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Topic: Science literacy

Analysis and updates from the COVID Tracking Project

The COVID Tracking Project

The COVID Tracking Project was a volunteer organization launched from The Atlantic and dedicated to collecting and publishing data about COVID-19 in the U.S. The organization's archive of blog posts, written by staff and volunteers, cover how it collected, analyzed, and interpreted data from public health agencies.

PCST Network

"The Network for the Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST Network) is an organization that promotes discussion on the theory and practice of communicating science, and of public discourses about science and technology and their role in society." Members come from a range of backgrounds, including researchers working on the theory and practice of science communication, communication staff working for research organizations, staff at science centers and museums, science journalists, and more. The PCST Network has a biennial conference and regular webinars for members.

The Contextualization Deficit: Reframing trust in science for multilateral policy

International Science Council, Centre for Science Futures

"In a world of growing geopolitical tensions, science remains one common language for developing coordinated international action. When trust in science is compromised, the capacity for cohesive global policy action is further diminished. The question is how can the multilateral policy interface engage effectively with science, in ways trusted by populations? This working paper addresses this crucial problem by reviewing what research and practice in a range of fields from journalism to regulation have learned about trust in science in recent years, and the implications of that body of knowledge for policy-makers. The research suggests that the expectation that ‘trust in science’ should lead naturally to universal public compliance, although often criticized, still prevails among policy (and scientific) circles. The working paper proposes a different, more meaningful form of engagement of the multilateral system with science, organized around the notion of contextualization – in other words, the recognition that values, history, socio-economic factors and identities shape how people will respond to the science–policy interface in specific locations. It also considers the implications for action of the different engagement model for the science–policy interface."

How do science journalists decide whether a psychology study is worth covering?

"A recent study finds that sample size is the only factor having a robust influence on 181 science journalists’ ratings of the trustworthiness and newsworthiness of a study. But [the authors] note that, overall, these journalists are doing a 'very decent job' vetting research. Here's how they do it."

To help journalists cover rising temperatures, newsrooms need to start with climate literacy

Sahana Ghosh, associate editor at Nature India, describes lessons and takeaways from a workshop that she led to help Indian newsrooms address climate misinformation. "I came away with a strong conclusion: there is a clear need for climate literacy in newsrooms," Ghosh writes. "Without it, journalists cannot counter climate misinformation and disinformation, or provide good information to our audiences."

Pint of Science — Global science festival

Pint of Science

"The Pint of Science festival aims to deliver interesting and relevant talks on the latest science research in an accessible format to the public – mainly across bars, pubs, cafes, and other public spaces. We want to provide a platform which allows people to discuss research with the people who carry it out and no prior knowledge of the subject is required. We are a network of thousands of volunteers who are passionate about bringing discoveries to people and was established by a community of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers in 2012." The festival takes place simultaneously over hundreds of venues around the world.

How scientists can help reporters cover disasters

This interview between journalist Dan Falk and ocean chemist Christopher Reddy discusses what reporters and researchers can do to better work together on covering natural disasters and other scientific events with major impacts. "I’ll tell [colleagues] that journalists and scientists have a lot more in common — we both like to chase, we both like to investigate, and we like to write up what we find, and do it in a clever way, that people leave nourished," Reddy says.

Conversations on trust in science and technology

University of Waterloo

This event featured Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland, who spoke on the importance of trust in science and technology, followed by a panel discussion with Canada Research Chair Ashley Mehlenbacher, and University of Waterloo's Dean of Engineering Mary Wells. The lecture launched a new scholarly network at the University of Waterloo, called the "Trust in Research Undertaken in Science and Technology (TRuST)" network. Find more details and a link to a video of the event at the link below.

Are Facts Enough? The Power of Community – Annual science literacy workshop

Gairdner Foundation, Canadian Association of Science Centres

"The Gairdner Foundation's second annual Science Literacy Workshop is back on September 21! In partnership with the Canadian Association of Science Centres' ScienceUpFirst initiative and RCIScience, and sponsored by the Government of Canada and CIHR and TELUS Health, this free, in-person workshop will explore what science literacy is and its role in building science culture. Join us during Science Literacy Week as we seek to uncover the power of community, and how researchers and science communicators can work with and within communities to foster science culture from the ground up. This interactive workshop is a unique opportunity to network and collaborate." Attendees can join in-person (and receive free dinner) or watch the event online through a livestream.

