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Gerber Reintermediation EASST 2018

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This paper suggests introducing a new theoretical model of "Reintermediation" in Science Communication -- the structural loss of journalists as intermediaries in the knowledge-transfer processes, and their replacement by pseudo-intermediaries. As business practice and economics research have shown, the expected Disintermediation actually didn't happen but rather led to different forms of Reintermediation. If we can expect this to also happen to science (communication), both the challenges and the potential solutions for what we used to call "science communication" will need to be reconsidered fundamentally.
The traditional roles of gatekeepers in science communication are increasingly rendered redundant due to disruptive changes in information behavior and thus media-economic pressures. From a systemic perspective, Reintermediation raises urgent questions in the context of "Responsible Research and Innovation" (RRI), particularly since the new pseudo-intermediaries are often funded and cultivated by institutionalised science itself, and constitute a danger and/or an opportunity for openness / transparency / accountability etc. in science.

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Gerber Reintermediation EASST 2018

  1. 1. 1 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Rethinking openness in science: Systemic implications of reintermediation replacing mechanisms of transparency Alexander Gerber Chair, Science Communication, Rhine-Waal University Research Director, Institute for Science & Innovation Communication ag@hsrw.eu a.gerber@inscico.eu @inscico alexandergerber bit.ly/Reintermediation-Science
  2. 2. 2 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception. Carl Sagan 1934-1996
  3. 3. 3 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception. Carl Sagan 1934-1996 Open Science in the context of : − Systemic change − Public communication
  4. 4. 4 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Traditional understanding of quality assessment & assurance: specialist discourse
  5. 5. 5 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK First sequence in a wider communication process: specialist discourse → didactic explanation → popularisation 
  6. 6. 6 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Traditional sequences in the communication process: specialist discourse → didactic explanation → popularisation 
  7. 7. 7 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Traditional sequences in the communication process: specialist discourse → didactic explanation → popularisation 
  8. 8. 8 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Traditional sequences in the communication process: specialist discourse → didactic explanation → popularisation This presumably sequential process has desequentialised for quite some time. 
  9. 9. 9 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception. EUSJA Newsletter 3 / 2016
  10. 10. 10 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK The Gatekeeper* an endangered species? An obvious cause: Change in information behaviour → business models obsolete → market pressures → churnalism Term coined by journalist Walter Lippmann. Research tradition founded in the 1950‘s by David M. White *
  11. 11. 11 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK The Gatekeeper* an endangered species? An obvious cause: Change in information behaviour → business models obsolete → market pressures → churnalism Term coined by journalist Walter Lippmann. Research tradition founded in the 1950‘s by David White * Term coined by journalist Nick Davies in 2008 ** ** Catch 22: erosion of public trust
  12. 12. 12 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK The Gatekeeper* an endangered species? An obvious cause: Change in information behaviour → business models obsolete → market pressures → churnalism Term coined by journalist Walter Lippmann. Research tradition founded in the 1950‘s by David White * BBC Science Coverage (Meller et al. 2011): − 82% of science stories derived from PR UK Journalism in general (Lewis et al. 2008): − Time-pressure increases dependence on ‘ready made’ news. − 60% of articles from such sources (not counting false negatives). − Most influenced topic: health
  13. 13. 13 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK The Gatekeeper* an endangered species? An obvious cause: Change in information behaviour → business models obsolete → market pressures → churnalism Term coined by journalist Walter Lippmann. Research tradition founded in the 1950‘s by David White * BBC Science Coverage (Meller et al. 2011): − 82% of science stories derived from PR UK Journalism in general (Lewis et al. 2008): − Time-pressure increases dependence on ‘ready made’ news. − 60% of articles from such sources (not counting false negatives). − Most influenced topic: health “These data portray a picture of journalism in which any meaningful journalistic activity by the press is the exception rather than the rule.” (University of Cardiff) See: Moore (2011) in CJR
  14. 14. 14 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK The Gatekeeper* an endangered species? A more concealed cause: Technological and structural means of bypassing the intermediary
  15. 15. 15 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Case #1
  16. 16. 16 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Case #1
  17. 17. 17 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Case #1
  18. 18. 18 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Case #1
  19. 19. 19 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Case #2
  20. 20. 20 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Case #2
  21. 21. 21 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Case #2
  22. 22. 22 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Case #2
  23. 23. 23 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Case #2
  24. 24. 24 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Case #3
  25. 25. 25 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Case #3
  26. 26. 26 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Why (only) this one expert? Single discovery promoted Researchers speaking of themselves in the 3rd person Case #3
  27. 27. 27 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK − Launched 2011 in AU − 5 spin-offs since then − Andrew Jaspan (founder): “A direct pipeline from knowledge creation to knowledge dissemination” Case #3
  28. 28. 28 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK − Launched 2002 in the UK originally as part of the RI − 5 spin-offs since then − Mission: provide evidence-based information, particularly on controversial topics − Comparatively independent Case #4
  29. 29. 29 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK − EurekAlert, AlphaGalileo, IDW etc. all started as press-release repositories, yet serve as media themselves now Case #5
  30. 30. 30 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK − EurekAlert, AlphaGalileo, IDW etc. all started as press-release repositories, yet serve as media themselves now Case #5
  31. 31. 31 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK − EurekAlert, AlphaGalileo, IDW etc. all started as press-release repositories, yet serve as media themselves now Case #5
