[ASC-list] ASC-list Digest, Vol 99, Issue 36

Rob Morrison rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au
Thu Feb 28 00:34:01 UTC 2013


I have chopped some of the thread as it was getting longish, but this takes us back a few years. We were then considering various "guides" in ASC that might improve the professioinal lot of science communicators. I did  some guidelines and a protocol for electronic Media Releases, and these were on our ASC website for years, but would need updating or considerable revision now (if they were still worth having).

Julian Cribb also had a good go at a code of ethics, and others were tinkering with similar things. More recently there was an idea to produce a "What is Science" piece for the website, but it fell by the wayside for various reasons.

The style guide was discussed in those earlier years, and several people indicated interest, but one idea was a kind of cumulative guide on the ASC website in which anyone could contribute a view on a particular aspect of science communication (eg punctuation, use of "breakthrough", pronunciation of "kilometre" etc), and these would slowly build into a collection of "guide points" that could be referred to.

This has the merit of not simply reproducing what might already be in other style guides, but providing a bit more of a discussion element to matters of stylistic interest which may change over time or may not even be addressed elsewhere

Of course these entries/propositions would not always meet with unanimous agreement, but they could be helpful if they:

1. were brief (perhaps a max word count);
2; indicated broadly their nature (eg pronunciation, grammar, spelling etc);
3. were entered under a one or two word  heading that made them easy to sort and look up;
4. included the reasoning behind the proposition, and
5. cited the initials or minimal identifier of the proposer.

Other elements might be included, but we could, in this way, compile a collection of pet hates, suggestions, arguments, queries etc relevant to science communication that could be useful (and also interesting) to those who like this sort of thing.

EG (a simple example of how such an entry mighty look)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Kilometre (pronunciation)

Pronounced KILL-o-metre and not kil-OMM-etre.

Reason:
1. Consistency. Fractions or multiples of a metre are pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable (eg CENT-imetre, MIILL-imetre, DEC-imetre etc.  KIL-ometre deserves the same treatment.
2. Confusion. The emphasis on ...OMETER (note different spelling) is used for scientific instruments of measurement (eg thermOMETER, speedOMETER, barOMETER, pyrOMETER etc).

(entry: RM)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Perhaps with the assistance of a supervising moderating volunteer with some editorial skills, we could start to build on the ASC website a collaborative collection of these things that would serve some role as a guide. It could also prompt queries from communicators who would like more clarification on things that bother them, or questions as to whether one should use or not use endings such as "....ize". That would, of course, sometimes produce different and conflicting advice, but if each was accompanied by a reason, it would be a fruitful and interesting set of observations.

It would also give a bit more form and permanence to these interesting discussions that we have, but which tend to erupt on someone's bad day and then vanish from the field.

Rob


Dr Rob Morrison
rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au
Phone: (08) 8339 3790
Fax: (08)8339 6272
________________________________
From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au [asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] on behalf of Marina Hurley [info at writingclearscience.com.au]
Sent: Wednesday, 27 February 2013 11:28 PM
To: Helen.Sim at csiro.au
Cc: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] ASC-list Digest, Vol 99, Issue 36

Hi Helen,

Yes I agree. I also agree with the earlier comment - that people need to first be aware of a particular problem in order to look it up in a style manual. Most people who get stuck at any point probably just Google. Due to the immediate response and interest to Jenni's first comment I thought that, somehow, it would be good to collect the expertise in ASC and make it available to others.

cheers

Marina

On 27 February 2013 10:01, <Helen.Sim at csiro.au<mailto:Helen.Sim at csiro.au>> wrote:
Marina,

My comment about the style guide yesterday wasn't to suggest that the ASC needed to create one. I think the greater problem is to get people to use the ones that already exist.

cheers,

Helen
------
Helen Sim
Media Liaison and Public Relations

CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science
and
Australian Astronomical Observatory

T: +61 2 9372 4251<tel:%2B61%202%209372%204251>
M: +61 419 635 905<tel:%2B61%20419%20635%20905>




On 27/02/2013, at 9:16 AM, Marina Hurley wrote:


Perhaps ASC does not need to reinvent the wheel and reproduce a stand style guide per se as there are many good ones already out (eg Australian Government Style Guide). However there is a wealth of knowledge and experience within ASC and something could be fashioned that adds to what is already out there, especially from the perspective of Australian science communication. I think it would be good to produce something sets a standard without perhaps getting sidetracked by some matters more related to personal preference than scientific accuracy and clarity. I produce similar material for my workshops and would be happy to collaborate on a project of this nature.

cheers

Marina
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