Tag Archives: science communication

When Science Meets the Public, Communication Matters


As we turn to science for answers and explanations to understand and manage the COVID-19 pandemic, it is very clear that a number of influences—psychological, economic, political, social, cultural, and media-related— determine how contentious issues in science are understood and perceived. Successful scientists must be effective communicators within their professions and in political and social settings. Our publications synthesize research on communication and provide guidance to improve public engagement with science. As always, all are free to download.

Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda

Science and technology are embedded in virtually every aspect of modern life. As a result, people face an increasing need to integrate information from science with their personal values and other considerations as they make important life decisions about medical care, the safety of foods, what …

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The Science of Science Communication III: Inspiring Novel Collaborations and Building Capacity: Proceedings of a Colloquium

Successful scientists must be effective communicators within their professions. Without those skills, they could not write papers and funding proposals, give talks and field questions, or teach classes and mentor students. However, communicating with audiences outside their profession – people …

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The Science of Science Communication II: Summary of a Colloquium

Successful scientists must be effective communicators within their professions. Without those skills, they could not write papers and funding proposals, give talks and field questions, or teach classes and mentor students. However, communicating with audiences outside their profession – people …

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Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences

Science is a way of knowing about the world. At once a process, a product, and an institution, science enables people to both engage in the construction of new knowledge as well as use information to achieve desired ends. Access to science—whether using knowledge or creating it—necessitates …

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Trust and Confidence at the Interfaces of the Life Sciences and Society: Does the Public Trust Science? A Workshop Summary

Does the public trust science? Scientists? Scientific organizations? What roles do trust and the lack of trust play in public debates about how science can be used to address such societal concerns as childhood vaccination, cancer screening, and a warming planet? What could happen if social …

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The Dual-Use Dilemma: Open Science vs. National Security

In late March, the National Institutes of Health announced the U.S. Government Policy for Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern, which establishes regular review of federally-funded or conducted research with certain high-consequence pathogens and toxins with potential for dual use. This review is the latest in an ongoing effort to preserve the benefits of life sciences research and open scientific communication while minimizing the risk of misuse by those who wish to do harm.

Long before the issue of dual-use biological research rose to its current prominence, the National Research Council (NRC) led the debate on the tension between open scientific communication and national security. In 1982 the NRC produced the landmark report Scientific Communication and National Security. The message of this report remains relevant today.

Scientific Communication and National Security addresses one of the most difficult of policy issues: one in which fundamental national objectives seem to have been abruptly thrown into direct conflict. Advances in science and technology have traditionally thrived in an atmosphere of open communication; openness has contributed to American military and economic strength and has been a tenet of American culture and higher education. However, recent trends, including apparent increases in acquisition efforts by our adversaries, have raised serious concerns that openness may harm U.S. security by providing adversaries with militarily relevant technologies that can be directed against us. As would be expected when major national interests are in question, signs of distrust have appeared on all sides of the growing public discussion. The federal government, through its research and development agencies, and the university research community, where most basic research is conducted, both will lose much if the nation cannot find a policy course that reflects legitimate concerns.

This report, as well as others on the subject of dual use, is available to read or download at no charge.

Reports

Scientific Communication and National Security

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Scientific Communication and National Security204 pages | Paperback | Price: $50.62The military, political, and economic preeminence of the United States during the post-World War II era is based to a substantial degree on its superior rate of achievement in science and technology, as well as on its capacity to translate these achievements… [more]
Beyond 'Fortress America'

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Beyond ‘Fortress America’: National Security Controls on Science and Technology in a Globalized World150 pages | Paperback | Price: $37.80The national security controls that regulate access to and export of science and technology are broken. As currently structured, many of these controls undermine our national and homeland security and stifle American engagement in the global economy, and in… [more]
Science and Security in a Post 9/11 World

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Science and Security in a Post 9/11 World: A Report Based on Regional Discussions Between the Science and Security Communities138 pages | Paperback | Price: $27.67Based on a series of regional meetings on university campuses with officials from the national security community and academic research institutions, this report identifies specific actions that should be taken to maintain a thriving scientific research… [more]
Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism

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Biotechnology Research in an Age of Terrorism164 pages | Paperback | Price: $31.50In recent years much has happened to justify an examination of biological research in light of national security concerns. The destructive application of biotechnology research includes activities such as spreading common pathogens or transforming them into… [more]
Seeking Security

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Seeking Security: Pathogens, Open Access, and Genome Databases88 pages | Paperback | Price: $18.90Within the last 30 years, the genomes of thousands of organisms, from viruses, to bacteria, to humans, have been sequenced or partially sequenced and deposited in databases freely accessible to scientists around the world. This information is accelerating… [more]
Research in the Life Sciences with Dual Use Potential

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Research in the Life Sciences with Dual Use Potential: An International Faculty Development Project on Education About the Responsible Conduct of Science56 pages | Paperback | Price: $26.10In many countries, colleges and universities are where the majority of innovative research is done; in all cases, they are where future scientists receive both their initial training and their initial introduction to the norms of scientific conduct regardless… [more]

Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences

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Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences146 pages | Paperback | Price: $22.50The Challenges and Opportunities for Education About Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences workshop was held to engage the life sciences community on the particular security issues related to research with dual use potential. More than 60 participants from… [more]