Personalising science for scientists?

There is an interesting blog entry in titled “Should scientific papers be written in a first-person narrative?” by James Dacey, It’s really a teaser for people to cast their vote on physicsworld’s Facebook page but it raises an interesting aspect of science communication.

Sci-commers have regularly posed the value of having a more narrative tone for papers only to be told that the science journals won’t accept papers written in that style.

Is there a need for journals to change their editorial formats? If there is change I imagine it would be at a glacially slow rate unless there is some worldwide paradigm shift in science report writing.

The question is also related to the communication skills of scientists. Some are superb communicators but many lack the skills to weave a compelling story which supports their thesis. Many ASC members make their livelihoods partly because of the preponderance of the latter. We also recognise that scientists need time to do science, and crafting a cracking communiqué is usually time-consuming.

Yet I wonder whether more readable papers would become more popular among scientists and get increasingly cited? That may not make for better science but could lead to academic promotion.

What are the reasons for scientific journals to welcome relevant narrative in papers?

How many science communicators does it take to change a scientist’s narrative light bulb?

Can you suggest other interesting opinions about personalising scientific papers?

Is this worthy of a session at the national conference?

Jesse Shore
National president

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About Jesse Shore

Jesse Shore is passionate about engaging the community with science and in looking for ways to weave together the arts and sciences. He has been developing science based exhibitions and events since 1984, and was President of the Australian Science Communicators from 2010-2012. His business, Prismatic Sciences, produced five travelling exhibitions for the Royal Australian Chemical Institute for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry and he manages the ongoing national tour. He previously worked at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney as an exhibition project leader and Senior Curator of sciences. While at the museum he was one of the founders of the Ultimo Science Festival, a major National Science Week activity. He is currently collaborating with an artist to create artworks which have a science slant.

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