2021

Falade, B. A. and Murire, M. (eds.) 2021. Health Communication and disease in Africa: beliefs, traditions and stigma. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

2019

Weingart, P., Joubert, M. & Falade, B.A. (eds.). 2019. Science Communication in South Africa. Reflections on Current Issues. Cape Town: African Minds.

Why do we need to communicate science? Is science, with its highly specialised language and its arcane methods, too distant to be understood by the public? Is it really possible for citizens to participate meaningfully in scientific research projects and debate? Should scientists be mandated to engage with the public to facilitate better understanding of science? How can they best communicate their special knowledge to be intelligible? These and a plethora of related questions are being raised by researchers and politicians alike as they have become convinced that science and society need to draw nearer to one another. In countries around the world, scientists, policy-makers and the public have high hopes for science communication: that it may elevate its populations educationally, that it may raise the level of sound decision-making for people in their daily lives, and that it may contribute to innovation and economic well-being. This collection of current reflections gives an insight into the issues that have to be addressed by research to reach these noble goals, for South Africa and by South Africans in particular.

2017

Weingart P., Wormer H., Wenninger A., & Hüttl R. F. (Eds.) (2017). Perspektiven der Wissenschaftskommunikation im digitalen Zeitalter. Weilerswist: Velbrück Wissenschaft.

Weingart P., & Taubert N. C. (eds.) 2017. The Future of Scholarly Publishing: Open Access and the Economics of Digitisation. Cape Town: African Minds.

The formal scientific communication system is currently undergoing significant change. This is due to four developments: the digitisation of formal science communication; the economisation of academic publishing as profit drives many academic publishers and other providers of information; an increase in the self-observation of science by means of publication, citation and utility-based indicators; and the medialisation of science as its observation by the mass media intensifies. Previously, these developments have only been dealt with individually in the literature and by science-policy actors. The book documents the materials and results of an interdisciplinary working group commissioned by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) to analyse the future of scholarly publishing and to make recommendations on how to respond to the challenges posed by these developments. As per the working group’s intention, the focus was mainly on the sciences and humanities in Germany. However, in the course of the work it became clear that the issues discussed by the group are equally relevant for academic publishing in other countries. As such, this book will contribute to the transfer of ideas and perspectives, and allow for mutual learning about the current and future state of scientific publishing in different settings.

Van Schalkwyk, F., Verhulst, S., Magalhaes, G., Pane, J. & Walker, J. (eds.). 2017. The Social Dynamics of Open Data. Cape Town: African Minds.

Van Schalkwyk, F., Verhulst, S., Magalhaes, G., Pane, J. & Walker, J. (eds.). 2017. The Social Dynamics of Open Data. Cape Town: African Minds.

2016

Guenther, L. 2016. Die Berichterstattung über (Un)Gesichertheit. Journalistische Wahrnehmung und Darstellung wissenschaftlicher Evidenz. Wiesbaden: VS.

Koch, S. & Weingart, P. 2016. The delusion of knowledge transfer: the impact of foreign aid experts on policy-making in South Africa and Tanzania. Cape Town: African Minds.

With the rise of the ‘knowledge for development’ paradigm, expert advice has become a prime instrument of foreign aid. At the same time, it has been object of repeated criticism: Several studies have documented the chronic failure of ‘technical assistance’ – a notion under which advice is commonly subsumed – in terms of ‘capacitating’ recipients. The book reveals fundamental problems of expert advice in the context of aid that concern issues of power and legitimacy rather than merely flaws of implementation. Based on empirical evidence from South Africa and Tanzania, the authors show that aid-related advisory processes are inevitably obstructed by colliding interests, political pressures and hierarchical relations that impede knowledge transfer and mutual learning. As a result, recipient governments find themselves caught in a perpetual cycle of dependency, continuously advised by experts who convey the paradigms and agendas of their respective donor governments. Building on an interdisciplinary framework grounded in the sociology of science, the theory of democracy and development studies, the monograph offers far-reaching findings and explanations why aid-related expert advice tends to keep young democracies in a status of dependence rather than making them self-reliant.

Ruhrmann, G., Kessler, S. H., and Guenther, L. 2016. Wissenschaftskommunikation zwischen Risiko und (Un)Sicherheit. Köln: Herbert von Halem.