Have you ever written a blog post about your field? Tweeted a link to a new scientific publication? Joined a forum discussion about the latest research?
As it turns out, your likelihood of answering “yes” to one or more of these questions is no better than a coin flip. Fifity-two percent of respondents to a 2014 Nature News survey reported never having engaged in an online discussion about research. The recent Pew Research Center’s survey of AAAS members backs up this statistic. Only 47% of their respondents reported using social media to discuss or follow science, and only 24% said they blog about science and research. And it’s not just me saying that outreach is a public good. Eighty-seven percent of the Pew survey’s respondents agreed that scientists should “take [an] active role in public policy debates about science & technology.”
This is a sad state of affairs. For one, in an era in which a growing number of people get their information about scientific advances online, scientists cannot afford to remain unengaged. Areas of science as diverse as embryonic stem cell research and vaccinations have triggered bitter societal debates. Active participation in public outreach by the scientists conducting this research is crucial to defending its value.
The fact of the matter is that science today has reached a point in time where it can have as far outreach as it wanted it to be, but it needs to start engaging with the audience in an up-to-date manner. The scientific community does not like to shove things down the throat of the people, but due to this reason, there are many misconceptions about many scientific discoveries that could easily be debunked if scientists found a more interactive way to talk to the audience. Online outreach is the best tool that the scientific community has with which it will battle ignorance, and the truth is it should start using it as soon as possible because we are at the point of no return in many scientific areas.
Many people want to become scientists when they are kids. But once they grow up they learn that science is not how they imagined it and many people shift their dreams into becoming something else. The fact of the matter is science seems as an industry that has its own section in everything but is never talked about in the public. Scientists in the past have always considered their research sacred and their findings have been kept as secrets for many years, but in the day and age we live in today science has to start sharing its findings with the world, and it has to start doing it in a way that the world will understand it in.
The first question to such an issue is will there be an audience to listen if the scientific community decided to share all their research?
Well of course there would be! Even though the scientific community is more of a niche group that does not spread its group religiously, it still is present in all parts of life. Every industry is connected with the scientific community that performs research and experiments for that said industry so an audience is not hard to gather. However, the scientific community should start a broader campaign to increase the awareness of the whole world when it comes to scientific findings.
Why is increasing awareness important in the scientific world?
The simple answer is because we have not advanced as a civilization to where we are now with ignorance. The long answer is because the world tends to forget how science has helped us and after some time starts considering everything normal or a part of life as they know it, instead of recognizing that science is the one thing they should be thankful for. Raising awareness is important for several reasons but the most important reason should be because in today’s world it can easily be done!
In the past increasing awareness was also important but it was hard to generate the needed outreach with certain projects. Today in the social media age everyone has a voice that can be shared and it’s more important than ever not to let the voice of the scientific community be drowned by the rest.
Why can communication with the crowd be hard for scientists?
It’s not a secret that the language scientists speak is not the language a layman speaks. For this reason, many scientists give up on conveying their research to the masses as the communication between the scientist and the layman can be very hard. Scientists must invest in the way they communicate and share their findings if they ever want for their research to be widely accepted. The big divide between the scientists and what the normal person knows and understands has to be overcome with better communication for the good of the future of everyone.
You can find an example of a great success in developing an online audience at Youtube : SciShow:
Crowdfunding is a new terminology that has started to find its a way to the mainstream only in recent years. There are many industries where crowdfunding has opened up new posibilities. For instance the new inventions crowdfunding or crowdfunding sites for charities and non-profits, they all have some way of transforming the need to make a change from your home into direct action. This is especially a good thing in today’s day and age as there is a big divide within the world in people that love science and the people that ignore science due to their beliefs. Here are some of the reasons why the crowdfunding platform is important to the scientific community:
It helps researchers launch projects
There are always new ideas when it comes to the scientific comunity. Sadly not all of them get to see the light of day due to increasing financial needs of the projects. When a project begins it’s easy to be enthusiastic about it, however during the first few months if there are not enough finances the projects will die down. Crowdfunding helps not only maintain certain projects afloat but also helps them get their feet off the ground. Without crowdfunding and private funding, many projects from which we benefit today would not have been completed or even started.
Crowdfunding helps generate outreach
There are many people in the world that would love to be a part of some research project, if for nothing else than to know the result of the specific experiment or the given research. To get those people involved there has to be some way to connect the researchers with them, and crowdfunding is one of those methods that is perfect for the job. So, before crowdfunding can even get the project up from the ground it can spread the word and get people interested. Once the outreach has been generated there is no way of telling how many people would get involved and how big the help could be from the crowd. This little innovation in the scientific community has helped many projects achieve new heights and many of them have been finished in record time.
It helps with the emotional tool
Starting a project is always fun, however, it can also be exhausting especially if things don’t make progress. Science is something that is in its own section when it comes to progress. It cant be rushed, nor can there be a set time when something will be done. It’s not like creating something and then selling it, it takes time and the emotional tool that can happen during this long research times is something that the crowdfunding platforms can help the scientific community with. To lessen the effect of these long research projects the fund that can be gathered from the crowd can ease the scientist’s worry.