The oldies will remember: At the end of the last millennium PCST conferences were the only global event on the planet for science journalists. I’ll never forget how I attended Public Communication Science and Technology 1998 Berlin, my first international involvement with the presentation “Be a checkered violet if you want to get out of the ghetto!”
How exciting, to share experiences and knowledge, empower others and receive feedback, to meet practitioners from around the world, Istvan Palugyai for example or Jim Cornell.
Both like many others colleagues have become reliable companions, good friends, a network in itself. PCST was one of the triggers which made us drum up the energy and the vision to come up with a very bold scheme: to create a world-wide umbrella for science journalists.
This one had existed already since the 1960’s*. ISWA however was only for individual members, but to create a modern network of organizations, follow PCST’s lead, have meaningful conferences with a concentrated focus on science journalism seemed to be highly promising. So Istvan and Jim became the godfathers of the World Federation of Science Journalists, along with Jens Degett, its first secretary.
Almost two decades have passed since then, PCST is still going strong and currently getting ready for its 14th conference. PCST 2016 is firmly scheduled for April 26 to 28 in lovely Istanbul, Turkey, the exciting borderline between Occident and Orient.
And this is what kind of proposals PCST president Brian Trench, Irish Citizen, expects to shape the Istanbul agenda. “We welcome proposals for research papers, panel discussions and posters on any aspect of science communication but, in particular, we are seeking contributions that relate to the main theme of the conference, Science Communication in a Digital Age.”
The 2016 conference wants to give concentrated attention to the ways in which digital processing of scientific information, including the sharing of science news around the globe in milliseconds, “are reshaping the roles of science communicators, the experiences of audiences and the relations between scientists, communicators and audiences”, Brian goes on to explain and gives examples.
- Online publishing of scientific research and communication of science news on interactive platforms are supposedly facilitating wide public participation in, and democratisation, of science. What evidence can be produced to show that this democratisation is happening?
- Some social networks in science have tens of thousands of friends or followers. What do their online conversations tell about public attitudes to science?
- Open access publishing and open science are sometimes called ‘Science 2.0’. Are the changes in the way science is communicated changing fundamentally how science is done?
PCST’s goal is to encourage discussion and debate across professional, cultural, international, and disciplinary boundaries. Members come from a range of backgrounds such as researchers of science communication, communication staff for research organisations, science centres’ and museums’ staff, science journalists, students on the ethics and philosophy of science and the public, writers and editors of scientific journals, science communicators, artists working on science themes.
So, plug into this truly global network with a tradition of 26 years and share your expertise with colleagues and friends from the five continents!