Vol. 5, Issue 2, Jul 2015

Jul 162015

Markus Wei?kopf and Thorsten Witt
Wissenschaft im Dialog

JUnQ, 5, 2, XVI–XVIII, 2015

In the space of a few years, the internet has radically altered our media consumption. The average internet usage in Germany increased from 17 minutes per week in 2000 to 111 minutes per week in 2014, making the internet the third most popular media type after television and radio. Every day the internet is used for twice as long as print media. Among 14–19 year olds, who use the internet for an average of 233 minutes per day, the internet is the medium of choice, well ahead of all other media. Social media accounts for a significant proportion of internet use: 24% of 14–19 year olds spend over two hours a day on Twitter, Facebook, etc.; another 28% spend over an hour. Social media have also brought about major changes in our usage behavior – we are no longer merely recipients and consumers of information but have become active users and even creators.
Science communication has also changed as a result of these developments. According to a recent study, 45% of Germans use the internet as a source of information on scientific issues; among the under-30s, this figure is currently at 68%. Statistics from the USA and UK suggest that these percentages are likely to rise sharply in the coming years and that the internet is increasingly replacing classical media as a source of information.

What are the implications of these changes for one of the main players in science communication, namely the scientists themselves? In the following pages, we will explore this and related questions, including how scientists’ communication with the public has changed as a result of social media, and the opportunities and risks involved.

The Opportunities and Risks of Social Media in Science Communication
Jul 162015

“Kurzgesagt” is an educational YouTube channel of a Munich based design studio founded by two German graphic design students which features short movies about different scientific topics. “Kurzgesagt” is a good example for various informative YouTube channels created by professionals and non-professionals during the last years. These channels de- pict a new possibility of communicating science to the general public in a popular scientific way by using the internet as medium. They attract a great deal of interest as the featured videos are watched by millions of people. The popularity certainly comes from the fact that the short movie format allows to break complex topics down into easily understandable and entertaining narrations which can be complemented by illustrations. “Kurzgesagt”, for example, uses entirely animated videos which illustrate explanations about a certain topic spoken by a narrator. We had the opportunity to interview the team of “Kurzgesagt” about their project.

Read the Interview: Communicating Science via YouTube

Jul 162015

Dr. Andreas Fischer
Helmholtz Association

JUnQ, 5, 2, XXIII–XXIV, 2015

Science is not always clear. Take for example the robust climate change debate: “A big threat for humankind” says the one side, “Complete nonsense” says the other. How many meters is the sea level actually rising? And what about the extreme weather events, are they becoming more frequent or not? These are all questions both experts and laypeople are arguing about. After all, scientists agree about the existence of climate change itself, whereas its impact still splits the scientific community. But when even science has no clear opinion, how is the broader populace supposed to have one? Over time, doubts creep into both public perception and our trust in science.

Read the full article here: A Question of Mediation

Jul 162015

ResearchGate was founded in 2008 to support scientific collaboration and grew rapidly. Today it has more than 7 million members according to its website. The platform offers ways to share published and unpublished data, participate in open-review, and ask and answer questions.
To put ResearchGate simply as a social networking site, for researchers and others involved in the pursuit of independent research, would be an understatement. Not only has it enabled researchers connect across economic and cultural barriers and work towards a collaborative and global realm of sharing knowledge from Stockholm to Santiago and from Hokkaido to Hawaii but also enabled the labs in developing nations to get access to surplus equipment which would otherwise be an impediment to cutting-edge research for so many talented individuals.
We talked to Dr. Ijad Madisch, co-founder of ResearchGate and asked him about his motivations, the challenges he had to face and prominent examples of how ResearchGate influenced the scientific landscape.

Read the interview: Changing the Way Researchers Communicate

Jul 162015

Peter R. Wich is an Assistant Professor (Juniorprofessor, W1) of Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Mainz (Germany) – Institute of Pharmacy and Biochemistry. His primary research interests are in the fields of bioorganic chemistry and the interface between nanotechnology and biomolecular materials (for more information: www.wichlab.com). His internet presence is always up to date, he is informing his followers about the latest ongoings in his lab and we were interested in his motivations in doing so, as well as his experiences in the field of communicating science.

Read the Interview here: Communicating Science in the Digital Age

Jul 162015

Science for the Masses was a biotech grinding think-tank, aimed towards altering the human condition in the pursuit of new abilities and leveraging pre-existing technologies for accessibility. Prior projects include mammalian near infra-red vision, next generation functional implant coating technologies and techniques, as well as bacterial modifications for the human and environmental microbiome. Both Jeffrey and Gabriel continue to biohack independently since its dissolution in 2015.

Read the Interview: Science for the Masses

Jul 162015

M. Gommel, H. Nolte and G. Sponholz
Team Scientific Integrity

JUnQ, 5, 2, 11–16, 2015

In 2009, a good scientific practice curriculum was developed and published on behalf of the “Ombudsman f?r die Wissenschaft”. Soon after we had started giving courses for doctoral students that follow this curriculum, we listened to many stories about scientific misconduct – related by the participants. Since these stories were far more numerous than we had expected from the published literature, we decided to ask the participants about their experience with malpractice with the help of a short explorative survey.
387 doctoral students returned our questionnaire after participating in a two-day good scientific practice course between November 2011 and December 2012. 76 students – about one in five – admitted to have been involved in one of six forms of severe scientific misconduct with consequences upon their work: plagiarism; data manipulation, fabrication or theft; honorary authorship; duplicate publication.
More than half of the respondents stated that they were involved in, or had witnessed problems with unclear data ownership or honorary authorship. In the courses, many participants told us that data management and authorship issues had never been addressed thoroughly prior to the course, although they are important aspects of the scientific process. This leads to several unsolved questions concerning the supervisors’ role in the fostering of good scientific practice, and to an assumption of “inherited unawareness” and systematic non-communication. We suggest that the issue should be tackled by educating all members of the scientific institutions, accompanied by structural changes.

The article we originally posted was missing two entries in table 3.

Find the corrected version here: Teaching Good Scientific Practice (corrected 20.07.15)

The original article can be found here: Teaching Good Scientific Practice

Jul 162015

Georg Graffe is commissioning editor and head of department of the TV program TerraX for the TV broadcaster ZDF. JUnQ interviewed him to get insights in the process of communicating scientific information to a broader public via a TV program.

Find the Interview here: Communicating Science via Television Programmes

Jul 162015

Dear Reader,

I have the honor to present to you the second issue of the fifth volume of JUnQ, which is in fact the tenth overall is- sue. So the issue — #science — is kind of a #jubilee. We want to celebrate it with you by having a look into the communication of science — eventually, that is what the publication of articles and journals is all about. In this issue, you will find interviews and articles about the communication of science between researchers as well as the mediation of scientific topics to a broader audience. Both subjects have changed over the past years and are also under constant debate.

Read the whole Editorial Note by Nicola Reusch.

Jul 162015

Dear Readers,

we are pleased to announce the 10th issue of JUnQ. In our newest issue you will find essays and interviews dealing with science communication. Among other things, you can read about the opportunities and risks of social media in science communication or hear from Prof. P. Wich how he communicates science in the digital age. Two biohackers talk about their efforts to make science for the masses and we talked to the founder of ResearchGate, Ijad Madisch.

A study from M. Gommel and co-workers reveals that scientific misconduct might be more common than previously though and argues that this might be fought by teaching good scientific practice to scientists in all positions.

We hope you enjoy the newest issue of JUnQ!

— David Huesmann on behalf of the editorial board

Download JUnQ Volume 5 Issue 2e