Issues Public Experts Face

Fraud, Science & the Story That Wins

Why do some scientists commit scientific fraud?

If you’re a scientist, “How would I know?” is probably your smartest answer here. But your real answer is probably something like “ambition,” “ego,” and/or “they’re not good enough scientists.”

Here’s what interests me: All of the above answers (including “How would I know?”)…

Three Overlooked Elements of Effective Public Expertise

I keep coming back to a point Gemma Derrick alluded to during my recent podcast interview with her on “grimpact”: The idea of “science communication” contains a structural incoherency, in that science traditionally offers a) caveated “yes but” answers instead of the b) definitive “yes or no” answers most non-scientists crave (and, let’s face it, need).…

Your Secret Weapon: You Know What You’re Talking About

Here’s one of the most familiar narratives in science:

We knew that! We’ve been saying that for years! Why didn’t you know that?

It’s the story of a subculture — a scientific field — so insular that it thinks it’s sufficiently communicated a piece of knowledge to the rest of the world, only to discover (after years, maybe even decades) that the rest of the world didn’t get the message at all.…

What Science Story Have They Heard?

The CDC has finally done it: After many valiant near-bullseyes, they’ve finally managed to confuse and/or alienate just about everyone in the United States.

The last dart was the agency’s clumsy and data-free communication of the renewed need for indoor masking in areas with high COVID case incidence, given the Delta variant’s increased transmissibility and lethality over the original COVID-19 virus.…