Since the 2000s, studies on scientists’ engagement towards society have been carried in many countries (UK, Denmark, Sweden, France, Switzerland, etc.); most of them focused mainly on practical considerations (raisons for engagement, type of engagement, drawbacks and incentives to engagement). A first step towards a wider approach was undertaken by Jensen et al. (2008) study on academic productivity and career recognition of scientists active in public engagement and by Crettaz von Roten & Moeschler (2010) study on the relation between perceptions and levels of engagement. In a special issue of Public Understanding of Science, Bauer & Jensen (2011) reviewed the main results of the available studies, and Neresini & Bucchi (2011) elaborated indicators of the organizational culture of public engagement in research institutions. We propose another step with the introduction of items on public engagement in studies on academic profession to open new prospects for understanding what affects scientists’ public engagement.

The data for this presentation comes from the Changing Academic Profession (CAP) project, an international survey of academics conducted in 2010 in twelve European countries. In this presentation, articles written by academics in newspapers and magazines are considered public communication. We will first analyse traditional factors explaining difference in the propensity to engage for Swiss scientists (gender, age, position, disciplines and perceptions of engagement). Then we will propose new factors related to perceptions of career development and to change in academic professions (higher education institutes are becoming subject to increased internationalisation and to new forms of management). The effects of these various factors will be compared in a multivariate statistical model.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Understanding scientists engagement toward society in the academic context

Fabienne Roten   Observatoire Science, Politique et Société, University of Lausanne

Gaele Goastellec   Observatoire Science, Politique et Société, University of Lausanne

Since the 2000s, studies on scientists’ engagement towards society have been carried in many countries (UK, Denmark, Sweden, France, Switzerland, etc.); most of them focused mainly on practical considerations (raisons for engagement, type of engagement, drawbacks and incentives to engagement). A first step towards a wider approach was undertaken by Jensen et al. (2008) study on academic productivity and career recognition of scientists active in public engagement and by Crettaz von Roten & Moeschler (2010) study on the relation between perceptions and levels of engagement. In a special issue of Public Understanding of Science, Bauer & Jensen (2011) reviewed the main results of the available studies, and Neresini & Bucchi (2011) elaborated indicators of the organizational culture of public engagement in research institutions. We propose another step with the introduction of items on public engagement in studies on academic profession to open new prospects for understanding what affects scientists’ public engagement.

The data for this presentation comes from the Changing Academic Profession (CAP) project, an international survey of academics conducted in 2010 in twelve European countries. In this presentation, articles written by academics in newspapers and magazines are considered public communication. We will first analyse traditional factors explaining difference in the propensity to engage for Swiss scientists (gender, age, position, disciplines and perceptions of engagement). Then we will propose new factors related to perceptions of career development and to change in academic professions (higher education institutes are becoming subject to increased internationalisation and to new forms of management). The effects of these various factors will be compared in a multivariate statistical model.

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

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