[ASC-list] The future of science comms

Susan Kirk skirk at iprimus.com.au
Fri Nov 15 00:33:57 UTC 2013


Hi Susan,

I tried to post the following message to the ASC group but I'm not a paid
member so it bounced. If you want to reply with it on my behalf, feel free. 

Cheers,
Michael

We write about unpublished research quite regularly. As I'm sure many of you
know, in many areas, peer review is simply not relevant to journalists (and
increasingly the scientists) anymore. For example, did anyone even notice
when the Higgs-like boson discovery was published in PRL? It was a long time
after it was announced by CMS and ATLAS at the LHC and by then nobody in the
general press was interested anymore.

In some areas of life-sciences too, there are large teams of enormously
respected scientists racing similar teams elsewhere to produce something. In
many of those cases, I see no problem whatsoever reporting on unpublished
research. The stories I'm most proud of are actually ones I've written about
research that hasn't been published. Two of those recently were in the life
sciences. One was on cancer research and the other on growing human organs
in pigs. The first of those was recognised this week with an award by COSA,
showing that clinicians and researchers agree these are good things to
report.

The whole question of whether you should *only* report peer-reviewed
research, I think, is raised only if you see yourself as doing PR for
science. If you're promoting science, then of course, the institutions
within science like peer review will be treated as sacred. (Although I have
no idea how you would ever report on particle physics, then.) If you're a
journalist, peer review is important, but it's just one factor among many.
For any good journalist, the question is about the credibility of the
research, which is more than just about whether it's been published in a
peer-reviewed journal.

And just RE what Ian said. Yeah -- lots of researchers do put unpublished
data online. arXiv has been around for a long time and is a central part of
many physical sciences. But in life sciences, there are things that go even
further: open-source research where it's a free, open collaboration of
researchers all around the world. For example, check
out http://opensourcemalaria.org/ 


On 15/11/13 3:07 PM, "asc-list-request at lists.asc.asn.au"
<asc-list-request at lists.asc.asn.au> wrote:

