INDIANAPOLIS — With the goal of connecting and engaging the public with science, free of jargon and full of insight, the Public Library of Science (PLOS) Science Communication Blog (#SciCommPLOS) has named three Indiana University School of Medicine faculty as the new editors: Drs. Krista Hoffmann-Longtin, Jason Organ, and Bill Sullivan assumed this role on June 26, 2017.
“We hope to build bridges between scientists and the general public by explaining why science is important and meaningful in everyday life,” said Organ, an assistant professor of anatomy and cell biology. “Our goals for #SciCommPLOS are to highlight interesting and impactful science for the public in accessible ways, and to teach scientists about the art of storytelling as an effective means to communicate their science.”
The opportunity to lead #SciCommPLOS emerged from ongoing collaboration among Hoffmann-Longtin, Organ, and Sullivan, who actively engage students and faculty to improve science and health communication through courses and workshops at IU School of Medicine and IUPUI, and the public through science outreach blogging.
“The internet and social media provide powerful tools to communicate science, yet many scientists have avoided engaging the public online,” said Sullivan, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology. “Consequently, some fields like healthcare, climate science, and evolutionary biology have been overrun with misinformation, alternative facts, and conspiracy theories. Because scientific fields continue to increase in complexity, the American public – whose tax dollars fund federal research grants – is left behind. The goal of the #SciCommPLOS blog is to connect and engage the public with science.”
The new editors are encouraging scientists, health professionals, researchers, and the public to read and contribute to the blog. “Communication isn’t just about message transmission,” added Hoffmann-Longtin, assistant professor of communication studies. “It’s about working together to develop shared meaning. And that can only come from open conversation, with a foundation of trust and respect.”
Hoffmann-Longtin is assistant professor of communication studies at IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and assistant dean for faculty affairs and professional development at IU School of Medicine. Organ is assistant professor of anatomy and cell biology at IU School of Medicine. Sullivan is Showalter Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Microbiology and Immunology at IU School of Medicine.