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Meet the expert - Elisabetta Tola Meet the expert - Elisabetta Tola

Elisabetta Tola has a PhD in Microbiology and an MA in Science Communication at SISSA, Trieste, Italy. She is a lecturer in science communication, multimedia, radio production and in data journalism in various journalism schools and courses.

 She is co-founder of the science communication agency formicablu, in Bologna and Roma, where she coordinates projects exploring cross-media tools in science communication. She has been one of the presenters of the daily science programme Radio3Scienza on RAI Radio 3 since 2005. Elisabetta is currently involved in the production of the weekly science programme PiGreco Party, on air and in podcast since 2004 on Radio Città del Capo, Bologna. 

In 2010, she worked on seismic risk prevention, producing the docu-fiction Non chiamarmi terremoto. Her recent interest include data journalism and communication of agro-biodiversity.

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RE: The web as a source of information
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here are some more questions which can help us getting our conversation started:

Do you actually use the web as the main source of information when preparing an event and/or preparing material for your next book/article/public conference?

If the web is your main channel of information, can you list three or more websites you use frequently and go back to when trying to keep up to date with the latest research findings?

If the web is not your main channel of information, how do you get about it? Do you have other reliable sources of information to use?
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RE: The web as a source of information
23/07/12 13:42 as a reply to Didier Laval.
Hi,
I use the web to gather mostly pictures and videos.

To get information, I often refer to "Scientific American" for science news, and gather science education resources at http://www.schoolscience.co.uk/.
I also like the journals of the OCIM, though it is in french http://www.ocim.fr/spip.php?article93.
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RE: The web as a source of information
23/07/12 13:52 as a reply to Didier Laval.
the web is an obvious place to keep up to date, see what's happening. but - in particular if your are developping things which have a longer temporality than the news, nothing can replace the direct contact with researchers. spending time talking is still the best access to information for me.
matteo
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RE: The web as a source of information
23/07/12 13:52 as a reply to Jama Supop.
I believe the web is NOT a reliable source of information. I prefer using paper articles, interview with researchers, and material directly coming from them. I find the websites quite confusing and sometimes they do not indicate their sources! Many mistakes circulate because we rely on internet-read words.
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RE: The web as a source of information
23/07/12 13:54 as a reply to Jama Supop.
Hallo,

thanks for your contribution.

What about Science blogs? it's a platform which aggregates many science bloggers which blog both on the science they do and on that they know because of their background:

http://scienceblogs.com/

in fact, there is the possibility to choose between different categories and there are editor's pick as well.

Is anyone else using it? Or maybe some other science bloggers platforms?
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RE: The web as a source of information
23/07/12 13:58 as a reply to matteo merzagora.
matteo merzagora:
the web is an obvious place to keep up to date, see what's happening. but - in particular if your are developping things which have a longer temporality than the news, nothing can replace the direct contact with researchers. spending time talking is still the best access to information for me.
matteo


well, this seems to be quite a shared view, also for other who are discussing as Des here in the same thread

I actually am not sure to agree fully, since I find the web quite useful as an archive as well

but then, maybe I am just too much of a web addict.

who shares Matteo's and Des's view?

And in any case, Matteo and Des, how do you find time and ways to keep in touch with scientists directly? How do you do that? Taking part into conferences and workshops or in which other way?
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RE: The web as a source of information
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23/07/12 14:00 as a reply to Elisabetta Tola.
there is a very nice network of science blogs in France: they really offer a diversity of view on science topics: http://www.cafe-sciences.org/
the community they draw upon/generate is very active and imaginative...
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RE: The web as a source of information
23/07/12 14:06 as a reply to Elisabetta Tola.
an exhibition, or a science events, are things that takes time to build, so there is also time to spend time calling up researchers, asking for advices, etc. I am. it saying that the web is not useful: I use it a lot and with a lot of joy. but it is not the most important or most useful source when you organise exhibitions or events or other "long term activities". with my young collaborators I often have to struggle to convince them to stop sometimes searching the web and make a couple of phone calls and go and talk to people!
mat
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RE: The web as a source of information
23/07/12 14:09 as a reply to matteo merzagora.
matteo merzagora:
there is a very nice network of science blogs in France: they really offer a diversity of view on science topics: http://www.cafe-sciences.org/
the community they draw upon/generate is very active and imaginative...


but do these science bloggers work as part of their research institutes communication strategy or are they independent? one example of the first case is that of bloggers who work as researchers at CERN, who are the ones updating the Quantum Diaries

http://www.quantumdiaries.org/author/cern/

I think they are very good at what they do but they do share their institution's point of view as well.

And in any case, How do you use the blogs you are mentioning? do you actually interact with them or you keep up to date with their posts and just use them as a source of info?
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RE: The web as a source of information
23/07/12 14:09 as a reply to Elisabetta Tola.
Hi all,

Another blog I like is http://hypotheses.org/. It is a platform for academic blogs, in several languages.

scienceblog.com is a very good reference: are there others classical ones?

