Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Suggestion: [schol-sci-com], a mailing list for scientific and scholarly communication, a companion to @psci_com

Summary: I think we need a "schol-sci-com" mailing list as an accompaniment to the psci-com list, for jobs and events that are scientific but not public-focused.

Or does this list or group already exist and I just don't know about it? Perhaps several do - where are they? It needs to be an email list so that emails can be forwarded and people can sign up very easily. (I'm on LinkedIn in only the vaguest, technical sense, perhaps there are suitable groups there too but they're not very emailable from outside the group... are they?).

About psci-com
Psci-com is a public mailing list for science communicators and those working in or interested in public engagement with science. It currently has just under 4,500 subscribers (who receive emailed posts and can post things to the list themselves) and messages to the list include job adverts, events listings, requests for advice, and general discussion. It's been in existence since at least 1998 (originally created by Wellcome I believe) and I've been its owner since Autumn 2012.

The 'problem'
Regarding the job advert side of things there has been a recent noticeable increase in the number of job adverts coming in to its moderation queue that don't fall within the list's remit of public engagement with science. The list's focus is the intersection between science and the public so posts need to be relevant to both.

Some jobs straddle 'scicomm' and scholarly comms - for example a Health-condition Charity might want a research officer whose role involves liaising with researchers to peer-review the research they fund, so that in itself is not particularly scicomm. But there may be opportunities for the post-holder to give public talks about the research, or to write plain-English summaries, or help answer public enquiries - those sorts of jobs are likely more relevant to the list. [Also charities often have lay members on their research committees]

Each post is considered on its own merits by me, as fairly as I can manage it. Where possible I try and work with the person emailing me to 'bring out' the public engagement-y bits of a job advert. In short, I try and get any job ad posts tailored to the list (much as you'd tailor your CV and cover letter if you were applying).

But for some job ads it's really a struggle to find their inner psci-com and I can't let them through as they're just not relevant. This doesn't make me happy as I know there'll be those on the list who'd welcome the info, but I don't want to make the list an 'anything vaguely sciencey' free for all so I try and keep non-remit posts to a minimum.

A proposed solution
I'd like to propose the creation of a new schol-sci-com type of mailing list that caters for jobs, events, conferences and discussions that relate to the communication of science to scientists in industry and academia, rather than to or with the public. When non-remit jobs come in to psci-com I'd like to be able to say that it's not suitable for the psci-com list but would they mind if I forwarded on to schol-sci-com instead. That doesn't have to be its name though!

While I can set up and run this list alongside psci-com myself it might be something for someone else to do so I'm opening this up publicly as first refusal. There's no pay. I'm not paid to run psci-com but it's interesting and fun and means you get to hear about all sorts of cool stuff. You do actually get a bit of exposure ;) ("Oh you're Jo, I'm on psci-com!" - though so far it's not paid the rent!)

Also I'm really not an expert in scientific publishing, scholarly comms, science business marketing and things like that.

There are lots of platforms available. Jiscmail is the path of least resistance for the 'psci-com sister group' concept, however there's a restriction in that you need an ac.uk email address to be the group's owner. But I think it should be something where people can send an email to an email address (rather than having to submit posts to LinkedIn or however it works).

A note on terminology
The term science communication is generally restricted to public communications, with the term scientific communication for scholarly type comms. It's not exactly ideal in terms of avoiding confusion though!

Here's what Wikipedia has to say -

Science communication

"Science communication is the practice of informing, educating, sharing wonderment, and raising awareness of science-related topics. Science communicators and audiences are ambiguously defined and the expertise and level of science knowledge varies with each group."




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