Making science mainstream

The Australian Academy of Science has launched a new online initiative to connect more people with science. Increasingly, people need a trusted, accessible and credible source of scientific information that they can rely on to inform their decisions. With more people  using social media as their main source of news, the Academy will use Facebook to help community members make decisions based on accurate information.

Do baby simulators reduce pregnancies? What can Viking poo reveal about our past? Does the world have enough food? Could a black hole swallow Earth?

These are just some of the every-day questions the Australian Academy of Science will ask (and answer!) as it launches its ambitious new social media initiative. Academy President, Professor Andrew Holmes, said no matter your background, age or education level, every person should be able to access and appreciate the wonders of science.

‘Science is all around us and we want people to discover that. However, we recognise that often the way science is presented can be hard to understand and somewhat dull—we’re about to change that,’ Professor Holmes said.

Using the latest digital grammar and a social-first publishing approach, the highest quality Australian and international science will be delivered globally on the Academy’s Facebook page. The Academy is the brains trust of science in Australia, meaning the best scientists in the country are ensuring content quality. Chinese speaking audiences will be able to access translated content on social media platforms Weibo and Toutiao.

The ANU’s 2017 Australian Beliefs and Attitudes Towards Science survey found just over half the Australian population (54%) reported having a conversation about science most days.

‘Through entertaining and informative content we hope to spark many more conversations about science—an engaged public is so important at a time when science is at the centre of so many critical public policy decisions,’ Professor Holmes said.

‘The rise of ‘fake news’ has also caught audiences in the middle of a tug-of-war between authenticity and click-bait. We believe credible and verified content has never been more important, to meet a renewed public appetite for scientifically sourced information.’

The Academy is working in partnership with Adam Boland, who reinvented Australian breakfast television and was head of video at NewsDNA (NewsCorp). Boland joins the Academy as Executive Producer of the Academy’s video content. Paul Richards, former Supervising Producer at Channel Seven’s Sunrise, has also joined the Academy and has thrown his talent and skill behind this project.

With content including scientific videos, articles and infographics, each post will also lead viewers to more in depth information on Academy’s website. All content will be rigorously fact checked and reviewed by Academy Fellows—the finest scientific minds in the nation—as well as other experts in the field.

Building on a long history of increasing science literacy and awareness amongst broad audiences, the Academy now seeks support from Australia’s science community to make its Facebook initiative well known.

All encouraged to share these links widely so that more Australians can access credible scientific information: see the Academy’s Facebook page and its new website page