This is a guest post by Future of Research board member, Adriana Bankston.
In an effort to stand up for science and think about the changes we want to see in science, Future of Research (FoR) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) co-hosted two twitter chats engaging various groups to participate in the discussion. This post will summarize the broad points in both chats.
The first tweet chat was held on April 27, 2017, with the theme “Science communicates” and using the hashtag #MarchforSciencechat as part of the March for Science week of action. The chat was meant to give participants the chance to express their impressions following the March for Science event and discuss future actions following the march, as part of a broader discussion of how we can communicate our message and what sort of message we want the community to receive from scientists. Below are overall themes summarized from the responses, which can also be considered potential actionable items (and a few linked tweets):
- Bring science to the national & political discussion
- Make our voice heard to policy makers
- Serve the public, remember the public is imperative to our success
- Have the public advocate for our cause
- Enable policy makers and taxpayers to understand the value of our work
- Engage in sustained advocacy doable in the average person’s time
- Prioritize diversity and inclusion = foster innovation
- Talk to the public about our science = it’s fun & can lead to new research ideas
Here are a couple of broader idea tweets from this chat by Maryam Zaringhalam to think about:
The idea for the second chat arose from the 2nd Homo scientificus europaeus Meeting which took place on May 16, 2017. The meeting discussed multiple issues relevant to both FoR and UCS, including engaging the public with science and other broad issues in the scientific enterprise. The meeting also brought up questions about who should change science, how to engage scientists in this endeavor, and how to ultimately effect change in science. This led to the topic of the second tweet chat, which took place on July 25, 2017, and was focused on “Changing science” using the #FORchangingscience hashtag. The chat was meant to have participants think about specific things they would like to change in science, as well as how and why we should effect change. Below are broad ideas from the responses in terms of what should change in science, which could also be actionable items (and a few linked tweets):
- Change the “publish or perish” mentality
- Change the tenure and promotion system
- The system is out of sync with norms
- Need better training and incentives
- Address lack of inclusivity in science
- Focus on mental health & balance
- Make science accessible to the public
- Restore rigor, reproducibility, responsibility
- Provide resources (mentoring, mental health, etc)
- Engage in advocacy, communication to public
- Involve various stakeholders
- Engage faculty throughout their career
- Scientists as their own advocates
- Incentivize scientists – kindness, mentoring, outreach
- Science can address our societal challenges
These chats revealed specific topics of interest and areas in which the community would like to advocate for and effect change within the scientific enterprise. We hope to utilize these recommendations moving forward as both FoR and UCS work together to provide more resources for early career scientists.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Melissa Varga (UCS Science Network Community Manager) for co-organizing and advertising the tweet chats, and participating during the chats.
Don’t forget our #MentoringFutureSci Tweetchat on September 12th!