Engage 2014: a conversation on #some

Update: the AHRC/BBC R3 New Generation Thinkers 2017 have just been revealed – while it feels like a very Oxbridge endeavour, easy to mock, it does bring up some items of interest…public engagement doesn’t seem to be a thing (yet) in Denmark, but there is DR’s Rosenkjærprisen (Wikipedia), awarded for annually for the best dissemination of a tricky topic.

…Three sessions at Engage 2014 focused on research communication and dissemination:

  • A Conversation with the public
  • Social media communities: challenges, lessons and opportunities for engagement with science
  • Attributes of digital engagers: academic identity and role in engaged research online

First up, A Conversation with the public. The Conversation (@ConversationUK) is a current affairs website offering “academic rigour and journalistic flair”, targeting a niche in the market with “in-depth, research informed, academic-led insight”.

Articles are written by experts, ie the individual researchers, with editors for eg Scotland. It’s fast moving, with eg a rolling response to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. Owned and governed by a trust, with a range of funders.

I’ve just signed off the newsletter (it’s been in ‘too much’ corner for a while, although the editor’s note is well done) and taken a proper look:

  • RSS feeds at faculty level
  • topics in abundance which you can follow via RSS or as a reader, but not controlled, limiting usefulness
  • bunging in Denmark brings up nine results, inc the usual suspects but rather deeper than the mainstream press; duly RSSd
  • republishing is invited – this is probably key
  • is there much conversation? you need to be registered as a reader to comment; on the blog (no RSS) there’s a weekly off topic space for general discussion, that must keep someone busy…have to wonder how much it is the same people talking to themselves

The Danish equivalent, Videnskab.dk (Facebook | Twitter) looks very similar, with faculty or higher RSS and topics, RSS hidden for those, but should work if you bung them in a reader. They also offer courses on research communication and formidling (~dissemination). Trying out the newsletter for now. Again, looks like overload, and wonder about usage levels.

No English spotted, but turns out there’s also something called ScienceNordic.com (Facebook | Twitter), set up in partnership with a similar service in Norway and covering a pretty broad definition of science including the ‘human sciences’. Duly newsletter’d for now, with an RSS feed for the society & culture section. If you prefer to engage aurally, there’s also Pod Academy.

Next up, Social media communities: challenges, lessons and opportunities for engagement with science with Oliver Marsh (@SidewaysScience). Social media offers a range of opportunities for public engagement, but what role should researchers play in these emerging spaces, and what skills and support might they need to engage effectively? Are gatekeepers still needed?

Finally, Attributes of digital engagers: academic identity and role in engaged research online – the potential for digital forms of communication to support and create opportunities for engaged research, with Trevor Collins (Open) and Ann Grand (@ann2_g). The session involved a Visitors and Residents mapping to explore how people engage in online places – see blog post for more.


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