Scientific American has an excellent article on the sociology of communicating new discoveries and how the relationship between science and journalism has changed over the years.
It’s a remarkably comprehensive analysis that looks not only at science publication but how it relates to our regular patterns of social communication.
This informal style of communication has been deliberately excluded from science in recent decades through the adoption of peer-review and a uniform impersonal writing style, as a way of imbuing the process with a form of institutional trust.
According to the author, online science pioneer Bora Zivkovic, this model is now being challenged by internet science writing where trust is gained through transparency – showing your working and background through links to original source – rather than having an institutional stamp of approval.
I think he’s a little hard on traditional science journalists, but as an analysis of how trust works in science communication, and how that is being affected by the online science community, it’s an incredibly thought-provoking piece.