.org/
American Chemical Society Chemists with Disabilities committee. https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/about/governance/committees/cwd.html
National Institutes of Health Pioneer Award. (This award has been given to a person who focused an effort on making the labs ADA accessible.) http://commonfund.nih.gov/pioneer/index
Texas A&M University has Computer Science and Technology for accessibility. https://itaccessibility.tamu.edu/help/intro.html
Session 5C. Role of Social Media in Science News Reporting
Facilitator: John Rennie
Session type: Discussion
Description: Live tweeting meetings and events, Storifying scattered posts by diverse authors into coherent narratives, crowdsourcing for information and sources, using G+ Hangouts for interviews, and of course, blogging as publication in its own right: social media have become powerful new tools for science reporting. Come to this session prepared to discuss great examples of the media used right—and the new challenges for reporters and editors alike. How are news rooms that traditionally valued scoops and exclusives adapting to a reporting process that often works publicly and outside the brand? Does the use of social media alter audiences’ perceptions of the journalism's reliability, depth or coherence?
Background reading--useful with respect to identifying how much various audiences rely on social media as useful sources of news and what some of the standards for using social media are for some news organizations (for better or worse).
Pew Research Journalism Project: News Use Across Social Media Platforms. http://www.journalism.org/2013/11/14/news-use-across-social-media-platforms/
Pew Research Internet Project: Social Media Update 2013. http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/12/30/social-media-update-2013/
“The Transition to Digital Journalism,” by Paul Grabowicz (UC Berkeley Grad. School Journalism). http://multimedia.journalism.berkeley.edu/tutorials/digital-transform/social-networks/
International Journalists’ Network: A guide to using social media to report breaking news—without getting burned. http://ijnet.org/blog/guide-using-social-media-report-breaking-news-without-getting-burned
Agence France-Presse’s Guidelines for Using Social Media. http://www.afp.com/newsletter/new-social-media-guidelines.pdf
“Twitter as a tool for conservation education and outreach: what scientific conferences can do to promote live-tweeting,” by D.S. Shiffman (who?), Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. http://rjd.miami.edu/assets/pdfs/pubs/Shiffman%202012%20conference%20live-tweeting.pdf
Roles of social media.
- (Biggest role) Spreading the word, disseminating news.
- (Next biggest role) Analysis of the science.
- Front line reporting, breaking news announcements.
Pew research shows that Reddit, Twitter and Facebook are the three largest sites for getting science news; but only 3% of the population is on Reddit! Most are on Facebook.
What's our unique contribution? We can be a bridge to connect different groups (e.g., personal connections thru Facebook, professional connections thru Twitter).
- People tend to read headlines; how do we condense the info?
- Do we use clickbait?
- Once we get readers to the material, they need to be able to understand it.
- Promoting a site can be hard - it's a big world.
- Big voices tend to dominate - we need “guerrilla relationships”: form a connection to a journalist through social media!
- We must respond quickly to misinformation.
- We must be careful not to respond in a silly way for a serious issue.
- We must look back and assess if past information was actually significant.
- There is a risk of misinforming, for example: Live tweeting of the Boston bombing - this is dangerous because there could be misinformation.
- There are different audiences on different platforms and even on one platform.
- Is Twitter used mostly for business? And Facebook for family/personal posting?
- There are ethical, legal, and practical issues.
- Use visual tools.
- Create opportunities for artists and they'll communicate for you.
- Eye candy pictures get the most likes, but science posts can get click-thrus to the article.
- Social media promotes freedom of speech - we are happy a conversation is happening!
- Curate materials from those you trust as a resource.
- Hold the brands accountable to produce good information.
- Make information accessible - for example, consider someone who is visually impaired.
What is the effect of social news reporting on journalism? There is a fear of some scientist/organization messing up on social media, and the mob judgement that would result. Should there be a central place to assess the validity of and fact check social media reporting?
Storified here by ScienceOnline: https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-scionews/
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23scionews&src=typd&f=realtime
There were no additional resources.
Session 5D. Blogs on the Beltway (Q & A About Communicating for/with Policymakers)
Facilitators: Jamie Vernon, Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy, and Michael Halpern, Program Manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists – Center for Science and Democracy.
Session type: Q & A
Description: Some scientists and science communicators have a keen interest in contributing to science policy discussions. Others inadvertently participate in science policy discussions by making informal policy recommendations via Tweets, blog posts and articles. While many scientists and science communicators expect policy to be evidence-based, only the savviest scientists understand how science actually contributes to policymaking and how to plug-in to be effective. Venues for participating in science policy are diverse and, in some cases, unexpected. Knowing your way around the science policy landscape can help you leverage your science for improved science policy at the local, state and national level. In this session, we will discuss how scientists and science communicators can best integrate their science into the policymaking process at all levels. We’ll also discuss the opportunities and risks of commenting on science policy.
For discussion highlights, please see the Storify below.
Storified here by ScienceOnline: https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciobeltway
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciobeltway&src=typd&f=realtime
"iPolitics series on Canadian science policy," Confessions of a Science Librarian, by John Dupuis, 2013. http://scienceblogs.com/confessions/2013/10/22/ipolitics-series-on-canadian-science-policy/
"The Canadian War on Science: A long, unexaggerated, devastating chronological indictment," Confessions of a Science Librarian, by John Dupuis, 2013. http://scienceblogs.com/confessions/2013/05/20/the-canadian-war-on-science-a-long-unexaggerated-devastating-chronological-indictment/
Science in an Age of Scrutiny. How Scientists Can Respond to Criticism and Personal Attacks, 2012. A harassment guide from the Union of Concerned Scientists. http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/abuses_of_science/science-in-an-age-of-scrutiny.html
"Broader Impacts Review Criterion" from the NSF. http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2007/nsf07046/nsf07046.jsp
ASBMB Policy Blotter. Science policy news from ASBMB. http://policy.asbmb.org/
"8 Policy Issues that Every Physicist Should Follow," Vector, 2012. http://vector.nsbp.org/2012/10/05/7-policy-issues-that-every-physicist-should-follow/
On science policy. http://www.nsbp.org/policy/
"Issues of Equity in Physics Access and Enrollment." http://www.nsbp.org/en/cms/?1871
About Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/ambassadors.html
On visiting your legislator. http://sciencepolicy.agu.org/visit-your-legislator/
And, from the above, Tips for Scientists. http://sciencepolicy.agu.org/sciencepolicy/files/2013/10/Maeve_Boland_Tips_Eos.pdf
American Meteorological Society Summer Policy Colloquium. http://www2.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/policy/summer-policy-colloquium/
"Social Scientists Seek New Ways to Influence Public Policy," The Chronicle of Higher Education, by Beth McMurtrie, 2013. http://www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/content/social-scientists-seek-new-ways-influence-public-policy
(In French) "Le savoir ne se transmet pas à coups de marteau," Agence Science-Presse, by Pascal Lapointe, 2011. http://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/actualite/2011/06/30/savoir-ne-se-transmet-coups-marteau
"The Tragedy of the Risk-Perception Commons: Culture Conflict, Rationality Conflict, and Climate Change," Social Science Research Network, by Dan M. Kahan, et al., 2011. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1871503
If you attended this session and have any other notes or resources that were shared, we can add them if you send us the material. We would like the ePub to be as complete and helpful as possible. Thank you for contributing!
Session 5F/6F. Leveraging the Power of Open Data on the Web with Ted Hart (rOpenSci)
Facilitator: Ted Hart
Description: The rate of scientific publication over the past several decades has gone from bendy straw to fire hose. The question for science communicators is how can they effectively search existing literature, discover new trends, and make sense of the impact new discoveries are having? Luckily much of this data is freely available on the web. Users just need the tools to access and process what's coming through the fire hose. rOpenSci (http://www.ropensci.org) is a group devoted to providing people with the tools to access open data. Within the R environment we have developed a series of packages that can help users search scientific literature and metadata. Our session will teach users how to download and search scholarly metadata or fulltext (for open publications like PLOS) and text mine it to tame the fire hose of publications and visualize text data. We will also cover how to download impact measurements from various article-level metrics providers. A basic working knowledge of R is a prerequisite.
Ted’s intro slides are online here: http://ropensci.github.io/workshops-scio14-2014-02/00-introduction/intro_slides/index.html
Workshop - Copied directly from Ted’s notes, which are here: https://github.com/ropensci/workshops-scio14-2014-02/tree/master/01-core
Altmetrics, metadata search and text mining OA articles
* [plos alm] (http://ropensci.org/tutorials/alm_tutorial.html)
* [rAltmetric] (http://ropensci.github.io/rAltmetric/)
2). Metadata records
* [rmetadata] (http://ropensci.github.io/rmetadata/)
* [rentrez] (http://ropensci.github.io/rentrez/)
* [rpubmed] (http://www.github.com/ropensci/rpubmed)
* [rcrossref] (https://github.com/ropensci/rcrossref)
3). Full text access
* [rplos] (http://ropensci.github.io/rplos/)
* [rCharts] (http://rcharts.io/)
What we'll cover today
* Searching and plotting results from [metadata searches] (https://github.com/ropensci/workshops-scio14-2014-02/blob/master/01-core/1_Metadata_search.md)
* Searching and visualizing [altmetrics] (https://github.com/ropensci/workshops-scio14-2014-02/blob/master/01-core/2_Altmetrics.md)
* Text mining OA full text and [pubmed abstracts] (https://github.com/ropensci/workshops-scio14-2014-02/blob/master/01-core/3_Text_mining.md)
*You can grab the extracted code* [right here] (https://github.com/ropensci/workshops-scio14-2014-02/tree/master/01-core/rawSrc)
How to do this locally
Install these libraries
install.packages("ggplot2", dependencies = TRUE)
Then install some packages from GitHub. First install the devtools package since it will allow you to install packages directly from GitHub that haven't yet been submitted to CRAN.
Then install some packages:
Wrapping up - Copied directly from Ted’s notes, which are here: https://github.com/ropensci/workshops-scio14-2014-02/tree/master/02-wrapping-up
Our workshops are always evolving, and we'd love your feedback. http://ropensci.org/scio14
The RStudio you used for the workshop today is available as a public Amazon Machine Image (AMI). The machine ID is: ami-25787c4c
This means that you can use your own personal Amazon account to launch an instance of this machine image at your convenience. We'll keep all the stable versions of rOpenSci packages and tools updated at all times.
You will most likely just want to work locally on your copy of RStudio. In that case, you'll need the latest version of R (currently 3.0.2) and RStudio for your platform. Then install the following packages:
install.packages("ggplot2", dependencies = TRUE)
Then install some packages from GitHub. First install the devtools package since it will allow you to install packages directly from GitHub that haven't yet been submitted to CRAN.
Then install some packages:
I may have missed a few dependencies. If so, apologies in advance.
Storified here (a very short storify) by ScienceOnline: https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-scioopen
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23scioopen&src=typd&f=realtime
Geeks and repetitive tasks diagram. http://ropensci.github.io/workshops-scio14-2014-02/00-introduction/intro_slides/img/tasks.jpg
"Data-driven, interactive science, with d3.js plots and IPython Notebooks," Authorea, by Alberto Pepe and Nathan Jenkins, 2014. https://authorea.com/users/3/articles/3904/_show_article
Session 5G/6G. Before the Camera: Thinking Through Your Science Video
Session type: Workshop
Description: In this session, Derek Muller of Veritasium and Henry Reich of MinutePhysics and MinuteEarth will take you through the most important phase of video creation: pre-production. They will discuss their processes for ideation, research and writing, showing the evolution of works from early drafts through to the finished product. Using personal examples, they will illustrate essential do's and don'ts . They will also workshop a video idea live in the session so bring your concepts and let's get to work! The workshop will be fun and flexible, adjusting to the goals of the participants. Henry and Derek are happy to answer any and all questions you may have.
Planning is the most important piece. "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." (@veritasium)
- The video writing and research = 50% of your work.
- Storyboard = 5% of your work.
- Narrations = 5% of your work.
- Editing and VFX = ~25% of your work.
- Background: Use white cyc (or a roll of white paper).
- Shine lights on the white screen, not at the subject.
- 200 W lights from the hardware store are fine (i.e., high power).
- Crop a person into an animated video (it's easy).
- When filming, the subject often has a bright side and a dark side; put something white on the dark side to reflect.
- Canon T3i, 60D, or 5D.
- GoPro is good for science on the move.
- But, you can start with the equipment that you have!
- Find the right level of enthusiasm/animation on camera. "You're speaking to a box. That's weird." (@veritasium) The camera subtracts 20% of the enthusiasm: be loud, be animated, be a kid at Disney World.
- Lead with AWESOME: put your coolest bit first.
- Cut, cut, cut: generally, cut half to two-thirds of what you think belongs; snip out the time; it doesn't matter if it's nicely edited. The Internet don't care!
- The first draft = write it for you. The second draft = write it for your audience.
- Remember: sound/audio is more important than visuals/video.
- Maintain zip and pizazz by adding accents at regular intervals to reward viewers.
- Make it interesting, entertaining.
- Add tiny accents. "Scatter accents through your videos like cheese and nuts and dried cranberries in a salad."
- Use humor FTW.
- Stories and narratives have PROBLEMS. Add a problem to make a story out of your science. "If you create a problem, then you have a story." (@minutephysics)
Filming and editing.
- When you're somewhere interesting (such as a nice tropical place), shoot backgrounds for future use.
- Storyboard: a shot list is useful to write down, but it's not necessarily necessary.
- Synchronize clips: load the original audio and zoom mic info to sync.
- Pay attention to your instincts when watching your videos: did you cut away too fast? Does your camera need to be higher?
- Use lots of cuts: the secret to cuts is a "1-frame cross-fade in the audio" - if you mess up a phrase, start half a sentence before the mistake.
- MinutePhysics takes 1 image every 1 second and then compiles them. Adjust the frame rate to accommodate the audio. Two frames matter!
- It's not the subject, it's the treatment.
- It's not the tools, it's how you use them.
- The only way to get started is to get started.
Storified here by ScienceOnline: http://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-scioprep
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23scioprep&src=typd&f=realtime
Veritasium on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/1veritasium
MinutePhysics on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/minutephysics
MinuteEarth on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/minuteearth
An example shot with GoPro: http://youtu.be/0TzGsjPeG9o
An example of creative collaboration: http://youtu.be/1TKSfAkWWN0
Session 6A. Data-Based Communication: Insights from Science Communication Research
Session type: Q & A
Description: If we agree that science communication is essential for helping people make the best possible decisions, and we genuinely believe that the consequences of failing are severe – illness, death, catastrophe – then we must look to every available source of expertise that can improve our communication work. This is particularly urgent given how easily and inadvertently well-intentioned efforts can harden opinions, reinforce misperceptions, and deepen existing divides. That means looking not only to the work of storytellers, artists, and journalists, but also to the researchers who study communication. As a group, we’ve been skeptical: dense texts, terrible presentations, and questionable findings make us question the legitimacy of these ideas, or at least the return on investing in them. This Q&A session will focus on plain talk about what we really know, why paying attention to this research matters, and how we might apply it.
"But what do we DO with the science of science communication?" Compass Blogs, by Liz Neeley, 2014. http://compassblogs.org/blog/2014/02/24/scioscicomm1/
Communication isn't simply the performance; it's not sender to receiver. It's a network effect.
Science never tells you what to do; it tells you what question to ask.
Begin with the end in mind.
Scicomm is an omnipresent annoying acquaintance; it's everywhere, and it's not always good:
- There's constant gossiping.
- There are many conflicting perspectives.
- There are trust issues: whom do we trust?
- You can get cognitive overload.
- Sometimes you just want it to stop.
But there is a return investment: you appreciate the smart thinking that results.
The live stream of this session (embedded below) is archived at http://scienceonline.com/live/?id=94.
What inspires the scientist to communicate?
- Attitudes toward outreach.
- The goal of education ("science literacy")...
- And, the goal of inspiring a conversation; data isn't always the answer.
- Bringing communities that don't have a voice to the table.
Often there is no communication until a real need or a real emergency occurs. How do we help these scientists then communicate?
How do we know what works in regards to scicomm?
- It depends on the audience and the context; there are a multitude of options.
- Keep cultural differences in mind; no two people respond the same way (see the Cultural Cognition Project, below).
- We need to collaborate with social scientists. Natural scientists and social scientists need to talk to each other.
- Energy companies use a customer's bills to show his/her usage so that the customer can decide how/when to change the usage.
- Decisions are either rational (system 1), emotional (system 2), or both.
Why is scicomm so hard?
- When we do communication research, we are either observing or in the lab.
- The deficit model often fails.
- The dialog model works sometimes if the deficit model fails.
- History matters; hostility lasts a long time.
- Scientists are often isolated in their fields.
On the idea of "Just be nice":
- But, negative messaging sometimes works.
- Negative information is more believable.
- With risk communications, more explanation is always better, but people cannot deal with scary topics.
- The Risk Information Seeking And Processing (RISP) Model was developed at Marquette (see below).
- When we focus on appearing competent, we sometimes become colder and less nice.
- We need to take into account snap judgments made based on Google searches.
People no longer trust the news media. The trust for scientists is higher. But, scientists speak through the media; how is this reconciled?
- Does trust for journalists matter when we are so exposed to it?
- Scare tactics.
- Are there other ways of knowing the world?
Put the data aside and tell a story.
- A good example is Ellen Peters "enumeracy" (see below).
- Stories are okay; a narrative is important.
- Using a simple message is important.
- Vivid, identifiable stories are the most impactful.
- The messenger is critical.
- Multiple trusted messengers will help.
- One repetitive voice can also work (instead of multiple messengers).
On scicomm vs. science.
- The scicomm process is different from the science process.
- Help scientists understand the journalistic process.
- Journalists, scientists, advocates, etc. all have different goals; how do we achieve them all?
- How do we get scientists to believe that scicomm is worth their time?
- If this is easy, you may be doing it wrong.
Storified here by Anna Rascouet-Paz: https://storify.com/rascouet/data-based-communication
Storified here by Reiner Korbmann: https://storify.com/ReinerKorbmann/research-on-science-communication
Storified here by Sarah Keenihan: https://storify.com/sciencesarah/scienceonlineadelaide-scio14-watch-party-march-4-2
Storified here by Liz Neeley: https://storify.com/LizNeeley/scioscicomm-scio14
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23scioscicomm&src=typd&f=realtime
Resources and Recommendations from the Google Doc session notes
The National Academy of Sciences hosted multi-day Sackler colloquia in 2012 and 2013, featuring the top academics in science communication.
- Those videos are available in the dedicated Sackler Colloquium YouTube Channel. https://www.youtube.com/user/SacklerColloquia/videos
Liz moderated two Google+ hangouts in advance of the meeting this year as well.
The 2014 annual AAAS meeting included many relevant sessions, and vibrant live-tweeting brought much of that content into twitter discussions on the #AAASmtg hashtag.
A quick search of Mendeley yields hundreds of potentially relevant groups and thousands of papers. http://www.mendeley.com/groups/search/?query=%22science+communication%22+OR+%22risk+communication%22+OR+%22risk+perception%22+OR+%22media+studies%22+or+media
Similarly, on ResearchGate there are tens of thousands of users following science communication discussion topics. http://www.researchgate.net/topic/science_communication/
There is a core group of researchers who are active on Twitter, including...
- Dietram Scheufele, https://twitter.com/scheufele
- Dominique Brossard, https://twitter.com/brossardd
- Dan Kahan, https://twitter.com/cult_cognition
- Matt Nisbet, https://twitter.com/MCNisbet
- John Besley, https://twitter.com/JohnBesley
- Max Boykoff, https://twitter.com/boykoff
- Joe Arvai, https://twitter.com/DecisionLab
There are also active discussions regularly taking place on blogs like Cultural Cognition, Communication Breakdown, and From the Lab Bench.
