Amount of News Reports on Science and Education Increases by 24% in Four Years

Amount of News Reports on Science and Education Increases by 24% in Four Years

According to the annual research of the dynamics of the development of scientific communication in Russia 2016-2017, conducted by the educational and networking project "Communication Laboratory" of RVC in partnership with ITMO University, the number of publications on science in the Russian mass media is growing, the share of original content is increasing, the websites of leading universities are indexed by the monitoring system "Medialogy" as media.


The research shows that there is a steady increase in the number of quantitative indicators of the media field: the total number of news reports on science and education from 2013 to 2017 increased by 24%, which is equivalent to 110,000 reports. From 2016 to 2017, the total number of news reports on the same subjects increased by approximately 8.5%, or 45,000 reports.

There is a clear tendency to improve the quality of the media field of scientific content: the share of original content on science and education increased by 21% from 2013 to 2017 and currently (2016-2017) reached 77% of the total number of news reports. The share of publications devoted to the exact sciences is increasing as well: from 2013 to 2017, the share increased by 22% and currently (2016-2017) reached 28% of the total number of news reports on science and education.

The key players of the media field related to the scientific and educational topics include the Moscow State University named after Lomonosov and the Higher School of Economics (HSE). Compared to previous studies, more regional universities participate in the rating. Research institutes (RI) in the rating of key players are in the minority, which reflects a generally lower representation of research institutes in the information space in comparison with scientific and educational institutions.

To analyse the level of online attention to published results of scientific activity of leading Russian universities, the scientometric tool named Altmetric was used for the first time. In the course of the analysis, it was revealed that the number of references to the scientific publications of Universities of Project 5-100 by 2016 in the media outperformed the similar indicators for other leading universities by almost 9 times. The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) deserves special attention among the Universities of Project 5-100, which was by far more mentioned in 2016 than other universities (4926) with a smaller volume of scientific publication activity and fewer major international collaborations.

To analyse their own vision of the management of higher education institutions regarding the development of scientific communication, the analytical tool EDGE Assessment Tool was also used for the first time. The results of the research showed that most universities consider the advancement of the scientific agenda as part of the mission of the organization. Many of the universities surveyed indicated insufficient development of initiatives aimed at encouraging the communication activity of their employees and creating educational opportunities in the field of scientific communication.

Positive trends in the development of the industry are also traced in the increase in publications of research institutes in the media. IBMP RAS, RFNC-VNIIEF, INASAN RAS and SRC Kurchatov Institute consisting from individual institutes, as well as from the SB RAS and the Russian Academy of Sciences consisting from academies of sciences and departments of the Russian Academy of Sciences demonstrated the best dynamics for the period from 2015 to 2017.

According to the semantic analysis, for which the algorithm of searching for the most used word combinations used in mass media on the subject of science and education was used, the topics related to astronomy and cosmos, as well as prolongation of life, global warming and elementary particle physics were used. At the same time, news related to the opening of educational programs, victories in educational events and visits or comments by officials continue to dominate the news agenda of universities.

The authors of the study note that in the modern "era of post-truth" a special role is played by questions of values and responsibilities of scientific communicators to society. Also in recent years, the issue of professional self-identification of specialists in the field of scientific communication is becoming topical. The boundaries between scientific press secretaries and journalists are increasingly eroding.

The annual research of the current state of scientific communications in Russia is conducted with the aim of determining the dynamics of quantitative and qualitative indicators of the industry and identifying the best practices of the work of scientific and educational organizations with external audiences. This year also reflects the dynamics of the development of scientific communication in some indicators since 2013.

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