Unravelling the quality of science communication in news and social media: towards a novel taxonomy of metrics of science-society interactions.

2021 to 2024

The SciCoMetrics project aims to examine science-society interactions captured in news and social media, to develop an ambitious novel taxonomy of science communication metrics to allow analysis and evaluation of the quality of science communication. The core proposal is positioned at the interface among science-society interactions, captured currently via online (social) media environments (e.g., news media, Twitter, blogs, Facebook).

The quality of science communication is central to the development and expansion of scientific literacy and the building of open, participatory and sustainable democratic societies for citizens. In contrast to the proliferating number of science, technology and innovation (STI) indicators, there is a remarkable lack of informative metrics for science communication. This proposal is grounded in the idea that science and innovation are undergoing fundamental changes due to the increasingly open interaction between different types of stakeholders, audiences, and R&I actors (including science communicators, academic stakeholders, policy-makers, practitioners, societal stakeholders and science communication educators) as well as the decline in science journalism. These changes are mostly caused by transformations at the communication interface between society, science and the media, particularly as a consequence of the digitalization and networking of communication. These transformations challenge the nature of communication between science and society and, consequently, the quality of science communication.

The SciCoMetrics project will bring together scientometric and science communication frameworks combined with big data analysis and advanced statistics. The project will be led by Adrián A. Díaz-Faes (INGENIO, CSIC-UPV), a promising and already experienced researcher, and will involve a leading international team: Rodrigo Costas (CWTS, Leiden University) and Nicolás Robinsón-García in scientometrics and altmetrics; Sarah de Rijcke (CWTS, Leiden University) in social studies of research evaluation; and Johann Mouton (CREST, Stellenbosch University) in sociology and science communication.

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