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ENgagement and JOurnalism Innovation for Outstanding Open Science Communication

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Developing a manifesto for strong science journalism

In the face of global crises and a rise in disinformation, the EU-funded ENJOI project developed standards, principles and indicators for open science communication , plus a manifesto to improve science journalism.

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Effective science communication supports democratic principles, ensuring citizens have access to high-quality information in order to make judgements based on evidence. Yet often citizens face what the UN calls an “infodemic”: a flood of information in digital and physical environments, where competing voices often contribute to alarmism, polarisation or even real disinformation, instead of nurturing a healthy information environment. In the face of global challenges such as the climate crisis, a framework of principles, standards and appropriate indicators for science journalism and communication is clearly needed. In the ENJOI project, a collaborative network of researchers, journalists and civic engagers across Europe established a set of Standards, Principles and Indicators (SPIs) to identify and guide effective science journalism. The project also developed a Manifesto for Outstanding Open Science Communication. “ENJOI’s project outputs align very well with the idea of promoting open and transparent science and science communication as a key asset to contrast disinformation in Europe,” says Elisabetta Tola, CEO at formicablu in Italy, and ENJOI project coordinator.

Discovering best practices in science journalism

The ENJOI project ran two different lines of research. The first was a literature review to list existing journalism standards suggested by authors, projects and institutions. The second focused on an analysis of relationships between scientists and the media, to identify whether there are specific incentives that can support the communication activities of scientists. This second strand also sought recommendations that could facilitate scientists’ commitment towards communication. The SPIs were developed through a series of workshops between more than 50 practitioners, target users and other stakeholders of science communication. These workshops took place in Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain, exploring differences between southern European countries and those in northern and central Europe. Through this combined, multidisciplinary effort, ENJOI created a matrix of SPIs for Outstanding Open Science Communication. These include key points on methodology and practice, ethics and acting in the public interest. “One of the most relevant findings of ENJOI was a demand for real inclusiveness,” notes Tola. “Not merely as a buzzword, but as a thorough process that acknowledges discrimination in contemporary science at many levels, works to remove barriers and gives a voice to diverse perspectives.”

A manifesto for science communication

The ENJOI project built on the SPIs to write the Manifesto for Outstanding Open Science Communication, which fosters critical thinking, media literacy and digital awareness among those in science communication. Finally, the ENJOI team created the ‘Observatory’, a central online location to promote training and collaboration across the science communication ecosystem that will remain beyond the project completion. The team are exploiting, testing and expanding on ENJOI’s results to develop, test and evaluate two sets of innovative practical tools, including training courses, toolkits, guidelines to fight mis- and disinformation, inspirational e-books for scientists and webinars. With the project’s completion, these outputs will be integrated into the EU-funded COALESCE project, building towards ENJOI’s ultimate goal of improving science communication and fostering capacity building and collaboration. The result will be a better informed public and a more resilient democratic society.


ENJOI, open science, communication, framework, tools, training, manifesto, standards, principles

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