PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Scientists in the public realm
Communication models, social contexts and practices

Fujun Ren   China Research Institute for Science Popularization

Hans Peter Peters   Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany

Yin-Yueh Lo   Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany

Luisa Massarani   Museum of Life, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil

Jie Ren   China Research Institute for Science Popularization

Huiliang Zhang – China Research Institute for Science Popularization

The paper presents selected results from a series of matching online surveys of altogether more than 5,000 scientists in Brazil, China, Germany and the United States regarding their attitudes, preferences and experiences related to the public communication of science and technology. The first part focuses on the involvement of Brazilian scientists in science communication. Remarkable is their positive relationship with the mass media, indicated by frequent contacts, positive experiences and perception of benefits. Social media are less used by Brazilian scientists for communication with the public, though. The second part looks at Chinese scientists' attitudes towards science outreach and their understanding of their role as information source for journalists. Chinese scientists show a preference for organized science outreach and are relatively reserved about mass media. Compared with German researchers, Chinese scientists are in some respects less inclined to accept expectations of journalists towards them. In the third part, the roles of scientists as "information sources" of journalists and as "authors" of posts in new online media (blogs and social networks) are compared. Using results from surveys of German and US neuroscientists, some factors are discussed that are likely to influence the preference of scientists for old or new media. So far, in both countries more neuroscientists prefer to talk to journalists than to write in new online media.  

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