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Can writing style predict audience engagement with science news?

By Ifat Zimmerman, Tali Tal, and Ayelet Baram-Tsabari. What makes science news engaging? Is it using less jargon? Employing a narrative style? Or ensuring relevance? Are these outcomes similar for different types of audiences?  Engagement with science texts potentially arises from a nuanced interaction between internal factors – such as personal characteristics, cultural values, and knowledge acquired throughout life – and external factors – including accessibility strategies, i.e., providing explanations and addressing socio-scientific themes. In our study, we tackled both aspects. Our study examined how accessibility strategies correlate with audience engagement , particularly reader comments, within text-based popular science news. This is studied across two distinct audience groups: one comprised of science enthusiasts – a science-minded audience – and the other representing a more general readership – a general audience .  Pixabay We employed deductive content analysis guided
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Young people are trusting and championing science

By Karin Gustafsson. By taking to the streets, youth across the globe have publicly and loudly shown a strong distrust toward our political representatives’ capacity and willingness to address the current climate crisis. However, besides their demand for politicians and the adult generation to “listen to the science”, we know very little about these environmentally active youths’ relation to and potential trust in science.  In my most recent study , we learned how science is highly trusted by these environmentally active young people in Sweden. Science is understood as the institution that can and should be responsible for telling the truth about tackling climate change. Thus, scientists are seen as capable of helping us all learn about the climate crisis and what to do about it.   Pixabay My study is based on Fridays for Future (FFF) in the movement’s origin country of Sweden. FFF Sweden has been studied together with Sweden’s oldest and still largest nongovernmental environmental you

Mojirayo Ogunkanmi succeeds Elena Milani as Social Media Editor

 By Hans Peter Peters. Some may have already noticed on the homepage of Public Understanding of Science that we recently had a change in our editorial team. Mojirayo Ogunkanmi succeeds Elena Milani as Social Media Editor. For two years Elena had been responsible for our X (Twitter) account (@scicom) and this Blog. In the past months, she has handed over these tasks to Mojirayo in what I can only call a seamless transition. Elena quit her position in the Editorial Team of PUS because of new professional and personal duties. As mother of a newborn daughter, she needed to readjust her priorities and make economic use of increasingly precious resources such as time and energy. For me it is a long time ago, but I remember well the changes in family life caused by both the excitement and burden in tending our children. I wish for Elena that she gets a lot of the excitement and at least some sleep in the months to come. We are grateful for the two years Elena contributed with her sizable soci

Biotech Governance: Engineered Publics or Societal Shift?

By Johannes K√∂gel.  For the first time in history , a heart from a genetically modified pig is transplanted into a human being—a feat that may potentially alleviate the shortage of donor organs. However, the public reaction is, at best, mediocre. Two days later, it is revealed that the recipient of the pig heart had a criminal record. This time, newspaper commentary sections are heating up , with some people marvelling at the perceived injustice of a convicted felon receiving a second chance, while others criticize the newspapers for making it a news case in the first place.  Certainly, an explanation is needed as to why a debate that has occurred countless times before overshadows the reactions that a groundbreaking interspecies transplantation can elicit. While social justice can be viewed as a particularly effective moral trigger, this debate highlights how the role of the public has changed compared to the era of the first human cardiac transplantations in the late 1960s and why ci

Science on Wikipedia and the challenge of micro-notability

 By Arno Simons, Wolfgang Kircheis, Marion Schmidt, Martin Potthast, and Benno Stein. Robert K. Merton , a famous American sociologist, who studied the reward system in science.   Wikipedia increasingly shapes the public understanding of science. As one of the most visited websites globally, it serves as a go-to resource for millions seeking information on scientific topics. In addition, search engines rely on Wikipedia's comprehensive science content for direct responses, while Large Language Models leverage it as essential training data. Because of Wikipedia’s central role in today’s knowledge economy, scientists and their institutions are increasingly seeking recognition on the platform. At a time when public recognition is more important to scientists and their careers than ever before, not being mentioned on Wikipedia can be a real issue, given that the platform significantly shapes the public's view of science. Wikipedians and scientists alike have already recognized the