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> Today's Topics:
> 
>    1. Re: Where's ASC headed? Was science or persuasion (Jess Tyler)
>    2. Re: Where's ASC headed? Was science or persuasion (Pete Wheeler)
> 
> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2013 10:48:19 +1100
> From: Jess Tyler <jessyorta at gmail.com>
> To: "Ian M." <ianmcd85 at hotmail.com>
> Cc: Susan Kirk <skirk at iprimus.com.au>, Asc List
> <asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>
> Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Where's ASC headed? Was science or persuasion
> Message-ID:
> <CAPedeyfDS79XZ6H96efTs9gbyL+26hW14EcrbNk17oXiUr89Eg at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"
> 
> I'll bite too.
> 
> AS a founding member and past Exec member, I"ve seen ASC go through many,
> many iterations of how it presents to the world. Websites, newsletters,
> ideas for people's pet projects, ideas for great political change, ideas
> and projects that advance our cause. It all comes and goes in the natural
> cycle of life in a non-professional volunteer industry representative group.
> 
> I've also seen a lot of people not turn up to events or give feedback. Me
> included. I've seen states work so hard on initiatives that flop through
> lack of interest. I coordinated here in Tasmania for 14 years and tried
> every thing I could think of to engage members and I ended up stepping
> aside because I was exhausted from the effort for no gain and with little
> support.
> 
> I've also seen a lot of people complain but not do anything or volunteer
> anything.
> 
> ASC constantly asks what members want.
> 
> And many of us do put up project proposals that don't get acted upon, but
> this is life. Because it is a voluntary group, with scant resources, and as
> usual, only the solid few have the energy and drive outside their day jobs
> to put effort in on a consistent basis.
> 
> I have my times of loving/hating ASC, but it has never failed to strive for
> its objectives, and it is the only group in Australia with a charter to
> advance the profession of science communication in society. I will always
> support its existence, even though I don't always support individual
> tactics. This is part of a growing and developing organisation.
> 
> I would happily pay double my membership fee if that meant equipping the
> nat exec with the resources it needs to reach to the next level. Hell, I'd
> even triple it. This is my profession and I want to belong to a group of
> people who are 'my' people.
> 
> If you don't like the ASC-media list, or SCOPE, don't subscribe to it - we
> are a democracy - and see it for what it is: a posting list for media items
> to whoever wants to look.
> 
> If you want to communicate about communicating - go ahead!
> 
> But please don't bag out the organisation and the people who work so hard.
> 
> Jess Tyler
> SciBiz Media & Communications
> ASC Founding Member #71
> 
> 
> 
> Jess Tyler
> SciBiz Media & Communications
> M: 0408 298 292
> 
> 
> On Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM, Ian M. <ianmcd85 at hotmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> I'll bite....
>> 
>> Knowing a little bit about how the ASC runs, being actively involved over
>> the past 3 years - to post onto the ASC e-lists you need to be a member but
>> to receive the emails posted to the list - you don't...so potentially
>> people who are emailing you back privately aren't members but want to reply?
>> 
>> I agree the list should be about us starting discussions, learning about
>> events in your region and getting advice from those in the
>> field....obviously the media list should be kept to media releases and
>> promoting science.
>> 
>> I hope someone from the exec replies but I know that alot of the things
>> you have suggested such as website and professionalism are well underway
>> and I also look forward to hearing of the progress as well  - potentially
>> at National AGM. Which - just to remind you the ACT branch is hosting on
>> the 29th of November, so hopefully local members can come along if in
>> Canberra.
>> 
>> I disagree with your comment on the Scope Newsletter - what is the
>> justification for saying it's a flop? I thoroughly enjoy recieving it each
>> month and think more members should contribute. Plus I always read a
>> message from the National President giving us updates on national
>> activities -
>> http://www.asc.asn.au/blog/2013/11/02/presidents-update-rocketing-towards-the
>> -end-of-the-year-agm-and-members-abroad/
>> 
>> As for members not being involved in events - the ACT branch ran multiple
>> events this year targeted at members and didn't get a great response - so
>> this is something our committee is working on, the age old question - *what
>> do members want? *
>> 
>> How do we best target events for our members? Do members want more
>> webinars rather then events you have to physically attend?
>> 
>> We are using ASC money after all to run these, so we want to make sure
>> that members are happy with what we are doing.
>> 
>> As Susan stated, join in, it is a great way to learn from each other - we
>> are all a friendly bunch and if you are worried about posting from your
>> work email - post from a personal email.
>> 
>> Ian
>> 
>> *Dr Ian McDonald*
>> *Science writer and presenter*
>> 
