I have been wondering for some time: How can I make the biggest impact to science literacy (This was a start). However, I know I can do more.
I received my weekly email of the Table of Contents for one of my favorite journals PNAS today and read over the titles of the articles. As usual, I’m reading them and saying in my head, blah blah blah because I am looking for certain keywords to identify the article as something I would be interested in (like chemotaxis or second messenger cyclic-di-GMP). Then it occurred to me,
I’m trained to know what these titles mean and which ones would interest me. What about everyone else in America? To them it’s just blah blah blah without the training to know if they would like the research or not.
A majority of published scientific research is federally funded by taxpayer dollars in the U.S. yet most taxpayers have no idea why the research findings from these funds are important or how they contribute to a better society.
What if the article abstracts, laced with big words and jargon, were rewritten to a level where most people could understand; an abstract 2.o if you will? By reading a short summary of the work, anyone who wanted to know could actually understand the problem studied and the results. Maybe more importantly, the reader would not have to rely on interpretations of the research from popular media sources that have higher priorities than educating the public.
I will have more on this concept in the near future. Please let me know what you think and add comments and suggestions.