01 Feb 2013 David Rubenson on the “communication crisis”
David Rubenson’s January 30 opinion column in The Scientist makes clear that he knows how to articulate an issue efficiently and persuasively—a skill he claims an alarming number of scientists lack.
His claim goes further than the somehow-still-contentious idea that scientists need to communicate with the public. Rubenson identifies major weaknesses (both institutional and individual) in how scientists communicate within their own professional communities. What this means, according to Rubenson, is that “during the last 40 years the need for effective communication has increased while the quality of that communication has declined. This growing gap threatens progress.”
While you may not be sold on every aspect of his argument, the piece is well worth reading if you’re a science communicator of any kind, especially if you spend most of your time communicating with other scientists. Check it out, then come back here and let us know what you think.