[ASC-list] The (blurry?) line between communication and knowledge sharing

Claire Harris claireharris.oz at gmail.com
Tue Jul 15 04:12:59 UTC 2014


Hi Michelle
Interesting question that I've been pondering for a while and this also
connects with the recent PCST list discussions about what the phrase
'science communication' includes. And so I typed over lunch.

Definitely agree that sci comm should not be thought of as only 'one way
traffic'.

Does it matter what we call ourselves?... Hmmm well there's an element of
identity within ourselves, our peers and the market/employers. And these
all have different strengths and opportunities, perhaps encouraging people
to more adamantly title themselves a science communicator or not. Is
'science communicator' sexy these days? Maybe on the whole less so in
Australia?? Who can say?

As someone who has worked with Knowledge Management folks a little bit, I
think there are a few differences but yes it is blurry and there are
overlaps.

While I agree with Jenni's point that science communication really is a
broad area and there are many roles, and science communicators can be
knowledge brokers, I think KM practitioners have a focus that is different.
They also use approaches and tools that generally differ from sci comm
tools. Of course there are crossovers and many science communicators are
working in this space, for example, working on intranets and wikis...

Knowledge Management is difficult to define - acknowledged by a recent call
for papers: "Knowledge Management at the Crossroads: Research, Challenges
and Perspectives"
http://inderscience.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/call-for-papers-knowledge-
management-at.html
- some interesting parallels between sci comm and KM?).

But I would summarise that KM includes practices and research that look to
make better use of knowledge, information and learning - both in systems
(eg. libraries, online systems) and in people and organisations.

KM interventions might include: increasing collaboration, increasing
information flows (eg. through systems), decentralising knowledge, creating
trusted relationships and networks. The tools KMers use are often different
to what sci communicators use but not always. For example knowledge audits,
social network analysis, most significant change, organisational
psychology, supporting Communities of Practice. Some the same eg. blogs,
wikis, knowledge sharing discussions, providing information to those who
are seeking it etc. etc..

So there's the 'what' is KM as a discipline/approach, the 'who' works in KM
and what they do, their skills, and the 'why' - their reasons perhaps?
which likely cross over quite a bit with why sci commers are passionate
about what they do.

Another way to explore the differences is to look at the way universities
set up their courses. Here's an information and KM degree with UTS:
http://handbook.uts.edu.au/courses/c04203.html

I would say KM is complementary to sci communication but employs some
different skills and approaches and of course is not necessarily
science-focused. For initiatives looking to connect research to
policy/organisational change, both KM and communication approaches (and
others) are important. From another angle, communication fits within the KM
framework...

It's all quite complicated right :)

Some things I keep an eye on / resources:

   - ACT KM forum - http://www.actkm.org/about.php
   - Broad 'knowledge sharing' toolkit http://www.kstoolkit.org/
   - http://ictkm.cgiar.org/ - Very much knowledge sharing combining
   information, tech and communication and knowledge management
   - http://www.scoop.it/t/knowledge-management-and-development
   - KM Congress www.kmaustralia.com (wow this is on next week!)
   - http://www.greenchameleon.com/gc/guides/


Cheers,
Claire


Claire Harris

Sydney, Australia

http://au.linkedin.com/in/claireharrisoz


On 14 July 2014 16:17, Michelle Kovacevic <kovamic at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi ASC-ers,
>
> Over the past few months I've been introduced to the concepts of knowledge
> management and knowledge sharing, but to be honest I still don't know where
> the the role of "communicator" ends and "knowledge manager/sharer/broker"
> begins.
>
> It seems one of the postulated differences is that communication is a
> "one-way" process of information provision and passive reception, whereas
> knowledge sharing is more of holistic process, connecting users and
> producers of information (knowledge? semantics?) so they can co-create a
> "knowledge product" that serves multiple needs.
>
> To date, my job as a "science communicator" has involved aspects of
> writing, editing, multimedia, project management, education, data
> management, training, PR and research, amongst other things.
>
> To me, effective communication cannot be defined a passive, one way
> process if it truly wishes to be effective and I don't think, as a science
> communicator, I have ever practiced it as such.
>
> Would be keen for the community's thoughts on whether we should be calling
> ourselves communicators vs when we might be knowledge managers/brokers? Or
> does it even matter what we call ourselves?
>
> Cheers,
>
> Michelle
>
> *--*
>
> *Michelle Kovacevic*
>
> Communicator. Educator. Project Manager. Scientist. Creative Thinker.
>
> michellekovacevic.com (beta)
>
> Find me on: LinkedIn <https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=66994213>
>  | Twitter <https://twitter.com/kovamic> | SlideShare
> <https://www.slideshare.net/MichelleKovacevic>
>
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