We have Standards, Principles and Indicators to improve science communication and journalism. How do we use them? The answer is in the Manifesto for Outstanding Open Science Communication: a practical and easy-to-use tool targeted to people who are producing, consuming and sharing scientific information.
The ENJOI Manifesto is addressed to all the people involved in science communication, with a special focus on science journalism. We combined literature analysis, expert consultations, media landscape research, co-creation design and implementation with a variety of stakeholders to build a matrix of Standards, Principles, and Indicators (SPIs) for outstanding open science communication. The ENJOI Manifesto summarizes the spirit of those SPIs, and is a living document to help foster critical thinking, media literacy, and digital awareness for all in society.
ENJOI Manifesto for an Outstanding Open Science Communication
Deepening the roots
The future growth of science communication depends on the strength of its roots, especially in contexts where they are challenged by the fragility of the media ecosystem.
Independence, honesty, integrity, transparency, rigour, and the use of independent and diverse sources are basic principles of high-quality communication that remain essential and non-negotiable.
On top of that, good science communication needs to convey the full complexity of science. This implies focusing not only on scientific results, but also on the process behind them, and unravelling the connection of science with society. Ultimately, science communication should respond to the rights and needs of citizens, and not to other interests.
Citizenship is fragmented into a variety of niches. It is crucial to understand these niches and tailor communication through a variety of strategies suitable to each one of them. It is especially important to make science accessible to audiences unfamiliar with it and to disadvantaged groups.
Citizens are not mere receivers of information. Real engagement goes beyond sporadic feedback. It requires building a true collaborative framework, and ultimately, a community that takes part in a two-way dialogue.
Science communication is relevant if it generates an impact, which can range from awareness to action. Tools to gauge and improve this impact are increasingly important in the craft.
Bearing new fruits
ENJOI envisions a set of trends that are likely to shape the future of science communication. These trends open up new spaces and require a critical stand, because they pose both challenges and opportunities.
Science communication happens increasingly in digital platforms, especially in social media. The enormous opportunities of this digital agora are balanced by the challenges posed by algorithms, artificial intelligence, virality, and metrics. Responsible innovation takes into account social, philosophical, ethical, and legal aspects, and not only technological ones.
Engagement is becoming ever deeper. Rather than being a single step, it plays a role in the whole life cycle of information. This is already affecting the information agenda and the way communication is designed. Engagement provides the opportunity of meaningful two-way dialogue, but should avoid the risk of bending science communication to populism.
Rampant polarisation is affecting science communication. Partisanship and false balance are two risks of this situation. Science communication has the opportunity to shape its messages in such a way as to bridge the gaps between opposing factions. But this should not result in self-censorship to avoid backlashes.
Inclusion is cutting through all aspects of science communication. In sharp contrast with the past homogeneity, diversity is set to become a guiding principle, not just in formal and linguistic terms, but at deeper levels, from the choice of sources to the ways contents are distributed.
The urgency of health and environmental crises is pushing science communication to focus on solutions. Beyond portraying facts, science communication is likely to explore more often the possible courses of action.
The spirit of open science is impregnating science communication too, not only with special attention to open access sources, but also with a broader commitment towards making science communication itself open.
A living document
The ideas outlined in this manifesto are expanded into ENJOI’s SPIs and reports and represent the foundations of the future ENJOI Observatory. These tools are aimed at applying the concepts of the manifesto in the teaching, research, and practice of science communication.
The manifesto is not written in stone: it is an open-ended, living document that will be tested with our advisory board, experts, and engaged communities.
We hope this text will provide a solid and fertile ground for the growth of the science communication of the future.
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Feel free to use this text, and thanks for quoting the project ENJOI - ENgagement and JOurnalism Innovation for Outstanding Open Science Communication