COMPASS has begun integrating what we’ve learned into the communication trainings we lead, and Liz has blogged about some of the papers & concepts we draw from.
Liz has organized a number of ScienceOnline sessions, ranging from conversations on the deficit model to trust in science to a virtual journal club about incivility in comment threads.
Mendeley library curated by Liz Neeley: http://www.mendeley.com/groups/3334441/scioscicomm/
How does communication training benefit scientists? (fundraiser): https://experiment.com/projects/how-does-communication-training-benefit-scientists
Empirical data on the science of scicomm from the University of Wisconsin: http://scimep.wisc.edu/publications/
"Personalized Persuasion: Tailoring Persuasive Appeals to Recipients’ Personality Traits," Psychological Science, by Jacob B. Hirsh et al., 2012. http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/04/27/0956797611436349.abstract
The Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School: http://www.culturalcognition.net/
"Do Scare Tactics Work? A Meta-Analytic Test of Fear Appeal Theories," a video featuring Melanie Tannenbaum at the 2013 APS Convention. http://youtu.be/XV2CJTaBN84
On Regulatory Focus Therapy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_focus_theory
Dr. Robert Griffin at Diederich College of Communication at Marquette developed the RISP Model: https://diederich.marquette.edu/COC/Griffin.aspx
"A Model of (Often Mixed) Stereotype Content: Competence and Warmth Respectively Follow From Perceived Status and Competition," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, by Susan Fiske et al., 2002. http://www.people.hbs.edu/acuddy/2002,%20fiske,%20cuddy,%20glick,%20&%20xu,%20JPSP.pdf (includes a map of warmth vs. competence)
Dr. Ellen Peters at Ohio State University: http://faculty.psy.ohio-state.edu/peters/
On the Identifiable Victim Effect:
- "Why It Matters That Jolie Wrote About Her Medical Choice," PsySociety, by Melanie Tannenbaum, 2013. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/psysociety/2013/05/14/angelina-jolie-brca/
- "Stalin, Mother Teresa, and Rob Portman: What do they have in common?" PsySociety, by Melanie Tannenbaum, 2013. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/psysociety/2013/03/18/rob-portman-gay-marriage/
"Mental models of organic weed management: Comparison of New England US farmer and expert models," Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, by Randa Jabbour et al., 2013. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8946310
"Inferring the Popularity of an Opinion From Its Familiarity: A Repetitive Voice Can Sound Like a Chorus," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, by Kimberlee Weaver et al., 2007. http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-925821.pdf
"A Meta-Analysis of Fear Appeals: Implications for Effective Public Health Campaigns," Health Education and Behavior, by Kim Witte and Mike Allen, 2000. http://heb.sagepub.com/content/27/5/591.short
Resources for meeting with policy-makers: http://sciencepolicy.agu.org/visit-your-legislator/
"NPR Report Leads to Ebola-Related Protein Finding," The Doctor's Tablet Blog, by Jonathan Lai, 2014. http://blogs.einstein.yu.edu/npr-report-leads-to-ebola-related-protein-finding/
"8 Policy Issues that Every Physicist Should Follow" (issue #7), Vector, 2012. http://vector.nsbp.org/2012/10/05/7-policy-issues-that-every-physicist-should-follow/#issue7
Effective Risk Communication. Routledge, edited by Joseph Arvai and Louie Rivers III, 2013. books.google.com/books?isbn=1136272348
Session 6B. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and Science Online
Facilitator: Marianne Alleyne
Session type: Discussion
Description: Many in the ScioX community are involved in online (web-enhanced) teaching and learning. One type of online learning is through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). In this #scioMOOC session we can discuss the experiences that participants have had with MOOCs as instructors, instructional designers, content creators or as students – and why they may have opted out of participating in MOOCs. We will discuss the benefits of MOOCs, and their drawbacks, including for those people that MOOCs are intended to serve or attract. Content delivery success, workload for content creators and instructors, learning outcomes for students and expense/benefit to the institution involved in MOOCs will be compared to face-to-face instruction and other online learning methods.
Topics to consider.
1. MOOCs from the perspective of the instructor(s).
- Adam Van Arsdale blogging about his Introduction to Human Evolution MOOC. https://blogs.wellesley.edu/vanarsdale/2014/01/15/anthropology/and-then-we-came-to-the-end-a-few-post-mooc-musings/
- John Cochrane on his “Asset Pricing” MOOC. http://johnhcochrane.blogspot.com/2014/02/mooconomics.html?spref=tw
2. MOOCs from the perspective of a participating student.
3. MOOCs from the perspective of an affiliated instructional designer or administrator.
4. MOOCs in the media (Pros and Cons of MOOCs).
5. Science behind MOOCs (Is our children learning?).
Please see the Storify by Marianne Alleyne (below) for highlights from the discussion.
Storified here by Marianne Alleyne: https://storify.com/cotesia1/moocs-massive-open-online-courses-and-science-onli
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciomooc&src=typd&f=realtime
"Wrote down some thoughts about MOOCs while sitting at #Scio14 hotel bar…," Insects Did It First, by Marianne Alleyne, 2014. http://insectsdiditfirst.com/wrote-down-some-thoughts-about-moocs-while-sitting-at-scio14-hotel-bar/
Inspiring video on MOOCs: "What is a MOOC?" Written and Narrated by Dave Cormier, Video by Neal Gillis, 2010. http://youtu.be/eW3gMGqcZQc
"The Flipped Classroom," UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. https://pharmacy.unc.edu/faculty/the-academy/the-flipped-classroom
"My department and a MOOC," Adventures in Ethics and Science, by Janet D. Stemwedel, 2013. http://scientopia.org/blogs/ethicsandscience/2013/05/02/my-department-and-a-mooc/
"Optimal Video Length for Student Engagement," EdX, by Philip Guo, 2013. https://mktg.edx.org/blog/optimal-video-length-student-engagement
"Disrupting the Higher Ed Content Cycle," Inside Higher Ed, by Jonathan Senchyne, 2014. http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2014/02/24/just-who-does-new-york-times-turn-higher-ed-expertise-essay
"Can MOOCs Replace Traditional Textbooks?" MOOC content can be a valuable addition to course materials, but more experimentation is needed, Campus Technology, by Greg Thompson, 2013. http://campustechnology.com/articles/2013/12/04/can-moocs-replace-traditional-textbooks.aspx
"Who Doesn’t Like Penguins? Introducing the PLOS ONE Marine Megafauna Collection," PLOS Blogs, by Victoria Costello, 2014. http://blogs.plos.org/blog/2014/01/28/linking-open-access-marine-science-open-online-learning-plos-one-marine-megafauna-collection/
Session 6C. Measuring Success in a Digital Landscape (Altmetrics)
Session type: Q & A
Hashtag: #sciomtx (changed from #sciosuccess)
Description: Understanding the impact of your work will help guide your future research – and career progression. Traditional metrics of research impact have focused on citations of papers, however, there are many other ways to measure impact. The internet has irreversibly changed science publishing, and provides a wealth of data on how much a published paper is read, reused, and revered by the authors’ peers. These alternative (“alt”) metrics for measuring the impact of papers focus on more rapidly available data than citations. During this session we will discuss several article-level citation tracking tools available from Google, Microsoft, Elsevier and others. We’ll also discuss questions such as: What are the challenges ahead? Can altmetrics replace JIF and h-index and other metrics as measurements of output for the purpose of career advancement? What are some of the weaknesses of altmetrics? Is it possible to distinguish between “scholarly” and “sexy” research using altmetrics?
Here’s a short intro to get the conversation going: Altmetrics: A Manifesto. http://altmetrics.org/manifesto/
- We're living in an increasingly interconnected world; information is easier to access.
- Primary scholarly research is now accessible on the web and shared on social media.
- Space limitations are no longer an issue.
- Traditional ways of measuring impact have changed; traditional metrics are obsolete.
- The journal impact factor is meaningless for journals such as PLOS.
- Most of the audience is academia, science writers, and a handful of publishers.
What are some of the more popular metrics being measured using altmetrics?
- Page views.
- PDF downloads.
- Shares on Mendeley.
- Tweets, Facebook shares, other social activity.
- Blog mentions.
What tools are being used?
- Altmetrics http://www.altmetric.com/
- Impact Story http://impactstory.org/
- Plum Analytics http://plumanalytics.com/
- Altmetrics are supposed to be complementary metrics, not a measure of whether or not the science is good or of how good it is.
- If someone publishes in a lab in which the PI has no Twitter followers, there will be few tweets of the paper; but if the PI has 20,000 followers, the paper will go viral.
- The problems of altmetrics are nothing compared to assigning value to work depending on where it was published.
- If contributions do not get published in a traditional format, then they fall through the cracks.
How Altmetrics.com works.
- Each paper gets a score.
- Blog posts are not counted.
- Tweeting your own paper will not be measured.
Comment: We are making the same mistake that we made with citations--putting a single score on a paper.
- We need to understand, for example, what it means to be put on Mendeley.
- The citation index used to be meaningful; now people just look up the impact factor, which is not meaningful.
- Response: Assigning a single score to an article is a random function of what lab it's from. But whatever the problems are with assigning a number, the fact remains: if you're applying for a faculty job with a shitty Nature paper with no citations, you have a better chance than if you have a good paper in a lower journal that has 1000's of citations.
- (Altmetrics is trying to fix this problem.)
Question: What are recommendations for a small PIO office? How should they help PI's start their own Twitter or other social media accounts?
- Have a social networking office for scientists.
- Scientists underestimate the importance of tweeting and blogging papers. They think, "I'm published, I'm done." Pubchase data shows that if you blog about your research, people are more likely to see it. You have to promote it; but scientists are so traumatized that it's hard for them to do.
- A lot of important papers do not get blogged/mentioned because they do not have popular or sexy topics. Popularization is not related to the quality of the work. Altmetrics seems to measure popularization. E.g., the concept of Omega # in math is only mentioned once, but it is fundamentally important.
- Use Altmetrics as the "dangling carrot" to get scientists interested in communicating their science better.
- Use the idea of papers as marketing tools that will help scientists get grants.
- To get scientists interested in tweeting, put together a Tweetdeck that shows who is tweeting about their science; they get competitive and want to participate.
- The scientists' work does not have an impact unless if affects the science and the public. Being a scientists is not just about making a discovery.
Question: (on introducing faculty members to altmetrics) Most people know what it is but not what it means for their career. When people ask, What does altmetrics mean?, what should we tell them?
- Try to point out that alternative ways exist to measure research papers. Carefully frame this discussion, however: we need traditional ways of measuring alternative outputs.
- A group of papers can have a large number of views, citations, bookmarks, and/or tweets. You can use the information to tell the authors that even though their paper is not being cited (for example), it is still having an impact.
- If you look at all of the citations in CrossRef (http://www.crossref.org/), about 15% are not to papers but to URLs. Impact Story is working on capturing this kind of output.
- The name Altmetrics was a genius part of their branding, but it may be a problem. Counting stuff is dumb.
Question: What do the different platforms measure? Answer: Will tweet it. (We're not sure where this is.)
Question: Do grant and tenure committees really care about these metrics? How much?
- A partial yes--they do care. Sometimes you have to note the number of times a paper has been cited. In Web of Science (http://thomsonreuters.com/thomson-reuters-web-of-science/) there is an H-index.
- But the H-index is a traditional metric.... True, but some papers are more popular on Google than on Web of Science.
- For tenure-track faculty, eventually (10 years from now) our Twitter/blog/social media presence will be important for our impact on the field.
Question: What about other metrics, like of mentorship? Should one list the number of students or Twitter followers that he/she has?
- Right now, they do not care, but they will.
- We need to make our own H-index to show that "in my field, I'm making an impact."
- Research assessments should be MORE alternative. The PI is both an advisor and a mentor. We measure/hire/reward the first (publications) but not the second. Often, good mentoring has costs to publication that are not recorded. A PI's impact on the world includes the scientists he/she is training.
- We need to track how good PIs are at mentoring: Whom did they mentor? Where did the mentees end up? What positions do they now hold?
- The alternative metrics should include how we train others.
- At research universities, scientists are supposed to teach and mentor, so this should be measured.
- It is hard to measure but key; right now it is not measured at all.
- Checkmarks to use as you read: Is the work useful? Did the PI include students on the paper?
- Use ORCID (http://orcid.org/) to see how people are related to each other--could this be used to measure connections between researchers and where they end up? E.g., did they become PIs? CEOs? Scientists in industry?
- If we measured how a PI does as a mentor, this would shift the metrics away from items like citations in top journals and impact factor.
Question: How do you track metrics yourself? For example, a viral blog post was tweeted 10,000's of times. If the author were not monitoring it himself, he'd never realize the impact.
- Suggestions were made that were not recorded in the session notes.
- It would be nice to measure the impact of things that are not papers.
- One person "can't imagine writing a paper that 70,000 people would read."
Question: Is there a product to use?
- Products like Topsy (http://topsy.com/) can track the URL of your blog if you get the pro version.
- Can you see who that is influential is looking at your content?
- Marketing professionals measure this stuff. In the business and industry worlds, our altmetrics is simply metrics.
- Tools: Topsy, Hootsuite, Google Analytics.
- Google analytics is the best because it captures mobile data.
- Shares (on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest), not page views, are the key.
- The sharer lends his/her credibility to the content. Brands pay a lot to try to achieve this.
- DOI (digital object identifier: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_object_identifier) is very important. If you have a DOI on it, most services will pick it up. (DOI on figures, reviews, and other forms of publishing.)
- In trying to get things measured, a problem is transparency.
- Citation numbers are often hard to duplicate.
- An example: with one PLOS paper, Altmetrics.com was reporting three times the tweets as another company. This turned out to be because Altmetrics had decided to tweet to the archives, i.e., they were tweeting about their own PLOS One Collection (http://www.ploscollections.org/article/browseIssue.action?issue=info:doi/10.1371/issue.pcol.v02.i19). This is a reasonable decision, but it was not transparent.
- Goal: strive for open source and transparency.
Question: What to tell PIs?
- You distinguish yourself by telling a story. Tell how you matter to the institution. Create data, and help people bring the evidence for why the work is important. This is better than a ranking based on how many Twitter followers you have.
- Use the societies and nonprofits that are happy to help scientists promote their research.
- Ask grad students to help; they are motivated to get involved in the science community.
- Ask for help; there will be lots of people who want to help you.
- PIOs need some kind of landing page if they are to promote the research; they can suggest to scientists that they set up a blog.
- There can be institutional blogs or blogs on other sites like Wordpress. Now, some institutions are using sites like Wordpress for their official blogs at no cost.
- Newcastle University maintains a blog system for its staff and students: https://blogs.ncl.ac.uk/
- A group of scientists can maintain a blog together; this makes it easier to manage the content. For example, see the University of Liverpool: http://livuniaddictiongroup.blogspot.com/2014/05/research-roundup-spring-2014.html?m=1
Challenges looking forward.
- Tools can be gamed and therefore may not measure the true impact. How can we alter this, or can we change the system?
- A problem is that there is no differentiation between positive and negative discussions. (The H-index does not discriminate, either.)
- Can we use visualizations to understand the links between users? You can see a network structure if you look at Twitter.
- We can incentivize outreach and impact outside the circle of science.
- Is there space for more qualitative effects on the communities that you are trying to affect?
- Who are we impacting besides researchers? What is the impact on the people you ultimately work for, i.e., the general public?
- More research is needed. Proxies (bookmarking, use, sharing) and how they relate to each other need to be understood. At the end of the day, researchers, marketers, or fundraisers need to make decisions about using their resources to target specific audiences. How well is it working? We do not really understand how research knowledge actually reaches people.
- "Star metrics" is a metric that measures the impact of research on the community.
- What are you trying to measure? The quality of a topic, or if it is hot/sexy? We are working on standardized independent peer review outside of the journal system. At Rubriq (http://www.rubriq.com/) the idea is to assess the research quality beyond what journal it is in.
Storified here by Cesar A. Berrios: https://storify.com/Cesar_F1000/science-online-sciomtx-and-sciosuccess-session-on
Storified here by ScienceOnline (shorter version): https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciomtx-sciosuccess
In addition to the resources mentioned above...
"Research impact: Altmetrics make their mark," Nature, by Roberta Kwok, 2013. http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/science/articles/10.1038/nj7463-491a
"Academic Assessment: Nature versus Nurture," Pubchase, by Lenny Teytelman, 2014. http://blog.pubchase.com/academic-assessment-nature-versus-nurture/
The MPACT Project (mentorship). http://www.ibiblio.org/mpact/
Mark Kuchner's blog Marketing for Scientists. http://marketingforscientists.com/
Bookmarklet for tracking article-level metrics. http://www.altmetric.com/bookmarklet.php
"Open and Transparent Altmetrics for Discovery," OKF Open Science Working Group, by Peter Kraker, 2013. http://science.okfn.org/2013/12/09/open-and-transparent-altmetrics-for-discovery/
Session 6D. How to Stay in the Moment When Covering Live Events Online
Session type: Discussion
Description: With Twitter and other social media platforms becoming a larger and larger part of how people communicate, live-tweeting (or tweeting an event, talk or breaking news for other attendees and your followers) is rapidly becoming an integral part of any network's communication plan. But when you live-tweet, how do you straddle the real world and the online world – keeping your brain in both places while your fingers do the walking to help you communicate? This session will address different live-tweeting strategies, uses for live-tweeting, solutions to common problems and more.
A good introduction to live-tweeting is simply to try it or to follow the hashtag or handle of someone else who is live-tweeting an event.
David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter and an expert tweeter) has written a few tips for live-tweeting: http://www.southernfriedscience.com/?p=12120
Here are two great examples of what live-tweeting can do:
1) David Manly co-moderated a session about first-person narrative storytelling at ScienceOnline 2013, and there was so much online discussion that he made a Storify (a virtual scrapbook of photos and tweets made during the session). Take a look: http://storify.com/davidmanly/wrapping-up-myscistory
2) Jason Goldman (@jgold85) and a few other researchers live-tweeted the airing of the documentary Blackfish on CNN last year, and it was a great way to get experts and the general public together and talking about the important topic of captivity in marine parks. Here it is: http://storify.com/jgold85/livetweeting-blackfish-1
- Do your research pre-event.
- Access the materials that will be presented during an event (if possible).
- Find external resources that add value (i.e., links to more content).
- Focus on quality, not quantity.
- Prep as many tweets as you can beforehand and intersperse them with live tweets, if possible.
- Live-tweeting can be like note-taking in a seminar. But, if everyone is just tweeting what's happening, you get 50 of the same tweet (see more below)...
- Therefore, pick out the jokes and the special nuggets.
- Look for the rhythm of the event; find openings where there is a lull in which to tweet.
What are challenges for live-tweeting?
- Pre-planning can lead to creating tweets that are not as awesome as standalone posts.
- Distinguishing between tweets that quote the speaker and tweets of your own thoughts is difficult.
- How do you stay in the moment?
- Is it worth it to live-tweet if no one is following? Yes, if you can engage a "champion" who has lots of followers and will retweet you.
- It's a challenge to translate deep scientific matters into a tweet.
Live-tweeting can be different in different situations and for different people.
- If there are a handful of tweeters, it can be way more work.
- If the majority of the room is tweeting, then it is easier because you can retweet and engage others.
- If you are the only one live-tweeting, then you might choose to tweet more of the conversation, because you're the only one doing it.
- If you are the only one live-tweeting, you can take notes and tweet more later; you might have to do this if your battery dies, you get tendonitis, or you get sent to Twitter jail. (Tweeting is temporarily disabled because Twitter thinks you are a spammer if you reach more than 100 tweets/hour or 1000 tweets/day.)
- Also, think about who your audience is - the people who are not in the room will appreciate "note-taking."
