The system of knowledge dissemination includes formal scholarly channels as well as public communication channels such as the media. The processes of knowledge production and dissemination are more clearly illuminated under conditions of controversy. This paper examines the complementary roles played by the press (looking at elite papers in Canada and the U.S.) and two scientific journals, Science and Nature, as they covered the controversy trajectory of South Korean scientists Woo Suk Hwang and his research team, from their publication of seminal research on the derivation of stem cells from cloned embryos to the retraction of these papers based on findings of fraudulent data and ethical breaches. The paper suggests that the communication system in the age of big (and controversial) science is an interdependent network of information exchange, making it difficult for scientific knowledge production to take place as a process separate from and independent of this interdependent dissemination network.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

The stem cell controversy and the role of scientific journals and the media in the public communication of science

Edna Einsiedel   University of Calgary

The system of knowledge dissemination includes formal scholarly channels as well as public communication channels such as the media. The processes of knowledge production and dissemination are more clearly illuminated under conditions of controversy. This paper examines the complementary roles played by the press (looking at elite papers in Canada and the U.S.) and two scientific journals, Science and Nature, as they covered the controversy trajectory of South Korean scientists Woo Suk Hwang and his research team, from their publication of seminal research on the derivation of stem cells from cloned embryos to the retraction of these papers based on findings of fraudulent data and ethical breaches. The paper suggests that the communication system in the age of big (and controversial) science is an interdependent network of information exchange, making it difficult for scientific knowledge production to take place as a process separate from and independent of this interdependent dissemination network.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

BACK TO TOP