Altmetrics, ‘Altmetric,’ and Science Communication

Photo credit: Todd Eddy. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more info.
Photo credit: Todd Eddy. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more info.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Iara Vidal, a Ph.D. student based in Brazil whose work focuses on altmetrics and scholarly communication. If you’re curious about altmetrics, or how they may be relevant to science communication, read on.

Being overwhelmed by information is not a new phenomenon, but it is a very real problem. We struggle to keep up to date with all the discoveries, papers, and books in our fields of interest. It often seems as though new fields of study, methods, and/or tools are created every month. Buzzwords are all around, and it can be hard to know if there’s anything useful behind the buzz.

One of these buzzwords is altmetrics. Continue reading “Altmetrics, ‘Altmetric,’ and Science Communication”

People Deem Feminine Women Less Likely to Be Scientists

Photo credit: Viviana Parra Noriega. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Photo credit: Viviana Parra Noriega. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

A paper published in the journal Sex Roles, reports that people think that the more feminine a woman is, the less likely she is to be a scientist. The same stereotype holds true for attractive people of either gender, the paper reports. Ugh.

The paper, “But You Don’t Look Like a Scientist!: Women Scientists With Feminine Appearance Are Deemed Less Likely to Be Scientists,” was published online Feb. 5. The paper was authored by Sarah Banchefsky, Bernadette Park and Charles M. Judd of the University of Colorado Boulder; and Jacob Westfall of the University of Texas at Austin. I’ll be offering an overview of the work here, but Continue reading “People Deem Feminine Women Less Likely to Be Scientists”

An Attempt to Outline What Constitutes ‘Valuable Journalism’

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Journalism is essential to having an informed public, and therefore to having healthy, representative government. But the news that people actually read, watch or listen to is often focused on entertainment, sports, or funny cat videos. So, what constitutes “valuable” journalism? Is it what people want? Or is it what people “need”? Continue reading “An Attempt to Outline What Constitutes ‘Valuable Journalism’”

How U.S. Reporters Are Using Facebook, Twitter

Image credit: Sean MacEntee. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Image credit: Sean MacEntee. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

Social media are used to connect with people and share information, so it is not surprising that reporters are using social media platforms in their work – connecting with sources and collecting information are fundamental aspects of journalism. A recent paper offers insights into how, and to what extent, newspaper journalists are using Facebook and Twitter in their reporting. Continue reading “How U.S. Reporters Are Using Facebook, Twitter”

For (German) Journalism Sites, Comments Are Only Bad News

Photo credit: Howard Lake. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Photo credit: Howard Lake. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

It’s not news that the comments sections of online news sites can be hot spots for sharing ill-informed views, ad hominem attacks, or just good old fashioned vituperation. A recent study out of Germany finds that online comments – even polite, well-reasoned ones – can also hurt the perceived quality of news stories. Continue reading “For (German) Journalism Sites, Comments Are Only Bad News”

Working Toward a Tool to Help Us Understand How Misinformation Spreads Online

Image credit: GotCredit. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Image credit: GotCredit. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people are often wrong on the internet. This can manifest itself in the form of conspiracy theories, inaccurate information related to breaking news, or misleading (or just plain wrong) information related to science and research. Sometimes inaccurate information is annoying, or even comical. Sometimes, however, inaccurate information can have serious consequences – such as online memes that mislead people about public health issues or when news reports say that an innocent person is the perpetrator of a mass shooting. Continue reading “Working Toward a Tool to Help Us Understand How Misinformation Spreads Online”

What Scientists Want Out Of Online Engagement

Photo credit: duncan c. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Photo credit: duncan c. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

A recent article published in PLOS ONE looked at what scientists hope to achieve when engaging with the public online – via websites, blogs or social networks. The findings are interesting. Among other things, the study reports that scientists give the lowest priority to the communication objectives that may be most useful for actually engaging effectively with the public. Continue reading “What Scientists Want Out Of Online Engagement”