- Also, is the audience likely to be following only YOU or the event hashtag (and therefore everyone else who is live-tweeting)?
- Some people tweet for themselves, to keep focused on the event and engaged.
- Some people use Twitter instead of taking notes and then storify the tweets and share them. However, the 140 character limit can limit the "notes" you can take.
- To each, his/her own!
- Don't feel like you HAVE to live-tweet.
Suggestions for online tools:
- Hootsuite (https://hootsuite.com/) You can have multiple tabs for multiple searches, so you can track several sessions.
- Tweetdeck (https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/)
- Buffer (https://bufferapp.com/)
- Find the balance between 1 tweet every 3 seconds and no tweets.
- With practice, you will get better at thinking in 140 characters.
- It is much better to listen and paraphrase than to copy/paste/edit from longer notes.
- If you cannot put it in 140 characters or less, you probably don't understand it or shouldn't be tweeting it.
- Use photos: they get way more engagement. (Not so much with slides; also, they may not be "public" so you should ask.)
Concerns about live-tweeting.
- Be mindful of the audience; are they the people in the room, your followers, and/or people watching the event remotely?
- Know your audience and tailor your content; if you have different groups (like David has science people and "super-geeky entertainment types"), you can start each tweet with a handle and the tweets will only go to others who follow that user. (PRO TIP!)
- Your followers can mute a hashtag or feed. You can let them know ahead of time that you'll be live-tweeting and that a flood/waterfall/avalanche/meteor shower of tweets is coming. (Example of how to mute hashtags: http://www.iloveyoumorethancarrots.com/2013/03/how-to-mute-hashtags-on-mobile-twitter.html)
- Think about the context of what you post: could it harm the speaker?
- Will you tweet something that makes your industry look bad?
- Speakers should be clear at the start if they do not want information to leave the room.
- People can download your entire Twitter archive; therefore, don't post anything that you do not want current/future employers, past/current/future significant others, parents, friends, etc to see.
- Never tweet drunk!
Great things about live-tweeting.
- Live-tweeting is a great way to get more followers.
- Twitter is a great way to appear more human or relatable, which helps people to connect with you.
- Live-tweeting is a way to create relationships.
- Being flooded with live-tweets might alert one of your followers that something cool is happening.
- You will probably lose followers, but there is usually a net gain.
- There is a silent understanding/agreement among Twitter users that we can't all be relevant to everyone all the time. You will have diverse followers (like a cocktail party!).
- The number of followers is less important than creating and maintaining an online persona.
Other random stuff.
- We should all watch Blackfish on Netflix.
- Twitter has a random "unfollow" bug.
Storified here by ScienceOnline: https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciolive
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciolive&src=typd&f=realtime
Note that #scioLive overlaps with #sciOlive, a hashtag about olive trees.
Slideshare: "Get the most out of Twitter at a convention," by Mary K.D. D'Rozario, 2013. http://www.slideshare.net/mobile/marydrozario/get-the-most-out-of-twitter-at-a-convention
On employees of corporations and free speech: http://t.co/AGHYctHsSz
"Fireable Tweets," Inside Higher Ed, by Scott Jaschik, 2013. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/12/19/kansas-regents-adopt-policy-when-social-media-use-can-get-faculty-fired
Session 7A. Social Media as a Scientific Research Tool
Facilitator: David Shiffman, University of Miami (@whysharksmatter)
Session type: Discussion
Description: The ScienceOnline community knows all about how to use social media tools for communicating scientific research to the public, but in this session, we will discuss how to use social media tools to conduct scientific research. We will discuss examples from various disciplines including economics, fisheries management, public health and public policy. We will focus on effective strategies and success stories for using these tools for research, as well as obstacles that these researchers face.
David's pre-conference blog post. "Social media as a scientific research tool: Background info for my #scio14 session," Southern Fried Science, by David Shiffman, 2014. http://www.southernfriedscience.com/?p=16280
The live stream of this session (embedded below) is archived at http://scienceonline.com/live/?id=95.
Examples of using social media to do research.
- David uses Twitter as a data-gathering device in research (see his blog post for examples of how to use social media as a research tool). It has been done in a variety of discussions and has been very successful.
- Upwell measures and understands how people talk about the ocean. They do outreach on ocean topics via the Internet.
- (There was more talk that was not recorded about how to leverage the information, strategies, and good/bad experiences.)
- Collaborative research works well when using social media.
What tools are used to listen?
- David uses Twitter and a number of third-party client tools. Twitter has millions of people telling what they think at any given time. This may be a resource for social science. He does not use fancy software because he does not need extra power.
- (Many other tools are listed—see Resources below.)
- Some of these tools are very expensive.
- It takes lots of work/time to analyze this data.
- Some analysis is difficult because human language is hard to analyze; you cannot measure sentiment.
Examples of results.
- Broad data was obtained on when sharks/dolphins were “popular.” Sharks became popular on Twitter because influential people were reinventing the wheel. Activist groups were misleading the data. There is a huge disconnect between untrained people who are passionate about sharks and the people who know how to help sharks.
- David’s blog (Southern Fried Science) has an enormous database of people telling their feelings/attitudes/knowledge about specific things.
- With H1N1, people tracked the flu. The anecdotal data matched the CDC data. Are there privacy issues? You can learn a lot from what has been voluntarily shared.
- People tracked an earthquake via social media.
- One study exposed studies that were trying to affect public opinion.
- When tracking tweets/likes/shares, who is in the choir and who is outside? Are you engaging new people?
- Concerning metrics and clout, what is the impact of social media? Some tools break the numbers down by subject area.
- What is the background of new followers?
- How do you reach the fence-sitters on a controversial issue?
- One tool, NodeXL (see Resources), can map who’s talking about a subject via keywords. You can see the connections and how the subject changes and shapes topics.
- Shark Week was like the “Ocean Superbowl”: there was too much data and the tool “broke.”
- The Wilson Center tracks disaster/crisis communications. They are interested in the spread of news as it goes viral, from channel to channel.
On analyzing emerging phenomena.
- Twitter is the easiest to analyze.
- Facebook is more difficult because of the friends network.
- Google+ shows ripples; you can see how far the content is shared.
- Social Bro provides keyword analysis.
On the ethics of analyzing data that is public without consent.
- David eliminates all the names. The IRB has said this is okay at U Miami.
- F1000 has a best practices article.
- Most institutes have ethics clearance.
- Are people even able to know they are included in a study?
- What is the age of a person on Twitter—can you find that out?
- AAAS did an analysis of the tweets of women who had just given birth; their language use before and after birth predicted post-partum depression (PPD). What if this info got out to the insurance companies? This article could lead to help with PPD or it could affect the woman’s insurance or employment.
- If you use social media, you are the product; your info is being sold.
- For how many people are ethical concerns the deal-breaker?
- In the corporate world, their are potential lawsuit concerns.
- The personal/public health subjects are what create ethics concerns.
- Another example is a study that used the Twitter API to link keywords to suicide rates by region; 40,000 tweets were tied to geographies. The researchers wanted to help people, but they were using very personal information; there is a stigma and if the wrong people found out, it could have a negative impact.
- Is there a difference between analyzing tweets and inferring conclusions (that someone will have PPD or be suicidal) versus straightforward commentary? It is the same thing in the eyes of the law. Is technology ahead of the law?
Using tools for citizen science.
- You can actively solicit feedback or use a survey tool.
- How do you reach those who don’t participate in social media? How can they have influence?
- Any study has its limits; you must know them. You can’t make global claims.
- Use social media as a tool, but be deliberate about defining your audience. Who is actually online? Acknowledge the age group and the socioeconomic differences.
- If large audiences have not yet been reached, you can use social media to complement your current knowledge.
- You can bring technology to underserved audiences and analyze how it is used.
- There was an access study: folks learned a lot without support when they were simply given access to tech.
On the difficulty of data gathering.
- Using social media is easy, but gathering survey data is hard.
- Are there studies that delineate caveats for this form of data gathering?
- The PPD study used very advanced algorithms, not the easy stuff.
- How can we leverage more advanced analytics that have been developed by good social scientists?
- Has anyone done this on a smaller scale—measuring a local program or smaller group? This brings up issues of the ethics of non-IRB data gathering.
- Small organizations do not have many resources for measurement. Social media is free, and it can be used for analysis measurement, but do people know how to do it well?
- Are there resources or forums these groups could use?
- Start with the low-hanging fruit: Twitter keyword metrics. Use analytics.twitter.com to see who is mentioning your organization. More tools mentioned (see Resources).
- If the tool is too easy, though, it’s a warning that it is underestimating the data complexity.
- Be cautious about jumping aboard. Be very careful about drawing conclusions.
- The social science input is still very valuable. David has social scientists involved throughout the process; there are rigorous, complex methods involved. This is a necessary component.
- From the publisher perspective, it is difficult to publish papers that use social media data.
In conclusion, social media use is an affordable, scalable, modifiable model. “Everything is discussed on Twitter.” But the ethical issues may be greater than the metrics.
Storified here by ScienceOnline; please note that Twitter had trouble accessing these tweets, so some might be missing: https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-scioresearch
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23scioresearch&src=typd&f=realtime
"5 things we discussed in my #scio14 'social media as a scientific research tool' session," Southern Fried Science, David Shiffman, 2014. http://www.southernfriedscience.com/?p=16801
“#scioresearch Twitter NodeXL SNA Map and Report for Sunday, 02 March 2014 at 03:56 UTC,” by Marc Smith. https://www.nodexlgraphgallery.org/Pages/Graph.aspx?graphID=17371
"Twitter Metrics From #scio14, a Brief Overview," by Edmund Hart, 2014. http://emhart.info/blog/2014/03/05/twitter-metrics/
"Twitter Data Shows When We're Happy, Sad, Hungover," Mashable, by Kurt Wagner, 2014. http://mashable.com/2014/03/10/twitter-data-hungover/
"The Great Pokémon Experiment," Scizzle Blog, by Elaine To, 2014. http://www.myscizzle.com/blog/great-pokemon-experiment/
"How Twitter shapes public opinion," EurekAlert, 2014. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-03/aiop-hts030614.php
"Space Oddity," Scizzle Blog, by Asu Erden, 2014. http://www.myscizzle.com/blog/space-oddity/
“The social biology professor: Effective strategies for social media engagement,” Ideas in Ecology and Evolution, by Susan M Bertram and Madhusudan Katti, 2013. http://library.queensu.ca/ojs/index.php/IEE/article/view/4607
“Upwell's Pilot Report (aka 165 pages of awesomeness),” Upwell, by Ray Dearborn, 2013. http://www.upwell.us/upwells-pilot-report-aka-165-pages-awesomeness
“Did You Feel It? Citizens Contribute to Earthquake Science,” Wilson Center, 2011. http://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/did-you-feel-it-citizens-contribute-to-earthquake-science
“Mapping Twitter Topic Networks: From Polarized Crowds to Community Clusters,” PewResearch Internet Project, by Marc A. Smith, Lee Rainie, Ben Shneiderman, and Itai Himelboim, 2014. http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/02/20/mapping-twitter-topic-networks-from-polarized-crowds-to-community-clusters/
“How we analyzed Twitter social media networks with NodeXL,” PewResearch Center, 2014. http://www.pewinternet.org/files/2014/02/How-we-analyzed-Twitter-social-media-networks.pdf
“Connecting Grassroots and Government for Disaster Response,” Wilson Center, by John Crowley. http://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/connecting-grassroots-and-government-for-disaster-response-1
“Tweeting Up a Storm: The Promise and Perils of Crisis Mapping,” Wilson Center, by Lea Shanley. http://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/tweeting-storm-the-promise-and-perils-crisis-mapping
Ethical research standards in a world of big data,” F1000 Research, by Caitlin M. Rivers and Bryan L. Lewis, 2014. http://f1000research.com/articles/3-38/v1
“Postnatal depression can be predicted by monitoring woman's Twitter feed, scientists find,” The Telegraph, by Sarah Knapton, 2014. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/10645526/Postnatal-depression-can-be-predicted-by-monitoring-womans-Twitter-feed-scientists-find.html
“Learning machines scour Twitter in service of bullying research,” University of Wisconsin-Madison News, by Chris Barncard, 2012. http://www.news.wisc.edu/20931
“The child-driven education” with Sugatra Mitra, TEDGlobal, 2010. http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education
“As Police Monitor Social Media, Legal Lines Become Blurred,” NPR All Tech Considered, by Martin Kaste, 2014. http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/02/28/284131881/as-police-monitor-social-media-legal-lines-become-blurred
- Radian 6 Buddy Media Social Studio. http://www.salesforcemarketingcloud.com
- Topsy: Search and Analyze the Social Web. Some participants do not recommend this. http://topsy.com
- Crimson Hexagon. http://www.crimsonhexagon.com
- “Which Social Media and Marketing Tools Are Publishers Actually Using Successfully,” Digital Book World, 2014. http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2014/which-social-media-and-marketing-tools-are-publishers-actually-using-successfully/
- ScraperWiki. https://scraperwiki.com
- Twitter Libraries. https://dev.twitter.com/docs/twitter-libraries
- “Using the R twitteR package,” Musings from a PhD Candidate, Dave Tang, 2013. http://davetang.org/muse/2013/04/06/using-the-r_twitter-package/
- Related packages. http://ropensci.org/related/
- Gephi. https://gephi.org
- “Advanced search API capabilties,” PLOS Tech, by Joe Osowski, 2013. http://blogs.plos.org/tech/advanced-search-api-capabilties/
- PLOS Reports: Article-Level Metrics. http://almreports.plos.org
- Mention. Provides reports and feedback from keywords. https://en.mention.com
- Social Mention. Cross-platform tools. http://www.socialmention.com
Session 7B. Virtual Events: How To Do It Well
Facilitator: Nicole Gugliucci
Session type: Discussion
Description: The internet facilitates communication over great distances and enables us to "attend" an event happening anywhere on Earth or completely in virtual space. Sometimes we just want to share our "meatspace" experiences with the virtual world. From web chats to conferences to live broadcasts, how do we do virtual events, and how do we do them well? We'll discuss technology, platforms, moderation, archiving, and spreading the word about virtual events. What are your experiences? What would you like to see in the future? What bizarre idea would you like to try?
This session was not scribed. Some notes from the facilitator and from the tweets are below.
Ideas for virtual events.
- Virtual field trips to sites, labs, etc.
- Automated equipment that enables virtual visitors to use the equipment.
- Virtual poster sessions.
- Google Hangouts on Air; these have been used for various live astronomy events.
- Virtual star party.
- Virtual spelunking.
- Twitter chats as a "lower tech" virtual event.
Challenges with virtual events.
- Google keeps changing the layout of Google Hangouts.
- Archiving Google Hangouts to YouTube is difficult for teachers and schools.
- Timing is an issue when the Earth is, uh, round.
- Phone bridges for press conferences are still desired.
- A chatter stream develops separate from the official Q&A.
- Issues are often social, not technical, with respect to virtual conferences and participation.
- Talking people or pretty images alone are boring - together, they are great!
- Virtual events can help people overcome "conference envy.”
- Anyone can attend a virtual event; money and travel are not necessary.
- Virtual poster sessions can last for a week; the event does not have to happen at one specific time.
Storified here by ScienceOnline: https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciovirtual
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciovirtual&src=typd&f=realtime
"Ten Simple Rules for Organizing a Virtual Conference—Anywhere," PLOS Computational Biology, by Nelson N. Gichora, et al., 2010. http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1000650
Recommended software for virtual events.
- Wirecast. http://www.telestream.net/Wirecast/
- Chromebox. http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/business/solutions/for-meetings.html
- Join Me. https://www.join.me
- Adobe Connect. http://www.adobe.com/products/adobeconnect.html
"Basic Molecular Evolution Workshop--A trans-African virtual training course."
Session 7C. Combatting Online Parasitism
Facilitator: Nadia Drake, Freelance Science Journalist, Blogger at National Geographic Phenomena (@slugnads, http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/blog/no-place-like-home/)
Session type: Discussion
Description: Many of us have seen our work show up, unacknowledged, in unexpected places and contexts. Some websites are relentless stealers of content; others shamelessly use the work of others to attract eyeballs or turn a profit. These are the kleptoparasites of the science communication ecosystem. But among these offenders are some shining examples of responsible content-sharing and aggregation -- outlets whose borrowing benefits both the creators and the purveyors of the work. That's the kind of symbiotic relationship we should be aiming for. Here, we will draw upon session participants to develop strategies for combatting online parasitism and promoting healthy content-sharing. How can we fight back against the kleptoparasites? I'm really hoping this session will be about more than just finger-pointing and griping, so bring your best and most constructive anti-parasite ideas to the room.
In every ecosystem, there are parasites – organisms that benefit at the expense of another. Kleptoparasites, in particular, employ a survival strategy that involves stealing food or prey from other animals. (Kleptoparasitic animals include magnificent frigate birds, bees, flies, wasps, and humans.) In the science communication ecosystem metaphor, these are the websites or pages that use the work of others, without attribution or compensation, to turn a profit. Whether scientist, illustrator, photographer, writer – we’ve all had our work shared inappropriately, and I’m willing to bet it makes you angry.
The truth is, combatting this kind of online parasitism is not easy. You could easily spend all day searching for your unattributed work, then drafting and sending take-down notices. The sadder truth is that many large websites – I’m looking at you, Daily Mail — don’t seem to care that they’re plagiarizing text and stealing photos. Others, like the Facebook page I F*cking Love Science (https://www.facebook.com/IFeakingLoveScience), have seemingly built empires based on sharing a multitude of uncompensated work.
But that’s not all. There are sites that manage to share content responsibly. The Guardian’s data blog (http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog), which properly sources and credits the creators of its borrowed content, is one of them. Smithsonian’s aggregated news stories (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/) are another. And of course, publications still engage in that age-old transaction of trading money for goods and services, and in doing so, manage to compensate a plethora of writers and photographers and scientists and illustrators.
It’s not impossible for mutually beneficial relationships to exist. So how can we make mutualism more common? How do we combat the parasites?
How many in the audience have had their work stolen? (About half.) Did you try to do something about it? (Only a few did.)
- Example: The company took care of it. Fox was the thief; they used a climate change article out-of-context.
- Example: Someone with a huge web following made a tracing of a comic and posted it on his own website. He refused to take it down until the artist posted screenshots of their conversation online.
- Example: SciencePorn used her images and did not provide a link. She asked if they could work together. They were very apologetic and provided links to her images (but not to other images).
- Example: Elise at I F*cking Love Science will usually fix a problem if you ask, but why should people have to keep asking her?
Much of this discussion has been about images. (Maybe stolen images are more obvious?) What are other examples?
- Blatant plagiarism or copying and pasting an entire story onto a site, with a small link to the original.
- Re-running or linking to rip-off stories that have obviously rewritten the original piece (usually indicated by a link in the text after a quote like, “so-and-so told Wired”). Copy/paste with link back to Wired.
- Quotes that are not attributed.
- On scienceforums.net, new posters often cut/paste. It is pretty obvious. http://www.scienceforums.net/
- When someone takes an idea and does his/her own reporting on it with no attribution.
How can we deal with abuse?
- @PicPedant links to popular images and shows where they came from. He gained 9000 followers in a few weeks. He is an attribution ranger! We could have more vigilantes.
- A group can wear down a violator.
- A group can also get results if enough people report one violation. The active bug/macrophotography photo community rallies around its members.
- We can create an emergency hashtag that everyone can use when he/she is attacked by trolls, to call for help.
- There are groups to help freelancers defend themselves at low cost (such as RCPF, see Resources).
- Sometimes it just takes an email to get people to stop ripping content.
- Should we use a model like Youtube? Videos that use copyrighted material have ads added to them, and the money goes to the copyright holder.
- Would it be helpful to draft a best practices document?
