PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Blurring the frontiers between scientific research and science communication

Matteo Merzagora  

We believe that one of the great challenges of science communication today is to be able to be fully integrated in the post-academic system of production of scientific knowledge. In other words, the public science communication community should move on from a position of defining its independence from the scientific community in order to exerce a necessary role of constructive criticism, to a situation where this independence is defined de facto by the recognition of a structural role of science communication within the system of organised knowledge production. In fact, post-academic science and the now mature culture of participatory governance (including citizen science approaches) allow to conceive experiences where the moment of knowledge production and the moment in which this knowledge is shared in a wider context coincide. That is, activities in which the interests and the needs of the researchers and the interests and the needs of the public, although they are not necessarily the same, can be satisfied at the same time. Starting form a series of case studies, including the French Researchers' Night "great participatory experiment" and the "Living lab of scientific culture" under development at Espace des Sciences Pierre-Gilles de Gennes of ESPCI Paristech - PSL, in Paris, and using an experimented world-café like activity, examples will be collected from the audience. A discussion will be sparked on how to renovate a full integration of public science communication within science itself, without falling back in an old fashioned, service oriented role of science communication.

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