Societal impact of university research in the written press: media attention in the context of SIUR and the open science agenda among social scientists in Flanders, Belgium | SpringerLink

Abstract:  Transferring scientific knowledge to non-academic audiences is an essential aspect of the open science agenda, which calls for scholars to pursue a popularization of their research. Accordingly, purposefully introducing scientific insights to the public at large is almost univocally deemed commendable. Indeed, in today’s models of research evaluation, the objects and activities considered are being extended beyond peer-reviewed journal articles to include non-scholarly popular communication. Although altmetrics offer one instrumental way to count some interactions with lay audiences, their reliance on social media makes them susceptible to manipulation, and mostly reflect circulation among niche audiences. In comparison, attention from non-scholarly media like newspapers and magazines seems a more relevant pathway to effectuate societal impact, due to its recognition in qualitative assessment tools and its broad, societal reach. Based on a case study of social scientists’ attention by newspapers and magazines in Flanders (northern Dutch-speaking region of Belgium) in 2019, this paper highlights that frequent participation in the public debate is reserved for high-status researchers only. Results show highly skewed media appearance patterns in both career position and gender, as eight male professors accounted for almost half of all 2019 media attention for social scientists. Because media attention is highly subject-dependent moreover, certain disciplines and fields offer easier pathways to popularization in media than others. Both the open science agenda and research assessment models value presence of researchers in popular media, adding written press attention to existing evaluation assessments however would disproportionately disadvantage early career researchers and exacerbate existing inequalities in academia.

 

 

Quartz is taking down the paywall on QZ.com — Quartz

“We are excited to announce that we have lifted the paywall on QZ.com, and are making the vast majority of our journalism free for everyone to read….

Starting today, you won’t encounter any paywalls on QZ.com articles, though we may ask you to register for free with an email address after repeated use….

Our 25,000 paying members will continue to receive exclusive access to two premium emails: the Quartz Weekend Brief, which sums up the past week, and The Forecast, which looks far ahead to emerging trends and industries. It’s a great way to augment your experience of Quartz and to fund high-quality business journalism with an important mission….”

Why the snippet tax of the EU Copyright Directive is pointless and doomed to fail – Walled Culture

“The EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market contains two spectacularly bad ideas. One is the upload filter of Article 17, which will wreak havoc not just on creativity in the EU, but also on freedom of speech there, as algorithms block perfectly legal material. The other concerns the “snippet tax” of Article 15, more formally known as ancillary copyright..

Just as the impetus for the upload filter came from the music and film industries, so the lobbying for Article 15 came from newspaper publishers. The logic behind their demand, such as it was, seemed to be that Google was making money from ads on its pages that had some links to newspaper sites. That ignored two inconvenient facts. First, that Google’s dedicated news site, Google News, had precisely zero ads on its pages. And secondly, the pages on the main Google search engine that did have ads, had many other search hits alongside links to newspapers. And those links to newspaper sites send a considerable flow of traffic, that publishers have repeatedly shown they are desperate to have….”

Black Press Archives at Howard University Gets Preserved, Digitized Thanks to $2M Grant | The Dig at Howard University

“The Howard University Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (MSRC) received a $2 million grant from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation to support the preservation and digitization of the Black Press Archives, a newspaper collection of titles by Black journalists, editors and publishers. MSRC worked in partnership with the Center for Journalism and Democracy to secure this critical gift, and the center will be committing additional funds to the project to ensure a significant number of publications in the Black Press Archives are available in an online repository for worldwide research….”

The Open Notebook and the art of science journalism – Research Outreach

“The importance of quality science journalism has been widely recognised throughout the long months of the COVID-19 pandemic. What is less frequently discussed is the unique skillset that is required to undertake this vital form of translation: ensuring that the complexity of cutting-edge research is communicated in such a way that it remains exciting, accurate, and digestible. The Open Notebook has therefore set itself a critical task: to ensure science, health and environmental journalists have the requisite skills and assistance to convey their message. Research Outreach spoke to Siri Carpenter, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the organisation, about the challenges and rewards of this most interesting form of journalism….”

