• Livio Provenzi

Is SARS-CoV-2 going to change the way we do (and communicate) science?


The SARS-CoV-2 that resulted in Covid-19 pandemic has large and deep implications no just for virology and public health. The present emergency we are facing is affecting - in an unprecedented way - all the domains of human life, from daily family functioning to economic production, from healthcare organizations to local city management.

The media coverage of this pandemic is so intesive and ubiquitary that the communications about the virus - and the strategies to mitigate and contain its spread - need be carefully planned and delivered. These communications mostly regard data and results emerging from SARS-CoV-2 research. And scientific data are often wrote by researchers in languages that are only partially accessible to the general public.

So there is no reason to think that this pandemic will not end up changing the way we do and communicate science as well. The transition to "science after Covid-19" will first of all imply a change in the cultural and epistemic underpinnings of the relationship between researchers/scientists and citizens/patients. The synergic collaboration between these two words is key to the success of the healthcare strategies needed to deal with the virus, in other words - as many say during these days - "to learn how to live with the virus". For example, pragmatical implications of this collaboration can be seen in the areas of vaccines perception and adherence as well as in the citizens' participation to the contagion track by means of apps and smart devices.

The citizen and patient engagement in every step of research - from defining goals and priorities of the scientific agenda to planning effective and clear communications - is warranted to drive science into a new era. An era characterized by a "citizen science" model.

In order to highlight the need of promoting a "scientific citizenship", together with Dr. Serena Barello - EngagemindsHub, Catholic University of Milan, Italy - I have published a brief opinion piece published in Frontiers in Public Health. You can find it here.

Full citation: Provenzi L & Barello S (2020) The Science of the Future: Establishing a Citizen-Scientist Collaborative Agenda After Covid-19. Frontiers in Public Health, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.00282

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