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Global Science Communication and Perception

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - GlobalSCAPE (Global Science Communication and Perception)

Reporting period: 2021-03-01 to 2021-11-30

Science communication is a global field of research and practice central to the relationship between science and society. While recent large-scale studies of science communication have focused on European and Western contexts, the EU-funded GlobalSCAPE project contributes to a more comprehensive picture of science communication by focusing on science communication professionals working in non-Western countries and in regions where science communication can be challenging or under-valued. The project implements a programme of electronically-facilitated diary studies to determine the challenges and opportunities faced by science communication professionals as they navigate a rapidly changing field. This is critical to (taking stock of) the relationship between science and society as a deeper understanding of how science communication happens in different geographical, cultural, and political contexts will foster collaboration and support global efforts to democratise science.

The principal aim of GlobalSCAPE is to generate a detailed picture of science communication in a global context. Recent research focused on taking stock and re-examining the role of science communication has concentrated primarily on science communication in Europe and the western world. GlobalSCAPE expands outwards from this to take stock of the lesser-heard voices: the science communicators working in non-western countries and in regions where taking stock of science communication is particularly difficult. The experiences of science communication professionals in these regions have traditionally been under-represented. GlobalSCAPE will ensure that a full and accurate picture of global science communication can be established.

The central component to the methodology implements a large-scale programme of automated diary studies to gather perspectives of science communication professionals. Those perspectives and variations will be mapped over time, providing a powerful tool for analysis.
The landscape and modes of science communication are changing. This is, in large measure, the result of advances in digital communication in combination with ready and widespread access to smart devices. In its methodology, GlobalSCAPE builds on the very technologies that are changing this landscape. It exploits the global ubiquity of smart devices to implement an innovative and large-scale programme of data collection through the use of state-of-the-art methods in automated diary studies and draws on the expertise of a multi-disciplinary and international team of partners.

GlobalSCAPE will:

1. Present a more complete and fine-grained picture of global science communication
2. Map that picture over time to identify shifts in priorities and incentives/disincentives
3. Innovate a new and ambitious methodology to measure and assess science communication
4. Maximise the resources of SwafS-19 to support the work of science communicators where it is most needed
Substantial work and achievements have been implemented in the first nine months of the GlobalSCAPE project, and are summarised below.

From the outset, a visual identity was designed and a communications, dissemination and exploitation strategy developed. This is being implemented throughout the entirety of the project, with ongoing work underway on conference presentations and publications. One paper has already been published and conference participation is scheduled for June to coincide with the first Advisory Board Meeting.

In putting structures in place, and directly addressing 1, 2, and 3 of the 4 central project aims that are listed above, a GlobalSCAPE network has been established, and is growing on an ongoing basis. A core component of the methodology - the diary study - has been developed, piloted, refined and launched. It has been translated into eight languages and an enrollment drive has been implemented to maximise reach. Uptake has exceeded expectations and is ongoing.

Retaining continuous focus on global representation, The GlobalSCAPE Advisory Board is now in place, involving representatives of science communication convened from around the world. An Academic Gap Analysis has also been undertaken, in which 20 countries in seven global regions have been represented.

In addressing aim 4 (above), work is underway on professional development and networks for participants in the diary study. Training workshops have been designed and are scheduled for the second half of the project. In embedding the findings of GlobalSCAPE into education, and in addressing the needs of science communicators within education, a global science communication module has been designed and is in the process of institutional endorsement at Trinity College Dublin. The initial design of this module builds upon the findings of a review of existing science communication modules around the world.
GlobalSCAPE advances beyond the state of the art in its scope and in its methodology. Structures and networks to achieve this have been instigated, refined and launched in the first half of the project. In furtherance of this, in the second half of the project GlobalSCAPE will continue to build on the structures put in place to date, to expand its reach, and to integrate findings as they emerge from the diary study.

The project will continue to map the state of play in global science communication, gathering data utilising the research instrument and methodology that was developed and refined by the consortium. Quantitative and qualitative analyses will be conducted on the emerging data.

The recruitment drive will continue, targeted to expand uptake on the diary study and maximise global reach. The academic module will be expanded from its initial design to integrate findings from the diary study and Systematic Literature Review as they emerge. This will then be taught as an inter-institutional module in conjunction with the academic partners Trinity College Dublin and Leiden University, embedding global practices and perspectives within its remit.

Findings from the data will also be integrated into an open access white paper designed for both policy-makers and stakeholders, to help inform European policy in science communication, and to inform proactive and anticipatory policy-making.
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