ICONS’ new tools for science communication assessment
Press Release -
A paper published on Zenodo presents the Community Engagement Index and the communication effectiveness quadrants plot. Two new tools to quantitatively assess the effectiveness of the communication and engagement strategies of European research projects.
Over the years, communication has become a strategic success factor in the implementation of research & innovation projects and initiatives. Effective outgoing communication is key to enabling the dialogue with the multiple stakeholders, here including citizens, engaging them in the project. The ability to quantitatively assess the effectiveness of the communication and engagement strategies is therefore crucial, as it allows communicators to set concrete and measurable objectives, monitor the progress and evolution of the activities implemented, elaborate corrective actions, if needed, and compare the effectiveness of alternative communication approaches. The final goal is to bring science and technology closer to people by raising awareness, understanding, engagement with innovation as a way to address global social, environmental and economic challenges.
To compare the effectiveness of science communication campaigns and to quantitively assess communication strategies carried out by public-funded research projects, a widely shared approach is needed. For this reason, ICONS has set up a methodology combining a set of widely used outreach and engagement indicators into an integrated approach.
The methodology has been developed for European public-funded research projects but can be easily scaled and applied to research initiatives of diverse scientific scope, geographical area, size, duration and budget. It consists of an integrated analytical approach based on the combination of a number of off-the-shelf and widely used outreach and engagement indicators. In particular, the methodology offers a dynamic overview of the communication performances over time and thus the possibility to upgrade them by leveraging on specific channels or activities. It draws on two tools: the Community Engagement Index and the communication effectiveness quadrants plot. The former is a metric integrating all communication activities into one single index and representing the engagement of a community with the project. The latter is a dynamic graph used to monitor and improve the performance of communication tools and activities.
By using the methodology developed by ICONS in multiple projects, it is possible to set benchmarks and quantitatively compare the effectiveness of the communication strategies of disparate research initiatives.
The working paper, describing the methodology in detail, is available for download at Zenodo – the open access repository dedicated to science, built and developed by researchers, and managed by CERN for OpenAIRE – and at ICONS website.