Early in 2007, close to 10 000 Swedish academics answered a web‐based survey. Two types of questions were asked, in addition to background and follow‐up questions: Whether the respondents had taken part in 34 specific cooperation activities with the surrounding society during 2006 or not, and 20 questions about the respondent’s opinions about cooperating with the surrounding society. The study gives the first comprehensive data on the addressed areas.

The 34 activities fall into the following five factors/categories: information and media; cooperation in research and development; work outside academia, including starting a firm; patenting; and cooperation in education. Opinions fall into the following four factors/categories: Value for the university and personal commitment; support for cooperation and career value; opportunities for cooperation in the environment; and communicability of the respondents research and knowledge.

We find that most respondents say that cooperating with the surrounding society has a positive effect on their academic careers. Investigating whom does what, we find that those who have published in popular science in the last three years participate more than those that have not in half of the activities. Those who published more in refereed scientific publications in the last three years participate more in about one third of the activities. The latter positive correlation is known from other studies, but is often forgotten in the general debate. We also learn that younger researchers and teachers tend to have more positive opinions, and that those that have published in popular science see more possibilities for cooperation with the surrounding society.

Popular science publications come out strong as an explanatory variable for participation in many types of cooperation in the material, which is very interesting since it is an activity that often is overlooked when discussing the Swedish academic career system. Even if popular science publications are not directly a merit they have, obviously, a strong indirect effect on cooperation.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Participation in communication and cooperation by Swedish academics

Caroline Wigren   Malmö University

Clas Wahlbin   Jönköping University

Early in 2007, close to 10 000 Swedish academics answered a web‐based survey. Two types of questions were asked, in addition to background and follow‐up questions: Whether the respondents had taken part in 34 specific cooperation activities with the surrounding society during 2006 or not, and 20 questions about the respondent’s opinions about cooperating with the surrounding society. The study gives the first comprehensive data on the addressed areas.

The 34 activities fall into the following five factors/categories: information and media; cooperation in research and development; work outside academia, including starting a firm; patenting; and cooperation in education. Opinions fall into the following four factors/categories: Value for the university and personal commitment; support for cooperation and career value; opportunities for cooperation in the environment; and communicability of the respondents research and knowledge.

We find that most respondents say that cooperating with the surrounding society has a positive effect on their academic careers. Investigating whom does what, we find that those who have published in popular science in the last three years participate more than those that have not in half of the activities. Those who published more in refereed scientific publications in the last three years participate more in about one third of the activities. The latter positive correlation is known from other studies, but is often forgotten in the general debate. We also learn that younger researchers and teachers tend to have more positive opinions, and that those that have published in popular science see more possibilities for cooperation with the surrounding society.

Popular science publications come out strong as an explanatory variable for participation in many types of cooperation in the material, which is very interesting since it is an activity that often is overlooked when discussing the Swedish academic career system. Even if popular science publications are not directly a merit they have, obviously, a strong indirect effect on cooperation.

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

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