SciOPS: Designing and developing a scientific opinion aggregator

Andrew Mara, Lesley Michalegko

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

This research report will detail how a multi-research university collaborative team, led by the Center for Science Technology and Environmental Policy Studies at Arizona State University (CSTEPS), researched and tested a pilot interface to query science, technology, and innovation experts, and to broadcast this information in a rapidly deployed, interactive, and publicly-accessible way. This interface pilot, called SciOPS, houses a survey tool that queries science, technology, and innovation (STI) experts about issues of contemporary import. SciOPS then parses and distributes the results to the public in order to generate a more informed public discourse about what science, technology, and innovation experts think about pressing current issues in an interesting and statistically-valid way. To date, there isn't a widely-known forum for science, technology, and innovation (STI) professionals to aggregate and broadcast their opinions on a wide range of contemporary issues. Journals and traditional academic scientific outlets are slowly distributed, poorly translated for non-experts, and are only loosely linked to policy or other non-research-specific matter. More popular and widely-available science, technology, and innovation outlets, like Science, are more prone to depict science as a two-sided conversation, with a single representative expert on the one side, and any variation of interlocutor on the other. This popular depiction of the conversation presents distorting zero-sum formulations, and gives a false sense of expert unanimity and certainty. SciOPS was designed, piloted, and tested to see if involving a large team of scientists, technologists, and innovators in contemporary discussions about a range of topics could change the trajectory of how science information is generated and consumed. By designing an interface that emphasizes transparency around survey methods and process, the team aimed to disrupt mainstream genres of scientific public discourse - in particular the cloistered conversations of scientists to one another in specialized familiolects, and the two-sided conversation that pits experts vs. any range of opposed views - and instead creates a space for more nuanced representation of expert consensus or dissensus, the team aimed to present expertise as an evolving, living discourse. This research report will detail how multiple partners-a lab, a university research center, and a design firm-all coordinated work to manifest this scientific discourse in an understandable way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSIGDOC 2020 - Proceedings of the 38th ACM International Conference on Design of Communication
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN (Electronic)9781450375252
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 3 2020
Event38th ACM International Conference on Design of Communication, SIGDOC 2020 - Denton, Virtual, United States
Duration: Oct 5 2020Oct 9 2020

Publication series

NameSIGDOC 2020 - Proceedings of the 38th ACM International Conference on Design of Communication

Conference

Conference38th ACM International Conference on Design of Communication, SIGDOC 2020
CountryUnited States
CityDenton, Virtual
Period10/5/2010/9/20

Keywords

  • Aggregation
  • Interface Design
  • Mixed Methods
  • Science Communication
  • User Experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications

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