- We could use public humiliation, perhaps on a Tumblr page.
- One can use a DMCA takedown notice, which is sent directly to the internet service provider. Samples of takedown letters are easy to find (see Alex Wild's links in the Resources), but it is hard to know where to send them.
- Concern: all of this takes up our time!
- Idea: What if we created an easy-to-use form with a place to provide photo proof; then it generates a DMCA letter for the user? There could be a place for the user to post a followup and the numbers of offenses by different websites.
- A good place to put this stuff might be The Open Notebook (http://theopennotebook.com/) or the NASW website (http://www.nasw.org/).
What are some positive examples of work being used?
- One person's cartoons are often used by academics who ask permission.
- Some sites or emails make the instructions clear: "Feel free to excerpt the first two paragraphs and link to me."
- If someone directs traffic back to you, you might be okay with it; when they take traffic, you're not.
- Sometimes you get a ton of traffic from a site that rips content (so you might not want to stop them), but this is rare.
- Someone has added something new to the content.
- Q. Is pulling out a small nugget from a long article adding value for readers? A. There is a sliding scale; where do you draw the line?
- Q. What if someone grabs a picture of Ion Torrent from the company website and uses it in a blog post about sequencers? A. Fair use usually covers things like reviews.
- Stories on Mosaic are licensed under a Creative Commons license. They can be reprinted under the same license and attributed. But, how often will this actually be used?
- PLOS ONE, but a lot of people still don't understand the CC license.
- Sometimes it is hard to find the original image. You can do a time-based search with Google images. Maybe Google images could automatically find the original, to make attributing easier. Getty Images is great at recognizing reused images but is not available to the public.
- How long does it take people to deal with these situations?
- Can you report to Facebook/Twitter if someone is abusing the platform?
- Are popular social media platforms rewarding people for doing the wrong thing?
- Do threats of legal action from freelancers work?
- What sets people off in terms of amount stolen, purpose of a website, etc.?
- Attribution is not a copyright run-around.
- You can tell whether something is a repost or not on Youtube by looking at the numbers in the link URL. (If anyone can provide more info, let us know!)
- The Orphan Works Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orphan_works_in_the_United_States) would reverse the 1976 copyright law; this is attractive to companies like Google and Getty.
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Information about parasitism.
In case you want to see the kleptoparasite birds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleptoparasitism
A New York Times report describing the ongoing battle between artist Richard Prince and photographer Patrick Cariou, who took Prince to court for copyright violation. Prince claims his use of Cariou’s photographs is “transformative” and is therefore acceptable as fair use. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Prince, leaving photographers in a bit of a bind. So they’re taking the fight to congress. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/22/arts/design/photographers-band-together-to-protect-work-in-fair-use-cases.html
A blog post from Alex Wild (http://www.alexanderwild.com/) describing I F*cking Love Science’s image problem. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/compound-eye/2013/04/23/facebooks-i-fcking-love-science-does-not-fcking-love-artists/
A blog post by illustrator Glendon Mellow (http://www.glendonmellow.com/) looking at how well various blogs use and credit images. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/symbiartic/2013/04/24/science-communication-image-problem/
Two posts on the Knight Science Journalism Tracker, written by Paul Raeburn, describing the Daily Mail’s “nifty way to cover science” — aka execrable word-stealing.
Resources to fight parasitism.
Article about @PicPedant, a Twitter account that debunks picspammers. http://www.buzzfeed.com/tomphillips/14-incredible-but-fake-viral-images-and-the-twitter-account
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: A nonprofit association dedicated to providing free legal assistance to journalists since 1970. http://www.rcfp.org/
RCFP's "Digital Journalist's Legal Guide." http://www.rcfp.org/browse-media-law-resources/digital-journalists-legal-guide
Lawyers for the Creative Arts: Pro Bono Legal Service for the Arts. http://law-arts.org/
The Open Notebook, a "non-profit organization that provides tools and resources to help science journalists at all experience levels hone their craft." http://theopennotebook.com/
"What You Should Know About Social Media & Protecting Your Copyrights," Photoshelter Blog, by Lauren Margolis, 2013. http://blog.photoshelter.com/2013/04/what-you-should-know-about-social-media-protecting-your-copyrights/
Examples, from photographer Alex Wild, of takedown notices he has sent to various publications he found using his photographs without permission. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/compound-eye/2013/12/03/letters-to-my-copyright-infringers/
Resources to help people not be parasites.
To help people attribute. http://www.curatorscode.org/
"Image Permission: Doing it Right," Talk Science To Me, by Jakob Liljenwall, 2013. http://www.talksciencetome.com/image-permission-doing-it-right/
The basics of copyright law, written for authors by attorney Sallie Randolph (http://www.authorlaw.com/). http://www.nasw.org/sites/default/files/10-27-12_NASW_Randolph_Handout.pdf
"Canada and the United States: Differences in Copyright Law," Gowlings, by Kevin Sartorio, Stéphane Caron, and Susan H. Abramovitch, 2013. http://www.gowlings.com/KnowledgeCentre/article.asp?pubID=2231
"Getty Images makes 35 million images free to use," British Journal of Photography, Olivier Laurent, 2014. http://www.bjp-online.com/2014/03/getty-images-makes-35-million-images-free-in-fight-against-copyright-infringement/
Session 7D. Science Teaching Practices that Can Improve Science Communication
Session type: Discussion
Description: Everyone loves elementary school science, but somewhere along the way, and definitely by the time you're staying up late trying to memorize all the steps in the Krebs cycle, something goes horribly wrong. What aspects of science teaching do we want to AVOID in science communication? How can we go back to an elementary school model of science? Can we communicate science without sounding like an authority? And how can we try to ensure that our message is getting across and isn’t being forgotten? The good news is that teachers and writers have been thinking about these problems for ages, and they both have great ideas! In this session, let's try to find useful common ground between teaching and communication, and think about how we can use effective science teaching principles to make us better science communicators.
A writer or teacher’s job is not merely to inform. There are three pillars of effectively conveying science knowledge.
- Generate interest in the topic by relating it to reality. The real example acts as a point of entry to a more abstract concept.
- Maintain clarity through a well-structured narrative.
- Keep the audience invested in the topic to ensure that the new information will stick.
Methods in the classroom.
- Do interactive labs in which the students develop their own hypotheses.
- Do classroom demonstrations with surprising properties (like the edible candle).
- Drop a “gold coin” of something interesting every 10-20 minutes, when student attention begins to fade.
- Create a situation in which neither the students nor the teacher know what is going to happen. This is uncomfortable, but it is how science works. Be prepared for the unexpected.
- Use the model of Mythbusters (http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters), which is very engaging and popular across a diverse audience.
- Use videos, which are now a necessity in the classroom to get teenagers hooked.
- Consider reading on paper versus on screens. There are controversial claims about the attention span for content and about reading on paper versus on a screen.
- Use social media in the classroom; for example, students tweet questions and answers during talks or live-tweet.
- Create a game that requires reading to win. An example involved @PhyloPic combined with descriptions. A card game can have additional information on the cards for students to learn.
- Present an idea in many different ways to increase the probability that one way will lead to successful learning.
- Bring a scientist to class.
- Prevent students from just wanting to know what is on the test. Alter their motivation from passing the test to “What can I learn?”
- Develop the question, and fight the eagerness of the students to get to the answer. Appreciate the question before answering.
- Embrace failure.
- Failures (e.g., a lab that doesn’t work) can be more valuable than successes.
- Failure is a chance to teach about the process.
- Biology research projects are often at the whim of the environment. Failure can happen when doing field research.
- Get students to accept that failure is part of science. This concept is also central to scientific ethics.
- Sometimes the answer is “no”. Show kids how to embrace ambiguity and what to do with “no”.
- Confusion is part of the process of learning. “Confusion is the sweat of learning.”
- Student/Reader must break down previously held incorrect assumptions.
- Confusion can be used to pique curiosity. Creating confusion or a puzzle can then lead to disclosure and resolution, i.e. an “a-ha!” moment.
- Do writers create that sort of confusion in an article, and if so, how?
- When reporting on a scientific result, the writer can guide the reader through the confusion that the scientists themselves had before they found the result by presenting the broader context of the work.
- Explain the motivation for the problem. Address the existing misconceptions.
- People often have existing misconceptions about a topic that you can address head-on before explaining the "right answer.” This can backfire because mentioning a misconception can make it more likely to be remembered, sometimes better than the actual explanation.
- The “confusion” discussed here does not refer to misconceptions. However, confusion may be uncertainty.
Thoughts on applying the principles of the classroom to science writing.
- Is there common ground between teaching and writing, to help teachers be better writers, writers better teachers?
- There is a common goal of teaching ideas that endure.
- Accountability for information can color how a writer hooks an audience.
- Teaching and writing have different goals. Readers of articles are not accountable for learning (i.e., they are not going to take a test).
- It’s important to consider where else your audience gets information; other sources might conflict with you.
- Explain the question that the study is seeking to answer: why was it a question, and what was the context?
- Start with something tangible, for example, things that you can sense (through electromagnetism) vs dark matter (which is more abstract).
- Approach a topic from the perspective of a novice to understand the student/reader perspective. The novice perspective is like putting together Ikea furniture without the instruction manual! Give students/readers the manual, not just the furniture.
- The audience needs to have a stake in the topic. Engage them with a question. For example, ask them to make a prediction; if they are wrong, they will remember it.
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The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23scioimprove&src=typd&f=realtime
A summary of this session (and others). “Science Online Together: day 2 recap,” Ellipsix Informatics, by David Zaslavsky, 2014. http://www.ellipsix.net/blog/2014/03/science-online-together-day-2-recap.html
An article that makes dark matter more relatable. “The Dark Matter Poltergeist. It’s real, but what is it?” Slate, by Katie Mack, 2014. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/mysteries_of_the_universe/2014/02/what_is_dark_matter_searching_with_gravity_lensing_wimps_and_antiparticles.html
On using confusion to pique curiosity. “Storytelling Techniques in Radiolab," Public Communication for Researchers. http://www.cmu.edu/student-org/pcr/media-files/pcr-sessions/pcr-storytelling-techniques.pdf
"Is Captain America’s Shield a Capacitor?" Dot Physics, by Rhett Allain, 2014. http://www.wired.com/category/dotphysics/
Math with Bad Drawings. http://mathwithbaddrawings.com/
On the danger of presenting a misconception and then refuting it. “The Illusion of Truth," PsyBlog, by Jeremy Dean, 2010. http://www.spring.org.uk/2010/12/the-illusion-of-truth.php
"The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens," Scientific American, by Ferris Jabr, 2013. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/
Session 7E. Using Video to Brand Science: Difference Between Individual Content Producers and Institutional Content
Session type: Discussion
Description: This session will explore different types of video content and the impact they have on their audience. We will discuss the nuances of education, entertainment and "edutainment" in science video and what different approaches can achieve. We will explore the difference in individual versus institutional content, branding channels on YouTube, and discuss what effective videos looks like. The discussion will focus on using video to market science, affecting how science is perceived by the general public.
Videos are often a mix of education and entertainment, or “edutainment.”
Two videos to consider... which works?
Vsauce’s “Travel INSIDE a Black Hole” (~6.3 million views): http://youtu.be/3pAnRKD4raY
Stanford’s “Stanford Open Office Hours: John Rickford” (~3000 views): http://youtu.be/Ig4iwkeLjpA
What can different approaches achieve?
Comparison of the two videos.
- The institutional objective lends itself to the branding with the 16 second intro.
- Videos have different intents; the intent is not to take a test afterward, but to say “Wow, science is cool.”
- One major difference is that the institutional videos, while branded consistently, lack a single personality stamp.
- The institutional videos are like a bicycle wheel with spokes, while Vsauce’s are like a network.
- While many people found Vsauce’s video more entertaining, others found the style distracting. Different viewers have different learning styles.
Examples and questions from participants.
- MBARI (the Monterey Bay Aquarium) has had videos go viral, which leads to more channel views, and to the video being picked up by blogs and National Geographic.
- How do you engage with viewers and start conversations?
- Should you start a Youtube channel for a specific series?
- Institutional videos often suffer “death by committee.” A U of Iowa chemist has difficulties getting videos approved; people have difficulty articulating what they have a problem with; some love the video and others don’t. He needs feedback on “What is pushing too far?”
- The balance between the video-maker’s freedom and the opinions of leaders of the institution depends on the subject.
- At a large scientific society, how does one present what he or she has learned?
- Can we find a problematic part of a story that is historical (for example, the Henrietta Lacks story) to add interest?
Tips on producing institutional videos.
- You can build a website by committee but not a video. A university is a collection of fiefdoms. Build your own team, and take risks personally.
- One challenge is bridging the institution leaders’ knowledge that they need to communicate with the public with their ability to do so.
- Bring people into the process early. Know your goals; as the creative professional, get approvals at the storyboard level. Ask, “Do you foresee any problems?”
- If you don’t share the script, there may be pushback.
- Have data to back up your decisions.
- What is your message? What are unnecessary distractions?
- At iWire, the videos with the most views are the recently posted ones that are “just human and fun.”
- Videos of hangouts can be interesting; just keep them interesting and short.
Concerning sensitive topics.
- Some video-makers are wary of showing specimens. Scientists ask, “Why should we be ashamed?” The reason to be wary has to do with the audience’s sensibilities.
- Are scientists who do not want to participate simply hiding, or are there valid reasons and things that could go wrong?
- Researchers have to understand the risks; for example, a primate researcher began getting death threats.
- There’s more potential for the audience to get upset when a sensitive topic is shown in a video, as opposed to words.
- You can avoid showing animals being cut open by instead showing the surgery that was possible as a result or showing a scientist talking about animal research.
- Have the animal-related part of the video run through approvals ahead.
- Sometimes video is not the answer; might a public conversation be more appropriate?
- Institutions have a big problem with humor.
- Scientists can be characters in your video.
- Institutions are often nervous about the investment of resources; there is pressure to achieve goals. You are hoping to reach a broad audience. It is not about the process.
- Many video-makers can look back at how crappy their first video is.
- Take the time to experiment and don’t worry about building a following. Let it build up slowly.
- Piggyback off existing audiences. For example, if you make a shark video, find a shark blog and ask them to link to it.
- Reach out through Twitter for advice.
- Enlist people to be your brand ambassadors.
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The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciovidbrand&src=typd&f=realtime
Youtube channels suggested by participants:
Session 7G/8G. Creating Data-driven Visualizations for Science Communication
Session type: Workshop
Description: This workshop will focus on the intersection between design and data communication. The goal will be to explore and practice ways to present quantitative information through a series of hands-on activities. We will discuss visualizations that answer questions, tell stories, and lead or (unintentionally?) mislead audiences. We’ll also talk about ways to avoid propagating misconceptions. You are welcome to bring examples from your own work that you would like to discuss and improve with input from the group. Bring your favorite sketching tools such as markers, colored pencils, fountain pen, computer, etc.
- 2:30-3:00 Warm ups (tips)
- 3:00-3:30 Viz doctor (practice)
- 3:30-3:45 Break
- 3:45-4:30 Show and tell about your work
- 4:30-5:00 Choose your own adventure; live to tell the tale; try a new tool
Why Data Visualization?
- Answer questions.
- Communicate ideas.
Audience -> Goals -> Define success -> Brainstorm -> Develop
Audience: So much to know! Lots of different types of audiences. Things to consider:
- Context (relevance & relatability).
- Perception (visual/auditory/other challenges?)
- Quantitative literacy.
Generate at least three viable ideas and develop ONE.
Tune the precision of your message to be both accurate and accessible.
Someone gives you a data set. What questions should you ask about it?
Examples of questions to ask.
- Who collected the data?
- From whom?
- How was the data collected?
- Any cleaning done or necessary?
- For what purpose was the data collected?
- Interpolation or extrapolation?
- Outliers data entry or interesting anomaly?
Possibly known relevant info.
- Bounds on variables.
- Correlations between variables.
- Sources of error.
- Expected trends.
- Biases in collection methods.
- Reliability of survey instrument.
How do you choose a type of visualization? Ask, "What would you like to show?" such as...
- IMAGE: Chart Suggestions – a Thought Scatter.
And then there’s animation…
- What do I want to see and hear?
- What is the timeline?
An awesome example that achieves its aims: THE SCALE OF THE UNIVERSE (http://htwins.net/scale2).
- It has clear instructions: “Click here” “Use scroll bar” etc.
- It has a bit of animation but nothing overwhelmimg.
- It has clear labels, simple pictures.
How can a person gain a sense of discovery from your visualization?!
Scale and domain matter.
- Many visualizations rely on the ratios of areas of circles, but often we are not able to interpret that information.
- Can your audience see color? How might you think about reaching those who can’t see color, or can’t see at all?
Quilt maps (Treemaps) present tradeoffs.
- As the aspect ratio is optimized (1:1), the order of placement becomes less predictable.
- As the order becomes more stable, the aspect ratio is degraded.
- Example: Grand Perspective for viewing hard drive usage.
Take home messages (shared by participants).
- Cherish white space.
- Pie charts don't work well for most visualizations.
- Inspire a sense of discovery.
- It can be challenging (and fun?) to make abstract concepts visual. Having to visualize the same (type of) data over and over gets boring.
- Don’t assume that everyone knows acronyms.
- Keep as simple as possible without losing the WOW.
- Just because a computer can plot something doesn’t mean that people can interpret the plot correctly.
- Unpack preconceived notions.
- Consider the biases of the audience.
- People often can’t estimate circle sizes (width vs. area).
- Ask yourself if an interactive visualization is necessary.
- Consider lots of options, don’t just jump to one.
- Data visualization is HARD!
- FEEDBACK FEEDBACK FEEDBACK.
- Don’t put too much in the same graphic.
- Don’t use two visualization elements to amplify the same point.
- Simple is better, so talk out what you want to say.
- Lots of cool tools out there - do visualizations in-house!
- Benefit in forming data visualization groups for support, ideas & feedback.
- Cool to see the different things you can do with data.
10 Take Home Messages (condensed version).
- Data visualization is HARD!
- Cherish white space.
- Inspire a sense of discovery.
- Unpack preconceived notions.
- Consider the biases of the audience.
- People can’t estimate circle sizes (width vs. area).
- Ask yourself if an interactive visualization is necessary.
- Consider lots of options, don’t just jump to one.
- FEEDBACK FEEDBACK FEEDBACK.
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The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciodataviz&src=typd&f=realtime
Tools that the participants explored during the workshop.
1. Google Fusion
- Astraptes fulgerator Demo Data. https://www.google.com/fusiontables/data?docid=1-941Px73b_XWWn3pmPHKp6WhbbSVNiEmKMadwe0#rows:id=1
- Tutorials. https://support.google.com/fusiontables/answer/184641
- From Fusion: “See our step-by-step guide How to make a map in Google Fusion Tables. In addition a Google Fusion Tables tour and several tutorials are available. We've also got some examples of what it can do in our story "H-1B Visa Data: Visual and Interactive Tools." Also see the Fusion Tables Example Gallery.”
- Choose one of these datasets: http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/manyeyes/datasets
- And create a visualization. If you want to register you can upload your own dataset.