>> *E: ianmcd85 at hotmail.com <ianmcd85 at hotmail.com>*
>> *M: 0439 746 556*
>> 
>> *Twitter: @ianmcd85Skype: ianmcd85*
>> 
>> *ABN: 91 575 957 824*
>> 
>> 
>> ------------------------------
>> Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2013 08:23:11 +1000
>> From: skirk at iprimus.com.au
>> 
>> To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
>> Subject: [ASC-list] Where's ASC headed? Was science or persuasion
>> 
>> I think Charles has a valid point..  ASC is beginning to look like
>> Food4media or TravMedia.
>> 
>> Maybe we should do what some other associations do and charge a premium
>> for these media release postings? They are after all advertising.  I think
>> there are other better places to get media release, AusSMC, Eureka, Google
>> alerts are a few of the places I subscribe and of course science direct
>> topic alerts.
>> 
>> I personally would like to see more communication about communication on
>> this list.  I know you can take the horse to water etc. But why don't
>> members feel comfortable airing their bits on here?  So many times people
>> have responded to me off the list.  I feel like shouting.  Keep it on the
>> list.
>> 
>> I would also like to see more communication from the executive on this
>> list.  We haven't heard anything about the new website.  We keep employing
>> scope editors and the newsletter keeps flopping.  We keep talking about
>> becoming more professional but what's happening to our charter and code of
>> ethics?
>> 
>> Members are not involved in any of the communications for any of the
>> events or funding or anything really, the only communication comes from
>> those few that can be bothered to raise questions or liaise on the list.
>> 
>> I repeat.  We can't operate in a vacuum.
>> 
>> Please don't email me off the list with your replies.  Keep it on the list.
>> 
>> 
>> S
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> * Susan Fairbairn (nee Kirk)  * B.comm  freelance Journalist
>> Member and Queensland Web Editor -  Australian Science Communicators (ASC)
>> Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA)
>> tel: +61 7 5478 6761 | mobile: 0414645953 | email: susan at susankirk.com.au
>> www.susankirk.com.au |  Skype: susanakirk | Tweet: @SusanAKirk
>> Facebook group: Plant Power
>> 
>> 
>> *?If you don?t ask the right questions you won?t get the right answers.? *
>> 
>> _______________________________________________ ASC-list mailing list
>> list at asc.asn.au
>> http://www.asc.asn.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=97&Itemid=115
>> 
>> _______________________________________________
>> ASC-list mailing list
>> list at asc.asn.au
>> 
>> http://www.asc.asn.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=97&Itemid=115
>> 
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> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2013 07:54:36 +0800
> From: Pete Wheeler <pete.wheeler at uwa.edu.au>
> To: Asc List <asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>
> Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Where's ASC headed? Was science or persuasion
> Message-ID: <C32641CE-D17F-47E9-AE37-FB4175724D1F at uwa.edu.au>
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> 
> Well said Ian. I too think the Newsletter is going very well and I'd be very
> interested to hear the feedback of others on the list. I have found myself
> reading almost every article each time it lands in my inbox.
> 
> Like the ACT committee, the WA committee is made up of passionate people
> giving what time and energy they can to help design and deliver events that
> cater for our members. As for the ASC exec, having been Treasurer for the past
> 6 months or so, I'm very impressed by the commitment and level of activity
> I've encountered, but I can see that while there's lots of things happening
> behind the scenes, this can go unseen by the rest of the association
> (especially if you're not reading the Presidents update) until things are
> suitably well progressed to be let out into the open.
> 
> At the end of the day the ASC is a relatively small association (~450 members)
> with a small executive team trying to do a lot in their spare time. I would
> encourage any members who want to play a part in brining about the new era of
> ASC to let the executive know. There's plenty of work to go around I assure
> you. Right now the conference, a major affair, is dominating the bandwidth of
> most of the executive, but even while this is happening we're trying to
> organise the AGM, get branches to report a little on their activities, deal
> with some very important matters relating to our Not For Profit and tax status
> and get all our ducks in a row to make sure that the ASC continues to grow,
> evolve and flourish in the years to come. This all takes time, especially when
> most of those doing this work are volunteers trying to get things done in
> between making ends meet.
> 
> Regards
> Pete
> 
> 
> Pete Wheeler
> Manager, Outreach & Education
> Ph: +61 8 6488 7758
> Ph: +61 423 98 2018
> ICRAR: Discovering the hidden Universe through radio astronomy
> <http://www.icrar.org/>
> <http://www.icrar.org/><http://www.icrar.org/>[cid:3ABD6116-74F0-4C8F-8A15-BBC
> A9CB83CB9 at ivec.org]<http://www.icrar.org/><http://www.icrar.org/><http://www.i
> crar.org/>
