Articles | Volume 6, issue 1
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed underthe Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Geoscientists' views about science communication: predicting willingness to communicate geoscience
- Final revised paper (published on 02 Mar 2023)
- Supplement to the final revised paper
- Preprint (discussion started on 09 Nov 2022)
- Supplement to the preprint
Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor |
: Report abuse
RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1160', Rolf Hut, 22 Dec 2022
- AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Joana Rodrigues, 09 Jan 2023
- AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Joana Rodrigues, 09 Jan 2023
RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1160', Anonymous Referee #2, 02 Jan 2023
- AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Joana Rodrigues, 09 Jan 2023
Peer review completion
AR: Author's response | RR: Referee report | ED: Editor decision | EF: Editorial file upload
ED: Reconsider after major revisions (further review by editor and referees) (21 Jan 2023) by Shahzad Gani
AR by Joana Rodrigues on behalf of the Authors (22 Jan 2023) Author's response Author's tracked changes Manuscript
ED: Referee Nomination & Report Request started (23 Jan 2023) by Shahzad Gani
RR by Anonymous Referee #2 (06 Feb 2023)
ED: Publish subject to minor revisions (further review by editor) (06 Feb 2023) by Shahzad Gani
AR by Joana Rodrigues on behalf of the Authors (07 Feb 2023) Author's response Author's tracked changes Manuscript
ED: Publish as is (08 Feb 2023) by Shahzad Gani
ED: Publish as is (13 Feb 2023) by Kirsten v. Elverfeldt(Executive editor)
AR by Joana Rodrigues on behalf of the Authors (13 Feb 2023)
The authors present a study into the motivation of geoscientists to engage in science communication efforts, which is a topic of great interest to the readership of GC. However, in its current form the manuscript (and possibly the analyses) needs major revisions to fully inform other scientists on the science that the authors have done and its implications.
On the survey design
The authors have done a survey among geoscientists in Portugal and have provided the list of questions of their survey. The survey respondents are asked to report on how many ‘science communication activities’ they have carried out, but no definition of what is considered a science communication activity is presented, or at least: not to us in the article, or in the supplementary material. The second question does provide a list of potential activities to clarify what could be considered science communication, however in Q11 interaction with media is not listed as a type of science communication, whereas in Q43 it is. Since for many (notably the more senior scientists) the main ‘science communication’ they do is answering journalists' questions when asked, but not pro-active activities, this unclarity leads to a problem when interpreting the results of the survey. If a part of the survey responds did, and another part did not, consider answering questions from journalist to be part of ‘science communication’ than this would mean that the answer to “how many science communication activities did you do” (Q12), the main question that is used as target variable in the results, would differ between these groups. If the authors did communicate to the survey respondents what the definition of ‘science communication activities’ was that they used, then they have to report that in the article. If they did not communicate this to the survey respondents they either have to take this into account when interpreting their results, or they have to redo the survey. The authors do hint at this a little bit in line 318 where they mention that more senior scientists ‘may receive more demands’, implicating that the authors use a definition of ‘science communication activities’ that does include being interviewed, ie. not pro-active activities.
On the methodology
The authors use fairly standard methods to analyze their data (which is good). However, a major explanation missing from the manuscript is how they determined their factors. Did they decide on the factors a priori based on the background (literature) presented in section 2? If so: how are the factors constructed (mathematically) from the answers to the questions? If they got the factors from a factor analyses of the data, please provide the results of that factor analyses. (I’m guessing it is an a-priori factorisation, which is perfectly fine, but needs to be explained). Furthermore, the authors divided the results of Q12 up in three classes: “very active, active and inactive”. They provide the boundaries for these classes in line 268, but they fail to justify why those boundaries where chosen as they were, nor did they present a sensitivity analysis on this choice
On the interpretation of the results
The authors present “area of expertise” as a significant influence on the amount of science communication activities done. However: “Geological and Energy Resources” were not listed in section 3.1 (lines 193 - 197) This leads to wonder: is that a category with very few people in it? If so: how does that affect the results? If one of the 4% of respondents that identified as ‘professional science communicators’ happened to be in that field, it would explain those results. The covariance between those categories can not be ignored.
In line 195 the authors state that ‘the sample slightly overrepresented scientists with a geology degree’, but in line 181 they state their is no data on the number of geoscientists in Portugal so it is unclear to me where they base their conclusion of overrepresentation on, given that the total number (ie, the frame) is not known.
Lines 211 through 243 provide a text based overview of the raw response per question. This should be presented in some visual way, potentially in the appendix. For questions where high correlation between answers are important to understand the results, some overview of the correlation / cross responses should be presented, for example between ‘area of expertise’ and ‘professional category ‘ (Q5 and Q6). Especially the responses to the survey questions that together contribute the factors used in answering RS1 should be presented.
Finally, a main Achilles heel not touched upon by the authors is that even in anonymized survey responses people are known to give socially desirable answers. Combined with the lack of a clear definition of science communication activities, this could easily lead to an overestimation of the amount of science communication reported by the survey respondents. The authors should reflect on the impact this has on their results.
On Open Science best practices
The Copernicus publication guidelines on data sharing state that both data used to obtain the results and software used in the analyses should be shared alongside a publication. While those guidelines are written with the more classic earth science fields in mind, this does not exclude social sciences methods like surveys. The raw results of the survey might not be share-able due to legal reasons (GDPR), but there are good best practices available to anonymize survey responses and share them together with the article. See for example https://dmeg.cessda.eu/Data-Management-Expert-Guide/5.-Protect/Anonymisation
Sharing the data with the research allows other scientists, including the reviewers, to look for (other) patterns in the data collected and to check the analyses done by the authors. Without this data, the current submission violates the Copernicus guides on Open Data and should not be accepted.
Reading back this review I recognize that this might feel overly negative to the authors and I want to assure that my review is written with the purpose of making the manuscript better and getting this valuable data and analyses published. The insights that can be gotten from the data collected by the authors is great and should be shared with the scientific community. I hope that the comments above can be taken into account on the road to making this a great publication.