Scientists failing to communicate
Scientists need to communicate better to improve the uptake of advancing technology, says Joseph Othieno, communications manager of the Kenya Veterinary Association.
Most Kenyan scientists, he says, are cocooned in laboratories — churning out findings but neglecting to pass them on to consumers. Kenyan farmers adapting to climate change do so based on authority rulings or circumstance, rather than informed decision-making.
Weak information is the greatest danger, says Othieno — a well-informed public can translate into a strong democracy and a sustainable economy.
Scientists must recognise that their poor communication skills are a problem and should make use of the mass media to inform the public about their discoveries.
Institutions should measure success by counting the number of people who are successfully using research findings, rather than the number of citations such findings have received. Science's value lies in its rate of transfer to the end-user.