Science in motion: A qualitative analysis of journalists’ use and perception of preprints | bioRxiv

Abstract:  This qualitative study explores how and why journalists use preprints — unreviewed research papers — in their reporting. Through thematic analysis of interviews conducted with 19 health and science journalists in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it applies a theoretical framework that conceptualizes COVID-19 preprint research as a form of post-normal science, characterized by high scientific uncertainty and societal relevance, urgent need for political decision-making, and value-related policy considerations. Findings suggest that journalists approach the decision to cover preprints as a careful calculation, in which the potential public benefits and the ease of access preprints provided were weighed against risks of spreading misinformation. Journalists described viewing unreviewed studies with extra skepticism and relied on diverse strategies to find, vet, and report on them. Some of these strategies represent standard science journalism, while others, such as labeling unreviewed studies as preprints, mark a departure from the norm. However, journalists also reported barriers to covering preprints, as many felt they lacked the expertise or the time required to fully understand or vet the research. The findings suggest that coverage of preprints is likely to continue post-pandemic, with important implications for scientists, journalists, and the publics who read their work.

 

Science in motion: A qualitative analysis of journalists’ use and perception of preprints | bioRxiv

Abstract:  This qualitative study explores how and why journalists use preprints — unreviewed research papers — in their reporting. Through thematic analysis of interviews conducted with 19 health and science journalists in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it applies a theoretical framework that conceptualizes COVID-19 preprint research as a form of post-normal science, characterized by high scientific uncertainty and societal relevance, urgent need for political decision-making, and value-related policy considerations. Findings suggest that journalists approach the decision to cover preprints as a careful calculation, in which the potential public benefits and the ease of access preprints provided were weighed against risks of spreading misinformation. Journalists described viewing unreviewed studies with extra skepticism and relied on diverse strategies to find, vet, and report on them. Some of these strategies represent standard science journalism, while others, such as labeling unreviewed studies as preprints, mark a departure from the norm. However, journalists also reported barriers to covering preprints, as many felt they lacked the expertise or the time required to fully understand or vet the research. The findings suggest that coverage of preprints is likely to continue post-pandemic, with important implications for scientists, journalists, and the publics who read their work.

 

Journalism is a public good. Let the public make it. – Columbia Journalism Review

“For decades, we have invested so much time, money, and hope in the idea that a small group of individuals who are experts in their field can solve the enormous, complex challenge of building and supporting an informed citizenry. But the longer I’ve worked in this industry—and the more I’ve grappled with the core questions of what and who makes journalism in the public interest—the more clearly I’ve seen the error of this thinking. This is not a problem that journalists can solve on our own. The best response to the current crisis in journalism is to get more people involved, at a level at which everyone is willing and able to participate. Not just as news consumers, but as distributors and—most importantly—producers of local information….

The solution to the current crisis in journalism isn’t simply to save jobs, but to willingly and intentionally democratize the means of journalistic production. New infrastructure that weaves together participatory media and public assets will democratize journalistic skills and could unlock a movement for collective action, a not-so-secret weapon against news deserts and misinformation hidden in plain sight. It relies on thousands of everyday people who are eager to participate, organizations with physical media-makerspaces, and communities taking collective action….

There is no number of news articles that will save us from the challenges ahead, but there are a million people willing to take on the role of “Observer,” “Courtwatcher,” “Community Correspondent,” “Info Hub Captain,” or “Documenter” for their neighborhood, block, or building. Let’s build new newsrooms as civic hubs—and integrate existing newsrooms into community spaces. Let’s train many more people to commit acts of journalism without going into debt for a costly degree. Let’s open up the field of journalism to include residents working alongside reporters on some of the biggest questions facing our communities. …”

Boston Phoenix Rises Again With New Online Access – Internet Archive Blogs

“After the publication shut down, owner Stephen Mindich wanted the public to be able to access back issues of the Phoenix. The complete run of the newspaper from 1973 to 2013 was donated to Northeastern University’s special collections. The family signed copyright over the university. 

Librarians led a crowdsourcing project to create a digital index of all the articles and authors, which was helpful for historians and others in their research, said Giordana Mecagni, head of special collections and university archivist. Northeastern had inquired about digitizing the collection, but it was cost prohibitive. 

As it turns out, the Internet Archive owned the master microfilm for the Phoenix and it put the full collection online in a separate collection: The Boston Phoenix 1973-2013. Initially, the back issues were only available for one patron to check out at a time through Controlled Digital Lending. Once Northeastern learned about the digitized collection, it extended rights to the Archive to allow the Phoenix to be downloaded without controls….”