  32. 32. 32 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Press releases by academic institutions in Germany published digitally on IDW (N.B. numer of members has also increased) 1995 2000 Case #5
  33. 33. 33 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Press releases by academic institutions in Germany published digitally on IDW (N.B. numer of members has also increased) 1995 2000 2005 2010 Case #5
  34. 34. 34 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK 1995 2000 2005 2010 Number of press-releases per Institution Characters per press-release per year 2015 Case #5
  35. 35. 35 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Traditional sequences in the communication process: specialist discourse → didactic explanation → popularisation From Desequentialisation to Disintermediation… 
  36. 36. 36 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Corporate Publishing, iTunesU, Podcasts, Apps
  37. 37. 37 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Corporate Comms 2.0 Corporate Publishing, iTunesU, Podcasts, Apps
  38. 38. 38 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Open Access, Open Data Corporate Comms 2.0 Corporate Publishing, iTunesU, Podcasts, Apps
  39. 39. 39 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Open Access, Open Data Corporate Comms 2.0 Corporate Publishing, iTunesU, Podcasts, Apps Science Journalism 3.0 Science Journalism 1.0 Science Journalism 2.0
  40. 40. 40 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Open Access, Open Data Corporate Comms 2.0 Corporate Publishing, iTunesU, Podcasts, Apps Science Journalism 3.0 Science Journalism 1.0 Science Journalism 2.0
  41. 41. 41 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Open Access, Open Data Corporate Comms 2.0 Corporate Publishing, iTunesU, Podcasts, Apps Science Journalism 3.0 Science Journalism 1.0 Science Journalism 2.0
  42. 42. 42 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Corporate Comms 2.0 Corporate Publishing, iTunesU, Podcasts, Apps Science Advocacy; Upstream Engagement Open Access, Open Data Science Journalism 3.0 Science Journalism 2.0 Science Journalism 1.0
  43. 43. 43 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Corporate Comms 2.0 Corporate Publishing, iTunesU, Podcasts, Apps Science Advocacy; Upstream Engagement Open Access, Open Data Science Journalism 3.0 Science Journalism 2.0 Science Journalism 1.0 EurekAlert, AlphaGalileo, IDW, etc. SMC Conversation Science Daily Youris Filling the gap: the ‘new’ intermediaries…
  44. 44. 44 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Corporate Comms 2.0 Corporate Publishing, iTunesU, Podcasts, Apps Science Advocacy; Upstream Engagement Open Access, Open Data Science Journalism 3.0 Science Journalism 2.0 Science Journalism 1.0 disintermediated
  45. 45. 45 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Science Advocacy; Upstream Engagement Corporate Comms 2.0 Corporate Publishing, iTunesU, Podcasts, Apps Open Access, Open Data Science Journalism 3.0 Science Journalism 2.0 Science Journalism 1.0 disintermediated …generating questions about work ethics…
  46. 46. 46 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Corporate Comms 2.0 Corporate Publishing, iTunesU, Podcasts, Apps Science Advocacy; Upstream Engagement Open Access, Open Data Science Journalism 3.0 Science Journalism 2.0 Science Journalism 1.0 Redefining responsibilities − The comms side of “RRI” − CSR − ELSI − pTA …generating questions about work ethics…
  47. 47. 47 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Disintermediation Originally coined in the Economic Sciences Disintermediation in business (driven by digitisation long before the media systems came under the economic and increasingly political pressures we know today)… Holiday-maker → Travel Agency → Hotel
  48. 48. 48 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Disintermediation Originally coined in the Economic Sciences Disintermediation in business (driven by digitisation long before the media systems came under the economic and increasingly political pressures we know today)… Holiday-maker → Travel Agency → Hotel
  49. 49. 49 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Disintermediation Originally coined in the Economic Sciences Disintermediation in business (driven by digitisation long before the media systems came under the economic and increasingly political pressures we know today)… Holiday-maker → Travel Agency → Hotel
  50. 50. 50 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Disintermediation Originally coined in the Economic Sciences Disintermediation in business (driven by digitisation long before the media systems came under the economic and increasingly political pressures we know today)… Holiday-maker → Travel Agency → Hotel …never happened! The agencies were merely reintermediatised.
  51. 51. 51 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Reintermediation …replaces the middlemen with new models Disintermediation in business (driven by digitisation long before the media systems came under the economic and increasingly political pressures we know today)… Holiday-maker → Travel Agency → Hotel
  52. 52. 52 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Reintermediation …replaces the middlemen with new models Hypothesis: If we can expect science journalism to be affected in a similar way as most other industries, both the challenges and the potential solutions and new models will need to be rethought fundamentally. We would be looking at something that is not “journalism” any more as we know it. One scenario could be…
  53. 53. 53 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Reintermediation Impact Filtering: Algorithms, Filter Bubbles, Echo chambers, Circumvention Quality assurance: Collaborative networks of quality assessment (e.g. Airbnb ratings) have established but hardly exist yet in science. Could they establish new trust relationships?
  54. 54. 54 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Reintermediation Impact Filtering: Algorithms, Filter Bubbles, Echo chambers, Circumvention Quality assurance: Collaborative networks of quality assessment (e.g. Airbnb ratings) have established but hardly exist yet in science. Could they establish new trust relationships?
  55. 55. 55 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK Reintermediation Impact Filtering: Algorithms, Filter Bubbles, Echo chambers, Circumvention Quality assurance: Collaborative networks of quality assessment (e.g. Airbnb ratings) have been established in many industries, but hardly exist yet in science. Could they establish new trust relationships?
  56. 56. 56 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK He who refuses to learn, deserves extinction. Rabbi Hillel 110BC - 10AD
  57. 57. 57 / 57Gerber, Alexander (2018): “Rethinking openness in science”. EASST Conference, Lancaster / UK He who refuses to learn, deserves extinction. Rabbi Hillel 110BC - 10AD Alexander Gerber Chair, Science Communication, Rhine-Waal University Research Director, Institute for Science & Innovation Communication ag@hsrw.eu a.gerber@inscico.eu @inscico alexandergerber bit.ly/Reintermediation-Science

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