When politicians distort science, academics and scientists tend to watch in shock from the sidelines rather than speak out. But in an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” we need to step into the breach and inject scientific literacy into the political discourse.
Australian academics will soon have a new incentive to get off campus and into the community to engage with the people who ultimately fund their research – the taxpayers.
The Australian Research Council (ARC) is currently piloting a new scheme to quantify impact and engagement by academics. It’s part of proposed funding changes under the National Innovation and Science Agenda.
Science communication was in the spotlight during the 2017 Research Dialogues event, which took place at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga April 11-12.
The two-day event celebrating research, scholarship and the arts included three competitions where student and faculty researchers had only minutes to offer a compelling plain English description of their work. They included an undergraduate lightning round competition, a 3 Minute Thesis competition for graduate students, and an Elevator Pitch competition for faculty.
As a science communication geek, I love that this university puts on an event like this and focuses attention not only on the research – but also how the research is communicated.
Check out the winners!
By PBS NewsHour on YouTube
“More and more, people don’t care about expert views. That’s according to Tom Nichols, author of “The Death of Expertise,” who says Americans have become insufferable know-it-alls, locked in constant conflict and debate with others over topics they actually know almost nothing about. Nichols shares his humble opinion on how we got here.”
by Cassidy R. Sugimoto
As scholars, we often take for granted the rights of tenure for freedom of inquiry and research, without acknowledging our responsibilities to engage the public in discourse around this research. This obligation was made explicit in the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure which states that scholars should “impart the results of their own and of their fellow-specialists’ investigations and reflection, both to students and to the general public, without fear or favor.” The responsibility to engage in the public discourse of science is a latent variable in academic freedom that has not historically received the kind of attention it deserves. The rise of social media, however, brings new opportunities and complexities to the issue.