We have been profoundly unimpressed with the Science: So What campaign to date. Loth as we are to say this, it does look like something put together by Ben Goldacre’s caricature of number-dodging, science-unaware humanities graduates. There is no publicly-available rationale for who was invited to participate in this campaign (e.g., prominent critic of the poor standard of science and health journalism, Dr Ben Goldacre, was not invited) and the organisers seemed to have annoyed a number of mild-mannered academics when they ignored the advice of the UK community that is actively engaged in promoting the public understanding of science.
How could a publicly-funded body make more of a hash of its reputation? How about some remarkably poor social media management – of which HolfordWatch has a prime example.
A self-identified member of the Science: So What team has recently commented on a HolfordWatch post: SSW is all-knowing about public engagement in science. Yes, that is our editorialising but we would be interested to know what others think.
I am from the team at Science: [So What? So Everything]. We are pleased to see that the site and blog has a readership amongst the online science community and welcome comments and criticisms about the campaign. However, it is also of utmost importance to us that we engage the wider public with science in an accessible and friendly way. For this reason it is not always appropriate to cite original research when creating online content.
The case studies on the site are an extension of the offline media campaign and support our message. With regards to the blog and twitter feed, our aim is to report on current interesting news stories, including, but not limited to, the UK scientific community. Our blogroll is representative of the broad range of individuals who follow us on Twitter and the blog itself. We are of course interested in all science blogs, including those that are UK-based, but must acknowledge that the online community, and scientific blogospheres, are particularly international.
Those sentiments seem a tad sententious – particularly given that, as a commenter rather than blog author states, your team had to ask for recommendations for UK blogs as they seem unfamiliar with them.
We can not agree with your comment about the appropriateness of citing and linking to the research – it offers a level of useful granularity for those who are interested and links do not interfere with the reading experience of those who do not care to explore further. The New York Times has an exemplary, unobtrusive policy in this area.
Inaccuracy is a poor way to extend and support your message.
You do not display a noticeable degree of discrimination or appropriateness in your blog or twitter feed as to the quality of the reporting of a science story – as such, it is difficult to perceive how that extends to any general cause or support for science excellence. Is anybody currently involved in Science: So What? appropriately qualified to identify appropriate coverage and plausible stories?
We invite you to read the posts on this site that relate to Science: So What and to science communication: e.g., Science Communication: So What.
It is good that Team Science: So What is beginning to engage with the science community but I urge them to respond to the Science Communication: So What post and actually begin to engage, rather than comment and run.