3. CIRCOS - genetics. http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/tableviewer/
4. Juice Labs.
5. Interactive Data Visualization. www.idvbook.com
6. Pie Chart Maker. https://imgflip.com/piemaker
8. GEDVIZ. http://viz.ged-project.de/
9. OpenRefine data cleaner.
- Repository: https://github.com/OpenRefine
- Screencasts: https://github.com/OpenRefine/OpenRefine/wiki/Screencasts
11. VIDI. http://www.dataviz.org/
12. XKCD. http://xkcd.com/1335/
- The 33 best tools for data visualization. http://www.creativebloq.com/design-tools/data-visualization-712402
- 22 free tools for data visualization and analysis. http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9215504/22_free_tools_for_data_visualization_and_analysis?taxonomyId=18&pageNumber=1
- Orange: “Open source data visualization and analysis for novice and experts.” http://orange.biolab.si
- Plotly: collaborative data visualization and graphing tool. plot.ly
- Sample population data. http://bit.ly/1khgVu1
- "The Scale of the Universe 2," by Cary Huang, 2012. http://htwins.net/scale2/
- Visualizing Biological Data. http://www.vizbi.org/
- Vaccine-preventable disease outbreak. http://www.cfr.org/interactives/GH_Vaccine_Map/#map
- "The Cost of Speeding: Save a Little Time, Spend a Lot of Money," Automatic, by Leah Reich, 2013. http://blog.automatic.com/cost-speeding-save-little-time-spend-lot-money/
- "Voronoi Diagram with Force Directed Nodes and Delaunay Links," by Christopher Manning, 2012. http://christophermanning.org/projects/voronoi-diagram-with-force-directed-nodes-and-delaunay-links/
- Pixel Space, by Josh Worth. http://joshworth.com/dev/pixelspace/pixelspace_solarsystem.html
- "16 Of Science's Best Infographics, From Ancient Greece To Today," Fast Company. http://www.fastcodesign.com/3026917/16-of-sciences-best-infographics-from-ancient-greece-to-today?
- "Data Is Beautiful." http://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful
- How NOT to visualize data: "Data Is Ugly." http://www.reddit.com/r/dataisugly/
Resources about color.
- Color advice for cartography. http://colorbrewer2.org/
- Dave Green's "Cubehelix" colour scheme. http://www.mrao.cam.ac.uk/~dag/CUBEHELIX/
- Color Scheme Designer. http://colorschemedesigner.com/
Books and other resources.
- The facilitator's blog, Gramma Got STEM. http://ggstem.wordpress.com/
- "The power and beauty of data visualisation in science," BBC Future, 2014. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140219-images-that-changed-our-world
- "A statistical graphics course and statistical graphics advice," Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, by Andrew Gelman, 2014. http://andrewgelman.com/2014/03/25/statistical-graphics-course-statistical-graphics-advice/
- “7 Essential Books on Data Visualization & Computational Art,” Brain Pickings, by Maria Popova, 2011. http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/06/30/best-books-data-visualization-computational-art/
- “8 great books about data visualisation,” Tableau Software, by Andy Cotgreave, 2013. http://www.tableausoftware.com/about/blog/2013/7/list-books-about-data-visualisation-24182
- “What are the best data visualization books?” http://www.quora.com/What-are-the-best-data-visualization-books
- Trees Maps and Theorems, by Jean Luc Doumont. http://www.treesmapsandtheorems.com/
- Concerning error bars. "Most researchers don’t understand error bars," Cognitive Daily, by Dave Munger, 2007. http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily/2007/03/29/most-researchers-dont-understa/
- Experimental Turk: A blog on social science experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk. http://experimentalturk.wordpress.com/resources/
Descriptions may be specific to 2014. Thanks to John Salm for these suggestions. http://blog.visual.ly/save-these-dates-six-must-attend-data-viz-conferences-for-2014/
1. Visualized. visualized.com/2014/
In the heart of New York City, Visualized exists at the intersection of data, design and storytelling. From research and analysis to 3D and interactive, to social and educational storytelling, Visualized aims to inspire attendees and provide new ideas about how to visually communicate stories with data.
2. Visualization and Data Analysis (VDA). vda-conference.org/
As a part of the annual IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging conference, VDA takes a research-oriented approach to data visualization. Since the first VDA conference in 1994, the event has steadily grown into one of the industry’s premier conferences.
3. Tapestry. www.tapestryconference.com/
While Tapestry is an invitation-only conference capped at 100 attendees, the invitation request process ensures a high-quality, enthusiastic audience. The conference packs three keynotes and five “short stories” sessions into a single day. Tapestry also offers transportation to The National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR) conference.
4. Bloomberg Businessweek Design. www.bloombergbusinessweekdesign.com/
After a wildly successful inaugural conference in 2013, the Bloomberg Businessweek Design Conference returns with another group of world-renowned designers across a variety of disciplines. The magazine devotes a special issue to covering the conference, published a few weeks after the event.
5. Eyeo Festival. eyeofestival.com/
While the details about Eyeo Festival 2014 have not yet been released, it is too great of a conference to leave out of our 2014 must-attend list. During the beautiful early Minneapolis summer, 2013 attendees converged at the Walker Art Center to hear from experts at the intersection of art, interaction, and information. 2013 speakers included Jer Thorp, Co-Founder of The Office for Creative Research and Kim Rees, Co-Founder of Periscopic.
6. IEEE Vis. ieeevis.org/
Like Eyeo, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Visualization Conference has not yet released details, but this premier academic conference is too notable to leave off this list. IEEE Vis contains three main components – Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST), Information Visualization, and Scientific Visualization and is currently accepting paper submissions. 2013 speakers included Jarke J. van Wijk, Professor of visualization at Eindhoven University of Technology and Erez Lieberman Aiden, a fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows.
7. OpenVis. openvisconf.com/
The second annual Open Web Data Visualization Conference tackles data visualization as it applies to the world of the open web.
Session 8A. Is Your Art (or Lack Thereof) Sabotaging Your Written Message?
Session type: Discussion
Description: Science wordsmiths may forget that the power of an image can exceed the power of the sword and the word. The images written communicators use – or don't use – send messages of their own, perhaps not the ones we intend. In fact, the image (or lack thereof) can sabotage the message or, at best, decrease the likelihood that others will even pay attention to it. Is a mediocre image/illustration/photo better than a poorly chosen image? Is no image better than a mediocre image? What characteristics determine whether an image undermines or underscores our message? Whether you're an experienced image communicator, a novice, or you've never given it much thought, let's talk about finding, using or making images that enhance our message.
This session originated with a discussion between Tara, Glendon Mellow, and several others that arose from Glendon’s post “Pro-Vaccine Communication – You’re Doing It Wrong.” http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/symbiartic/2013/02/09/pro-vaccine-communication-youre-doing-it-wrong/
The live stream of this session (embedded below) is archived at http://scienceonline.com/live/?id=96.
Tara's slideshow of examples (embedded below) is at http://www.slideshare.net/mobile/tarasue/scio14-visual.
For discussion highlights, please refer to Tara's Storify, below.
Storified here by Tara Haelle: https://storify.com/tarahaelle/sciovisual-is-your-art-or-lack-thereof-sabotaging
Storified here by Cristina Rigutto (in Italian): https://storify.com/cristinarigutto/sciovisual
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciovisual&src=typd&f=realtime
Recommended sites with free/public stock images (although you should still credit where your images come from).
- Rgbstock. http://www.rgbstock.com
- stock.xchng (sxc). Note that this site has been renamed. http://www.freeimages.com
- Dreamstime. http://www.dreamstime.com/free-photos
- Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_page
- Creative Commons. http://search.creativecommons.org/
- Biomedical images. http://wellcomeimages.org/
- USGS on Instagram. http://instagram.com/usgs
- A public photo collection of bee images. http://ensia.com/photos/the-wild-ones/
- Public images from Library of Congress. http://LoC.gov/
- Ocean images. http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/gallery.php
- Top ten government photo libraries. http://www.dotgovwatch.com/?/archives/8-The-Best-Copyright-Free-Photo-Libraries.html
- A comprehensive list. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Public_domain_image_resources
Places to find artists online.
- "Want to find more artists, ScienceOnline?" Symbiartic, by Glendon Mellow, 2013. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/symbiartic/2013/01/31/want-to-find-more-artists-scienceonline/
- "SciArt List on Twitter," Symbiartic, by Glendon Mellow, 2014. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/symbiartic/2014/01/08/sciart-on-twitter/
- Behance: Showcase and Discover Creative Work. http://www.behance.net/
Resource for free sounds. http://Freesound.org/
Resources about cartoons and drawings.
- This site has a list of the symbols that cartoonists use. http://www.cagle.com/
- An example of cartoons using simple stick figures. http://xkcd.com/
- "Illustrate Your Science Blog Using An iPhone," Symbiartic, by Glendon Mellow, 2012. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/symbiartic/2012/11/12/how-science-blog-images-iphone/
Suggested sites for putting slideshows into webpages.
Suggested sites for animated GIFs.
- Giphy. http://giphy.com/
- Reaction GIFs. http://www.reactiongifs.com/
- Make your own: http://gifmaker.me/
- Example of use of animated gifs. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/02/07/273174533/lung-in-a-box-keeps-organs-breathing-before-transplants
"44 Stock Photos That Hope To Change The Way We Look At Women," BuzzFeed, by Ashley Perez, 2014. http://www.buzzfeed.com/ashleyperez/stock-photos-that-hope-to-change-the-way-we-look-at-women
"LeanIn.org and Getty Aim to Change Women’s Portrayal in Stock Photos," The New York Times, by Claire Cain Miller, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/10/business/leaninorg-and-getty-aim-to-change-womens-portrayal-in-stock-photos.html
Scientific illustration on Tumblr. http://scientificillustration.tumblr.com/
Radiolab on Tumblr. http://wnycradiolab.tumblr.com/
An art and science blog. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/symbiartic/
On using your own images.
- "Five Things You Can Do to Protect Your Online Images," Photo Attorney, by Carolyn E. Wright, 2010. http://www.photoattorney.com/five-things-you-can-do-to-protect-your-online-images/
- "What You Should Know About Social Media & Protecting Your Copyrights," Photoshelter, Lauren Margolis, 2013. http://blog.photoshelter.com/2013/04/what-you-should-know-about-social-media-protecting-your-copyrights/
Using Pinterest to push people to your blog--an example is the Finch and Pea Pinterest board "The art of science." http://www.pinterest.com/finchandpea/the-art-of-science/
Using Instagram to get attention for your blog--examples.
- National Geographic. http://instagram.com/natgeo
- U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). http://instagram.com/noaa
- U.S. Geological Survey. http://instagram.com/usgs
- NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. http://instagram.com/nasagoddard
- U.S. Department of the Interior. http://instagram.com/usinterior
Session 8B. Upping Our Digital Literacy
Facilitator: Kay Thaney
Session type: Discussion
Description: Science is becoming increasingly data driven and computationally based across the board, from the life sciences to ecology and astronomy. There is also added pressure from funders and publishers for researchers to better document and share the outputs of their work, but despite a push for better practice, we’re still facing a gap between what digital skills (analysis, computing, data management) researchers are expected to know and what they’re being taught at the university level, leaving many without the training needed to do better, more robust research.
This session will look at a number of efforts to help bridge that gap such as Software Carpentry and rOpenSci, and ask more broadly what does “digital literacy” mean for science and the web. Given the chance to rethink the notion of “core competencies” needed for 21st century "open science", what should we be teaching to the next generation of researchers, and how can we ensure this training reaches those who need it most?
- What do we mean by "digital literacy"? How we manipulate, access, etc. information using digital technology.
- What skills are needed for researchers to do more science on the web?
- Where is the best home for these sorts of programs? Within universities? Outside?
- How do we measure "stickiness"/impact?
- What needs to be done to maintain longer term engagement and learning?
The session introduction: a brief intro to Mozilla Science Labs (http://mozillascience.org).
- They are looking into training and education programs to support researchers to use the web more effectively.
- They took on Software Carpentry (http://software-carpentry.org) as a platform to teach.
- They include 4-5 researchers, 4-5 publishers, 5-ish technologists, a couple of librarians, and a consultant on life sciences for companies.
- What kind of core competencies are required for researchers?
- What training is needed?
- What has worked, and what has not?
- How do you define digital literacy?
(Q from rOpenSci) Where has the training stuff come from?
- A very distributed system that is able to build out from a network.
- rOpenSci is 4 people who bring those connections together.
- The group came from a teacher training background.
- They watched Software Carpentry growing as a network.
From a researcher perspective.
- One participant, an astronomer, has experience from the perspective of a scholarly society and research department.
- She is aiming to get the material as part of the research curriculum.
- Should it be integrated into all parts of the curriculum or as a core separate part of the program?
When should it start?
- Graduate school is too late to start on this at scale.
- Some say that kids need to learn to code as a core literacy to get ahead in the future world.
- Elementary school would be the right time?
- Software Carpentry’s method is only one way to do this; there is also web literacy work done at Mozilla.
- For every credit hour in a UK undergrad course there are two people arguing for what should be in that hour.
What is digital literacy about? Is it just learning to code?
- An issue with the name “Software Carpentry” is that what you’re doing is more like trouble-shooting a car than carpentry.
- It’s much more than writing code; it includes reproducibility and best practice.
- There is a focus on computational practices for researchers (“researcher hygiene”).
Does everyone need to learn to code? Like we need to read?
- It’s more about knowing how to talk to those who code.
- Yes, you need to learn to code.
- You need to know when you don't know something.
- For example, there were issues with the non-reproducibility of some brain imaging research, which occurred largely because the computational systems were a multi-generational big black box that no one knew.
- Commenting is an issue. (Sometimes the language of the comments is an issue!)
- Depending on the audience (age group, discipline), the issues are very different.
- Imagine building a Lego microscope without a protocol. Without good instructions, people get different results even with the "same" materials.
- Sometimes it’s hard to collaborate effectively with an engineer from outside the discipline. It’s good to have a coding person who’s also a “good thinker.”
- The CS people you are collaborating with from outside the discipline don't approach the problem in the "right" way. Whose side is this issue on? We need training in how to reveal tacit knowledge.
- It is clearly a challenge to create engineering requirements.
- Because most researchers have the "patchwork quilt" of computational craft, they can't cope with elegant solutions that may be better designed. But these elegant solutions don't have the history or systems behind them.
- Some data scientists don't have the domain expertise. They can help to build dashboards but not to do interpretation.
- We need to find a way of getting there.
Is there research on this communication gap?
- Not so much published research, but Moore and Sloan have looked closely at these issues and results in their programs.
- Look at the Science of Team Science group (http://www.scienceofteamscience.org).
- Also, the Software Sustainability Institute (http://www.software.ac.uk) has looked at the framing of roles of researchers using computational techniques and understanding how the terminology around these roles changes. They have articulated the idea of the "research programmer.”
- There is a huge amount of sociology work that could be done in this space. We have the intuition that there are many things going on, but we need to pin that down and make sense of it. Surely we should focus on this being a set of standard skills?
- We need to consider terms and stature; maybe we should call this new role the "Data Scientist.”
- Labels can be useful. They allow people to own them and to be a part of something.
What can we do to expand the effectiveness of training into broader engagement?
A very short storify is here by ScienceOnline: https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciodiglit
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=%23sciodiglit&src=typd
- Software Carpentry. http://software-carpentry.org
- rOpenSci. http://ropensci.org/
- Open Science Training Initiative. http://opensciencetraining.com/
- School of Data. http://schoolofdata.org/
"Webmaker/Web Literacy Map. A map of the skills and competencies people need to read, write and participate effectively on the web," by Doug Belshaw, updated 2014. https://wiki.mozilla.org/Webmaker/WebLiteracyMap
“Starting to Demo the Wolfram Language,” by Stephen Wolfram, 2014. http://blog.stephenwolfram.com/2014/02/starting-to-demo-the-wolfram-language/
Session 8C. [Online] Journal of Scientific Explanations
Facilitator: Kathleen Raven
Session type: Discussion
Description: Online science information proliferates at dizzying speeds. An inquiring mind of any age can choose between roughly two first steps to know the “how” and “why” of a scientific topic: general Internet search or Wikipedia. Hence the need for a single authoritative online resource, with a concise scientific entry (i.e., backgrounder) for every topic tailored separately for first-graders to post-docs and everyone in between. This Journal of Scientific Explanations (JoSE or JSE) would follow a rigorous and completely transparent process of peer review for each entry, which would in turn be DOI’d. Such an ambitious project matches the immense talent, energy and expertise within the ScienceOnline community. Volunteers will be asked to take on tasks. Possible discussion topics include a timeline, key objectives, submission process, differentiation from other sites, source citation, coding, hosting, and finally, how to ensure the process remains transparent.
(These were taken from the session’s tweets, which you can read in the Storify below.)
Past attempts at an online, peer-reviewed source of clear, reliable scientific information haven't done well. How might a new effort, such as #scioJSE, learn from those past efforts and do things better?
- The Hyperphysics site offers explainers on physics concepts. It has multiple layers of information. It is outdated but could be a model. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html
- What if writing for a peer-reviewed encyclopedia were part of the tenure process?
- What if JSE curated disparate sources for topics rather than acting as a single source? JSE could be a curated set of links to authoritative content on various subjects.
- Should the National Academy of Sciences run JSE?
- What about a paid editorial board to oversee the editing/review of the JSE content?
- How do you keep people interested in the site and get them to contribute?
- How do you sustain interest, funding, time investment, etc.?
- Why should people be interested in doing something like JSE?
- Getting expert review is hard. For example, in its first week, Abstracts 2.0 had 1,400 views but only two people contributed.
What need does JSE serve? What is the goal?
- JSE should make science research more accessible to the general public.
- JSE should take the mystique out of science.
- JSE should make everything science-related more trustworthy to the public.
- Note: Some attendees were skeptical that JSE would make science more accessible to the public.
Should we just improve Wikipedia?
- That’s where people already go for information.
- Journalists could update it, but there would be no payment.
- The JSE mission is not the mission of Wikipedia... What is the mission of Wikipedia?
- Wikipedia is for ALL information, not just science. It is diluted across a lot of fields.
- Wikipedia's mission doesn’t include outreach.
- But, we might still "Occupy Wikipedia" because of the viewers it has.
- Wikipedia is a labyrinth.
- Using Wikipedia, the science communicator community would have to rely heavily on other communities.
Should the journalists involved (whether using Wikipedia or a separate site) receive funding?
- Some attendees were vocal about the need to compensate JSE contributors.
- Compensation could result in content that sets JSE apart from Wikipedia.
- Compensation would result in more contributions.
- A lot of effort would be spent on finding funding.
The education space is probably not the best target audience.
- Targeting an initiative to the education market is tough.
- Getting scientists and educators to agree on wording is difficult.
- The market is expensive and hard: variation is needed for different age levels.
- There is commercial competition.
- Credibility is great.
- Contribute any way you feel you can.
- What if a tool computationally pulled related content and then curated it?
- It doesn't have to be a grand venture. A rewritten abstract could make a difference.
- Is there a need for a specialized journal? More compartmentalization/specialization shouldn't be the solution.
- Why not crowdsource it via grad students? Have them be the science communicators of the lab.
Storified here by Rachael Ludwick: https://storify.com/r343l/scio14-journal-of-scientific-explanations-sciojse
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=%23sciojse&src=typd
Other efforts like JoSE.
- Wikipedia pages. https://www.wikipedia.org
- Citizendium, the citizens’ compendium. http://en.citizendium.org
- Scholarpedia, the peer-reviewed open-access encyclopedia. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Main_Page
- Abstract 2.0. “How to Submit to Abstract 2.0,” Just Science, by Matthew Russell, 2014. http://justscience.sciofrelief.com//category/abstract-2-0/
- Assess Science, the science authority. http://www.accessscience.com
Session 8D. Blog Networks: Benefits, Role of, Next Steps
Session type: Discussion
Description: Science bloggers have always had a strong sense of community. Ever since their craft caught on in the early years of the new millennium, they have worked together to share news and knowledge and stir important debates. There are group blogs like The Panda’s Thumb and The Last Word on Nothing, but more recently there has also been a proliferation of blog networks hosted by science magazines, journals, and even a newspaper. Seed Media Group was the first to assemble bloggers into such a collective when in launched ScienceBlogs.com in 2006, but other publications quickly followed suit. Today, Discover, The Guardian, National Geographic, Nature, PLoS, Popular Science, Scientific American and Wired host similar communities. In this session, we’ll discuss why science bloggers tend to band together, the advantages of joining a blog network, the role that networks play in the larger field of science communication, and what the future holds of these collectives.
