“Scientists Are Talking, But Mostly To Each Other”

Journal publication has long been relied on as the only required communication of results, tasking journalists with bringing news of scientific discoveries to the public. Output of science papers increased 15% between 1990 and 2001, with total output over 650,000. But, fewer than 0.013—0.34% of papers gained attention from mass media, with health/medicine papers taking the lion’s share of coverage. Fields outside of health/medicine had an appearance rate of only 0.001—0.005%. In light of findings that show scientific literacy declining despite growing public interest and scientific output, this study attempts to show that reliance on journal publication and subsequent coverage by the media as the sole form of communication en masse is failing to communicate science to the public.

From a new piece by Julie Suleski and Motomu Ibaraki.  (Via Tyler Cowen.)

2 Responses to “Scientists Are Talking, But Mostly To Each Other”

  1. ricketson June 20, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    The vast majority of scientific publications are junk , so they shouldn’t be reported to the public. While much of it is just pointless data collection (at least, you can’t tell what the point is by reading the paper), a lot is also poorly designed.

    Of course, the mass media is incapable of filtering out the poorly designed studies that get published… so the few publications that do get attention are often crap.

  2. Tyler Cowen June 21, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    The irony is that this piece is gated!