Complexity, transparency and time pressure: practical insights into science communication in times of crisis

Estimate of the hospitalized infections based on historic case numbers of the last two weeks at that time (blue dots) and a prediction of hospitalized case numbers for the coming month (brown line). Horizontal dashed lines indicate the number of available hospital beds.

Abstract

A global crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic that started in early 2020 poses significant challenges for how research is conducted and communicated. We present four case studies from the perspective of an interdisciplinary research institution that switched to “Corona-mode” during the first two months of the crisis, focussing all its capacities on Corona-related issues, communicating to the public directly and via media, as well as actively advising the national government. The case studies highlight the challenges posed by the increased time pressure, high demand for transparency, and communication of complexity and uncertainty. The article gives insights into how these challenges were addressed in our research institution and how science communication in general can be managed during a crisis.

Publication
Complexity, transparency and time pressure: practical insights into science communication in times of crisis
Georg Heiler
Georg Heiler
PhD candidate & data scientist

My research interests include large geo-spatial time and network data analytics.

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