Brave New Publishing World | The Scientist Magazine®

“This simply means that journalistic outlets, members of the public, researchers, politicians, and other interested parties must be extra vigilant when considering findings reported in preprints. Mullins, who is also the editor in chief of open-access journal Toxicology Communications (and my next-door neighbor), and other scientists offer several suggestions for this proper contextualization of preprints on the part of the research community. Giving preprints DOI numbers that expire after a set time instead of the permanent DOIs they now receive, referring to them as an “unrefereed manuscripts,” or emblazoning each page of preprints with a warning label that alerts readers to the unreviewed nature of the paper may well help to present preprints as those first drafts of science.

On the journalism side, it’s imperative that newsrooms at media behemoths and niche publications alike adopt policies that strike a balance—between rapidly communicating valuable information and disseminating well-founded scientific insights—by appropriately contextualizing and vetting findings reported in preprints. At The Scientist, we have done just this, and our policies regarding preprints are posted on the Editorial Policies page of www.the-scientist.com. Please head there to review the specifics, and feel free to share your thoughts and comments on our social media channels. In my opinion, preprints and the servers that host them do still harbor a promise and utility that may help when the next global health emergency comes knocking. The scientific community, the public, the press, and the political sphere must adjust our views and treatment of these first drafts of science so that we avoid the pitfalls and reap the benefits of a more direct communication of research findings.”

Perceptions, relationships, expectations, and challenges: Views of communication and research for scientific dissemination in Brazilian Federal Institutes

Abstract:  Communicating Brazilian science still seems to be a challenge for journalists and researchers of public institutions of education and science. In this sense, this research aims to identify and analyze scientists’ perceptions regarding the work of journalists, the relationship between these groups, the expectations, and the challenges of science communication in two Federal Institutes of Education in Brazil. We conducted a mixed study in the qualitative stage with the participation of 30 interviewees, and in the quantitative stage, journalists and researchers answered a questionnaire (n = 242). Our results indicated that the work of science communication is not carried out properly in both Institutes and that there is a lack of articulated work among both journalists, communicators, and researchers. The relationship between these groups needs to be built jointly. In this respect, the biggest challenges are to institutionalize science communication, establish a science communication plan, and overcome internal relationship barriers. Our results may underpin science communication policies and policies for scientific dissemination both institutional or even national levels.

 

 

Who we are – ENJOI – Science communication

“ENJOI (ENgagement and JOurnalism Innovation for Outstanding Open Science Communication) will explore and test engagement as a key asset of innovation in science communication distributed via media platforms, with a strong focus on journalism. Through a combination of methodologies and in collaboration with producers, target users and stakeholders of science communication, ENJOI will co-create and select a set of standards, principles and indicators (SPIs) condensed to a Manifesto for an Outstanding Open Science Communication.

ENJOI will deploy a series of actions via Engagement Workshops, Labs, field and participatory research, evaluation and testing phases. It will also build an Observatory as its landmark product to make all results and outputs available to foster capacity building and collaboration of all actors in the field. ENJOI will work in four countries: Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain, taking into account different cultural contexts.

ENJOI’s ultimate goal is that of improving science communication by making it more consistently reliable, truthful, open and engaging. Contextually, ENJOI will contribute to the active development of critical thinking, digital awareness and media literacy of all actors involved in the process….”

SPIs – ENJOI – Science communication

“In order to address this challenge [of disinformation], the ENJOI project is working to co-create and select a set of Standards, Principles and Indicators (SPIs) for Outstanding Open Science Communication (OOSC). What are SPIs?…

The Catalan Association of Science Communication (ACCC) was in charge of identifying and selecting the ENJOI SPIs. With the help of the ENJOI network, they surveyed existing academic literature, including books, explored grey literature, and consulted several experts to identify a set of documents that can be considered a representative sample of past efforts to define SPIs….”

Beyond the Pandemic: The Future of the Research Enterprise in Academic Year 2021-22 and Beyond

“There is clearly a growing commitment to open scholarly communication by researchers, but the precise contours of this are poorly documented and understood. It’s clear that research communities that have been historically reluctant to use pre-print servers have now embraced them, but also that there’s a growing understanding of the challenges that researchers face when pre-print servers are used by the popular press for high-stakes public health research, for example. Opening up commercially-published and paywalled scholarly articles in areas related to COVID-19 has been very welcome, and has advanced support for open-access agendas. In parallel with the pandemic, but not fundamentally driven by it, various funders such as Plan S participants have been trying to advance agendas related to transformative agreements. It will be important to try to disentangle the various trends in this area, and the factors driving them….”