Blog posts and resources relating to social science communication. To start a new discussion on communication, visit the forum via the above link.

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Jargon May Be Even Worse for Communicating Complexity Than You Thought

Jargon, a specialized language or set of expressions used by a specific group, is by its nature exclusionary, so it’s likely no surprise that scientific, technical or legal jargon may leave outsiders in the cold. A series of studies from researchers at Ohio State University suggests that jargon may turn off people well beyond an offending passage, and that one popular way to soften any harm – using jargon but immediately defining it – may not work.

2 days ago

Making Sense of Data in the 2019 General Election

Statistics are not the final objective answer to things. They can be interpreted in lots of different ways, even when none of those ways is wrong per se. That opens up a space for public debate, which is good news, but it also opens up a space where statistics can either be lauded as the truth (when they are not), or dismissed out of hand as ‘biased’.

4 weeks ago
Various arrows

Sizing Up a ‘One Size Does Not Fit All’ Mass Media

If you were going to create an encyclopedia about “mass media,” your first task likely would be to define both words in the term. Doing so was immeasurably easier in the 1920s, when the term “mass media” first started making the rounds, but it’s grown corresponding harder as both the popular conception of ‘mass’ has mutated and the very media itself has evolved from purely paper to heavily broadcast to OMG online.

3 months ago
Elaine Westbrooks ful

‘The Old Models Are Not Working’: A Librarian on the New Big Deal

The academic publishing paradigm is changing, driven in large part by calls for open access to publicly funded research. In this second of two parts, the university librarian for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill explains the thinking behind of a pilot program UNC inked with a major academic publisher.

4 months ago

Anatomy of the New Big Deal in an Open Access Age

The academic publishing paradigm is changing, driven in large part by calls for open access to publicly funded research. In this first of two parts, SAGE Publishing’s vice president of open research explains the genesis of a pilot program his company has inked with a major U.S. research university.

4 months ago

Textbook Merger Papers Over One Learning Benefit

As the educational reading landscape shifts to digital, Naomi Baron argues we must find proven strategies to help students become more aware of the best ways to read and study online – especially as regular printed textbooks gradually begin to disappear.

4 months ago
Conference powerpoint presentation

Plenary + Panel Conferences Don’t Have to Be (So) Painful

The default format for most academic conferences is a plenary followed by panel presentations. If we can’t revolutionize conference design, we can at least consider Duncan Green’s seven tips for improvement (electric shocks optional).

4 months ago
Old monographs

Modernizing the Monograph Ecosystem Can Save Them From Extinction

The future of the academic monograph has been questioned for over two decades. At the heart of this ‘monograph crisis’ has been a publishing industry centred on the print publication of monographs and a failure and lack of incentives to develop business models that would support a transition to open digital monographs. In this post Mike Taylor argues that if monographs are to be appropriately valued, there is a pressing need to further integrate monographs into the digital infrastructure of scholarly communication. Failing this, the difficulty in tracking the usage and discovery of monographs online, will likely make the case for justifying further investment in monographs harder.

6 months ago

Archived Webinar: A Scientific Approach to Social Science Communication

As part of a project sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences and the Rita Allen Foundation, four science communications experts tackled surrounding the effective and ethical communication of science to relevant policymakers. in this webinar, we talk to the four experts about their findings and the processes they recommend.

7 months ago

UC Librarian Foresees Seismic Shift from Elsevier Showdown

In the wake of Elsevier shuttering access to its current journal articles at the University of California, the university librarian at UC-Davis reviews the context of the dispute and argues open access offers the best path for academia’s future.

8 months ago