The director of Nature inaugurates the Master in Scientific Communication

On 28th February, Philip Campbell, director of Nature, gave a talk entitled ?Communicating science to researchers, science\'s stakeholders and publics?, to open the thirteenth edition of the IDEC?s Master in Scientific Communication, directed by Vladimir de Semir, director of the OCC (Scientific Communication Observatory) and lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Audiovisual Communication at UPF. The event was opened by Ferran Sanz, and also contributing was Patrice Zagamé, director general for Novartis España, the company which is sponsoring the Master.

Philip Campbell is director of the British magazine Nature and of Nature Publications and is based in London. Previously, Campbell has occupied posts in various official institutions such as the Office of Science and innovation in the United Kingdom, The European Commission and National Institute of Health (NIH) in the USA, and has always worked on matters related to the impact of science on society.

The importance of the magazine on the communication sector became apparent in 2007 when Nature ? together with the North American publication Science, was awarded the Príncipe de Asturias Prize for Communication and Humanities. The jury stated that Nature was the most solvent communication currently available to the international scientific community for publishing the most important scientific breakthroughs with clarity and rigour.

The director of this British publication presented a few of the challenges faced by both scientific magazines and researchers in the field of scientific communication. Campbell called for increased participation from scientists in the popularisation of scientific matters and asked them to take the initiative to ?catch society?s attention and try to communicate beyond science?. With regard to this the director of Nature gave as an example the proliferation of blogs by researchers in the Unites States. ?More and more scientists are taking part in this way of communicating and are therefore inspiring journalists to become a new source of information. They also raise the bar in their own profession as journalists?, he stated.

During his contribution, Campbell pointed out that scientists must take part and enter into debates regarding ?the incertitude of science? or which scientific theories may be regarded as questionable facts. He pointed out that ?researchers must be more assertive and must not be afraid of entering into some debates?.