Members of the scicomm community may have noticed a shift in our brand over the last few months as we rolled out a new name on social media, teased it at the Science Talk ‘22 annual conference, and now launched a new and improved website.
It’s official: Science Talk has changed its name to the Association of Science Communicators (ASC). We know our community has a lot of questions and ASC’s Dr. Allison Coffin and Dr. Kiki Sanford are here to answer them all!
Why did Science Talk decide to change its name to the Association of Science Communicators (ASC)?
Allison Coffin: The name change was needed for two reasons. First, we wanted to clarify what we do and who we serve. There was a lot of misconception with the name Science Talk. It often gives people the idea we are a training organization and we teach scientists how to speak about their work, when we’re actually a professional organization supporting science communicators already doing that work.
But more importantly, the decision to change the name to the Association of Science Communicators came about as a response to the evolving field of science communications. As the field matures and becomes more professional, we realized we needed to mature with it. That’s when we decided we needed to make a change from Science Talk the cheeky upstart, to a formal association supporting this burgeoning community.
What does the new name, the Association of Science Communicators, mean for the former Science Talk community? What is the added value?
AC: The vision and the mission are still the same. Our goal is to support the science communications community with professional development and networking opportunities to increase the impact of science in society. We were founded to serve science communicators and are still passionate about this effort.
Kiki Sanford: The big change is that instead of just one annual conference, ASC will have a dedicated year-round mission with online networking opportunities and professional development. And while some content, like the ASC blog and the newsletter, will remain free to the public, there are new benefits that will be accessible for association members only. This will include:
- Discounts for networking events, online courses, and the Science Talk annual conference
- Members only networking opportunities and workshops
- A members only Slack channel where the community can collaborate with new partners, advertise services, funding resources, and much more
- Access to a regularly updated job board
- A professional society for members to list on resumes and CVs
What are the differentiators between ASC and Science Talk branding going forward?
KS: The Association of Science Communicators, or ASC, is the new organization name. You will see this updated on our website, our social channels, and tied to future networking events and online courses.
Science Talk will remain the name of our annual conference. You will still see references to Science Talk in our communications, but that will only be in reference to the Science Talk conference. It’s also worth noting that the Science Talk Conference will still be open for everyone to attend. Association members will have the added perk of early registration and a conference discount.
What operational changes can the community expect to see with this transition to an association?
AC: In order to provide these year-round resources and events, and with the evolution to a formal association, members will be charged a membership fee. That’s likely the biggest operational change our community will notice. We’ve seen the hunger for a year-round professional community and the membership fee will allow us to serve the community in a more meaningful way.
Some of the new courses and events will be available to non-members at a cost, but there will be events exclusive to members and discounted rates on all events for members. Similarly, on the website certain resources will be accessible to members only, like the job board and the Slack channel. Other resources, like the blog and the newsletter, will still be available to non-members.
KS: We also have more opportunities for volunteers and members of the community to get involved in supporting these networking events, workshops, and online courses. We’re always taking on more volunteers to support the annual Science Talk conference, as well as these new initiatives. It’s a really exciting time to get involved.
Can you break down how the membership dues will work?
AC: There are different tiers for membership dues based on income bracket. We use the honor system, so ASC members won’t have to provide any personal information in order to access their rate. The breakdown for membership dues is included below:
- Student or income under $40,000 annually: $49/year
- Income between $40,000-$60,000 annually: $99/year
- Income between $60,000-$100,000 annually: $145/year
- Income more than $100,000 annually: $175/year
So how do I join ASC?
We are now accepting members! You can join as a founding member here.
Inaugural members are also being given a discounted rate if they join before the end of the 2022. We’re excited to share this journey with you!