Why do scientists in the Basque Country engage in science communication?

A representative sample of scientists working in the Basque Country, briefly described in this post, were asked about reasons to participate in science communication, about their willingness to participate again in the future, as well as about the quality of their past experiences.

Data collected in a survey, and later developed in focus group discussions, shows that a sense of duty or social responsibility is the main motivation for scientists to engage in public communication activities. They defined success in science communication, as the extent to which it contributes to increasing the scientific knowledge, personal fulfillment, or enjoyment of the audience. To a lesser extent, scientists also acknowledged that these activities can have positive impacts in their professional careers: they can be an opportunity to improve their communication skills, as well as a source of enjoyment. Scientists recognized that there is also a learning process in uncomfortable experiences.

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Scientists were also asked to rate their past experiences. Most of the scientists involved in this study reported having had positive public communication experiences in the past (83%), while a small minority reported having had positive experiences only sometimes (17%).

When asked about their willingness to participate in more of these activities in the future, virtually all of them said yes (93%). This shows that some of those scientists who not always enjoy or have positive experiences are also committed to science communication.  

Finally, these group of scientists also mentioned that science communication should be performed in a more regular basis, as well as, the need for training to better perform this task. Although there is a need to bring science and society closer together, this representative group of Basque Country-based scientists seem to be committed and aware of the importance of this practice.