Science communication processes are usually complex and wicked challenges, with unpredictable outcomes. In public, governmental and/or business communication contexts a professional decision support system is desirable to get a grip on the multiple uncertainties in science communication. Decision  support  systems  provide  overview  and  insights  in  the  various  possible  communication decision scenarios and their possible impact. In this session we propose to discuss the opportunities and challenges of the development of such new decision support technology by which the science communication  professional  can  make  better  choices.  We  envision  that  such  tools  can  strongly contribute to professionalization of the science communication practice. Decision support systems in the medical, environmental, construction, or legal domains are generally based on (survey) data and  contain  a  scenario  repository  with  a  reason  engine,  based  on  theory,  that  allows  for  the comparison  of  possible  decisions  and  their  consequences.  A  user  interface  depicts  the  various possibilities  and  their  resulting  uncertainties.  Still,  one  aspect  of  decision  support  that  warrants more research is the interaction  between decision software systems and the science communication professional, which leads to science communication intelligence: the ability to understand and think about issues and to gain and use knowledge. We will start with a discussion on the professional practice of science communication and the various roles a professional theoretically could have in various organizations.  We  will  subsequently  discuss  the  question  how  insights  from  science communication theory and practice can be usefully combined.  What are possible success factors and challenges for a good decision support system? In our third presentation we will look at how to obtain  and  use  data  to  support  professional  tasks  and  functions  of  a  science  communication professional. Finally, we will explore the transition from multiple leveled data to parameters that can be used in real and useable decision support in science communication. These four presentations form the various building blocks, practically and theoretically, for a future science communication decision support system that helps to professionalize  science communication practice.  Such a system will lead to science communication intelligence and sound professionalization.  1)  The professional practice and the various roles these practitioners have connecting new and emerging technologies  to  industry,  government  and  society:  Based  on  their  recent  research  on
professionalization of science communication practitioners and literature, the authors distinguish various tasks and roles of the practitioners in this field. The professional identity of a practitioner, his specific role and the tasks he performs in a communication process will influence his decisions. Various  roles  that  practitioners  can  have  in  diverse  organizations  and  how  they  relate  to characteristics of a decision support system will be discussed. 2) Bridging science communication theory  and  practice,  challenges  and  opportunities:  The  author  will  look  at  the  challenges  and opportunities for bridging the divide between science communication practitioners and researchers. She will discuss her analysis of an Australian audit of science engagement activities which compares stated science communication practice with research literature and theoretical models of science engagement. Insights in these possible bridges are a prerequisite for the scenario repository of the decision  support  system.  3)  How  to  obtain  and  use  data  from  evaluation  research  to  support professional tasks and functions: The author‘s presentation mainly focus on one  part of research outcomes of FoodRisC project, an European FP7 project aimed at the development of a food risk and benefit communication tool kit for food communicators in a wide range of organizations. The key question that will be addressed in this presentation is how food crisis case study data can be obtained, analyzed, and translated to suggestions for the best practice of communication in food safety  incidents.  4)  The  data  parameterization  for  decision  support  leading  to  actual  decision support systems: In this presentation they focus on how dynamic decision support systems can be created that take into account the possible different science communication contexts in which they are deployed. The possibilities for customizability of software tools are discussed, and examples are given of the use of such tools in the science communication practice. The session will be introduced and  moderated  by  one  of  the  presenters.  As  mentioned  before,  we  propose  to discuss  the opportunities and challenges of the development of such new decision support technology by which the science communication professional can make better choices.

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PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Wicked challenges in science communication in need for intelligence

Maarten C.A. van der Sanden   Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

Caroline Wehrmann   Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

Anne Dijkstra   University of Twente, Netherlands

Jenni Metcalfe   Econnect / Univeristy of Queensland, Australia

Liran Christine Shan   University College Dublin, Ireland

Steven Flipse – Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

Science communication processes are usually complex and wicked challenges, with unpredictable outcomes. In public, governmental and/or business communication contexts a professional decision support system is desirable to get a grip on the multiple uncertainties in science communication. Decision  support  systems  provide  overview  and  insights  in  the  various  possible  communication decision scenarios and their possible impact. In this session we propose to discuss the opportunities and challenges of the development of such new decision support technology by which the science communication  professional  can  make  better  choices.  We  envision  that  such  tools  can  strongly contribute to professionalization of the science communication practice. Decision support systems in the medical, environmental, construction, or legal domains are generally based on (survey) data and  contain  a  scenario  repository  with  a  reason  engine,  based  on  theory,  that  allows  for  the comparison  of  possible  decisions  and  their  consequences.  A  user  interface  depicts  the  various possibilities  and  their  resulting  uncertainties.  Still,  one  aspect  of  decision  support  that  warrants more research is the interaction  between decision software systems and the science communication professional, which leads to science communication intelligence: the ability to understand and think about issues and to gain and use knowledge. We will start with a discussion on the professional practice of science communication and the various roles a professional theoretically could have in various organizations.  We  will  subsequently  discuss  the  question  how  insights  from  science communication theory and practice can be usefully combined.  What are possible success factors and challenges for a good decision support system? In our third presentation we will look at how to obtain  and  use  data  to  support  professional  tasks  and  functions  of  a  science  communication professional. Finally, we will explore the transition from multiple leveled data to parameters that can be used in real and useable decision support in science communication. These four presentations form the various building blocks, practically and theoretically, for a future science communication decision support system that helps to professionalize  science communication practice.  Such a system will lead to science communication intelligence and sound professionalization.  1)  The professional practice and the various roles these practitioners have connecting new and emerging technologies  to  industry,  government  and  society:  Based  on  their  recent  research  on
professionalization of science communication practitioners and literature, the authors distinguish various tasks and roles of the practitioners in this field. The professional identity of a practitioner, his specific role and the tasks he performs in a communication process will influence his decisions. Various  roles  that  practitioners  can  have  in  diverse  organizations  and  how  they  relate  to characteristics of a decision support system will be discussed. 2) Bridging science communication theory  and  practice,  challenges  and  opportunities:  The  author  will  look  at  the  challenges  and opportunities for bridging the divide between science communication practitioners and researchers. She will discuss her analysis of an Australian audit of science engagement activities which compares stated science communication practice with research literature and theoretical models of science engagement. Insights in these possible bridges are a prerequisite for the scenario repository of the decision  support  system.  3)  How  to  obtain  and  use  data  from  evaluation  research  to  support professional tasks and functions: The author‘s presentation mainly focus on one  part of research outcomes of FoodRisC project, an European FP7 project aimed at the development of a food risk and benefit communication tool kit for food communicators in a wide range of organizations. The key question that will be addressed in this presentation is how food crisis case study data can be obtained, analyzed, and translated to suggestions for the best practice of communication in food safety  incidents.  4)  The  data  parameterization  for  decision  support  leading  to  actual  decision support systems: In this presentation they focus on how dynamic decision support systems can be created that take into account the possible different science communication contexts in which they are deployed. The possibilities for customizability of software tools are discussed, and examples are given of the use of such tools in the science communication practice. The session will be introduced and  moderated  by  one  of  the  presenters.  As  mentioned  before,  we  propose  to discuss  the opportunities and challenges of the development of such new decision support technology by which the science communication professional can make better choices.

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