What does the public want from academic science communication?
Engaging public with science has become more and more important. Scientists within academia are challenged to find ways to engage the public. There are some common examples of science communication but what does the general public truly want from academic science communication? How can scientists reach them? Which activities and media should be used?
Study gives insights into the public engagement with science communication activities
Recently, a study was performed in UK to get insights into the public engagement with science communication activities. An e-survey was implemented to which 10 different nationalities participated (United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Tanzania, New Zealand, Norway and Spain). Interestingly, there were more male participants (56.3%) than female (42.9%). Furthermore, the most frequent age of participants was between 20–29 years old. Almost 90% stated that they were interested in science.
A good starting point for science communication!
Which are the best ways to engage the wider public?
But the study shows that the traditional ways (magazines, newspapers and physical events), which scientists have used in the past are not the best way to engage the wider public. Unless they would be broadcasted via the internet. Thus, because 55% of the respondents stated that they use it very regularly to engage with science in their day-to-day lives.
The study clearly underlines the need that academics and scientists need to re-think how to engage the public. Additionally, they have to restructure how to plan their science communication activities. Furthermore, authors state that “Suggestions of internet-based approaches and digital media were strongly encouraged” by the participants.
The ‘common practice’ of academic science communication should be re-evaluated and one should listen to the wide range of ideas presented in the study of Redfern et al. 2016.