Science blogs took off in the early 2000's, and science bloggers began to join groups and networks. The Panda's Thumb in 2004 was one of the first. After ScienceBlogs.com formed, things really took off. There are more than a dozen science blog networks now. We haven't seen the same level/degree of community mindedness among politics or business bloggers or any other beat.
Advantages of blog networks.
- They add legitimacy to blogs.
- They help bloggers get an audience.
- They allow the altruistic sharing of traffic with fellow bloggers.
- Bloggers get "audience cross-pollination," attracting readers from other blogs in the network who might not otherwise have noticed them.
- The blog network can act as the mouth of a funnel that drives traffic to its bloggers.
- They increase the chances of virality.
- They help get the blogger's science out to the world.
- They provide community for bloggers.
- Bloggers in the network can bounce ideas off each other.
- They provide a community manager who will stand behind the bloggers.
- They open doors.
- They benefit the institution where the blogger has his/her day job.
Disadvantages of blog networks.
- The pay is low or nonexistent.
- They can be dysfunctional at times.
What is the current situation with blog networks?
- Blogs bring value to a media organization.
- There is a lot of poaching of bloggers.
- The competition makes the field better.
- American Scientist is revamping their blog network.
- The PLOS blog network is starting to pay using a formula based on number of posts and page views.
- Discover is starting a citizen science blog.
- Blog networks can be incubators for writers. For example, the SciAm blog incubator helped new/emerging professionals. Getting something published (on the incubator blog) gives newcomers the clips they need to start a writing career.
- About guest blogging: you can pitch an idea to the SciAm guest blog with several short paragraphs.
What do you look for in a blog network?
- A welcoming, community feel.
- A good community manager.
- The role of the manager is important. He/She provides guidance and support.
- Different blog networks have different goals; find one that's a good match for you.
What does a blog network look for in bloggers?
- Bloggers who will maintain a mix of general blogs and specialized blogs.
- Bloggers who will create a diversity of topics and writing styles on the network.
- Smart, creative use of multimedia.
- A sustained, interesting voice is more important than high traffic at previous blogs (from freethoughtblogs.com).
- Different blog networks have different goals. For example, a small network needs more regular posting to keep the webpage fresh. This will affect whom the network chooses.
- Teams are important: teams have their stars, but you don't want to bring on a "hothead."
What do you look for as a blog reader?
- A best posts archive.
- Blogger bios.
- Interesting voices.
How can we get the most out of our blog communities? What do bloggers expect of a blog network manager?
- Discussions about the goals of the bloggers and the network should take place up front.
- Bloggers should be given the resources to support their blogging: embargo access, support with legal issues (such as needing take-down letters for unauthorized use of their content).
- Being able to talk to the network manager is important.
- Bloggers and network managers need to stay in touch, communicate, and work together so that their goals are shared.
- A good community manager should make sure there are shared goals and values and that they communicate.
- "Tweets are the smoke signals of the digital age." --Curtis B.
- Readers may begin to suffer from "blog fatigue"--missing the tighter writing of traditional pieces.
- Try to avoid bringing your journalism experience with you; it is not necessary to blogging. However, there are some helpful journalism tips (such as, Don't bury your lead.)
- Pepsigate: ScienceBlogs.com gave Pepsi a blog on nutrition that looked like the blogs of the other bloggers and therefore reflected badly on them; this led to the exodus of some of their best bloggers.
Storified here by ScienceOnline: https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-scioblognet
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23scioblognet&src=typd&f=realtime
Some science blogs and blog networks.
Panda’s Thumb: http://www.pandasthumb.org/
The Last Word on Nothing: http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/
Seed Media Group's ScienceBlogs.com: http://scienceblogs.com/
National Geographic: http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/
Popular Science: http://www.popsci.com/blog-network
Scientific American: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/
Free Thought Blogs, a blog network for atheists: http://freethoughtblogs.com/
A citizen science blog on the PLOS blog network: http://blogs.plos.org/citizensci/
A place to pool projects online: http://www.inaturalist.org/projects
An example of the above is Vermont Atlas of Life's Journal: http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/vermont-atlas-of-life/journal
Articles on science blogging.
"A Day In My Life As A Freelance Science Writer," ScholarCast, by Charles Choi, 2012. http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/scholarcast/a_day_in_my_life
"Bonobo Stone Tales: The Making Of A Story," ScholarCast, by Charles Choi, 2012. http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/scholarcast/bonobo_stone_tales_the_making
"What Makes A Good Science Writer," ScholarCast, by Charles Choi, 2012. http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/scholarcast/what_makes_a_good_science
"How Science Blogging Can Lead To A Science Writing Career," ScholarCast, by Charles Choi, 2012. http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/scholarcast/how_science_blogging_can_lead
For teachers and students.
"How does blogging about science benefit students?" Discovering Biology in a Digital World, by Sandra Porter, 2013. http://scienceblogs.com/digitalbio/2013/03/03/how-does-blogging-about-science-benefit-students/
"The ten commandments of student science blogging," Discovering Biology in a Digital World, by Sandra Porter, 2013. http://scienceblogs.com/digitalbio/2013/03/03/the-ten-commandments-of-student-science-blogging/
Blog awards and winners.
Top 10 Science Bloggers from RealClearScience. http://www.realclearscience.com/lists/top_10_science_bloggers/
Posts on the evolution of science blogs and blog networks.
"Nature’s Artificial Divide." The best hope for science journalism is a marriage of new and old media, The Observatory, by Curtis Brainard, 2009. http://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/natures_artificial_divide.php?page=all
CJR post on 'Pepsi-gate': "Uproar at ScienceBlogs.com." Protesting Pepsi’s new nutrition blog, writers defect from respected site, The Observatory, by Curtis Brainard, 2010. http://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/uproar_at_scienceblogscom.php?page=all
"The Hottest Thing in Science Blogging." ScienceOnline2011 conference puts convergence of old and new media on display, The Observatory, by Cristine Russell, 2011. http://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/the_hottest_thing_in_science_b.php?page=all
"Science Blogs 'Win a Place at the Table'." Zimmer and Yong on the evolution of online science coverage, The Observatory, by Curtis Brainard, 2011. http://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/science_blogs_win_a_place_at_t.php?page=all
"Flight of the bloggers." Despite recent departures, Discover is rebuilding fast, The Observatory, by Curtis Brainard, 2012. http://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/discover_blogs_zimmer_yong_nat.php?page=all
"Reflections on being part of a science blogging network," Doing Good Science, by Janet D. Stemwedel, 2014. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/doing-good-science/2014/03/31/reflections-on-being-part-of-a-science-blogging-network/
Session 8E. MINI-Hackathon: Women In Science Infographic
Facilitator: Perrin Ireland
Session type: Discussion
Description: Following on the heels of the idea-generating session (Women In Science: Reaching Equilibrium--see Session 1A), this Mini-Hackathon will be an opportunity for the ScienceOnline community to collectively visualize our solutions for gender equality in science. We will generate as a group rough sketches to be developed into an information graphic of our key proposed solutions, and possibly the loose script and look/feel for a short animated video on the issue from ScienceOnline. This will be a playful, engaging, energizing, and safe space to make collective decisions and sketches about how we want to visually communicate the work this community has done on this issue. Come play with markers and visualize your solutions!
#sciohack tweets were included with the #sciowomen storify by ScienceOnline: http://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciowomen
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=%23sciohack&src=typd
Converge: Creating Collaborations Across the Wide World with the Web
March 1, 2014
Hashtags: #scioconverge and #scioenable
Video of the Converge Session: http://scienceonline.com/live/?id=97
Related blog posts.
“Need a Hand? Now You Can Print One,” Molecules to Medicine, by Judy Stone, 2014. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/molecules-to-medicine/2014/03/06/need-a-hand-now-you-can-print-one/
“A 3-D printer prints a better life. A high school student uses a 3-D printer to make a mechanical hand for a little girl in need,” Eureka! Lab, by Bethany Brookshire, 2014. https://student.societyforscience.org/blog/eureka-lab/3-d-printer-prints-better-life?
“E-Nable at Science Online 2014,” E-Nabling the Future, by Warm Fuzzy Revolutionist, 2014. http://enablingthefuture.org/2014/03/01/e-nable-at-science-online-2014/
Session 9A. Social Media Platforms Around the World
Facilitator: Laura Wheeler, Community Manager at Digital Science (email@example.com, @laurawheelers)
Session type: Discussion
Description: Social media platforms can be extremely powerful tools for disseminating and discussing science. Regularly, we’re seeing the launch of new or expanded platforms, a few of which are geared specifically towards science. But how does the use of social media vary around the world and how do you make sure you’re choosing the right platform(s) for your project? For example, is Facebook a better tool for communicating science news in the US than Pinterest? Or is Weibo a better platform than Twitter for discussing science in Asia? This session will include an overview of some common global and region-specific social media platforms. We’ll then look at differences in the popularity of scientific disciplines in different countries on social media, as determined by the altmetric.com tool. Please all come prepared to share you social media success stories.
What social media platforms do you use? Facebook, Twitter, ADN, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine…
For discussion highlights, please see the Storify below.
Storified here by ScienceOnline: https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-scioplatforms
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=%23scioplatforms&src=typd
On mobile phone usage in Africa. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/mobile-phone-usage-explodes-africa-spurring-innovation/
ResearchGate for sharing research and papers around the world. http://www.researchgate.net
TweepsMap: Where are your Twitter followers located? http://tweepsmap.com
“Like, Share, Discover: Facebook For Scientists,” NPR, by Curt Nickisch, 2011. http://www.npr.org/2011/04/18/135513803/like-share-learn-facebook-for-scientists
Scholarly social media sites. http://guides.lib.unc.edu/content.php?pid=439637&sid=4630914
An example of a Tagboard search for the hashtag of a classroom collaboration. https://tagboard.com/kytnsci/155008
About RG score (in German). “Ein Vergleich für Forscher unter sich: Der Researchgate Score,” Quantensprung, by Beatrice Lugger, 2012. http://www.scilogs.de/quantensprung/ein-vergleich-f-r-forscher-unter-sich-der-researchgate-score/
Free webinars for international researchers from AJE Education. http://www.eventbrite.com/o/aje-education-4434114037
Session 9B. Read the Comments (Best Practices for Handling Blog Comments)
Session type: Discussion
Description: Some might say “Don’t read the comments!” Lack of moderation and free reign of trolls can be enough to make sites like Popsci shut down comments entirely. Scientific articles have shown that negative tone in comments can influence what people think of the science presented. On the other hand, some sites are embracing comments, such as Pubmed. Should you allow the comments? Which should flourish, and which should go to the spam folder? This discussion will talk about legal obligations and different types of comment policy. The goal will be to set up a guide of best practices which bloggers, old and new, might find helpful as they read the comments.
Scicurious's pre-conference post: http://scientopia.org/blogs/scicurious/2014/02/05/scio14-prep-read-the-comments/
Goal: Comments can be good, bad, and ugly... Do you like comments? Do you hate them? What do you recommend for dealing with them?
Comments are like sex: whether you do it or not is up to you, but if you do, you need protection. Let's come up with comment "condoms."
Some experiences people have had with comments.
- Science News has older readers who tend to write paper letters to the publication, which are sometimes published. The editors like the engagement that has come with the new format (i.e., website commenting). The readers engage with each other.
- Scientists can be brutal when they comment.
- At Symmetry Magazine, crackpots began using the website as a platform to spread spam, so they eventually disabled the comments.
- It can be hard to sift through the troll comments to find the real comments.
- Sometimes posts are assigned to students to comment on. One blogger saw this lead to students from different schools becoming friends. On the other hand, middle school students sometimes turn the comment section into an IM forum.
What makes a good comment section (or not)?
- It helps if the blog is focused; the readers/commenters are knowledgeable about the topics. For example, "Wow Beat" commenters probably are not so knowledgeable.
- The user interface can have an effect. For example, Medium (https://medium.com/) lets readers leave comments at each paragraph. This helps keep the comments on topic. However, this format can make it hard to see the + or #'s easily and can promote commenting before the reader has read the entire piece. Also, it looks awful on phones.
- The Disqus platform (http://disqus.com/) allows comment voting, and the negative comments tend to get downvoted and therefore to move to the bottom.
- The Physics Stack Exchange (http://physics.stackexchange.com/) allows questions, answers, and comments. Anything that does not fit the aim of its chosen format is deleted, no questions asked.
What do you (the writer/creator) want from the comment section?
- People ask questions so that you can add info in the answer.
- People tell you that you are wrong: this can be good and bad. Sometimes you are wrong, and the comments can help you make corrections. It's nice when people tell you what you are doing right AND what you are doing wrong.
- Comments that force you to learn more and add more information; for example, one person had to return to an article to clarify if the flu mist makes people sick and had to define "sick" in response to the comments.
- Multiple answers to a question are valuable.
- A great discussion. But sometimes even if you reply to all comments, this doesn't happen. The writer gets a feel for people's response rather than new ideas.
How do you get people to comment?
- Don't require readers to create an account to leave a comment.
- Ask a question of readers.
- Give away freebies to get comments.
- Allow people to use social media platforms in addition to the comment section. These days, people often react on Facebook/Twitter instead of posting a comment. Commenting on the blog has declined. However, social media can drive new traffic to the blog. There is also a widget that allows you to connect the Facebook comments to the blog comments. (You have to opt in.) Having a public Facebook page allows you to track Facebook mentions. (See https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/comments/ and https://developers.facebook.com/docs/wordpress/ and https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/.)
Comment moderation strategies.
- Pre- vs post-comment moderation: if you moderate the comments before posting them, you have a responsibility not to post comments with irresponsible links.
- Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between trolls and well-intentioned people, for example concerned parents posting about vaccines.
- If you sometimes feel like downvoting ALL the comments, then maybe you should only allow upvoting.
- What is the optimal time/frequency to check for questions? At Science News they check three times per day.
- Do you respond to all comments or respond only selectively?
- There are tools to gather comments: Storify and the PLOS media curation tool (see below) that allows you to put comments onto a related content tab.
- You can use a system like the yellow card/red card system in soccer or like "3 strikes you're out".
- The Google Web Master Tools can help you track comments.
- The report button: another commenter can "report" a comment, at which time you get an email so that you can delete, edit, or deal with it as you choose.
- Some sites (such as Reddit) hide comments that get a certain number of downvotes.
- Downvoting vs. flagging?
- How do you avoid comment moderation burnout? Have some rules or policies to guide you--examples below.
- Don't allow ad hominem attacks.
- Don't allow logical fallacies.
- Bad commenters are sent a "rewrite" message that says, "This is how you violated the comment policy--you must rewrite your comment to have it posted."
- Bad comments are disemvoweled or rewritten in haiku form.
- Make it clear that you as the blog host can do whatever you want: moderate, not moderate, edit comments.
- In Wordpress, you can list the names/IP addresses of people who cannot post without moderation.
- Notify when you edit a comment: "The second part of the comment has been removed due to X." Also, you don't have to edit comments if you're not comfortable with this.
- At PLOS, accusations of fraud and name-calling are not allowed in the the comments section.
- Close the comments when the conversation is no longer productive.
1. Have a clear written policy. (But don't expect people to read the policy.)
2. Give positive feedback to good comments: link to the comment in a story or make it the "featured comment."
- Negative example: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/11/18/quick-notes-on-my-personal-feminism/#comment-401657
- Positive example: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/03/11/the-orthodox-church-of-heinlein/#comment-577847
3. Reserve the right to edit/delete comments.
4. Define "name-calling."
5. Limit the number of links in a comment.
6. Join the conversation (wherever it is happening). But note: a lawyer said that if you respond to comments, it increases your liability issues.
Storified here by ScienceOnline: https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciocomments
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciocomments&src=typd&f=realtime
Scicurious's followup post about the session: http://scientopia.org/blogs/scicurious/2014/03/09/scio14-wrapup-read-the-comments/
Articles about commenting and sample comment policies.
"How to Be a Good Commenter," Whatever, by John Scalzi, 2012. http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/09/18/how-to-be-a-good-commenter/
"Site Disclaimer and Comment Policy," Whatever, by John Scalzi. http://whatever.scalzi.com/about/site-disclaimer-and-comment-policy/
"The Kitten Setting," Whatever, by John Scalzi, 2013. http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/01/21/the-kitten-setting/
"The Evolution of our Comment Policy," Southern Fried Science, by Andrew David Thaler, 2010. http://www.southernfriedscience.com/?p=8282
"Brief Blog Notice: Changes to the Comment Policy," Southern Fried Science, by Andrew David Thaler, 2012. http://www.southernfriedscience.com/?p=13810
"Comments, Trolls, and Moderation," Southern Fried Science, by Andrew David Thaler, 2013. http://www.southernfriedscience.com/?p=15569
"If Your Website's Full of Assholes, It's Your Fault," by Anil Dash, 2011. http://dashes.com/anil/2011/07/if-your-websites-full-of-assholes-its-your-fault.html
The Retraction Watch comment policy: http://retractionwatch.com/the-retraction-watch-faq/
An example of posts that are author-moderated: https://www.pubchase.com/essays?mostviewed
A well-managed comment section: http://www.theatlantic.com/ta-nehisi-coates/
"Blogs and their links with PubMed Commons," PubMed Commons Blog, 2014. http://pubmedcommonsblog.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2014/02/27/blogs-and-their-links-with-pubmed-commons/
An example of a conversation happening on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/antistokes/posts/10101037791634204
An example of a conversation NOT happening on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kausikdatta22/status/439151801657348096
An example of an edited comment: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24193082#cm24193082_1096
An article on the PLOS media curation tool: "Connecting all the dots – looking at the research paper & beyond," PLOS Tech, by Jennifer Lin, 2014. http://blogs.plos.org/tech/connecting-dots-looking-research-paper-beyond/
Session 9C. Mentoring/Mentorship (Best Practices and Chance to Find Mentors/Mentees)
Session type: Discussion
Description: “How do I find or approach a potential mentor?” “How can I be a helpful mentor?” “How can I ensure that the relationship with my mentor/mentee is productive and valuable?” “What’s the right structure for a mentoring relationship?” Experienced professionals want to give back to their community through mentorship, and less experienced professionals are looking for guidance and support, but, often, neither group knows where to start. If you’ve been a mentor or mentee, come to this discussion to share what has and hasn't worked for you. If you’re on the hunt for a mentor and don’t know where to start, come and learn how to approach a potential mentor thoughtfully.
For discussion highlights, please refer to the Storify below.
Storified here by Rachel Dearborn: https://storify.com/rdearborn/mentoring-mentorship-session-at-science-online-tog
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=%23sciomentor&src=typd
“Don’t Be a Creep. Lessons from the latest terrible, sad, fascinating scandal in the science blogging world,” DoubleX, by Laura Helmuth, 2013. http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/10/science_blogging_scandal_bora_zivkovic_and_sexual_harassment.html
"Career toolkit: Mentoring," Nature. http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/science/career_toolkit/mentoring
Session 9D. Bootstrapped Videography: the one-bag videographer/journalist
Session type: Q&A
Hashtag: #sciovideo (changed from #sciobootstrap)
Description: People who are used to print or radio reporting practice quick-start reporting: the minute the car door slams, you've got a notebook or a mic out and you're at work. We hate the video pause--45 minutes standing around making small talk while a shooter sets up tripod, mic, lighting, and finally prepares an interview. For years I've wanted to be a one-bag, instant videographer, at work almost as quickly as usual. For years people in video have told me that's not possible. With new equipment and methods, that's no longer true. I practice what I preach now and so do many others. In this session we'll share ideas about how to be as quick, nimble, and mobile with video as we are in less-technical storytelling modes.
