Digital media have extended the number of channels that scientists (and other academics) use to communicate and share information. Social media, such as blogs and social networking sites, provide opportunities for scientists to communicate with others about their work in more immediate and informal ways. As such, digital technologies have the potential to make all stages of the research process more visible in the public sphere. They also offer, on occasion, some opportunities for interaction and engagement with a wider range of audiences and stakeholders. In these respects digital technologies are introducing novel demands on researchers who choose to communicate in these ways, requiring skills and competencies on the part of scientists that are encapsulated by the concept of digital scholarship.

In this presentation we explore this developing context via a high-profile case study: the publication of emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (also known as ‘climategate’) in the run-up to the United Nations Copenhagen Summit (also known as COP-15). We will describe ‘climategate’ as a story of ‘private’and ‘public’ communication, of freedom of scientific information and illegal hacking, all delivered via peer reviewed scientific papers, IPCC (and other) reports, websites, the blogosphere and professional news media.


In analyzing this episode we will briefly explore the role of professional media and social media in communicating information about the scientific consensus of anthropogenic climate change around COP-15. The findings of three reviews of ‘climategate’ will also be discussed in terms of their implications for science communication.

This episode may indirectly influence the ways that scientific knowledge is produced and verified, and what information and data are required to be archived for circulation in the public sphere when a peer reviewed paper is published. In the light of this, we argue that there is a need to develop norms to inform scientific publication in the widest sense of this term, to include all forms of science communication that are available in the public sphere.

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PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Digital scholarship and the changing nature of scientific publication
The implications of ‘Climategate’ for science communication

Richard Holliman   The Open University, UK

Eileen Scanlon   The Open University, UK

Digital media have extended the number of channels that scientists (and other academics) use to communicate and share information. Social media, such as blogs and social networking sites, provide opportunities for scientists to communicate with others about their work in more immediate and informal ways. As such, digital technologies have the potential to make all stages of the research process more visible in the public sphere. They also offer, on occasion, some opportunities for interaction and engagement with a wider range of audiences and stakeholders. In these respects digital technologies are introducing novel demands on researchers who choose to communicate in these ways, requiring skills and competencies on the part of scientists that are encapsulated by the concept of digital scholarship.

In this presentation we explore this developing context via a high-profile case study: the publication of emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (also known as ‘climategate’) in the run-up to the United Nations Copenhagen Summit (also known as COP-15). We will describe ‘climategate’ as a story of ‘private’and ‘public’ communication, of freedom of scientific information and illegal hacking, all delivered via peer reviewed scientific papers, IPCC (and other) reports, websites, the blogosphere and professional news media.


In analyzing this episode we will briefly explore the role of professional media and social media in communicating information about the scientific consensus of anthropogenic climate change around COP-15. The findings of three reviews of ‘climategate’ will also be discussed in terms of their implications for science communication.

This episode may indirectly influence the ways that scientific knowledge is produced and verified, and what information and data are required to be archived for circulation in the public sphere when a peer reviewed paper is published. In the light of this, we argue that there is a need to develop norms to inform scientific publication in the widest sense of this term, to include all forms of science communication that are available in the public sphere.

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

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