A comprehensive survey on science communication in German-speaking countries (see http://wk-trends.de) was conducted between the Sept. 2009 and Oct. 2011 among 300 science journalists and PR managers, scientists and communication researchers, leading into an adjacent two-stage Delphi study with 30 renowned experts, researchers and practitioners who were find answers to the challenges expressed by the community. The findings which were been published as a book a few days ago show trends in decreasing salaries, revenues and media coverage on the one hand, and increasing PR resources and direct online communication by scientists on the other. The main trends (which mostly address the issues of “quality” and “evaluation” in the PCST call for proposals) identified and investigated within the study are:
(a) the influences of social media on science PR, science journalism and scientific communication,
(b) promising ways towards a “scientific citizenship” through a transparent open and citizen science with the opportunity for new “cultures of communication”,
(c) the fundamental changes both in self-perception as well as qualification requirements of science communicators in their new roles as “mediators”, and
(d) the obstacles of a change-resistant scientific system which hardly incentivises “real” outreach at all, leading to challenges such as measuring or norming communication impact.
By investigating these trends the study could answer several of the challenges which were beforehand expressed by the community and analysed empirically, e.g.:
- Without a single exception every German popular science publication has lost between 20 and 40 per cent in sold circulation for the last 10 years.
- 80 per cent of the respondents saw a major deficit in science and innovation being reduced to research results, technologies and product features, whereas the process and mechanisms of innovation and scientific achievement remained unclear. This “science in the making” seems to be the hardest to be conveyed by the media, even though scientists and science PR experts regard this aspect as the most important in inspiring young people to go for a career path in research and development. 
I would be honoured to have the opportunity to present the final results of our Trend Study in Florence.
NB: One of our researchers, Dino Trescher, gave a short first mid-term introduction to the study at 2010 PCST conference in Delhi which apparently was quite well received.
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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Challenges, trends and solutions for science communication in Germany

Alexander Gerber   Innocomm Research Centre, Berlin / Germany

A comprehensive survey on science communication in German-speaking countries (see http://wk-trends.de) was conducted between the Sept. 2009 and Oct. 2011 among 300 science journalists and PR managers, scientists and communication researchers, leading into an adjacent two-stage Delphi study with 30 renowned experts, researchers and practitioners who were find answers to the challenges expressed by the community. The findings which were been published as a book a few days ago show trends in decreasing salaries, revenues and media coverage on the one hand, and increasing PR resources and direct online communication by scientists on the other. The main trends (which mostly address the issues of “quality” and “evaluation” in the PCST call for proposals) identified and investigated within the study are:
(a) the influences of social media on science PR, science journalism and scientific communication,
(b) promising ways towards a “scientific citizenship” through a transparent open and citizen science with the opportunity for new “cultures of communication”,
(c) the fundamental changes both in self-perception as well as qualification requirements of science communicators in their new roles as “mediators”, and
(d) the obstacles of a change-resistant scientific system which hardly incentivises “real” outreach at all, leading to challenges such as measuring or norming communication impact.
By investigating these trends the study could answer several of the challenges which were beforehand expressed by the community and analysed empirically, e.g.:
- Without a single exception every German popular science publication has lost between 20 and 40 per cent in sold circulation for the last 10 years.
- 80 per cent of the respondents saw a major deficit in science and innovation being reduced to research results, technologies and product features, whereas the process and mechanisms of innovation and scientific achievement remained unclear. This “science in the making” seems to be the hardest to be conveyed by the media, even though scientists and science PR experts regard this aspect as the most important in inspiring young people to go for a career path in research and development. 
I would be honoured to have the opportunity to present the final results of our Trend Study in Florence.
NB: One of our researchers, Dino Trescher, gave a short first mid-term introduction to the study at 2010 PCST conference in Delhi which apparently was quite well received.

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

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