Notes from Moving forwards or in circles? Science communication and scientific governance in an age of innovation

Notes from Moving forwards or in circles? Science communication and scientific governance in an age of innovation

I thought this was an interesting chapter as it highlighted the pro’s and cons of various models of communication which I will try to summarise;

The Deficit Model

The public has a deficit of science information which is filled by the science community who decide what the public should know

Example; BSE and the governments campaign of reassurance

Pro’s; Its easy, if it works then public understanding and opinion should be easy to control/manage/manipulate.  It acknowledges the authority of the scientists.

Cons; Leads to a lack of trust

Two way communication model (if there is an official name for this model then I have missed it)

An open two way communication between the publics (many and overlapping) and the sciences.

Upstream
Involve public discussion & debate in the early stages of development

Can be difficult when the many do not understand or know of the basic facts (eg nanotechnology)

Downstream
Involve public discussion & debate in the later stages.

Greater clarification of terms and choices

The article also cites the Phillips report (Phillips, Lord, Bridgeman, J. and Ferguson-Smith, M. (2000). The BSE Inquiry: the Report. HMSO, London.) into the BSE inquiry adn its following points which the article claims have become central to science communication;

• Trust can only be generated by openness.

• Openness requires recognition of uncertainty, where it exists.

• The public should be trusted to respond rationally to openness.

• Scientific investigation of risk should be open and transparent.

• The advice and reasoning of advisory committees should be made public.

I wonder if the recent case of the East Anglia scientists who withheld information disproves the suggestion that these points have become central to science communication, or does the fact that this lack of openness has come to light and been exposed prove the point that these points are now true and anyone trying to conduct science communication by the old deficit model will be exposed?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s