The massive impact of science on our collective and individual lives has decreased the willingness of many to accept the pronouncements of scientists unless they can verify the strength of the underlying evidence for themselves. […] It is vital that science is not seen to hide behind closed laboratory doors, but engages seriously with the public.
Open your minds and share your results, says Geoffry Boulton, asking that scientists make data available to the public and to other researchers, because “Science’s capacity for self-correction comes from this openness to scrutiny and challenge”.
Science as an open enterprise is a report from the Royal Society that highlights 6 main changes needed to improve the openess of science:
- “a shift away from a research culture where data is viewed as a private preserve;
- expanding the criteria used to evaluate research to give credit for useful data communication and novel ways of collaborating;
- the development of common standards for communicating data;
- mandating intelligent openness for data relevant to published scientific papers;
- strengthening the cohort of data scientists needed to manage and support the use of digital data;
- the development and use of new software tools to automate and simplify the creation and exploitation of datasets.”
Making Public Communication Part of Research Responsibility: What Scientists Can and Should Do
- Understand the public before you seek the public’s understanding
- Don’t seek world domination or universal love
- Welcome questions
- Explore new tools for enabling conversations and empowering public audiences
- Aim for transparency
- Take responsibility for clarity and accuracy
- Share your process, and discuss risks as well as benefits
- Get training and support
- Encourage, don’t discourage, communication with audiences beyond the lab. (via AAAS)
no one would deny that Dawkins is one of the great communicators of our day. He’s got his books, they are best sellers and all the like, but I’d rather unpack the word communicator and split it into two categories. One of them is, are you effective at what you do? That’s kind of what communication means. It means you have a message and someone receives it. There are two ends to that line segment. That’s different from are you articulate? He’s articulate. That man, Dawkins, he’s got a level of articulation of his deliver that would make any American jealous. It’s why we all wish we had some kind of fraction of the literary education that goes on in the United Kingdom, over here. So he’ll make his point, and he’ll say exactly what he means and he’ll mean exactly what he says and he’ll say it with brilliant juxtaposition of words. Words that we hardly ever hear much over here but are brilliantly put together in a sentence. Yes, he’s articulate. Is the message working? If it’s not working, why not? Because being articulate is not the same thing as communicating. Communicating is understanding the mind of who you are talking to. Much as how great your communication, let people come to it, and paw at it and study it. Are you speaking straight to the soul of the person you are communicating with? And I don’t think he is. Because there are people who are not as articulate as he is who are actually put off by the weight of his expertise of oration. And I’m not trying to say that he should, what am I trying to say? I’m trying to say that if he took more time studying the mind of his listeners and wanted to have an effect on that mind, he would not speak in the ways that he does. Because there’s a sharpness to it, there’s a wit to it. It’s so sharp and so witty that it’s almost aggressive and it can turn people off. It does turn people off.