Science and technology are integral parts of society and we encounter them in our daily lives. They directly affect development and progress, and are linked with social change. It is therefore important to communicate new science and technological developments as well as promote an understanding of current facts to a wide audience. In this issue we have come up with theme perspective and challenges in the road of science communication in India.
The rationale behind the communication of science can be split into two main ideals: increasing public understanding of science and technology and the communication of advances in science and technology. Both go hand-in-hand, as increasing overall understanding of science and technology makes the communication easier; we also breed a more scientifically-aware public.
It is important to communicate science for many reasons like Science communication is not simply to deliver a form of public acceptance, but its role should be more to enhance public scrutiny of scientific development. When scientific progress is dealing with such issues as stem cells and cloning, it is important for society to be involved in the debate at an early stage and secondly Scientific research is largely funded by public money so scientists have the responsibility to communicate the outcomes of this research to society so they can reap the benefits and improve their awareness, and involvement.
Increasing access to the internet means that many of the features and stages of scientific research which have previously been hidden from the general public have now opened up. The secret world which scientists have been operating in is becoming public day by day. Because of this ease of access to scientific information, it is important we make the effort to explain the processes on show and provide some context of the work. Web associated technologies (such as YouTube, social networking sites and blogs), which work under the principle of dynamic information sharing, serve to enhance the experience of the audience and therefore can increase the opportunities that the internet can offer for communicating science. This fits well with the ideal principles of dialogue communication that communicators of science work towards. Knowledge should not be a privilege, and it is important to make sure that society benefits from the fruits of scientific and technological research. We need to ensure that we encourage the communication of science and technology to society, in order to make sure we bring science closer to society. This will hopefully result in progress away from a ‘science and society’ approach, where the two stay largely separate, to a more integrated ‘science in society’ approach.
With warm regards
Shashank Kr. Dwivedi