Welcome to The Field!
This project has been in the making since 2012, when Dr. Jamil Zaki first launched a forum where scientists could post “pop abstracts”, or lay summaries of their work for the public to read and discuss. It was an archive that filled the gap between inaccessible peer-reviewed articles and the limitations of science journalists’ time and resources. He called it “The People’s Science” and it aimed to address a specific premise – that scientists and non-scientists are facing a growing cultural gap that is bad for all of us.
In the four years since, that forum has evolved. The People’s Science became a 501(c)3 educational nonprofit, and the forum became one of its projects championing “Accessible Evidence”.
What you’re looking at is its latest iteration.
The design and features have changed to fold in evaluation and feedback. The team expanded. The name changed to make room for other projects. The focus broadened to include centralizing outreach efforts and humanizing scientists.
But the circumstances that catalyzed its existence remain unchanged.
In recent months, as critical scientific institutions have been threatened or dismissed by many, the gap between science and society has deepened and garnered mainstream attention. It’s clear that there’s a lack of trust by many who have felt like an outsider to science – and that’s on all of us. Trust is built by knowing you can count on someone to be open, honest, and present. Scientists have done a poor job of earning the trust of many and the result is that many don’t think that science is for them.
If we want people to care, we all need to show up.
The Field makes it easy for scientists to channel their outreach efforts into one place, to field questions about their work, track their reach, create lab/research group profiles, and share brief summaries of new studies written with the public in mind. It makes it easy for the public to find and follow new researchers and groups, discuss findings, and get to know the scientists behind the headlines. In short, it gives people a chance to talk to each other – and that’s a step in the right direction.
Our vision is to work with educational partners, publishers, universities, and community organizations to institutionalize and normalize outreach. With today’s launch, we are one step closer to that reality, and we look forward to continuing to grow with you.
Stephanie Fine Sasse
Creative Director | The People’s Science