In this paper we analyze the way in which governmental institutions in Latin American countries are implementing new media communication tools to engage the public on issues involving science and technology (S&T). Focusing on the four countries with the highest proportion of Internet users in Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia) the paper analyzes the online communication by the representative governmental institutions in charge of S&T public policy. These institutions play a predominant role in establishing public policy in S&T and in supporting social appropriation of science. The exponential growth of Internet users in these developing countries makes the web 2.01 (web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability,user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web) an ideal platform not only to improve public understanding of science and diffuse every kind of science communication activities, but also to enable society to make use of scientific knowledge. Furthermore, it can serve as a mechanism for engaging citizens in setting the policy-making agenda and influencing the allocation of financial resources. The paper highlights the role of governments in challenging the still dominant assumption that science literacy is both the problem and the solution to the growing knowledge-based economy and consequently to development. Science and Technology governmental institutions need to execute all the available capabilities to inform, influence and persuade, utilizing innovative instruments to reach all of their different audiences (especially the ones under-target).Guided by a set of established criteria, the paper conducts a reviewing of the institutional web page of each major national S&T institution and the online communications efforts of the most relevant activities that have already been developed by that institution. The essay then offers a set of detailed recommendations for improved public appropriation of science through the development of communications strategies based in that leverage new media using.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Are new media used to boost social appropriation in Latin American countries?

Federica Bizzocchi   Universidad de Buenos Aires

In this paper we analyze the way in which governmental institutions in Latin American countries are implementing new media communication tools to engage the public on issues involving science and technology (S&T). Focusing on the four countries with the highest proportion of Internet users in Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia) the paper analyzes the online communication by the representative governmental institutions in charge of S&T public policy. These institutions play a predominant role in establishing public policy in S&T and in supporting social appropriation of science. The exponential growth of Internet users in these developing countries makes the web 2.01 (web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability,user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web) an ideal platform not only to improve public understanding of science and diffuse every kind of science communication activities, but also to enable society to make use of scientific knowledge. Furthermore, it can serve as a mechanism for engaging citizens in setting the policy-making agenda and influencing the allocation of financial resources. The paper highlights the role of governments in challenging the still dominant assumption that science literacy is both the problem and the solution to the growing knowledge-based economy and consequently to development. Science and Technology governmental institutions need to execute all the available capabilities to inform, influence and persuade, utilizing innovative instruments to reach all of their different audiences (especially the ones under-target).Guided by a set of established criteria, the paper conducts a reviewing of the institutional web page of each major national S&T institution and the online communications efforts of the most relevant activities that have already been developed by that institution. The essay then offers a set of detailed recommendations for improved public appropriation of science through the development of communications strategies based in that leverage new media using.

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