Is a video worth watching? The quality is not important; the content is!
Don't be afraid to make a video. You can have everything you need in one bag.
- Get usable audio that has something to say.
- Audio must be good; video not so much.
- Use white balancing: point the camera at a white object and tell it to white balance. This makes the picture better.
- Have a good light; it makes the video better, especially if the subject is far from the background. Keeping the subject far from the background helps make the subject "pop," or stand out in the visual field. You can do this through physical distance, very short depth of field (very wide aperture), or by shooting from a distance using a zoom. That all sounds kind of technical and hard, so an easy way to do it is by trying to position your subject so she or he is lit better than the background. This is far from primary, and if it sounds too complicated, ignore it.
- Don't backlight: have the sun or a window behind yourself, not the person you are shooting.
- Make sure you turn on the mic.
- Use a wide-angle lens to get close to the subject for good audio while still getting all of the shot (such as the subject gesturing).
- Keep the subject's eye-line at 2/3 up the picture. Don't center the head. Don't clip off the chin.
- Have purpose; don't be afraid. You are your own crew. Own it!
- A floating head tripod is needed. Recommendation: Slick 630, the cheapest tripod that works.
- Use a tripod! The Gorilla tripod for ipod is also good.
- Camera: Canon XA10 or XA20.
- Camera: GoPro for second shots. You can reframe. 20 zoom.
- Use an ipod. NYTimes reporters use iphone videos - you can too.
- The wide-angle lens for ipod is a small lens for an ipod. It's awesome! It can also come with a telephoto that captures 2x. There is also a fisheye lens. Three lenses will cost $50. Plus the wide-angle unscrews into two pieces, one of which works as a fingerprint-scale macro.
- Olive clip: four lenses for $70.
- @jtotheizzoe recommends: Zoom H1 + Giant Squid Audio lav mic + Dualize audio sync program.
- The mic on the camera is commonly good enough. However, you need a headset to make sure that the audio is being captured. So, an external headset plugin on the camera is essential.
- Polaroid external mic and Belkin mic are options for attaching to an iPhone or other mobile phone for getting somewhat better audio than the phone’s internal mic, which is not directional.
- XLR PLUGS are highly important for pro-quality audio if you need it. They’re what the pros use, and you get them with the Canon cameras discussed above. You won’t get one on a DSLR or a phone. Wireless mics are good!
- Final Cut Pro 10 for video editing is designed for "late adopters." It is easy to use and about $300. (The learning curve will be overcome by making one five-minute video. Seriously.) It has white balancing on the machine and can thus make up for your mistakes in the field.
- Lights: cheap ones are fine. Scott's cost $30 and has a fader.
- Purse or bag? Depends on the project.
- You can afford decent video equipment. Get some and start video blogging!
- You will learn if you have an eye for composition. If you don't, then you can learn.
Storified here by ScienceOnline: https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-sciovideo
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciovideo&src=typd&f=realtime
Recommended for product reviews.
Online video tutorials: http://www.lynda.com/
Example: "Video Journalism Shooting Techniques" with Jeff Sengstack. http://www.lynda.com/course-tutorials/Video-Journalism-Shooting-Techniques/51608-2.html
"Make a Movie With a Smartphone or DSLR Camera," Wall Street Journal, by Chris Kornelis, 2014. (need subscription to view) http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303880604579403532251728924
Session 9E. Online Media/Tools in the Higher Ed Sci World (with insights from the #sciYoung team)
Facilitators: Shannon Palus, Freelance Writer and Fact Checker (firstname.lastname@example.org, @shanpalus) and Kate Sheridan, Student, Graduate Diploma in Journalism, Concordia University (email@example.com, @sheridan_kate)
Session type: Q & A
Description: Skype, Google Drive, Wordpress--we know you've heard these terms before. But how can you use them to engage your peers (or your students) in science communication? Members of this Q&A session have been involved in undergraduate-led science communication efforts at McGill. We've started group blogs, recruited Facebook followers, ushered student newspapers into the Internet age, and found and met with mentors out in the wilds of the internet. Come with questions about how to start, run, and promote an online publication directed at and/or made by students.
One way to reach students is to use Facebook.
- This will get students to pay attention.
- You can set up a fan page - check if your institution has rules.
- You can also create a group, which is more private.
- Students want to hear from other students.
Problems with using Facebook.
- Students have apprehension about sharing with their prof.
- FB may be too personal a space.
- Try another tool, such as a blog or a tumblr.
- Be ready to adjust as Facebook drops off.
The challenges of going mobile.
- Be ready for everything to be mobile - teaching with a smart phone.
- Be ready to design for mobile. Does your website look good on a smart phone?
- Tell a good story, but consider how to make it brief.
- Consider working with someone to help you design, but note that platforms often have a "mobile" button to turn on.
- Don't feel like you have to be on every platform.
- Reddit (http://www.reddit.com/) is underutilized.
- Figure out how to use it, and then interact with the community in a genuine way.
- Reddit is not a "fire hose" for your own work. It is for interacting with the community, posting colleagues' work, and occasionally sharing work of your own.
- A "Reddit buddy" (i.e., someone who posts your work and whose work you post) is recommended, as some sub-reddits have rules that prohibit posting your own work and self-promotion.
- Find the correct subreddit! Not all institutional subreddits are great places to engage. Good examples: http://www.reddit.com/r/science, /r/everythingscience, and /r/todayilearned (TIL).
- Don’t try to con reddit. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/05/how-the-professor-who-fooled-wikipedia-got-caught-by-reddit/257134/
Other thoughts and ideas about creating a site directed at young people.
- Young people have good BS detectors.
- How do you be original? Does it get a better response?
- Turning point clickers are a great class engagement tool.
- Poll everywhere.
Benefits of sites/publications made by young people.
- Provides students with the skills to move in the science world; it’s an undergrad research journal.
- Helps with English/writing/grammar.
- The whole process is a learning experience.
- It is student-led learning.
- They can put it on their med school applications (a great student motivator).
- Use a student board; make them the editors.
- Quality control is essential!
- A blog helps students practice, but how might you help them improve?
- Use the site as a creative writing workshop - embed it on an institutional level.
- Combine the site with peer review.
- Get permission to add the site to the institutional repository.
- Find faculty sponsors/mentors.
- Write for the intelligent non-expert (i.e., no jargon!)
- Or, include some jargon, but be ready to break it down.
- Have an undergraduate research fair!
Storified here by Shannon Palus: https://storify.com/shanpalus/media-in-the-higher-ed-world-alternate-title-ask-a
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=%23scioschooltools&src=typd
The Abstract, by the McGill Science Undergraduate Research Journal, started in 2012. http://msurjblog.com
On jargon: the Up-Goer Five Text Editor. http://splasho.com/upgoer5/
Twitter lecture exercises.
Poll Everywhere: a survey tool for clicker-like polling. http://www.polleverywhere.com/app
A useful blog for the latest tech teaching tools: Instructional Support and Training. http://blogs.uis.edu/isat/
Session 9F. How to Communicate Uncertainty with the Brevity that Online Communication Requires
Facilitator: Caitlyn McCrary, Outreach Specialist at the Baldwin Group at NOAA Coastal Services Center
Session type: Discussion
Description: Uncertainty is a large part of the scientific process. There are always exceptions to the rule, varying amounts of uncertainty, and other factors that lead to wiggle room even when the result is widely accepted as the truth among scientists. So how do we, as science communicators, describe this uncertainty to our audience without undermining the science and the results? And then, how do we do all of this within the limits of online communication, particularly social media?
Do we need to change/adjust the language we use to adapt to what the public already knows/uses?
Do we need to step further back and attempt to teach them what uncertainty means in the fields of science?
When we talk to the public, what is the burden we own, versus what they own, in the process of communication?
We never want to “dumb down” the science, so how do we discuss the intricacies?
Is it that people can’t deal with uncertainty in general and we need to teach them how?
Consider Atlanta in the storm: during the 5 hours of uncertainty about when the weather was going to hit, people freaked out. Does accepting uncertainty stem from trust, and we need to build that trust first?
People trust so few these days; might discussing uncertainty reinforce their lack of trust?
We don't want to hide uncertainty, so how do we talk about it?
What are some tips, tricks, and tools to communicate uncertainty effectively without the audience losing their trust in us?
How do we effectively communicate uncertainty?
- Know that people don't like uncertainty.
- Convey that "I don't know" is not the end of the conversation.
- Consider the audience; different audiences have different thresholds for uncertainty.
- Put the uncertainty into a context that people understand: for example, it is the same amount of uncertainty as the chance that a meteor will hit and destroy the world.
- Convey the confidence (or lack of) that the broader scientific community has in results; have the results been replicated?
- There are known unknowns and unknown unknowns. Known unknowns can be reported crisply and cleanly. Unknown unknowns can be introduced as "an interesting problem to solve."
- Make uncertainty part of the narrative; then move the ball along.
- Take the audience on the journey of science.
- Use a reality TV show on the scientific process!
- Use video of scientists doing their work to convey the process.
- It is dangerous to the public or scientists to have 100% certainty. We need to educate readers to be critical thinkers and to have uncertainty (i.e., "how to think").
- Use a brief tweet but point readers to a larger piece that further elaborates on the uncertainty.
- The best way to communicate uncertainty is to let the reader know about the process of science.
- There are ways of telling readers that uncertainty is part of science; there are a variety of ways to do this to help a wider audience understand the concept.
- Look at studies in psychology and social science: the uncertainty of a study may lead more people to read it because it adds an element of intrigue to the study that piques interest.
- Be up front with what we don't know. Explain what we DO know and what we don't know. Uncertainty doesn't mean we don't know what we are doing; we just don't know this one part.
- Introduce people to the process of science. Science has two faces in the press: good and bad. Showing the process will help the public understand.
- Use the voices of real people.
- Make uncertainty in science acceptable. People are used to hearing about uncertainty in some contexts, for example weather reports. Link scientific uncertainty to everyday uncertainty; uncertainty is not unique to science; it is part of the human condition.
- Convey uncertainty as beautiful and attractive. Science gives us tools to explore that uncertainty.
- Uncertainty in science (unlike in everyday life) leads to more certainty in the products of science.
- Create and use a different term (i.e., not "uncertainty") that people don’t already know so that we can define it for them and so that it won't come with connotations.
- Convey the fact that everyone changes his/her mind over time; this happens with science, too, because it is a process.
- We deal with uncertainty all the time. Offer science as one of the best ways to navigate uncertainty.
- This is a cultural shift in how people see science. It may not be about communicating with brevity but about bringing about this shift. This will take time. People's perceptions will not be changed with one blog post or tweet.
- Make comparisons to other fields.
- Don't talk down to people who are clinging to certainty. When someone is "in the moment," he/she craves certainty and acts on that, accepting anecdotal advice. Understand this human behavior and work around it, but don't insult people because of it.
- Show that uncertainty is both an unanswered question and an opportunity.
- Be accurate with our language. The synonyms of "uncertainty" are "suspicion," "misgiving," and "apprehension," but scientists do not mean these things when they use the word. Perhaps "risk" would be a good word? What language should we be using?
- Use "popular" fields like astronomy to educate people about uncertainty, and then relate the concepts to more challenging fields (like the oil spill example referenced below).
- Use different ways to talk about uncertainty in different fields. The applied scientists can use probabilities (e.g., 98% certainty), while the basic scientists can discuss the beauty of uncertainty.
- Turn risk into a story.
- Use infographics; for example, consider the "cone of uncertainty" on maps in predicting where a hurricane will go.
- Visualizations can help take readers through the scientific process.
- Videos can be very effective, for example "Penn and Teller on Vaccinations": http://youtu.be/RfdZTZQvuCo
- Know your audience and relate the discussion to their everyday uncertainty. Use analogies like "the chance of being struck by lightning."
- Do not pretend that 99.9% certainty equals 100%.
- Don't just assume that "people need to understand." Reach them through their values. People are not always rational when discussing something personal. Personal experience is powerful.
- Use the word "micro-uncertainty" to describe small uncertainties.
- Balance the stories being told; for example, if the news is reporting stories of children becoming autistic from vaccines, then report on children lost to preventable diseases.
Problems with reporting uncertainty.
- Sometimes there is uncertainty about the uncertainty; there can be uncertainty in the methods that may or may not cause uncertainty in the results. How to communicate complex uncertainty is even more challenging.
- The definition of uncertainty differs by field; for example, climate change has its own measures.
- There are different types, and they get confused in the media: statistical uncertainty, the discussion section of a paper, the error ranges of data.
- We think of many ways to share the science process and uncertainty, but we lose the idea of brevity.
- Even in a 15,000-word blog post, it is difficult to communicate uncertainty.
- It's hard to report on the journey in long- or short-form when the uncertainty has large consequences (e.g., a new drug approved by the FDA).
- We try to communicate based on the products of science, but much of science is based on disproving something. Most often we have eliminated the variables that might be causing the problem. It's hard to tell that story.
- Will people listen? Especially the ones who really need to hear it?
- People often don't want to hear "we don't know." For example, scientists use models to determine where an oil spill will go. The "beauty of uncertainty" is not useful in this situation.
- In tricky situations (like the oil spill), scientists should include the probability of their predictions. If they don't and they are wrong, they will lose credibility.
- Uncertainty is very real in situations such as hurricanes.
- People don't understand probability and the many ways that it is communicated. You have to know what your audience understands.
- Think about why people want information: the general public wants to know information so that they can make a decision. To parents who are considering vaccinating their children, "99% sure" is not good enough. People deal with less than 100% surity sometimes, for example, when they buy insurance; they may buy flood insurance not knowing if they will ever experience a flood. But insurance is abstract, whereas a child is not.
- People are not rational when it comes to risk. For example, you are more likely to be killed by mosquitos, deer, or a toilet than by a shark, but folks are still scared of sharks.
More thoughts on uncertainty.
- Uncertainty quantification is a big field in supercomputing.
- We may be missing out on the emotional response that people have when they hear about uncertainty. Think about the people dealing with life-threatening diseases. They want certainty and definitely will not appreciate “the beauty of uncertainty.”
- The Germans have a different way of describing uncertainty so that people don’t associate uncertainty in science with the negative connotations people in the U.S. have. We could do well to try and follow this example.
- If you are a scientist, make sure to include information about uncertainty so that communicators can use it.
- The audience is not always a lay person.
A summary by Caitlyn.
Uncertainty is part of everyday life, and people deal with it all the time; should science be any different?
There’s also an element of emotion involved--when the uncertainty is to you or your child, it’s hard to be rational.
Some tips and tricks exist for science communicators:
- Know your audience, relate to them and use techniques such as analogies that they can understand.
- Use stories to make the uncertainty more relatable.
- Bring the audience along on the scientific process, when possible, to help them understand that this is normal and a necessary part of science.
- Reframe the concept: it's not uncertainty, it’s room for growth.
- Remind the audience that we’ve come so far and are still learning. We get better as we go!
Storified here by Caitlyn McCrary: https://storify.com/CaitlynMcCrary/how-to-communicate-uncertainty-with-the-brevity-th
Storified here by Jalees Rehman: https://storify.com/jalees_rehman/communicating-uncertainty-in-science-writing-sciou
Storified here by Reiner Korbmann: https://storify.com/ReinerKorbmann/communicate-uncertainties
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciouncertainty&src=typd&f=realtime
"Think Like a Scientist Part 1 (Why?)," by Alan Dove. http://youtu.be/H0w2JXq7iD4
People like it when scientists don't know things. "15 Things That Scientists Just Can’t Explain …yet," BuzzFeed, by Kelly Oakes, 2014. http://www.buzzfeed.com/kellyoakes/15-things-that-scientists-just-cant-explain
An example of using visuals to make uncertainty interesting. "Evidence Check: Which Extreme Weather Events Are More Linked with Climate Change – Heat Waves or Hurricanes?" Union of Concerned Scientists, by Brenda Ekwurzel, 2012. http://blog.ucsusa.org/extreme-weather-and-climate-change
An @NASciences workshop on communicating the uncertainty of drug benefits/risks. http://www.iom.edu/Activities/Research/DrugForum/2014-FEB-13.asp
An interactive infographic on risk. http://thenormchronicles.com/#scio14
A quote from Richard Feynmann. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/143175-i-can-live-with-doubt-and-uncertainty-and-not-knowing
Book recommendation: Effective Risk Communication. books.google.com/books?isbn=1136272348
An article on hurricanes at Science (need account to access). http://www.sciencemag.org/content/343/6171/618.full
An example of an effective video. "Penn and Teller on Vaccinations," 2010. http://youtu.be/RfdZTZQvuCo
Union of Concerned Scientists webinars on uncertainty.
Session 10A. Online Communities: Meeting, Managing, Moving Forward
NOTE: This session is about online communities in general, not sciox in particular.
Session type: Discussion
Description: Community has become something of a buzzword in recent years – many projects, ScienceOnline included, use it as a way of indicating a more collaborative and participative emphasis to their activities. In this session we’ll consider various aspects of community--from basic definitions to day-to-day community management issues. We’ll mention the importance of in-person interactions, as well as online ones, and we’ll consider what the future might look like for online communities.
Some questions that you might want to consider before the session include the following:
- What are the indicators of a healthy community?
- What can be achieved on an individual and collective basis from being part of a community?
- What happens once a community is well established? How do you welcome new voices to combat echo chamber effects?
- Can communities ever be successfully cat-herded? Is a community something that can (or even should?) be planned from the ground up, or does it happen spontaneously?
- How much of a successful online community is about having the right technologies and/or communication strategies?
- Many organizations are now looking to build communities around their products and activities; is this a recipe for conflict or an opportunity for more two-way conversations?
If you’re part of--or a manager of--any community, do come along and add your input to the conversation!
Lou’s pre-conference post (mirrors the above description): http://socialinsilico.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/conversations-about-community-scienceonline-2014/
I opened the session by defining the three Cs that I thought were key to framing our discussions about online communities: Community, Communication and Commitment. In simple terms, a COMMUNITY is just people + a shared interest - whether that be scicomm, the safety of your neighbourhood or having input into your kids' schooling. With good COMMUNICATION, a sense of belonging develops. Communication is used to reinforce the norms and values for the community - the things they share interest in, the accepted behaviours. Sense of belonging is an indicator of a healthy community, but it is not the sole goal of community building. The sense of belonging means you start to think about what problems you could tackle together, how to DO STUFF. Where it looks like there's a path to achieving those things - reinforced by more good communication - then a COMMITMENT to the community occurs.
The live stream of this session (embedded below) is archived at http://scienceonline.com/live/?id=99.
Community Managers/builders who work for an organisation are often a bridge between the organisation and the community. Does this cause tensions in either or both places? We talked about the challenges of being an advocate versus a representative. We also mentioned how it's often more effective to use your own account when communicating via social media but that this raises questions about how to keep your personal and professional life separate. Are you comfortable advocating for your organisation's products and activities on your own accounts?
We also discussed some of the things to consider when setting up a community. Having one person as the sole contact point for all activities means they might get overloaded, and things don't get done. Identify tasks and share them between different people. Also important are succession plans - having only one person doing everything means the community is vulnerable to collapse when he/she leaves.
We then moved on to questions of communication - and whether or not there was a fourth C needed - coordination.
Other topics included the following.
- Specific tools or strategies for coordinating roles within a community.
- Methods to get people to contribute to a community and actively join in conversations.
- The importance of personal interactions.
- The role of in-person events.
- The dynamics of communities and the formation of subcommunities.
- The use of both visible and back channels for community building and conflict resolution.
- The use of network visualization tools.
Finally, to wrap up the session, I suggested that we set up a monthly online meetup for anyone interested in the "science of community management" of online science communities. The aim would be to share more information about online tools and academic studies useful to community management. Let me know if you'd like to join in and I'll set this up. You can also check out my new blog on these topics: Social in Silico (http://socialinsilico.wordpress.com). And also on Twitter @SocialInSilco.