> <http://www.icrar.org/>www.icrar.org<http://www.icrar.org/> | Subscribe to
> ICRAR's eNewsletter<http://www.icrar.org/#subscribe> | ICRAR on
> Twitter<http://twitter.com/icrar> | ICRAR on Facebook
> <http://www.facebook.com/pages/ICRAR/199692286227>
> 
> On 15/11/2013, at 7:00 AM, Ian M. wrote:
> 
> I'll bite....
> 
> Knowing a little bit about how the ASC runs, being actively involved over the
> past 3 years - to post onto the ASC e-lists you need to be a member but to
> receive the emails posted to the list - you don't...so potentially people who
> are emailing you back privately aren't members but want to reply?
> 
> I agree the list should be about us starting discussions, learning about
> events in your region and getting advice from those in the field....obviously
> the media list should be kept to media releases and promoting science.
> 
> I hope someone from the exec replies but I know that alot of the things you
> have suggested such as website and professionalism are well underway and I
> also look forward to hearing of the progress as well  - potentially at
> National AGM. Which - just to remind you the ACT branch is hosting on the 29th
> of November, so hopefully local members can come along if in Canberra.
> 
> I disagree with your comment on the Scope Newsletter - what is the
> justification for saying it's a flop? I thoroughly enjoy recieving it each
> month and think more members should contribute. Plus I always read a message
> from the National President giving us updates on national activities -
> http://www.asc.asn.au/blog/2013/11/02/presidents-update-rocketing-towards-the-
> end-of-the-year-agm-and-members-abroad/
> 
> As for members not being involved in events - the ACT branch ran multiple
> events this year targeted at members and didn't get a great response - so this
> is something our committee is working on, the age old question - what do
> members want?
> 
> How do we best target events for our members? Do members want more webinars
> rather then events you have to physically attend?
> 
> We are using ASC money after all to run these, so we want to make sure that
> members are happy with what we are doing.
> 
> As Susan stated, join in, it is a great way to learn from each other - we are
> all a friendly bunch and if you are worried about posting from your work email
> - post from a personal email.
> 
> Ian
> 
> Dr Ian McDonald
> Science writer and presenter
> 
> E: ianmcd85 at hotmail.com<mailto:ianmcd85 at hotmail.com>
> M: 0439 746 556
> Twitter: @ianmcd85
> Skype: ianmcd85
> 
> ABN: 91 575 957 824
> 
> 
> ________________________________
> Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2013 08:23:11 +1000
> From: skirk at iprimus.com.au<mailto:skirk at iprimus.com.au>
> To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au<mailto:asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>
> Subject: [ASC-list] Where's ASC headed? Was science or persuasion
> 
> I think Charles has a valid point..  ASC is beginning to look like Food4media
> or TravMedia.
> 
> Maybe we should do what some other associations do and charge a premium for
> these media release postings? They are after all advertising.  I think there
> are other better places to get media release, AusSMC, Eureka, Google alerts
> are a few of the places I subscribe and of course science direct topic alerts.
> 
> I personally would like to see more communication about communication on this
> list.  I know you can take the horse to water etc. But why don't members feel
> comfortable airing their bits on here?  So many times people have responded to
> me off the list.  I feel like shouting.  Keep it on the list.
> 
> I would also like to see more communication from the executive on this list.
> We haven't heard anything about the new website.  We keep employing scope
> editors and the newsletter keeps flopping.  We keep talking about becoming
> more professional but what's happening to our charter and code of ethics?
> 
> Members are not involved in any of the communications for any of the events or
> funding or anything really, the only communication comes from those few that
> can be bothered to raise questions or liaise on the list.
> 
> I repeat.  We can't operate in a vacuum.
> 
> Please don't email me off the list with your replies.  Keep it on the list.
> 
> 
> S
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Susan Fairbairn (nee Kirk)   B.comm  freelance Journalist
> Member and Queensland Web Editor -  Australian Science Communicators (ASC)
> Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA)
> tel: +61 7 5478 6761 | mobile: 0414645953 | email:
> susan at susankirk.com.au<http://susan@susankirk.com.au>
> www.susankirk.com.au<http://www.susankirk.com.au> |  Skype: susanakirk |
> Tweet: @SusanAKirk
> Facebook group: Plant Power
> 
> ?If you don?t ask the right questions you won?t get the right answers.?
> 
> 
> _______________________________________________ ASC-list mailing list
> list at asc.asn.au<mailto:list at asc.asn.au>
> http://www.asc.asn.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=97&Itemid=115
> _______________________________________________
> ASC-list mailing list
> list at asc.asn.au<mailto:list at asc.asn.au>
> http://www.asc.asn.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=97&Itemid=115
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