The PCST Scientific Committee met in Florence, Italy, in April 2012. Committee Members recognised that PCST conferences records were in danger of disappearing, and set up a documentation team to save those materials. The Documentation Subcommittee of the Scientific Committee began work in May, 2012.
While papers from some PCST conferences are available via websites or edited books, the material of other conferences is lost or inaccessible. The main task of the documentation work is to collect the papers, programs and other material of PCST conferences.
The aim is to keep the history of the PCST network alive; and provide a service to the members of the PCST network and other scholars and practitioners of science communication.
After three years of gathering and sorting, we are proud to announce that most of this work is finished. We are grateful for the support of many Scientific Committee members, especially those who had hosted PCST events, and the technical work contributed by the China Research Institute for Science Popularization (CRISP).
The abstracts of all contributions to PCST conferences and symposia in the archive were reviewed and accepted by the Scientific Committee at the time of their submission. Some authors subsequently provided full papers for conference proceedings. The archive includes abstracts alone, and when available, abstracts plus full papers.
The quality of these documents is variable and we urge readers to make their own critical assessment. To keep the data authentic, the Documentation Subcommittee did not make or ask for any revisions: abstracts and papers appear as the authors wrote them.
In some cases an abstract or paper was fragmentary and the Documentation Subcommittee has omitted these.
We expect the quality of future abstracts and documents to improve, as authors become aware of this valuable opportunity to publish their work.
The collection of papers in the archive is incomplete. In particular the precious material of the first and several early PCST conferences is still missing but we are trying to collect it. The Scientific Committee intends that abstracts and papers of future PCST conferences will be added.
The archive is a record of what was presented at conferences and reflects the diversity of topics and changes in focus over time. It has a value as a resource for reflecting on the interests of conference participants over the decades, and for identifying people who have given attention to particular topics.
It is the largest collection of papers on science communication in the world and will be a useful tool for scholars and practitioners.
At this stage the archive database is searchable by author, title, year/location of conference, and type of presentation (paper, poster, discussion etc). The Documentation Subcommittee is considering further search options in the future, such as keywords or a thesaurus.
Members of the Documentation Subcommittee: CHENG Donghong (Chair), Hans Peter PETERS (Co‐ Chair), Massimiano BUCCHI, Sook‐kyoung CHO, Toss GASCOIGNE, Marina JOUBERT, LIU Xuan, Vladimir de SEMIR, Luisa MASSARANI, Manoj PATAIRYA, Jan RIISE, Bernard SHIELE.
Technical support: China Research Institute for Science Popularization – CRISP (collection, preparation and upload of abstracts and papers) and PCST web team (programming the archive database and user interface).