Science needs effective PR

September 2, 2010

Zoë Corbyn's article "Trial by error" (26 August) depressingly restates the same sterile arguments made too many times in the past 30 years. Researcher versus media disagreements will continue until science embraces professional public relations more widely. Effective PR can bridge the gap between media and science, as it does exceedingly well for finance, politics, sport and the arts.

Research is too important to be left outside the mainstream of our society, but until it fully recognises the benefits of professional public relations, and the crucial importance of independent and rigorous media scrutiny, it will be seen by many outside the research community as being the preserve of boffins, performing magic or creating a future from which ordinary people are excluded.

Research and the media is a three-player game. All parties need support and encouragement, but as long as scientists are expected to be their own press officers and the media to act as an uncritical mouthpiece of the research community we are unlikely to progress.

Peter Green, Managing director, AlphaGalileo Foundation.

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