Alan Alda spoke at the AAAS meeting in Chicago on the theme of communicating science to the public. We often view the communication of science, be it in one’s own scholarly journals or in mass media, as somehow distinct and meaningfully different from other communication styles. However, Alda made the point repeatedly during his presentation that this should not be the case. One can accurately convey science with stories and an engaging style that not only brings the reader along in the discovery process, but also preserves the truth and validity of the underlying discovery. Alda made the point that “Communication is not something you add on to science, it is of the essence of science.” Publishers can help to improve how science is communicated; indeed it is at the core of what publishers bring to the process of distributing science.
When it comes to self-archiving final manuscripts, NIH-funded authors either do not understand–or blatantly disregard–government and publisher policy. What can be done?