As a member of a science-based professional community, you probably communicate with
stakeholders who are already on-side with your work as well as other audiences such as the
public, patients, parents, consumers and industry. It’s not much fun these days, is it? Opinion
seems to count for more than facts. Everybody’s got their back up about something. And every
subject seems to be a target for polarisation—from climate change, agricultural technology (eg:
gene editing, glyphosate), food (eg: gluten, fad diets) and health (eg: vaccines, placenta-eating,
homeopathy) to general science (eg: flat Earth, moon landing conspiracy).
How can science communication get past the misinformation, mistrust, cognitive bias, celebrity
culture and other barriers?
Sylviane Duval grew the science communications business she launched in 2003 into a consultancy (OpenTheBox Ltd) focusing on knowledge transfer, research navigation, and business/soft-skills training for scientists. Working with clients in a wide range of sectors gives her a first-hand opportunity to observe many polarized discussions, understand the basis for entrenched beliefs and contribute ideas to balanced solutions so that users can make informed decisions. Sylviane is a Co-founder of the Institute for Knowledge Mobilization and a member of Evidence for Democracy’s Network of Experts. She has been a member of national and international boards supporting the ethical and accessible communication of science, and a national advisory committee promoting the protection of intellectual property. She holds a Secret clearance from the Government of Canada.