Just as the summer break ends, an article which I’ve co-written with a colleague has come out. It is of the type ‘quick and dirty’, meaning in this case: It’s a short contribution that summarises the status quo and calls for some action on a specific topic, namely: to not only ask for more and better science communication, but to define what is meant by better science communication. And this, we argue, you can only define if you have analysed which current science communication works in which way (and in which ways it doesn’t) as well as made clear which normative contributions you expect from science communication.
Specifically, we argue that to understand which science communication formats work, one has to better investigate the results of science communication (as hard as this may be as every communication is somehow fuzzy). This should not be limited to investigate the parameter of range exclusively. ‘Good’ science communication most certainly has more — and maybe more important — characteristics than just being widely perceived. We do not advocate one specific model of measuring science communication but basically want to drive home the point that before everybody (e.g. the German Ministry of Education and Research) nags academics about doing ‘more and better’ science communication, one should clarify what that means. And one way to do so, would be to better analyse the effects of already existing science communication.
We handed the article in a year ago when the topic was a bit more en vogue, but the review process was extremely slow, in spite of the fact that nothing really was criticised in the process. The journal, it seems, is transitioning from being published every six months to once per year, albeit oddly carrying two numbers on the front of its yearly issue. Anyway, this meant that, as we did not make it in time for last year’s ‘double issue’, we had to wait more or less one year before there was a spot for the article to come out. Yet, as the thing was produced quick and dirty, we did not mind.
The journal and thus the article is only available in print form but a review can be found here, and if anybody should be interested, just get in touch.