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PSCI-COM  August 2010

PSCI-COM August 2010

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Subject:

Re: Update from Science for All Follow on group: Science Communicators

From:

Graeme Jones <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

psci-com: on public engagement with science

Date:

Fri, 6 Aug 2010 14:14:07 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (239 lines)

Following on from the emails of James and Richard I have to agree that
this idea of a qualification or accreditation scheme is just absurd.

I have just come back from SciFoo and there was nothing but praise for the
innovative approach and quality of science communication in the UK.  There
is not a quality problem here.

I have no problem if an institution wants to put on a training course or
MSc in science communication and people want to pay money to attend it. 
However such a qualification should not be a pre-requist to being a
science communicator.

Many of the people who present science shows are the equivalent of actors
and to be honest if you are no good at it you just don't get the bookings.

Think about it what would an accreditation board assess, the quality of
the science or the quality of the communication?  Which untrained person
would make the assessment?

At best you might be able to come up with an equivalent of the Equity
scheme for actors, but I can't see what the point is appart from providing
work for administrators.  OK maybe I can now see reasoning

Finally How are you going to control academics.  They can access Research
Council funds which non-academics cannot.  Are you going to turn around to
the Research Councils and tell them that their funded researchers cannot
talk about their work directly and can only do it through a professional
communicators.  I think I can predict where they will tell you to go.

All the best
Graeme Jones
Keele University
Make it Molecular

> A somewhat bigger point to ponder is the diversity of activities
> which call themselves 'Science Communication' . James Piercy and I
> are both writers and presenters of science shows, and I have a
> sideline in making hands-on exhibits and show props. I guess that
> most readers of Psci-Com are more involved in science journalism or
> PR than in doing what James and I do.
>
> All of these activities  are subsumed under the heading 'Science
> Communication', but it seems probable that they are so diverse in
> practise that they have no core skills (apart from reading and
> writing) in common.
>
> So it seems ridiculous to suggest that a single qualification or
> accreditation scheme could apply to all of these activities...
>
> Hope this helps
>
> Richard.
>
> Richard Ellam
> L M Interactive
> Science Shows and Hands-On Stuff
> [log in to unmask]
> www.lminteractive.co.uk
>
>
>
>
> On 6 Aug 2010, at 10:11, James Piercy wrote:
>
>>> A point to challenge people on, does the value that you place on
>>> the training that you require come above or below the value of the
>>> communication/engagement activities that you charge others (or if
>>> it is free to the user, the cost that the activity requires to put
>>> on)?
>> I think this disparity is based on a perception that the
>> qualification/ certification may become  a requirement, rather than
>> that the training itself is a valuable commodity. A fair point
>> given that many people have been involved in science communication
>> for many years. It's hard to see how a 5 day course would teach
>> much to someone with 20 years experience. It's essential that any
>> scheme has some way of recognising this experience rather than just
>> providing a piece of paper showing attendance on a short course.
>>
>> James Piercy
>> Science Communicator
>> Science Made Simple Ltd (East)
>> 303 Dereham Road
>> Norwich
>> Norfolk
>> NR2 3TJ
>> tel 07709968590
>> bookings tel 02920 876 884
>> [log in to unmask]
>> www.sciencemadesimple.co.uk
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On 6 Aug 2010, at 09:59, Bruce Etherington wrote:
>>
>>> Some interesting stuff here Dom, one thing that occurs to me from
>>> the data is that the "preferred" length of course and the
>>> preferred costs lead to some potentially quite low daily rates. Is
>>> there any correlation between the length of course preferred and
>>> the costs people are prepared to pay? I would expect this to be
>>> the case and it would be useful to show what people are prepared
>>> to pay for the different lengths/depths of course
>>>
>>> A point to challenge people on, does the value that you place on
>>> the training that you require come above or below the value of the
>>> communication/engagement activities that you charge others (or if
>>> it is free to the user, the cost that the activity requires to put
>>> on)?
>>>
>>> Secondly, how important is qualification rather than
>>> certification? If a set of training courses/skills development
>>> porfolio is agreed as an "industry standard" then the need for
>>> examination is not necessarily required. Running qualifications
>>> takes ahuge amount of administrative work, especially if being
>>> delivered by different organisations and individuals and as part
>>> of a tailored personal approach (not least in the work required
>>> for quality assurance). I am not saying that quaifications are not
>>> important, but that there is additional value and costs associated
>>> with that route that may not be necessary if the qualification
>>> element is not important to the 'industry'.
>>>
>>> Bruce
>>>
>>> *********************************************************************
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>>>
>>> 5. The psci-com gateway to internet resources on science
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>>
>> **********************************************************************
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>> 4. Further information about the psci-com discussion list,
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>> www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/psci-com.html
>>
>> 5. The psci-com gateway to internet resources on science
>> communication and science and society can be found at http://psci-
>> com.ac.uk
>>
>> 6. To contact the Psci-com list owner, please send an email to
>> mailto:[log in to unmask]
>> **********************************************************************
>
>
> **********************************************************************
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> 4. Further information about the psci-com discussion list, including list
> archive, can be found at the list web site:
> http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/psci-com.html
>
> 5. The psci-com gateway to internet resources on science communication and
> science and society can be found at http://psci-com.ac.uk
>
> 6. To contact the Psci-com list owner, please send an email to
> mailto:[log in to unmask]
> **********************************************************************
>
>
>
>
>

**********************************************************************
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