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Changing the Culture of Science Communication Training for Junior Scientists

    Authors: Adriana Bankston1, Gary S. McDowell1,2,*
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    Affiliations: 1: The Future of Research, Inc., Abington, MA 02351; 2: Manylabs, San Francisco, CA 94103
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 05 August 2017 Accepted 07 December 2017 Published 30 March 2018
    • ©2018 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: The Future of Research, 848 Brockton Avenue, Abington, MA 02351. Phone: 617-233-6008. E-mail: [email protected].
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1413
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    Abstract:

    Being successful in an academic environment places many demands on junior scientists. Science communication currently may not be adequately valued and rewarded, and yet communication to multiple audiences is critical for ensuring that it remains a priority in today’s society. Due to the potential for science communication to produce better scientists, facilitate scientific progress, and influence decision-making at multiple levels, training junior scientists in both effective and ethical science communication practices is imperative, and can benefit scientists regardless of their chosen career path. However, many challenges exist in addressing specific aspects of this training. Principally, science communication training and resources should be made readily available to junior scientists at institutions, and there is a need to scale up existing science communication training programs and standardize core aspects of these programs across universities, while also allowing for experimentation with training. We propose a comprehensive core training program be adopted by universities, utilizing a centralized online resource with science communication information from multiple stakeholders. In addition, the culture of science must shift toward greater acceptance of science communication as an essential part of training. For this purpose, the science communication field itself needs to be developed, researched and better understood at multiple levels. Ultimately, this may result in a larger cultural change toward acceptance of professional development activities as valuable for training scientists.

References & Citations

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1413
2018-03-30
2018-08-19

Abstract:

Being successful in an academic environment places many demands on junior scientists. Science communication currently may not be adequately valued and rewarded, and yet communication to multiple audiences is critical for ensuring that it remains a priority in today’s society. Due to the potential for science communication to produce better scientists, facilitate scientific progress, and influence decision-making at multiple levels, training junior scientists in both effective and ethical science communication practices is imperative, and can benefit scientists regardless of their chosen career path. However, many challenges exist in addressing specific aspects of this training. Principally, science communication training and resources should be made readily available to junior scientists at institutions, and there is a need to scale up existing science communication training programs and standardize core aspects of these programs across universities, while also allowing for experimentation with training. We propose a comprehensive core training program be adopted by universities, utilizing a centralized online resource with science communication information from multiple stakeholders. In addition, the culture of science must shift toward greater acceptance of science communication as an essential part of training. For this purpose, the science communication field itself needs to be developed, researched and better understood at multiple levels. Ultimately, this may result in a larger cultural change toward acceptance of professional development activities as valuable for training scientists.

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