Biogeochemistry (2017) 134:239–241 DOI 10.1007/s10533-017-0344-7 Publicity or perish: ﬁnding the balance in science communication Simon D. Donner Published online: 29 May 2017 Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017 Much of natural science research involves detecting a the subject. The popular science news, in ﬁelds like signal or relationship in noisy data. The evidence that health and global change, can read like a back-and- the climate is warming is ‘unequivocal’, according to forth tennis match. One week, blueberries are good for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change you, and the land carbon sink is increasing. The next (IPCC), because analysis of historical datasets shows day, blueberries cause cancer, and the land carbon sink a warming signal clearly emerging from the noise of is saturated. natural year-to-year variability. Every year is not The back-and-forth dynamic emerges from the necessarily warmer than the last, but the trend is commercial nature of the news media. Every news upwards over time. story needs a hook to attract readers or viewers. ‘‘New The emergence of a signal amid noise also study agrees exactly with all previous studies’’ is not a click-worthy headline. ‘‘New study challenges all describes the process by which knowledge is accu- mulated by
Biogeochemistry – Springer Journals
Published: May 29, 2017
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