In most discussions on PCST it is apparent that it is a worthwhile activity. Meetings, reports and articles on PCST will address issues like research and practice in science journalism and science centres, national and international programs, new media and science communication schools, while bypassing questions on the necessity and/or risks of it. An example of this optimistic approach is the opening lecture of this conference by Bucchi: why should scientists turn to the public.

But perhaps pcst is not necessary or even risky. In my contribution I will ask your attention for the risks that are involved for the scientist as well the risks for the society at large, when popularizing science and technology.

The risks may depend on the way the relations between science and society is perceived. Often, risks manifest themselves most clearly in medicine Four types of risks may be distinguished .

- risks for science which are perception dependent (e.g. abuse of scientific results by the public)
- risks for science which are not perception dependent (e.g.damage to the research project caused by prematurely publication)
- risks for society which are perception dependent (e.g. incorrect image building) and
- risks for society which are not perception dependent (e.g. false hope by patients for cure).

The conclusion will be that pcst is not without hazards. But does it also lead to the conclusion that it should be abandoned?





 

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 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Risks of public communicatie of science and technology

Jaap Willems   Free University of Amsterdam

In most discussions on PCST it is apparent that it is a worthwhile activity. Meetings, reports and articles on PCST will address issues like research and practice in science journalism and science centres, national and international programs, new media and science communication schools, while bypassing questions on the necessity and/or risks of it. An example of this optimistic approach is the opening lecture of this conference by Bucchi: why should scientists turn to the public.

But perhaps pcst is not necessary or even risky. In my contribution I will ask your attention for the risks that are involved for the scientist as well the risks for the society at large, when popularizing science and technology.

The risks may depend on the way the relations between science and society is perceived. Often, risks manifest themselves most clearly in medicine Four types of risks may be distinguished .

- risks for science which are perception dependent (e.g. abuse of scientific results by the public)
- risks for science which are not perception dependent (e.g.damage to the research project caused by prematurely publication)
- risks for society which are perception dependent (e.g. incorrect image building) and
- risks for society which are not perception dependent (e.g. false hope by patients for cure).

The conclusion will be that pcst is not without hazards. But does it also lead to the conclusion that it should be abandoned?





 

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

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