Community and communication in science

Sarah: Web 2.0 offers many opportunities for networking and creating a sense of community amongst like-minded, geographically-distant peoples. At Bridge8 we used wordpress, slideshare, twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr to share what we do, learn from like-minded (and not so like-minded) people near and far, and to scan our horizons for faint signals of emerging trends. With the support of  DIISR‘s Inspiring Australia strategy, we’ve recently been working with James Hutson to create a new kind of community, one we’ve dubbed scicommunity to reflect an onus on community and communication in all things scientific.  In a nutshell, scicommunity is an online, editable platform for the collection of Australian science communication and engagement activities. It will be open and shared, free and unlimited for appropriate groups and individuals. We hope it will generate a sense of community amongst Australian science communicators.

As well as being a useful, single site to view and search for science communication events in your area, at defined times of the year, and targeted to specific types of audiences, what might we expect to come from scicommunity in a community sense? No car-pooling or ‘bring-a-plate’ dinners of course, but perhaps the generation of some exciting new ideas, such as the identification of opportunities to leverage existing initiatives, an encouragement of partnering and complementary activities, and perhaps even new investment in science communication. You know: shared, community stuff.

While we’re excited to launch scicommunity, we’re very keen first-up to make sure it’s of an appropriate design and layout to capture the key elements of the activities listed; hence we’re commencing a pilot phase next week to iron out any last kinks and wrinkles. If you’re interested in scicommunity, please use the comments space below to let us know what YOU think is important to know about a science communication/engagement event, what sort of information we should be trying to capture and how we can best generate a sense of community amongst communicators of science in Australia.


  1. Hi,

    You’ve probably already thought of this, but I’d say it’s important to be able to search activities according to three different independent parameters:

    – Type of activity
    – Topic of activity
    – Audience of activity

    Social tagging might also be a good idea; the creators might see their activity falling into one category, but other users might find other categories relevant and helpful to them.

  2. Thanks so much for getting this happening guys. I like Part of the reason it’s good is that when adding a page there’s lots and lots of information you *can* put in, but little that’s compulsory.

    The benefits of having lots is that it encourages people to consider things when planning events that they might not otherwise – for example who is the target audience, will it be ongoing, how are participants selected, what are the aims of the event, what evaluation will happen?

    However these should be optional criteria, so people can still just put in the minimum title, when, where, how to register if that’s all they have.

    Given the increasing focus on planning and evaluation coming out of the Inspiring Australia report (, I think it would be good to emphasise in forums like this that considering who your audience is and what your aims are is an important part of good science engagement events.

    It needs to be optional though, to make it easy for people, particularly those just getting involved.

  3. I agree with Regan – folksonomy tagging is v important.

    Probably most important is thinking how it could fit with the other social networks people operate in online – twitter/yammer/fb/storify/slideshare/youtube/eventbrite/etc. The more multi-purpose, the more people are likely to use it, obv.

    So is it just about events? Can they do a custom feed of dates to a widget on their blog/website? Do they need to login or can they use identities from other networks?

    • An addition to matt’s comment. I’d be interested to see how you feed in other event diaries into the site. For example National Science Week event listings, or sites like ScienceNetwork WA which has a event calendar for a specific geographical area.

  4. It’d also be useful to have evaluation resources shared and collaboratively improved.

    I’d also like to see easy ways to connect photos / discussion / news etc after each event.

  5. Really appreciate all this feedback. Especially ideas around the photos, social tagging and collaboratory nature.

  6. Hi sounds like a great idea, I think.

    So is this just a website for advertising events? Or a collection of info with an Aus perspective? Or is this a “science facebook for australia”?

    On my latest hobbyhorse might this also collect/feed the many great Aussie science blogs that are out there?

  7. sarahkeenihan says:

    Hi everyone,
    Thanks for your input – all very welcome and will take on board as much as we can. Our hopes are that the site will be a resource for all of us to keep up to date with each others activities, to see where the gaps are in science communication, to look for opportunities to collaborate, to identify better ways of targeting and informing diverse audiences…Will keep you updated! See this blog and @scicommunity and #scicommunity on twitter too.
    Thanks again,


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kristin Alford, Kristin Alford and Sarah Keenihan, Bridge8. Bridge8 said: Community and communication in science via Bridge8 – Sarah: Web 2.0 offers many opportunities for … […]

  2. […] related posts: (automatically generated)Community and communication in scienceCollaboration: Excellent!Launch of RiAusMarketing and Your […]

  3. […] initial funding from the Federal Government’s Inspiring Australia strategy. Our blog entries Community and Communication in Science and scicommunity: A Web-Based Platform for Community and Communication in Science have attracted […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: