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Preferring inductive over deductive reasoning makes science communication more effective

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Outside their speciality, scientists need inductive communication from their colleagues…

Scientists are, all too often, notoriously bad communicators. Why is this? These are intelligent and thoughtful people, who consider carefully and think deeply about what they do. I fear the problem lies with the rest of us, non-scientists, who quite simply don’t do that. Either because we don’t have the time. Or we don’t have the capability. Or because our thinking processes are aligned with very different, much more urgent matters. Stopping and listening to people who stop and think is not so easy. We think in other ways.

There is a name for these things: deductive versus inductive reasoning. And understanding how they work is essential for communicating scientific ideas to the wider public, and even to scientists in other disciplines.

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Personalisation to solve the battle for attention

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Everyone seems to be suffering from content indigestion as news competes with native advertising for readers’ attention. So what are start-ups doing to fix this?

During the weeks running up to the biggest toy selling season, nobody ignores how cartoons and kids’ movies are used to market branded toys. This is an example of content developed for content marketing purposes. Toy companies use every trick in the digital marketing toolbox to personalise a message aimed at influencing parents and grand-parents—they are the ones with the purchasing power after all.

With such content marketing, the traditional boundaries between content, designed to sell products or raise brand awareness, and news content, designed to inform, are blurred. It is, therefore, not always easy for audiences to identify independent news media content from native advertising emulating news style content. People are starting to feel that they are suffering from content indigestion while the battle for their attention rages on between media and advertisers.

To address such concerns, digital publishing is undergoing a serious shift towards greater personalisation. At a recent event on the Future of Content, organised by Irish industry support agency Enterprise Ireland, in Dublin, Ireland, on 9th November 2018, participants presented the various perspectives on the content creation spectrum. And the advocates of audience-led personalisation opposed the views of marketers pushing for customer microsegment-led personalisation.

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Digital publishers under the spell of web automation

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What keeps digital publishers awake at night? This is a question that has more answers than we have space in this column. However, for many, having the right set of automation tools is essential. This is as true for digital marketing as it is for creating quality content. Publishers from mainstream digital media organisations could not agree more during DiG Publishing Lisbon held just this year, 3-5 Oct 2018.

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Podcast, Ivan Oransky, RetractionWatch: Retractions are like red flags highlighting infractions in science

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Keeping a record of the retraction of research publications made it easier for journalistic coverage dissecting the infractions occurring within science publishing. “What I see that’s important, is not just coverage of individual cases, people are actually trying to put this all together. They’re filing public record requests because that’s something we’re not thinking of.”

That’s according to RetractionWatch co-founder, Ivan Oransky. RetractionWatch, who started this initiative as a blog in 2010 with a single purpose in mind: making the peer-review process more transparent. Listen to the edited version of the recording of a recent presentation Oransky made taken at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. This event, held on 20th June 2018, was co-organised by the Irish Science & Technology Journalists’ Association and the Science Gallery Dublin.

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Data privacy: Should we treat data handling the same way we do our own health?

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Increasingly digital breadcrumbs are making it possible for others to track our every move. To illustrate what is at stake here, we need to travel back in time. In the pre-computer era, the ability to remain incognito made for great drama in black and white movies. It also opened the door to the perfect crime, without much risk that the perpetrator  would get caught. Yet, when it comes to crime, invading peoples’ privacy could be justified, some argue, for the sake of the greater good and to preserve a stable society.

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GDPR gives citizens control over their own data: An interview with Shawn Jensen

SciencePOD image credit Shawn Jensen

Data protection regulation GDPR, includes exemptions to allow research on anonymised data. In this exclusive interview with Shawn Jensen, CEO of data privacy company Profila, Sabine Louët finds out about the implications of the new GDPR regulations for citizens and for researchers. The regulation was adopted on 27th April 2016 and is due to enter into force on 25th  May 2018. In essence,  it decentralises part of the data protection governance towards data controllers and people in charge of processing the data.

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How to live in a post-privacy world: An interview with Michal KosinskiHow to live in a post-privacy world: An interview with Michal Kosinski

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CeBIT Global Conferences – where business meets the digital leaders! Im Bild: Dr. Michal Kosinski, Assistant Professor in Organizational Behavior, Stanford

 

Is it possible that by giving some sort of privacy, we could have better health or cheaper car insurance rates?

Discussion on privacy were top of the agenda at one of the biggest technology trade fairs in Europe, the CeBIT 2017 in Hannover, Germany. Indeed as social media are full of the many aspects of the lives of those who share their views with as little as pressing a ‘like’ button on Facebook.

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Open Access sector moves slowly to mature

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New figures show the relatively limited size and slow rate of uptake of the Open Access market.

Open Access (OA) continues to be the subject of discussion in the scientific community, as do debates about the need for greater levels of open access. However, the reality on the ground is not as clear cut and the adoption rate of OA is not as quick as its promoters would like it to be. At the recent STM Association conference held on the 10th October 2017 in Frankfurt, I presented the findings of a study by independent publishing consultancy Delta Think, Philadelphia, USA, about the size of the open access market. The numbers help unearth recent trends and the dynamics of the OA market, giving a mixed picture. Although open access is established and growing faster than the underlying scholarly publishing market, OA’s value forms a small segment of the total, and it is only slowly taking share. With funders’ showing mixed approaches to backing OA, it might be that individual scientists have a greater role to play to effect change.

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Podcast: How open science could benefit from blockchain

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Reporting from the APE2018 a recent conference gathering the who’s who of scholarly publishing in Berlin on 16th and 17th January 2018, EuroScientist Editor, Sabine Louët interviews several experts on their views on how blockchain technology will change the world of scientists.

First, we hear from Lambert Heller, who is the head of the Open Science Lab at TIB Hannover, the German national library for science and technology,  who gives his perspective as a digital librarian. He gives the bigger picture of how blockchain is going to help science become more open and help remove the current bottlenecks in the scientific endeavour by increasing the connectivity, accessibility and storage of scholarly objects, such as research papers and databases, through metadata and interplanetary data systems.

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