Talking Maths in Public

Talking Maths in Public is a U.K.-based conference that runs every two years for people who work in, or otherwise participate in, communicating mathematics to the public. The event is independently organized, and funded by ticket sales and grants from mathematical institutions. TMiP is run by an independent committee of people who work in different areas of math communication, and the event includes workshops provided by expert guests, discussions on varied topics, networking sessions and chances to share ideas and showcase projects. For those in the U.S., you can learn about and join an effort to create a U.S. based conference inspired by TMiP here:
Fellowships & Grants

Civic Science Fellows Program

Rita Allen Foundation

The goal of the Rita Allen Foundation's Civic Science Fellows Program "is to co-create strong, diverse, and inclusive connections between science and civic life." Civic science fellows "are emerging leaders from diverse demographic, cultural, and professional backgrounds. They are thought leaders, bridge builders, change agents, and communicators working to learn about community priorities and scientific research and bring those worlds together on equal footing to create fundamentally new ways of solving problems."  For the duration of the 18-month fellowship, civic science fellows are embedded at host institutions ranging from media organizations and scientific societies to academic institutions and philanthropies. Applications for the 2024-25 Civic Science Fellows Program will open in November 2023.
Resource Database / Guide

Science Literacy Foundation Resource Guide

Science Literacy Foundation

"Science Literacy Foundation has curated a comprehensive database of science literacy-related information, including resources in journalism, education, academia, and policy. This living, open-access document is designed to help you network, find partners, conduct research, and reach new audiences."

Science Literacy Foundation

Science Literacy Foundation

"The mission of the Science Literacy Foundation is to investigate, create, and fund scalable initiatives and programs, providing new paths to science literacy." SLF wants to train journalists, educators, policymakers, and activists in evidence-based techniques for the effective sharing of scientific information. The organization offers a white paper on science literacy, a resource guide, a magazine called OpenMind, and plans to offer grants for creative approaches to science communication, particularly at the community level.
Academic center

George Mason University: Science Communication Program

George Mason

"George Mason University’s Science Communication Program is a hub of cutting-edge research and graduate education centered on science communication theory and practice. We examine how effective communication shapes interest, attitudes, discourse, and engagement toward a host of contentious science issues and among a variety of stakeholders."
Academic center

Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science

Stony Brook University

Based at Stony Brook University, the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science offers professional development programs, a master's program in science communication, and resources to help scientists and those in science-related fields develop communication skills for a wide variety of audiences.

SciCommBites: Science (bites) of science communication

SciComm Trainers Network

"SciCommBites is a research summary blog site dedicated to digesting and translating the latest science on science communication. It aims to bridge science communication students, researchers, practitioners, and trainers who want to learn and apply the latest evidence, and to provide professional development opportunities for our authors."

Science Denial: Why it happens and what to do about it

"Understanding key psychological explanations for science denial and doubt can help provide a means for improving scientific literacy and understanding—critically important at a time when denial has become deadly. In "Science Denial: Why It Happens and What to Do About It," the authors identify the problem and why it matters and offer tools for addressing it. ... The authors focus on key psychological constructs such as reasoning biases, social identity, epistemic cognition, and emotions and attitudes that limit or facilitate public understanding of science, and describe solutions for individuals, educators, science communicators, and policy makers."

Am I Making Myself Clear? A scientist’s guide to talking to the public

"To convey the facts, this book suggests, scientists must take a more active role in making their work accessible to the media, and thus to the public. In 'Am I Making Myself Clear?' Cornelia Dean, a distinguished science editor and reporter, urges scientists to overcome their institutional reticence and let their voices be heard beyond the forum of scholarly publication. By offering useful hints for improving their interactions with policymakers, the public, and her fellow journalists, Dean aims to change the attitude of scientists who scorn the mass media as an arena where important work is too often misrepresented or hyped."

Strategic Science Communication: A guide to setting the right objectives for more effective public engagement

"In this guidebook, John C. Besley and Anthony Dudo encapsulate their practical expertise in 11 evidence-based principles of strategic science communication." "Strategic Science Communication is the first book to use social science to help scientists and professional science communicators become more evidence-based. Besley and Dudo draw on insightful research into the science of science communication to provide readers with an opportunity to think more deeply about how to make communication choices. This guidebook is essential reading for all professionals in the field."

Cracking the Code: Influencing millennial science engagement

An exploration of millennials’ science media consumption habits, curiosity about science, and cultural beliefs has revealed some useful insights for engaging this generation when it comes to science. The series of articles is the product of a three-year, $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to KQED to work in partnership with academic researchers at Texas Tech University’s Science Communication and Cognition Lab.

Science for All and All for Science: Road map to a new science literacy

In this white paper, the Science Literacy Foundation redefines science literacy for the 21st century, mapping out the challenges and opportunities ahead. "In the SLF view, being scientifically literate means having the cognitive skills for independent, critical thinking; the curiosity required to seek new information; and an understanding of science as a dynamic, pragmatic process that anyone can harness to better their life or their community. In this view, science literacy isn’t just something individuals can practice. Groups can practice science literacy collectively to answer questions and solve problems."

Don’t say ‘prove’: How to report on the conclusiveness of research findings

"This tip sheet explains why it's rarely accurate for news stories to report that a new study proves anything — even when a press release says it does."