Bridging the opinion gap

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Science  30 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6221, pp. 459
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa7477


There is a wide opinion gap between scientists and the general public in the United States when it comes to their attitudes about the state of science and science-related policy. According to survey results released this week by the Pew Research Center, in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS),* when asked whether U.S. scientific achievements are either the best or among the world's best, only 54% of the public said “yes,” compared to 92% of the scientists. Such disparity is alarming because it ultimately affects both science policy and scientific progress. How can we bridge this gap? Forget the staged “town hall” meetings—studies show that they are not very effective. What does work is respectful bidirectional communication, where scientists truly listen, as well as speak, to the public.

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