Crowdfunding Astronomy Outreach Projects: Lessons learned from the UNAWE crowdfunding campaign

Abi J. Ashton, Thilina Heenatigala, Pedro Russo

In recent years, crowdfunding has become a popular method of funding new technology or entertainment products, or artistic projects. The idea is that people or projects ask for many small donations from individuals who support the proposed work, rather than a large amount from a single source. Crowdfunding is usually done via an online portal or platform which handles the financial transactions involved. The Universe Awareness (UNAWE) programme decided to undertake a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign centring on the resource Universe in a Box. In this article we present the lessons learned and best practices from that campaign.



The changing rationale of science communication: a challenge to scientific autonomy

Frank Marcinkowski, Matthias Kohring

We argue that the institutionalized push communication of academic institutions has become the dominant form of public science communication and has tended to force other forms and functions of science communication into the background. Given the new schemes of public funding, public communication of science now primarily serves the purpose of enabling academic institutions to promote themselves in a competition that has been forced upon them by the political domain. What academics working under these conditions say about themselves and their work (and what they do not) will depend crucially on the strategic communication goals and concepts of the organizations to which they belong. We surmise that the inherent logic of this form of science communication represents a potential threat to the autonomy of scientific research.


Public judgment on science expenditure in the national budget of Japan: An experimental approach to examining the effects of unpacking science

Hiromi M. Yokoyama, Kazuya Nakayachi

How does the public assess an appropriate financial allocation to science promotion? This article empirically examined the subadditivity effect in the judgment of budgetary allocation. Results of the first experiment showed that the ratio of the national budget allocated for science promotion by participants increased when science was decomposed into more specific categories compared to when it was presented as “science promotion” alone. Consistent with these findings, results of the second experiment showed that the allotment ratio to science promotion decreased when the number of other expenditure items increased. Meanwhile, the third experiment revealed that in the case of a budgetary cutback, the total amount taken from science promotion greatly increased when science was decomposed into subcategories. The subadditivity effect and increase in the total allotment ratio by unpacking science promotion was confirmed by these three experiments not only on budgetary allocation but also on budgetary cutback.


What conceptions of science communication are espoused by science research funding bodies?

Sarah E. Palmer, Renato A. Schibeci

We examine the conceptions of science communication, especially in relation to “public engagement with science” (PES), evident in the literature and websites of science research funding bodies in Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Oceania, and Africa. The analysis uses a fourfold classification of science communication to situate these conceptions: professional, deficit, consultative and deliberative. We find that all bodies engage in professional communication (within the research community); however, engagement with the broader community is variable. Deficit (information dissemination) models still prevail but there is evidence of movement towards more deliberative, participatory models.