Advancing Ecology SciComm: A Resource Guide from ESA’s SciComm Section

Bison ecologists, Saskatchewan; copyright 2011, Bethann G. Merkle

Looking to expand your toolbox? Curious to test the waters of science communication for the first time?

Either way, you’ll want to tap into the wide-ranging SciComm Resource Guide curated by ESA’s SciComm Section.

Context

In 2014, we hosted an ambitious multimedia workshop at the annual meeting. That half-day workshop offered a crash course in writing, photography, sketching, and audio-video SciComm. Knowing the material was wide-ranging and complex, we bundled our favorite articles, tools, software and apps – most of which you already carry around in your pocket or could download for free – into a resource guide which provided greater depth on these media and a range of topics:

The resources we curated address SciComm challenges such as the ‘self-promotion dilemma,’ getting started, public speaking, producing more compelling presentations, and dealing with social media. There are lots of suggestions for free design software and articles on graphic design basics. An entire section deals with journalism-related topics, such as dealing with reporters, making data (numbers) accessible, freelance journalism resources, and great information on science communication/journalism ethics.

Getting media-specific

Among the many we included, there are valuable resources detailing:

  • How to use other people’s images appropriately (citing visual materials is just as important as citing written sources)
  • Using images on social media in ways that maintain your intellectual property rights
  • Incorporating drawing into research and education
  • Improving your photography skills
  • Terms that have different meanings for scientists & the public
  • Examples of great science writing
  • Tips from award-winning science writers

If you don’t find what you’re looking for in the rich-text online version, check out the PDF guide we printed and distributed at that 2014 workshop. The PDF version includes narrative explanations for audio-video, our top picks if you’re looking for a book on SciComm, and a handful of relevant conferences and fellowships.

Our aim – with SciComm workshops, special sessions, and with these resources – is to empower ecologists to better communicate the stories of our science (including stories about the people doing the science) in creative and compelling ways.

We hope you’ll find the resources we’ve curated provide a useful starting or building point for your own personal and professional SciComm development. If you know of other ‘right on the money’ SciComm resources we should add to the online version, do let us know.

 

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