The Intersection

Communicating Science Broadly

Matt Nisbet has some heartening news: A science communication bill has been introduced in Congress, one that would fund the National Science Foundation to invest in training scientists to become better communicators. Committee chair Bart Gordon and Rep. Doris O. Matsui get the credit. This is a positive first step, albeit perhaps something of a symbolic one. What we really have to do is change an entire scientific culture which all too frequently relegates communication to the back-burner, instead emphasizing the racking up of scientific publications as the be-all-and-end-all of a successful scientific career….

Comments

  1. #1 Trinifar
    March 26, 2007

    Funny that positive posts generate so little comment. Okay, it’s not funny; it’s the norm.

    On topic: even if this bill is only symbolic, when you got nothing, symbolic is a good first step. At least it means (if it passes) that Congress acknowledges the existence of the problem.

  2. #2 kate
    March 26, 2007

    but, while definitely a positive step, symbolic doesn’t evoke much action or chatter, in politics or within the larger scientific community itself.

    sure, i think that truly science-friendly scientists, who do attempt to exist outside the realm of publish-or-perish and communicate effectively, will hear about the bill (thanks, by the way). but can/will enough scientists stop to catch what’s going on, think about it, and act on it?

    so chris, i think your last point is quite accurate – it’s the culture that needs change. if this breathes a bit of perspective into enough scientists’ lives, maybe it’ll get that process moving…a little faster.

    thx for heads-up on bill

  3. #3 Decline and Fall
    March 27, 2007

    but, while definitely a positive step, symbolic doesn’t evoke much action or chatter, in politics or within the larger scientific community itself.

    Personally, I’m willing to live with money spent, training received, and very little attention by the media. If there’s money to be given out, scientists will find it. I’d hate to think that the opponents of sound science would have even more impetus to prepare their talking points (“American Taxpayers Pay Science Establishment to Get Lessons in Sophistry!”) early.

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