In defence of reticence

Occasionally, comments on this website call me reticent. I think that this is because I try not to let my personal opinions cloud my professional, scientific judgement. I am proud to be reticent. I always try to be informative, to give values of uncertainties and ranges and assessments of confidence. I try to present both sides of the story, while always relying on peer-reviewed papers published in reputable scientific journals. I try to let the evidence speak for itself. Continue reading

Analysis of www.AntarcticGlaciers.org as a tool for online science communication

Davies, B.J., and Glasser, N.F., 2014. Analysis of www.AntarcticGlaciers.org as a tool for online science communication. Journal of Glaciology 60(220), 399-406.

Download the preprint: Davies_et_al_2014_preprint.

The following is a shorter, simpler version of the published paper.

Science communication for the time-limited academic

Academic research into climate change is driven by pressing human concerns. Because climate change has the potential to seriously affect our society, the effective communication of this research is increasingly important1. As such, increasing numbers of academics and researchers are taking part in public engagement2-4. But a key question is,

How can time-limited academics, who work in full-time positions, implement effective outreach strategies with limited budgets?

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Setting up a science blog

Online science communication

There are as many outlets for science communication as there are scientists doing it. They range from traditional press releases and media interviews1 to science cafes, public debates and lectures, museums, open days, TV programmes2 and films. However each comes with its own specific limitations; many preach to the converted. Many people visiting these events are already interested in science3. Scientists are limited by a lack of training, opportunity and time (we can’t all be the next Brian Cox). These events often offer only a limited time to explain key concepts and deliver powerful arguments. Continue reading

Search Engine Optimisation for science communication

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

This is an exciting time to be a scientist interested in science communication. More and more academics are taking the bull by the horns and are starting up blogs and websites. Many NERC-funded research projects now have their own website. But what’s the point in having a blog if no one reads it? Continue reading

Fellowships, models and outreach

So long and thanks for all the fish

Each year, SCAR (the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research) awards a few fellowships to young researchers, to allow them to visit another university and collaborate with a new team. I was lucky enough to be awarded one in 2012, which I took up this winter. And now, after six months at the Antarctic Research Centre (ARC), Victoria University of Wellington, my SCAR Fellowship is over and it is time to head home, back to Aberystwyth. Continue reading

The Role of Scientists as Communicators: From the Classroom to the Pub

Do you consider yourself a science communicator? Does your research group participate in public outreach? Do you have creative ways to engage non-technical audiences in your research? Have you ever evaluated your education and outreach efforts? If so, we invite you to share with us during an informative session titled The Role of Scientists as Communicators: From the Classroom to the Pub (ED038) at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting in December. Continue reading

Are websites and blogs an effective outreach tool for academics?

Introduction | The science of science communication | Outlets for science communication | Online science communication | Are blogs effective methods of science communication? | Summary | References |

Introduction

There is a movement afoot. Academics and scientists are entering the blogosphere, and their numbers are increasing 1,2. The majority are early career scientists – PhD students and post-docs, like me 3. I have already written about the benefits of blogging to early-career researchers, but here I explore blogging as an outreach tool in a little more depth. Continue reading

Pictures, pictures and more pictures

In my last post, I described the art of blogging and how it benefits me. The main conclusion I drew was that people love pictures, and that if you want to get people to your website, it must be figure-heavy. This second blog post describes how to avoide copyright conundrums and how to illustrate your blog with lots of beautiful pictures without falling foul of copyright laws.

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Why I Blog (and why you should too)

This is a brief article on why I blog, some things I have learned by blogging, and how I think it benefits me. Lots of people have written articles about why blogging is important for outreach (for example, to counter misunderstandings like this), but I also think that blogging is good to do for you yourself, as well. For an entirely ego-centric blog post, read on…

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