António Granado

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Science communication training should be about more than just how to transmit knowledge

For some scientists, communicating effectively with the public seems to come naturally. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson currently has more than …

The danger of overselling science

Imagine seeing this headline:<p>A zap to the brain could make you a genius<p>The story might go something like this:<p>Neuroscientists have proven that …

What has science communication ever done for us?

“What have the Romans ever done for us?” John Cleese’s famous question from Monty Python’s Life of Brian has been in my thoughts over the past couple of weeks. Back came the answer, “The aqueduct.” “Oh, yeah, yeah. They did give us that.” “And there’s sanitation...” You get the picture.<p>I’ve been …

Science

What Every Journalist Should Know About Science

A condition called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is—or is not—a precursor of breast cancer. It does—or does not—require treatment. Doctors differ …

Scientists’ Prioritization of Communication Objectives for Public Engagement

by Anthony Dudo, John C. BesleyAmid calls from scientific leaders for their colleagues to become more effective public communicators, this study …

Clinical Trials

Could collaborating with scientists be the next step for investigative reporting?

<b>For decades</b>, investigative reporters have approached stories with a similar mindset: Find the bad guys.<p>We collect examples of wrongdoing, we put the …

Why Science Denialism Is Costing Us A Fortune

In case you haven’t heard, the moon landings were faked, the measles vaccine causes autism, climate change is a hoax, and genetically modified crops (GMOs) are, you know, the pits. If you want evidence, just check the Internet.<p>Scientists like me adopt all kinds of strategies in trying to combat …

Agriculture

How to make people angry: write about science

<b>Thinking of becoming a science communicator? It's a terrific job, but be aware that you could find yourself being attacked for having an unpopular</b> …

Brokers of Junk Science? | VICE News

<i>This story is being published jointly by VICE News and the Center for Public Integrity as the fourth and final installment of 'Science for Sale,' an investigative series on the increasing influence of industry-backed research, funded by corporations steering millions of dollars to scientific</i> …

Top 12 Science Communication Inspirations

In late October, 2015, my colleagues and I welcomed eight science communicators from Switzerland to swissnex San Francisco to attend some of the Bay …

Melinda Gates Wishes Donald Trump Would Stop Peddling Garbage Science On Vaccines

"Your job is to be educated and to inform people properly."<p>Philanthropist Melinda Gates blasted Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump this week for his assertions that childhood vaccinations can lead to autism, calling them “ridiculous” and “misinformed.”<p>During the annual World Economic …

What journalists get wrong about social science: full responses

I recently asked several psychologists and social scientists a simple question: "What do journalists most often get wrong when writing about research?"<p>Here are their responses.<p>Sanjay Srivastava, associate professor, University of Oregon<p>Most basic research in psychology has no short — or even …

Brian Martin and Judy Wilyman: Promoting antivaccine pseudoscience as “dissent” [Respectful Insolence]

Yesterday, I wrote about what can only be described as an academic travesty. What riled me up sufficiently to lay a heapin’ helpin’ of …

Critical Thinking

Do prestigious science journals attract bad science?

A few weeks ago, I explored some of the problems with peer review in academic publishing — noting that even top scientific journals have run seriously flawed papers.<p>But perhaps that "even" was unwarranted. What if the top journals are <i>more likely</i> to run flawed research compared with other …

How Should We Pay for Science Journalism?

A few months back I followed a Twitter conversation about paying for science journalism. It was sparked by these Tweets by Flying Trilobite and …

Journalism

The problem with science journalism: we’ve forgotten that reality matters most

As a science journalist, a lot of your time is spent reporting on new studies, natural phenomena and how research may affect our lives. But there is another key piece to science, and that is the people who produce it. When we ignore these people – or omit key facts that cast researchers or their …

Journalism

"Unprecedented!" "Amazing!" "Novel!": the rise of hype in scientific journals

In the brutally competitive world of academic publishing, it can be hard to get noticed. So in recent decades, many researchers have turned to overhyping their studies.<p>A team of researchers from the Netherlands tried to quantify the rise in hype by studying the titles and abstracts of scientific …

The key elements of a research story – Top Posts of 2015: Academic Writing

Who, What, Where, When, Why: Using the 5 Ws to communicate your research A lay summary can be a useful approach to breaking down barriers and making …

Humanities

The science behind science communication

<b>Untypical night at a typical restaurant</b>Equipped with wooden floor, black-steel ceiling and furniture with different shades of brown, the Kirkwood …

Science

When Science Reporting Goes Wrong –It’s not always the journalist’s or the scientist’s fault.

It would appear that my brain these days only let’s me focus on small tasks such as writing blog posts, commenting on facebook and getting irritated. …

Academics: forget about public engagement, stay in your ivory towers

Academics are constantly encouraged to engage with the public more often, but this advice ignores the way that specialised knowledge already affects civic life. Specialisation has social importance, but often only after decades of work.<p>It is time for us to reassess what we mean by public …

Humanities

Health Experts Are Explaining Drug-Resistant Bacteria Poorly

Their confusing jargon is pushing people toward bad decisions.<p>This week marks the first ever World Antibiotic Awareness Week—an effort to teach people about microbes that can withstand our most potent drugs and cause untreatable illnesses. The threat has certainly been getting a lot of media time: …

Tips for academics on blogging and social media

Social Media

Half of the cancer drugs journalists called "miracles" and "cures" were not approved by the FDA

The media has a penchant for hailing new medical "breakthroughs" and "miracles" — even when there's no evidence to back up those claims.<p>Now researchers have quantified how often this baseless overhype actually occurs. Spoiler: It's very common, so be wary whenever you see those terms.<p>A group of …

Academics: leave your ivory towers and pitch your work to the media

You may have seen the recent headlines screaming “Spicy foods could help you live longer!” But have you heard of Lu Qi, the associate professor at the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health who co-authored the study?<p>Qi’s findings appeared exactly as expected according to academic protocol – first …

Higher Education

A group of researchers is trying to help science journalists parse academic articles on deadline

The tool is called Science Surveryor, and it’s being developed at Columbia and Stanford to help journalists find context and background information on tight deadlines.<p>About 1.8 million new scientific papers are published each year, and most are of little consequence to the general public — or even …

Computer Science

On Science Journalism And Conflicts-Of-Interest

Navigating potential conflicts is dicey for reporters—and especially freelancers<p>I’m going to take a short break from my normal coverage to address what may seem like an unusual topic for this blog: conflicts of interest (COIs) in science journalism.<p>I’m doing this for two reasons. First, this year’s …

Journalism

The Best Data Scientists Know How to Tell Stories

When hiring data scientists, people tend to focus primarily on technical qualifications. It’s hard to find candidates who have the right mix of computational and statistical skills. But what’s even harder is finding people who have those skills <i>and</i> are good at communicating the story behind the data.<p>…

Scientists Have Found One Tactic That Can Change Anti-Vaccers' Minds

A picture tells a thousand words.<p>An increasing number of parents these days have concerns about vaccines. And as anyone who's tried to rationally …

Here's the Most Important Rule in Science Writing

Science writing comes in many varieties. When writing for a blog, you usually have freedom to go as deep into a topic as you feel necessary. There …