[Edit on 2/21] Got some good write ups about the journal:
Over the weekend (February 2nd and 3rd), I was able to attend the Science Online Watch Party up at the NCAR Mesa Lab. I had a great time learning from the videos and meeting other scientists, science writers, librarians, and public information officers. I was able to take notes for one session, and I moderated another. Below are my notes for the “Helping scientists ‘do’ outreach” session.
Session 2A: Helping scientists ‘do’ outreach (part II)
Denver Watch Party discussion after we viewed the video.
What were the important take-aways?
This is funded by NASA. Wish there was something like this for bioscience. Does the NIH have a public outreach budget? (Maybe this, http://www.nih.gov/about/outreach.htm) How can we get more non-standard science writers interested.
Science pubs and science festivals
Colorado Springs has a science festival in October. The 2012 website is at http://www.csscp.org/csfestival2012/, and the 2013 Festival will be October 5-13, 2013.
Science Carnivals also happen on single days, such as this one, http://www.csscp.org/csfestival2012/index.php/festival-details/cool-science-carnival-day-at-uccs
With the festivals, there is a struggle to get more non-science people to attend. They are getting around 5,000 people to attend the festival in Colorado Springs. Have they saturated the market?
There is the Denver Science Cafe at the Wynkoop Brewery. http://cafescicolorado.org/
There are also Geek meetups in Denver. http://geeks.meetup.com/cities/us/co/denver/
Citizen science projects
Weather chasers use apps to report weather data.
With citizen science projects, organizations should do a small experiment to see what happens. NCAR had gotten a scientist to narrate an animation, and it has been well received by the public. The video is “Steroids, baseball, and climate change.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW3b8jSX7ec
This was a good experiment, but they do not have the capability to keep on pumping out more videos like that.
SOARS Project has been good. http://www.soars.ucar.edu/
Public Information Officers (PIO) do more than just talk to journalists. They try to figure out the best audience for the information.
NEON provides a lot of data, but some of the data scientists may struggle to interact with the public.
There was an interesting question posed during the session. Does one need to be a scientist to be a good science journalist? It is difficult to learn science journalism on the job. Most science journalists have a degree in science, but maybe not a Ph.D.
How can we get more scientists to understand the benefits of providing outreach to the public?
Many scientists have not taken up social media all that well. If scientists can see greater interactions with their papers with altmetrics, then they might see some benefit. If they see greater citations of their work through greater social media interaction, then that would be a positive benefit. One problem is that they have to go outside of their comfort zone. It is difficult to explain why they should blog or tweet about their research.
One attendee talked about a social media workshop that went on at the 2011 AGU conference. It was probably this session, “How to Network Workshop” at http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2011/town-halls-and-workshops/workshops/
While it may be difficult to get a scientist to blog or tweet, they may give talks to local civic organizations like a Rotary club. One could videotape the presentation and put it up onto YouTube.
We should try to foster greater communication among various groups in the rocky mountain region, such as:
- http://co-labs.org/ This “is a consortium of federally funded scientific laboratories, universities, businesses, local governments, and community leaders organized to establish Colorado as a global leader in research, technology, and their commercialization.”
- http://www.aaas-swarm.org/ The Southwestern and Rocky Mountain Division of the AAAS.
There are many other professional and scientific organizations in Colorado. Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO is provided as an example. It may be somewhat isolated in Southwestern Colorado, but it has a good science teaching reputation. A chemistry professor won an award in 2009. (http://www.fortlewis.edu/news/Home/News/tabid/7467/entryid/129/Roger-Peters-Distinguished-Professor-Award-Dr-Ron-Estler.aspx)
How will we know when we have landed with social media and scientists?
What is the larger conversation?
Are we trying to reinvent the wheel in Colorado?
It is difficult to get scientists to open up to the public, since they may want to be secretive with their work. They do not want to be scooped.