Standing up for Science: Join a discussion on Science and the Media

Apr 7, 2011 5:15 PM ET

How do journalists approach stories? What happens when research announcements go wrong or discussions are polarized?

What does peer review do for science? Does it illuminate good ideas or shut them down?

Join us at two discussion sessions on Tuesday 3rd May 2011 at The Broad Institute, 7 Cambridge Center, hosted by Sense About Science and Elsevier as part of the Cambridge Science Festival.

What's up with Peer review?
A discussion examining the process and wider purpose of peer review
11.00 - 12.30 Followed by a buffet lunch

Standing up for Science
A discussion on science and the media
3.30 - 5.00 Followed by a drinks reception

Further information about the panels can be found below and also on the Cambridge Science Festival website.

These sessions are free but space is limited, so please register by emailing Julia Wilson at stating which sessions you would like to attend by Friday April 29th 2011.

Sense About Science is a UK charitable trust that equips people to make sense of science and evidence on issues that matter to society. With a network of over 4,000 scientists, we work with scientific bodies, research publishers, policy makers, the public and the media, to lead public discussions about science and evidence. Through award-winning public campaigns, we share the tools of scientific thinking and the peer review process.

Our Voice of Young Science network (VoYS) engages early career researchers in public debates about science. High profile myth-busting campaigns have included debunking detox products and pressuring the WHO to condemn the promotion of homeopathy for serious diseases. The network actively embraces a civic responsibility to stand up for science, challenge pseudoscientific product claims and respond to misinformation.

The Broad Institute, 7 Cambridge Center
11.00 - 12.30

A panel discussion examining the process of peer review and exploring the criticisms of the system. Using highlights from a survey of over 4,000 scientists, the panel will discuss the role of peer review in policy, research and public debates and reflect on some of the recent debates about the subject.
What does peer review do for science and what does the scientific community want it to do for them? Does it illuminate good ideas or shut them down? Is maverick science rejected? Should peer review detect plagiarism, bias or fraud? Does the system need to change? What is the public perception of peer review? Can it help the public understand the status of scientific claims?

Leonor Sierra, Sense About Science
Dr Emilie Marcus, Senior Editor, Cell
Karen Weintraub, freelance health and science journalist
Dr Natalie Kuldell, Biological Engineering at MIT

The Broad Institute, 7 Cambridge Center
3.30 - 5.00

This session will combine discussion about science related controversies in the news with practical guidance for how to deal with the media. Why does it matter that the public has access to good science and evidence? What happens when research announcements go wrong; statistics are manipulated; risk factors are distorted; or discussions become polarized? The panel will explain how journalists approach stories and balance the need for news and entertainment with reporting science. What can early career researchers do to encourage good science and evidence in the public domain?

Leonor Sierra, Sense About Science
Karen Weintraub, freelance health and science journalist
Dr Chris Reddy, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Morgan Thompson, Science in the News


About Elsevier 
Elsevier is a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet ( and Cell (, and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier’s online solutions include SciVerse ScienceDirect (, SciVerse Scopus (, Reaxys (, MD Consult ( and Nursing Consult (, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite ( and MEDai’s Pinpoint Review (, which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively. 

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier ( employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC (, a world-leading publisher and information provider, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).