ABOUT THE PROJECT
The People’s Science is a 501(c)3 educational non-profit. It is the flagship project of our umbrella organization, Covi Education. In 2013, Jamil Zaki launched the first version of The People’s Science, hoping to create a space for conversation between scientists and non-scientists. Today, The People’s Science represents an update to Dr. Zaki’s vision, based on years of tinkering and learning.
And we’re not done yet. We’re already working on the next iteration of the site. It will be easier to use, easier to post, and full of new features. Want to be part of the conversation? You can provide your feedback here.
The People’s Science is all about removing the barriers between scientists and society, humanizing the people behind the science, and making it easy to follow new evidence. Researchers – as well as laboratory groups — can post “research briefs,” or brief, lay summaries of new work written for the broadest possible audience. Researchers and their groups can also post links to news, events, and multimedia from other sites so that there’s a single, central access point for the public to follow their outreach efforts.
Readers, whether other researchers, journalists, or just interested members of the public, can follow researchers and groups, ask questions about their work, and dialogue with scientists to learn more about them and their ideas.
This system is simple, but benefits all sides. It gives scientists control over dissemination of their work, allowing them to get their ideas to the largest possible audiences in ways that educate while remaining accurate. Interested readers can search for topics or ideas, hearing about the latest work straight from the people who are doing it. And the format is engineered for conversation, allowing people from scientific and non-scientific communities to get to know each other better.
Our mission is to improve the relationship between science and society. To do this, we’re cultivating dialogue between scientists and the public, connecting these communities to broaden scientists’ outreach and build new educational opportunities for non-scientists.
We believe that science—and an understanding of how it’s done—can help everyone, but first it needs to be open to everyone. This means that scientists should extract themselves from the ivory tower and take it upon themselves to make their ideas accessible, and non-scientists should stay curious about new research. The People’s Science is here to make these jobs easier for both sides. Because really, there’s only one side! Science is not for a select few; it’s for all people.
FILL THE GAP.
Just as the scientific breakthroughs made 30 years ago shape our lives now, the progress being made all around us today will shape our futures. This progress depends on public support of scientific endeavors and responsible consideration of their implications for society and our daily lives. And yet, most of what the public knows about ongoing science comes to them indirectly, from press offices, journalists, or businesses.
Science journalism is often fantastic, but it’s not enough. Journalists can’t possibly cover all the research scientists produce, and not all outlets are equally diligent in their reporting. And non-experts who want to learn straight from scientists are often stymied by prohibitive jargon or the paywalls of peer-reviewed publications.
The People’s Science doesn’t compete with journalism or academic journals; it fills the dangerous gap between them. It allows scientists to take the mantle of their own ideas, and allows non-scientists to hear about new ideas straight from the people who create them.
EMPOWER THE PEOPLE.
Scientists and non-scientists face a growing cultural gap that is bad for all of us.
Many members of the public perceive scientists as elitist and their work as out-of-touch, biased, or irrelevant. This is in part because research often remains cloistered in the ivory tower, inaccessible to most people, implying that they are either incapable or uninterested in learning more about it. This of course is not true, and countless scientists are dedicated to education and communication. Improving society’s image of science starts by making it clear that science is for everyone.
The People’s Science is designed for this purpose, by giving scientists a simple, easy way to let people know about their work, while ensuring that everyone feels welcomed to join the conversation.
Many scientists already communicate their findings to people outside their fields, for instance through personal blogs, Twitter, or their university press offices. But until now no platform allowed scientists to centralize their communication in one place so that the public knows exactly where to find them. The People’s Science allows researchers to do so, by linking new stories or efforts from other platforms along with research brief. Acting as a sort of “ResearchGate” for the public, this keeps outreach work from getting lost on page ten of Google, and ensures that the Broader Impact of a researcher’s work is easy to track.