June 23, 2013

Adventures in #SciFund-land, with Synthetic Daisies contributions

As you may have noticed, this blog regularly features posts that are 1) submitted to something called "Carnival of Evolution", and 2) reposts from my micro-blog Tumbld Thoughts (which has become somewhat of a proving ground for featured content and "bigger" ideas). Beginning soon (perhaps within the month), I will be writing roughly one post per month for a new group blog hosted by the SciFund Challenge featuring various topics on science outreach.

This new collaboration is a product of the first SciFund outreach course, which took place during the last week of April and though the month of May. The course focused on tailoring your message (e.g. describing you research) to a broader audience (e.g. journalists and non-scientists). Even with my blogging experience, I found this to be challenging. We met weekly and conducted exercises in small discussion groups. As a result, I was able to make many new connections and be exposed to a number of new perspectives on research and outreach.

A scene from the SciFund outreach course (conducted in GoogleHangouts).

We were also introduced to non-traditional tools for scientific communication such as cartoons and podcasting, which may make an appearance on this blog in the future. There was also discussion about crowdfunding, which was the original impetus for the #SciFund Challenge. For more information on future outreach courses and other activities sponsored by SciFund, check out their website. More to come.

A caricature of Jai Ranganathan (one of the course organizers), courtesy of Jorge Cham, PhD Comics.

As a bonus, here is a list of papers and blog posts that were recommended reading during the five-week course:

Bik, H.M. and Goldstein, M.C.   An Introduction to Social Media for Scientists. PLoS Biology, 11(4), e1001535 (2013).

Clancy, K.   Defensive Scholarly Writing and Science Communication. Context and Variation blog, April 24 (2013).

Darling, E.S., Shiffman, D., Cote, I.M., and Drew, J.A.   The role of Twitter in the life cycle of a scientific publication. PeerJ PrePrints, 1, e16v1 (2013).

Kwok, R.   Two minutes to impress. Nature, 494, 137-138 (2013).

Somerville, R.C. and Hassol, S.J.   Communicating the science of climate change. Physics Today, 64(10), 48 (2011).

Plait, P.   SciFund Challenge: Why  Do Outreach? Bad Astronomy blog, May 20 (2013).

Weinersmith, K.   Comics as a tool for science outreach. SciFund Challenge blog, May 15 (2013).

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