I also would like to question the way we interact with scientists: Matteo mentioned direct contact, and Des favours it too. Do you need a strong network for this? Maybe this question requires a new thread.
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RE: The web as a source of information
23/07/12 14:18 as a reply to matteo merzagora.
matteo merzagora:
an exhibition, or a science events, are things that takes time to build, so there is also time to spend time calling up researchers, asking for advices, etc. I am. it saying that the web is not useful: I use it a lot and with a lot of joy. but it is not the most important or most useful source when you organise exhibitions or events or other "long term activities". with my young collaborators I often have to struggle to convince them to stop sometimes searching the web and make a couple of phone calls and go and talk to people!
mat


Very good point, Matteo!

Does anyone else experience the same? Is it difficult to find time and ways to get the people to actually go out there and talk to scientists and researchers?

Also, another question is: shouldn't conferences and workshops be a good moment to interact with scientists?

Do the people in this group actually attend science conferences as a way to get information and to establish close contacts with the scientific community? And which conferences? The scientific ones or the science&society ones?
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RE: The web as a source of information
23/07/12 14:31 as a reply to Elisabetta Tola.
The web is also my main source. I brouse for instance new scientist, wired (it and com), educazioneduepuntozero, bbc/news/science (and tech and health) pages, ...
Google news (searching for sci and tech) in us and uk.

Since i am working on several sci topics and also kids education, new tecnology and education, books, lots different searces are needed.

We also have subsciption to some magazine (such Le scienze, or Andersen_libri per ragazzi ....).

As Matteo wrote, also researchers are importants.
In all our programs and projects we work in parnerships with many scientific partners (such us CNR of INAF). As soon as i know, or i have the freedom to work on a topic to organize labs, expositions, meetings or presentation, I phone, e.mail to them to know what is going on, if they have news and they know something about the tipics or the have ideas.

Anyhow, it is always hard to find the proper, and enough time to read in deep and to digest such amount of information.
At least once a week I tell to myself to dedicate more time in beeing updated... but I always have to face with the time consuming organization matter

Concening blog...
Something but not many. I will keep suggestions Elisabetta, and others of you are posting
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RE: The web as a source of information
23/07/12 14:42 as a reply to Elisabetta Tola.
Relations with scientists (but it is true woth all cathegories, i.e journalists) needs time in itsealf to be built. I mean you need to build trust and familiarity. You can't just make a ohone call to a reasearch insitute and ask 'waht do you think about....'.

But yes, you and your organizations have to cultivate a good network. What the sense to make science communication and science education without involving sceintists somehow?! Not much in my opinion.

I don't go to proper scientific conference. No time. Moreovere thy are too specific for me.
On the other hands It is a good opportunity to attend to conference ad ECSITE or PCST or HANDS-ON International.

Elisabetta Tola:
matteo merzagora:
an exhibition, or a science events, are things that takes time to build, so there is also time to spend time calling up researchers, asking for advices, etc. I am. it saying that the web is not useful: I use it a lot and with a lot of joy. but it is not the most important or most useful source when you organise exhibitions or events or other "long term activities". with my young collaborators I often have to struggle to convince them to stop sometimes searching the web and make a couple of phone calls and go and talk to people!
mat


Very good point, Matteo!

Does anyone else experience the same? Is it difficult to find time and ways to get the people to actually go out there and talk to scientists and researchers?

Also, another question is: shouldn't conferences and workshops be a good moment to interact with scientists?

Do the people in this group actually attend science conferences as a way to get information and to establish close contacts with the scientific community? And which conferences? The scientific ones or the science&society ones?
Flag Flag
RE: The web as a source of information
23/07/12 17:29 as a reply to Giorgia Bellentani.
Giorgia Bellentani:


I don't go to proper scientific conference. No time. Moreovere thy are too specific for me.
On the other hands It is a good opportunity to attend to conference ad ECSITE or PCST or HANDS-ON International.

So do you think that these network can be a good 'meeting point' between scientists and the active communication professionals?

But in your opinion isn't there a risk that the information that gets to these type of events is highly filtered and does not allow us to actually understand in depth the making of science and the controversies that are actual taking place in the different fields?
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RE: The web as a source of information
24/07/12 21:39 as a reply to Elisabetta Tola.
I use websites such as New Scientist and Scientific American etc. for ideas. I also read the Wellcome Trust's blog and their magazine Wellcome News.

I also receive e-news bulletins from the communications team at Queen Mary University in London where the science centre I work at is located.These bulletins help to keep me informed of the research that is taking place around me. A Centre for Public Engagement is being set up and this will help to centralise all the different projects that are taking place in many different institutes.

I like collaborating with reserachers at the university, especially when developing multimedia tools that require quite a lot of input from them. Face-to-face meetings can be so much more productive than emails. But I have also worked with researchers from other countries to develop interactive games about the work they do.These collaborations work well if the researchers are very interested in the project and are fully aware of the committment involved from the beginning.

I don't tend to go to scientific conferences, but I do attend as many science communication events as possible. I have found the Ecsite conference and the British Science Association Science Communication event helpful for discovering interesting projects and developing new partnerships. Here is the archive of the 2011 British Science Association conference where you can access the presentations and other useful resources.
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