For more discussion highlights, see the Storify below.
Storified here by Lou Woodley: https://storify.com/louwoodley/online-communities-session-at-scienceonline-2014-s
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=%23sciocommunity&src=typd
Lou’s blog on #sciocommunity topics. http://socialinsilico.wordpress.com
The Art of Community, by Jono Bacon. http://www.artofcommunityonline.org
“Mapping Twitter Topic Networks: From Polarized Crowds to Community Clusters,” PewResearch Internet Project, by Marc A. Smith, Lee Rainie, Ben Shneiderman, and Itai Himelboim, 2014. http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/02/20/mapping-twitter-topic-networks-from-polarized-crowds-to-community-clusters/
“No Country for Old Members: User Lifecycle and Linguistic Change in Online Communities,” Proceedings of the WWW, by Cristian Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil, et al., 2013. http://cs.stanford.edu/people/jure/pubs/language-www13.pdf
Discussion of the above: https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2014/webprogram/Session7201.html
Blog post about the above: “Closing time! Predicting when users will leave an online community based on their language use,” Social in Silico, by Lou Woodley, 2014. http://socialinsilico.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/closing-time-predicting-when-users-will-leave-an-online-community-based-on-their-language-use/
“Internet friendships: rules of the game,” Comment is Free, by Tim Skellett, 2010. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/sep/24/bulletin-board-online-friendships
Network visualization tools.
- NodeXL. http://nodexl.codeplex.com
- Gephi. https://gephi.org
- Coursera MOOC on Gephi. https://www.coursera.org/course/sna
“Blendology interactive name badges at SpotOn London 2013,” by Lou Woodley. https://storify.com/louwoodley/blendology-interactive-name-badges-at-spoton-londo
Session 10B. Upholding Standards in Blogs (Research & Journalism)
Facilitator: Jalees Rehman, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago (firstname.lastname@example.org, Scilogs Blog The Next Regeneration: http://www.scilogs.com/next_regeneration/)
Session type: Discussion
Description: Science bloggers are a diverse group of professionals, many of whom have been trained as journalists and/or scientists. This session will discuss what journalistic and scientific standards should a science blog uphold. Examples of potential discussion topics include issues surrounding accuracy, neutrality, objectivity, criticism and anonymity when blogging about specific scientific research studies, academic life, peer review or science policy and funding. A typical blog post only runs only 500-1500 words, which may make it even more challenging to uphold all standards in all blog posts, but are we allowed to pick and choose? Can a blog post focus on accurately explaining a scientific study without necessarily providing criticism of the study? Should blog posts routinely provide a "second perspective"? Can we agree on standards for how to deal with comments made by readers?
"Background Reading in Science Blogging," The Next Regeneration, by Jalees Rehman, 2014. http://www.scilogs.com/next_regeneration/background-reading-in-science-blogging-sciostandards/
"Neutrality, Balance and Anonymous Sources in Science Blogging," The Next Regeneration, by Jalees Rehman, 2014. http://www.scilogs.com/next_regeneration/neutrality-balance-and-anonymous-sources-in-science-blogging-sciostandards/
Some forms of writing such as poetry have few standards; avoiding uniform standards promotes creativity among individual writers. News articles in magazines and newspapers, on the other hand, do follow guidelines and writers are asked to adhere to professional standards in journalism.
The scientific profession also has established standards that apply to the process of scientific inquiry and scientific peer review; it is expected that scientists adhere to these principles.
How about science writers or science bloggers? Should we adhere to standards? If yes, should these standards be primarily based on the professional standards of journalism, science or a combination of both? The goal of the session is not to reach a definitive solution or catalog of guidelines but to have an initial discussion on whether we can establish professional standards for science writers and science journalists.
Topics to cover.
- How much background research should science writers perform? Read the original paper(s) they want to write about? Talk to the authors of the paper(s)? Interview scientists other than the authors? Read prior papers of the scientists in question and papers of other scientists to put the present work in context?
- One journalistic standard is to achieve some degree of neutrality in journalism and avoid severe bias or passionate support of one view point, although there are exceptions. Should this apply to science writing?
- The balanced view of journalism can lead to "false balance" in science.
- Should science writers use anonymous sources the way peer review does?
- Should journalistic standards apply to blogging?
- Are the standards being used by various individual science bloggers or blogging networks?
- Do we agree that science blog posts should have verifiable sources?
- Should blogs be fact-checked?
- Even if we agreed on some basic science blogging standards, how would we educate and train science bloggers so that they would learn to adhere to the standards?
- How can we convey the standards to the audience? If one science blog routinely researches and evaluates original scientific papers whereas another blog primarily relies on press releases of universities, how would readers know about these different standards?
Some thoughts in response.
- Most bloggers are initially journalists or scientists, so they already have standards.
- People blog for different reasons. For some, it is not about being journalistic.
- We are not all journalists, but we can write like them.
- Blogging allows for leveraging from the author's background and for linking to sources; there is often not much fact-checking.
- It's so easy to link; bloggers should reference and link to their sources so that readers can follow up and assess for themselves.
- We have to think from the reader's point of view. Everything gets dumped into one news stream; readers can have difficulty interpreting what is what.
- Bloggers who include their personal opinions should make it clear that this is the case. Otherwise, readers might not distinguish between an unbiased post and an op-ed post.
- Writers make internal distinctions about what's acceptable in each kind of blog post, but readers do not see these distinctions in standards the writers may have applied (i.e., personal opinion about a science-related topic versus an extensively researched blog post about a recent scientific paper).
- Some readers are familiar with the different types of writing (blog posts that share opinions, posts that critique scientific studies, posts that primarily inform readers about studies, etc) but newcomers are often not.
- We could create tags to label blog posts that inform or critique studies versus those that are op-eds; we could create a culture of classifying the type of blog or blog post.
- It also depends on the goal; in a blog post that is a roundup of links, there is no need to verify the science.
- You as a science blogger/writer have a responsibility to get it right.
- Science is hard; you should be sweating over it.
- You can always explain in your blog post that you don't know or understand something.
- What about standards in writing and grammar?
On contacting the author of a paper.
- A journalist who was never a scientist might misinterpret science papers and might not understand the bulk of the paper, especially if he/she writes about diverse topics. It's essential for such bloggers to consult with scientists.
- Reading the paper and minimal background research is essential, but requiring the blogger to contact the author may be overkill (depending on the scope of the piece).
- How do you deal with short deadlines? You cannot read all the papers and do all the research; it is faster to call the author.
- You can also ask scientists, "What's actually new in your paper?" which will save you time.
- Scientists highlight their findings and may downplay the limitations or their competition. If you only read the paper, you might miss something. During an interview, however, you can ask, "What's the main problem with your research? Who are your competitors?" Then contact them directly if the scientists divulge their names. (See more thoughts on neutrality and balance, below.)
- Use language such as "I talked to Dr. X" to let readers know the source.
- Connect all your sources for synergy in the promotion of your blog.
- Scientists: when you get a call from a reporter, you can coordinate with your department communicator or press liaison.
How does a science blogger present himself/herself when asking a scientist for an interview?
- Use a high-profile or well-known publication name, if possible. The scientist might not want to talk to you if you are new or from a small-time blog or media outlet. Some "blog elitists" will only talk to bloggers from big blogs like SciAm.
- Say that you are a taxpayer and it is their job to talk to you.
- If the scientist asks to see the text, say yes; this way they can review the science.
- Read the paper ahead; it is only fair to the scientist so that you do not waste his/her time.
- Contact grad students instead of the main author.
Q. How much effort should science bloggers put into responding to journalists who are interested in their posts? What is the ROI? A. It depends on how much time you have available, the reach of the journalist, and the audience.
Q. How much time should be spent on researching a piece? A. It depends on the length and the field: anywhere from two hours to weeks.
On neutrality and balance.
- If the goal of the blog is to express an opinion, there is no need to be neutral.
- It's okay not to be neutral/balanced with topics for which there's lots of advocacy (e.g., climate change, vaccines), but many science topics are more divided. How do we address this?
- Instead of 50/50 balance, use "quantified balance" to place the research in context. Qualify the opinions; if the views of the opposing side are not as respected by the scientific community, say so.
- It's okay to ignore the ridiculous side.
- There are credibility issues for bloggers and journalists. A blogger is an expert and is supposed to contribute an opinion. A journalist is expected to be balanced. Some might see this as bloggers (aka experts) are right, whereas journalists are fair.
- A blog is a conversation; it can continue after the initial post and allow for corrections.
- If you read the paper, you'll find the key points in the abstract.
- Writing a press release is not the same as writing a blog post. Standards should come from the motivation. A press release has a different goal than a blog post; it is news reporting.
- The press release is dead; we need to reach the consumer with well-written features.
On anonymous sources.
- Avoid them; there is a danger of libel.
- But sometimes, no one will talk to you unless they can be anonymous.
- You can paraphrase if the source uses inflammatory language.
- Always be wary of the person's agenda when using an anonymous source.
- Scientific peer review itself is a form of using anonymous sources; why should science bloggers not rely on anonymous sources?
- On pubpeer.com, readers can search for academic articles and leave anonymous comments.
Conclusion: Science blogging is its own profession and needs to establish its own code-of-conduct and standards instead of merely imposing scientific or journalistic standards.
Storified here by Jalees Rehman: https://storify.com/jalees_rehman/standards-in-science-blogging-sciostandards-at-sci
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sciostandards&src=typd&f=realtime
"Society needs more than wonder to respect science," Nature, by Susan Watts, 2014. http://www.nature.com/news/society-needs-more-than-wonder-to-respect-science-1.15012
"Critical Science Writing: A Checklist for the Life Sciences", The Next Regeneration, by Jalees Rehman, 2013. http://www.scilogs.com/next_regeneration/critical-science-writing-a-checklist-for-the-life-sciences/
Session 10C. Imagine: Future of Scholarly Communications in 10-20 Years
Session type: Discussion
Description: In the early days and incarnations of Science Online we talked a lot about a future for research communication which was not just on the web, but of the web. Looking back now, many of the changes we predicted (or wished for!) have happened, or at least are happening. From our perspective of 2014, with Open Access a reality, dynamic publications appearing, and experiments in pre- and post-publication peer review gathering pace, what can we see if we look not just a few years down the road but far out into the future. What might change? What will probably not change? And how can we extrapolate from the trends we see today into the far future?
For highlights from the discussion, please see the Storifies below.
Storified here by Cameron Neylon: https://storify.com/CameronNeylon/imagine-the-far-future-of-scholarly-communication
Storified here (shorter version) by ScienceOnline: https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-scioimagine
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=%23scioimagine&src=typd
“Threaded Publications: one step closer,” BioMed Central, by Daniel Shanahan, 2014. http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcblog/2014/01/31/threaded-publications-one-step-closer/
Session 10D. Ethics, Genomes & Public Involvement in Science
Session type: Discussion
Description: Advances in genomics have rapidly moved the study of human genomes and microbiomes into the public sphere. With this advancement comes opportunity to engage directly in research and gain access to information relevant to one’s health and well-being, information that participants may also feel compelled to share online. We’ll explore ethics and privacy issues related to the growing field of citizen “-omics” by asking: What are the consequences of the public’s enthusiasm for sharing their personal results online? How do project organizers adequately communicate open-ended risk affiliated with participation in these studies? Are Institutional Review Boards ready for Human Subjects research in the era of social media and online engagement? For journalists writing openly about their participation in these projects, what were the consequences (positive or negative) of sharing one's experience? To what extent will crowd-funding and open-access data policies change the way we think about privacy and ethics?
This session builds on a session from Scio13 (http://scio13.wikispaces.com/Session+6B) on ethics and citizen science (doing research outside the scope of IRB, i.e., DIY or outside the scope of an institution). Posts from the co-moderators of that session:
- Judy Stone. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/molecules-to-medicine/2013/02/05/of-citizen-science-ethics-and-irbs-the-view-from-science-online/?print=true
- Kelly Hills. http://www.kellyhills.com/blog/the-difference-between-citizen-and-diy-science/
Questions to consider.
Have you participated in a citizen science project/research involving your genome or microbiome?
Are you a researcher who does citizen science?
Have you served on an ethics or review board (e.g. IRB, IACUC)?
What has been your role and experience with –omics projects? Why do you participate? What do you hope to learn by participating? Some examples:
- American Gut Project. http://microbio.me/americangut/FAQ.psp#faq0
- uBiome. http://ubiome.com
- Belly Button Biodiversity. http://navels.yourwildlife.org/
- Wild Life of Our Homes. http://homes.yourwildlife.org
- Project MERCCURI. http://spacemicrobes.org
- Personal Genome Project. http://www.personalgenomes.org
How to be ethical while getting the public involved in science--three questions from @docfreeride. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/doing-good-science/2014/02/23/how-to-be-ethical-while-getting-the-public-involved-in-your-science/
- What’s in it for scientists?
- What’s in it for the non-scientists/non-experts/members of the public involved in the project?
- What’s the relationship between the scientists and the non-scientists in this project? What consequences will this have for relationships between scientists and the public more generally?
What are the consequences (positive/negative) of the public’s enthusiasm for sharing their personal results online?
- "My Genome, My Self," NY Times Magazine, by Steven Pinker, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/magazine/11Genome-t.html
- "How the Personal Genome Project Could Unlock the Mysteries of Life," Wired Magazine, by Thomas Goetz, 2008. http://archive.wired.com/medtech/stemcells/magazine/16-08/ff_church
- "Getting Your Microbes Analyzed Raises Big Privacy Issues," NPR, by Rob Stein, 2013. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/04/240278593/getting-your-microbes-analyzed-raises-big-privacy-issues
To what extent will crowd-funding and open-access data policies change the way we think about privacy and ethics? What are the risks and rewards? To what extent are the lines between citizen scientist, human subject, and customer becoming blurred, and what are the duties of those mounting citizen science projects to keep them distinct? Relevant articles:
- "Crowdfunding and IRBs: The case of uBiome," Scientific American Guest Blog, by Jessica Richman & Zachary Apte, 2013. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2013/07/22/crowdfunding-and-irbs-the-case-of-ubiome/
- "Ethical and practical issues for uBiome to keep working on," Doing Good Science, by Janet Stemwedel, 2013. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/doing-good-science/2013/07/24/ethical-and-practical-issues-for-ubiome-to-keep-working-on/
- "uBiome is determined to be a cautionary tale for citizen science," The Broken Spoke Blog, by Nicholas Evans, 2013. http://thebrokenspokeblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/ubiome-is-determined-to-be-a-cuationary-tale-for-citizen-science/
- "uBiome: Ethical lapse or not?" Molecules to Medicine, by Judy Stone, 2013. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/molecules-to-medicine/2013/07/25/ubiome-ethical-lapse-or-not/
- "On ethics and self-policing in (citizen) science," Urban Scientist, by DN Lee, 2013. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/urban-scientist/2013/02/22/on-ethics-and-self-policing-in-citizen-science/
How do project organizers adequately communicate open-ended risk affiliated with participation in these studies? Are Institutional Review Boards ready for Human Subjects research in the era of social media and online engagement?
Citizen science projects are often hailed for increasing the public’s attention to and enthusiasm for science, but the potential for engagement with a negative outcome has important implications, too. What obligations do those mounting citizen “-ome” studies have to other scientists conducting human subjects research, and to other researchers mounting citizen science projects of other sorts?
For journalists writing openly about their participation in these projects, what were the consequences (positive or negative) of sharing one’s experience? Is it possible that their position (or employment) shields them from possible negative consequences? Is the model of journalist-participant reporting on “-omic” research any different than journalist-patient reporting on health conditions? Examples:
- "Some of My Best Friends Are Germs," NY Times Magazine, by Michael Pollan, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazine/say-hello-to-the-100-trillion-bacteria-that-make-up-your-microbiome.html
- "Mapping the Microbiome, NOVA Next, by Hillary Rosner. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/nature/exploring-your-homes-microbiome/
- "Your Tiny Roommates," Time.com, by Veronique Greenwood, 2013. http://science.time.com/2013/09/11/your-tiny-roommates-meet-the-microbes-living-in-your-home/
- Here is a Human Being, by Misha Angrist. http://www.genome.duke.edu/press/books/here-is-a-human-being/
- "Me and My Microbiome," Science News, by Tina Hesman Saey. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/me-and-my-microbiome
Participants discussed ethics and informed consent.
IRB means institutional review board.
What’s in it for scientists? Reasons to participate.
- Consider the case of John Moore, whose spleen was removed and used to develop a profitable cell line. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore_v._Regents_of_the_University_of_California
- 23 and Me got a patent related to Parkinson’s. http://blog.23andme.com/news/announcements/announcing-23andmes-first-patent/
Do citizen science projects go through IRB? What is a “citizen science” project?
- IRB is a regulatory and legal organization, not an ethics organization.
- Some institutions are much more rigorous than others.
- Many projects require an ethics section.
Participants discussed Michael Eisen and the case of UC Berkeley’s first-year orientation program called “Bring Your Genes to Cal” focusing on personalized medicine in 2010 by offering DNA testing for 3 genetic variants:
@drjudystone offered a PDF on the ethics of conducting clinical research (http://www.conductingclinicalresearch.com/full_text.php). There are more resources in Judy’s article, linked above.
How can we ensure that our participants are aware of risks?
People are sharing their stuff (genomic information) online.
People participate in this citizen science for different reasons. The participants want to see science move forward. How do we move forward?
Participants discussed public vs private genomic data collection. There was concern that government projects where human samples are collected don’t always have enough or any informed consent.
Most reporting on these citizen science sequencing projects is written about an anecdotal experience from the first-person perspective. We would like to see application of the scientific method to reporting about these things. A paper surveying people’s follow-up experience with having their sequence data “out there” with figures on survey data on positive or negative experiences would be welcome. Also, a paper in the form of a structured narrative.
Participants discussed “Rules of the road” and “Things you might want to think about that you probably aren’t thinking about when participating in something like the American Gut or Your Wild Life.”
Storified here by ScienceOnline: https://storify.com/ScienceOnline/scio14-scioethics
The conversation continues: https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=%23scioethics&src=typd
In addition to the resources listed above, these articles were tweeted by participants.
“Mammography study hacked, personal data at risk,” WRAL, 2009. http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/6213633/
“UNC, researcher settle dispute over hacker attack, News & Observer, 2011. http://blogs.newsobserver.com/category/tags/Carolina-Mammography-Registry
“'Omic astronauts' blast off into a new genetic era,” Emory News Center, by Carol Clark, 2013. http://news.emory.edu/stories/2013/06/esc_omic_astronauts/campus.html
Session 10E. Viral Downward Spiral: Can We Anticipate Science Controversies?
Facilitator: Misha Angrist, Associate Professor of the Practice, Duke University (@MishaAngrist)
Session type: Discussion
Hashtag: #scioviral (changed from #scionews)
Session forum: none
Description: In November the FDA sent an unvarnished nastygram to direct-to-consumer genetic testing provider 23andMe telling the company that it had to stop marketing its product because it was, in the FDA’s eyes, misleading the public and offering unfounded medical advice. The company had been in trouble with regulatory authorities before and was a favorite punching bag of the medical establishment since it launched in 2007. Yet somehow none of its prior contretemps provoked anything like the media firestorm that followed the FDA’s cease-and-desist letter. In this session we will ask why? What if anything was different about this particular online dumpster fire? Was the reaction purely a function of the precipitating event itself? Or do social media make such feeding frenzies inevitable? How is this case instructive to us as science writers?
I showed some slides and gave some background on the history of direct-to-consumer genomics, how the landscape has changed, and how the relationship between the company and the FDA has evolved. Participants raised other controversies that have periodically flared up in