Something less than accessible.
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It’s extremely difficult, if not sometimes downright impossible, to make science communication truly accessible. The problem, as usual, is money.
Certain demographics of people are reliable consumers of science. They will tune into TV shows, they will read articles, they will listen to podcasts, they will watch YouTube videos, and they will browse on social media. They have a lot of eyeballs and some spare cash, and are juicy targets for advertisers. It’s through those advertisers that content creators make money. There is nothing wrong particularly wrong with this model – it does, after all, enable the delivery of science content to mass audiences – except for the fact that it leaves a lot of people behind.
Blind and deaf communities, children with learning differences, people on the autism spectrum, and more have a challenging time finding good sources of science content. It’s simply not developed with them in mind. Because those communities are small, they don’t have a lot of spending power, and so there’s not a lot of money to be made by delivering science to them.
The vast majority of science communication, at least in the media world, is driven by profits, not philanthropy.
But thankfully that’s beginning to change. Organizations like Accessible Astronomy are starting to widen the scope of science outreach and communication. They’re trying to bring more people in, to get them interested. Not just to learn about science and become passionate about it, but open the pathway to them becoming scientists themselves, increasing the diversity of the field and the number of voices and ideas and bright minds that can contribute to further understanding how our universe works.
It’s a hard job, and a largely thankless one, driven more by passion than profits. But it is absolutely vital for science to continue as a discipline and to continue to be enjoyed and celebrated in the 21st century.