Category: Featured

The public do not understand logarithmic graphs used to portray COVID-19

Mass media routinely portray information about COVID-19 deaths on logarithmic graphs. But do their readers understand them? Alessandro Romano, Chiara Sotis, Goran Dominioni, and Sebastián Guidi carried out an experiment which suggests that they don’t. What is perhaps more relevant: respondents looking at a linear scale graph have different attitudes and policy preferences towards the … Continued

For science communication to be effective it should be evidence based

Effective communication of science to stakeholders across society is a more pressing issue than it has perhaps ever been. Highlighting ways in which science communication as an area of research and practice has struggled to function as an integrated discipline, Eric Jensen and Alexander Gerber argue that for science communication to continue to develop and … Continued

Behavioural science and the response to COVID-19: a missed opportunity?

While the role of behavioural science in the UK’s handling of the pandemic has been criticised, Peter John and Gerry Stoker argue that it is important for governments to try and influence citizens’ behaviour rather than rely on laws that are harder to enforce. They nevertheless explain why a different ‘nudging’ approach ought to have … Continued

Book Review: Political English: Language and the Decay of Politics by Thomas Docherty

In Political English: Language and the Decay of Politics, Thomas Docherty offers a new examination of the historical and contemporary linkages between power, politics and the English language, arguing that the impoverishment of language is intimately connected with the impoverishment of political debate today. The book demonstrates the concomitant decline of discourse and democracy and brings a new slant to … Continued

Evidence for Policy in the Wake of COVID-19: Short – Medium – Long Term Impacts

COVID-19 has rapidly and radically reshaped interactions between academics and policymakers and the kinds of evidence being used to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this post, Vivian Tseng, considers how research-policy relationships might develop in the short, medium to long term and how research funders might seize opportunities presented by COVID-19 to design equity-centred … Continued

The commercial model of academic publishing underscoring Plan S weakens the existing open access ecosystem in Latin America

Health emergencies such as those we face today reveal the importance of opening scientific knowledge; something that not-for-profit open access publishing has permanently and organically allowed for a long time. The expansion of Plan S, a research funder led initiative to promote a global transition to open access to scholarly research, to Latin America has … Continued

10 Ways scientists can better engage with decision makers

The figure of the decision maker is often invoked as a key conduit for academic research to be transformed into social impact. Drawing on work undertaken for their recently published book chapter (with Dr Megan Evans), David Rose and Rebecca Jarvis distill findings from a review of how academics have engaged with decision makers in the … Continued

The Necropolitics of COVID-19: Will the COVID-19 pandemic reshape national healthcare systems?

The COVID-19 pandemic has made necropolitics – the politics of life and death – unavoidable . Drawing on the work of Achille Mbembe, Hamish Robertson and Joanne Travaglia argue that, as in previous crises, COVID-19 reveals many of the hidden assumptions underpinning national healthcare systems. As the current crisis continues to bring these assumptions into the mainstream … Continued

Book Review: The Scopus Diaries and the (Il)Logics of Academic Survival by Abel Polese

In The Scopus Diaries and the (Il)Logics of Academic Survival, Abel Polese helps to demystify many of the inner workings of academia for researchers and the challenges that these present through a FAQ format that readers can dip in and out of to explore topics ranging from organising a panel at a conference to arranging … Continued

The public debate around COVID-19 demonstrates our ongoing and misplaced trust in numbers

COVID-19 data and numbers are everywhere. However, these numbers are also a source of debate and subject to vastly different interpretations. Every day we are posed with a question that divides even epidemiologists: what does it really mean that positive cases or mortalities are up or down? Yet the media and the public reads deep … Continued