Our Blog Is On Vacation

WhitePixel

With Labor Day right around the corner, it’s the perfect time for the COMPASSblog to take a vacation. Our organization highly values a work hard, play hard philosophy, so we talked our blog into taking our advice. Our amazing and tireless blog gets put through the wringer every week – different authors, different images, new ways of sharing ideas and insights about science communication… even it needs a break. We had a long chat and told the blog the same things we tell each other at COMPASS: Invest in some down time. Take a break! Your sanity, balance and long-term productivity will benefit. Check out. And I mean REALLY check out. We don’t want to see you on email, don’t creep onto that one conference call, and we definitely don’t want to see you sneaking mini posts up there. Didn’t you hear us, blog? We said, “Take a vacation!”

We received this picture from our blog today, confirming that it has checked out and is relaxing at a secluded and undisclosed location with no Internet access. We hope you’ve been able to find some time to do the same this summer!

BlogVacay

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ScienceOnline Climate

ScioClimateSquareWeb

Ah, logistics. WiFi, websites, sponsors, speakers, travel, venues, sound, and food – planning a meeting means dozens of details need constant attention. And yet, if we’ve done our work well, these all fade into the background as an event comes to life. There’s something magical about creating a space for conversations to unfold and genuine connections to take root, and I am delighted to have been a part of what we created at ScienceOnline Climate.

ScioClimate, as we call it, was a conference that took place in Washington, D.C. August 15-17. Thanks to professional development support from COMPASS, I was able to join Jamie Vernon and Karyn Traphagen as a co-organizer. But ScioClimate is not over because it’s much more than just a meeting – it’s a community of people coalescing around issues of how we improve climate science conversations online. Our intent is to go far beyond tactical discussions about how to share research results, and instead to explore the art, science, rhetoric, politics, philosophy, emotion, and practicalities of tackling unprecedented global change.

Nothing sums up my experience at the event better than this tweet by Mark Westneat:

[Read more…]

8/23/13 Link Round-Up

Happy Friday, everyone! We have quite the variety for you below, featuring events from ScienceOnline Climate, amazing animal videos (pufferfish nests and frozen frogs, anyone?), and an article on why some scientists may communicate with the media more than others. [Read more…]

Shaking The Money Tree: How To Fund Your Outreach

As we’ve described in many places, including this blog, we love supporting you in communicating, sharing, and discussing science outside your labs, classrooms, and the field. We know this isn’t easy and the practicalities of engaging aren’t always, well, very practical. I’ve worked hard to find funding to support our boundary organization so that our services, trainings, and asks of each of you are financially feasible. We’ve all seen the huge demand and appetite for science communication, but the funding sources to support your time and efforts to do this are scarce and patchy. Yet, they do exist! Here are some tips and tricks we’ve seen others use to support communication and outreach: [Read more…]

8/16/2013 Link Round-Up

It’s that day of the week where we round up some of our favorite internet reads for our Link Round-Up readers! This week we have a lot on making science easy to understand through great writing or data visualization. I love data visualization in particular because a lot of creativity can come into play and make an otherwise obscure piece or body of information really easy to understand and accessible. Enjoy what we have for you below: [Read more…]

On Advocacy And Trust In Science

As I noted at the end of Monday’s post, I did not directly tackle the question of whether scientists’ advocacy has been shown to damage public trust in them (or their science). [Read more…]

What The Science Tells Us About “Trust In Science”

This post continues our series focused on science communication research. Instead of reporting on or recapping a single paper, we’re asking what the literature has to say about urgent or recurring questions in our field. This is inspired, in part, by John Timmer’s call for an applied science of science communication, as well as the upcoming special issue of PNAS with papers from the 2012 Sackler Colloquium on the Science of Science Communication.

When climate scientist Tamsin Edwards published her editorial “Climate scientists must not advocate for particular policies” in The Guardian, it triggered a cascade of responses on engagement and advocacy. This is something COMPASS spends quite a lot of time thinking about and discussing in our trainings and writings, but the line that particularly caught my eye was: “I believe advocacy by climate scientists has damaged trust in the science. We risk our credibility, our reputation for objectivity, if we are not absolutely neutral.”

I admire the conviction in that statement and it’s nothing if not clear. But is it true? Is the behavior of individual scientists a primary driver of public opinion? It reminds me of a conversation regarding our assumptions about audiences, in which my friend Ben Lillie quipped: “Communicating science to the public? Neither noun exists and I’m not sure about the verb.” Given the current conversations, I am not so sure of our use of the phrase ‘trust in (the) science’ either, so I decided to do a little digging. [Read more…]

8/9/13 Link Round-Up

Happy Friday, everyone! How is it August 9th already? If you’re like us at COMPASS, you’ve been using the summer to catch up on the big picture thinking and tasks that just don’t happen during the “busy season.” Unfortunately the “busy season” is rapidly approaching! We’ve rounded up some links we’ve been enjoying this week, taking you from big picture discussions on scientists and advocacy, to the myths and realities of science communication, to an update in the Henrietta Lacks story, and more. [Read more…]

Looking Beyond The Business Card

Synergy

COMPASS needed to investigate how they might contribute at the boundary of science and business, so naturally they needed someone who knew about synergy – an MBA intern! As a master’s candidate in environmental sciences and business management, I felt well positioned to help COMPASS investigate what they’ve been hearing for awhile now – an unmet need at the intersection of science and business. [Read more…]

8/2/13 Link Round-Up

Happy Friday link round-up readers! Before you head off to enjoy the weekend, check out our collection of good reads from across the web this week: Permafrost fires, a fish naming contest, (some) good news about a hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico, and a time-lapse video depicting a disappearing lake. [Read more…]