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…]

7/19/13 Link Round-Up

TGIF link round-up readers! We have a lot of great links below to help round-off your week. Covering topics such as protective habitats, time management, evolution in the face of climate change, and more, we’d like to share we’ve been reading throughout the week: [Read more…]

7/3/13 Link Round-Up

Carrier snails are quite crafty! Check out this post about the "masters of bling." http://bit.ly/14R7eqH

Happy Fourth of July! Over the holiday, the COMPASS staff will be enjoying time with family and friends. Since many of you may be out for the holiday like we are, we’re posting the link round-up a little early this week. We thought it would be a short one to reflect the short week, but we have a great variety of posts below! [Read more…]

6/28/13 Link Round-Up

As the Earth, moon, and sun align to create a “king tide” this week, the East Coast is getting a preview of what normal tides may look like in the face of climate change and rising sea levels. It’s appropriate, then, that President Obama released his climate change action plan on Tuesday. A quick Google search of the plan yields a number of reactions, and we’d love to hear yours in the comments. In the mean time, here are a few other things we’ve been reading at COMPASS this week: [Read more…]

5/31/13 Link Round-Up

We’re big proponents of social media on the COMPASS blog. In addition to touting the benefits and how-to’s of Twitter, one of the unique aspects of social media are the conversations and discussion that can be sparked and carried out on a large scale entirely online. This week there were several such examples, rounded up below, along with some other interesting finds: [Read more…]

Link Round-Up 5/17/13

It’s been a great but busy week for COMPASS! Nancy and the COMPASS team were honored to receive a Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in the Media; Erica and Brooke gave a talk about NSF about our ongoing #gradscicomm project; and Liz delivered a training for SOGES Fellows at Colorado State and published a guest blog with Nature as a part of our blog carnival (which was also featured in their roundup of top posts this week).  Phew! All that and we still have plenty of great links rounded-up for you! Check out some examples of great media, scientists in the media, great science writing, and more: [Read more…]

3/29/13 Link Round-Up

Photo courtesy of 'Ravages' via Flickr.

There’s often nothing more intriguing (or productive!) than a healthy debate. And in this regard, this week didn’t disappoint: The Supreme Court is hearing a highly publicized case on same-sex marriage, and the online science and conservation community has been ramping up their own equally heated (but completely different) discussion around de-extinction. The question is whether humans should revive populations of extinct species if we can: Do we have a moral obligation to do so since we are likely a major cause in their extinction? And, if we do, what type of world are we bringing these species back into? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments… below are a few links to spark your thinking: [Read more…]

1/25/13 Link Round-up

Photo courtesy of 'Ravages' via Flickr.

Following Monday’s Presidential Inauguration in Washington DC, it certainly feels like change is in the air. It’s been a week of announcements regarding our country’s changing leadership and continuing challenges in ushering through the 2014 budget – a process that Policy Outreach Director Chad English reminds us in his blog post this week is neither simple nor easy to follow. [Read more…]

1/18/13 Link Round-Up

Photo courtesy of 'Ravages' via Flickr.

Is January turning into the busiest month on record for everyone, or just COMPASS and those we interact with? There are so many exciting meetings and events on the horizon it’s hard to keep everything straight! In our moments of needing a breather, here are a few of the links, postings, and other articles that we followed this week: [Read more…]