Professor Science communication
Ionica Smeets is a communication scholar who wants to improve the interaction between science and society by studying how science communication works. The general public knows her for her popular science columns, blogs, books and television work. She has also written several books on science communication.
Ionica Smeets’ main research interest is bridging the gap between experts and the general public. She believes it is important to connect citizens and science, because science is a part of society. Researchers should both communicate their results to the public in the best possible way and listen to what society demands from them.
Ionica Smeets did her PhD in pure mathematics. The transition from this rather abstract field to science communication provides her with a broader outlook on science and an understanding of what science means and how it is performed in different fields.
After a postdoc in Public Understanding of Science, Smeets left the academic world for a few years. She worked as an independent science journalist, obtaining practical experience in communicating science with the general public. She appeared on the Dutch television show ‘Zomergasten’ and made her own science show ‘Eureka’. She also wrote a number of books including: ‘Het exacte verhaal’, a practical guide for scientists on science communication, ‘Zoete kinderen eten geen suiker’, about parenting myths that are disproved by science, ‘Ik was altijd heel slecht in wiskunde’ (with Jeanine Daems) and ‘Vallende kwartjes’ (with Bas Haring). During her time as a mathematician she wrote a popular mathematics blog called ‘Wiskundemeisjes’ with Jeanine Deams. This blog received various awards, including two Dutch Bloggies and the Mr. K.J. Cath-prize.
In 2015 Ionica Smeets decided to come back to the university to do research on effective science communication and to provide students of the science faculty with a firm foundation in science communication.
Examples of Smeets’ current research are the effect of exaggeration in press releases on media coverage of health research, participants experiences in citizen science projects, differences in interpretation of jargon between laymen and experts and developing evidence-based outreach material. She is the figurehead of route ‘Building blocks of matter and fundaments of space and time’ from the Dutch national research agenda
The main research themes of her group are:
• Authenticity in informal learning.
• Bridging the gap between experts and the general public.
Their mission is understanding how science communication works to improve the interaction between science and society in order to emancipate society, especially disadvantaged groups.
- Kristensen S.W., Cramer J., McCollam A., Reijnierse W.G. & Smeets I. (2021), The matter of complex anti-matter: the portrayal and framing of physics in Dutch newspapers, JCOM: Journal of Science Communication 20(7): A02.
- Evers A.W.M., Colloca L., Blease C., Gaab J., Jensen K.B., Atlas L.Y., Beedie C.J., Benedetti F., Bingel U., Büchel C., Bussemaker J., Colagiuri B., Crum A.J., Finniss D.G., Geers A.L., Howick J., Klinger R., Meeuwis S.H., Meissner K., Napadow V., Petrie K.J., Rief W., Smeets I., Wager T.D., Wanigasekera V., Vase L., Kelley J.M. & Kirsch I. (2020), What should clinicians tell patients about placebo and nocebo effects? Practical considerations based on expert consensus, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 90(1): 49-56.
- Grimmon A.S., Cramer J., Yazilitas D., Smeets I. & De Bruyckere P. (2020), Interest in STEM among children with a low socio-economic status: Further support for the STEM-CIS-instrument through the adapted Dutch STEM-LIT measuring instrument, Cogent Education 7(1): 1745541.
- Willems S., Albers C. & Smeets I. (2020), Variability in the interpretation of probability phrases used in Dutch news articles — a risk for miscommunication, JCOM : Journal of Science Communication 19(02): A03.
- Hooykaas M.J.D., Schilthuizen M. & Smeets I. (2020), Expanding the role of biodiversity in Laypeople’s lives: The view of communicators, Sustainability 12(7): 2768.
- Cheplygina V., Hermans F.F.J., Albers C., Bielczyk N. & Smeets I. (2020), Ten simple rules for getting started on Twitter as a scientist, PLoS Computational Biology 16(2): e1007513.
- Hooykaas M.J.D., Schilthuizen M., Aten C., Hemelaar E.M., Albers C.J. & Smeets I. (2019), Identification skills in biodiversity professionals and laypeople: a gap in species literacy, Biological Conservation 238: 108202.
- Bossema F.G., Burger J.P., Bratton L., Challenger A., Adams R.C., Sumner P., Schat J., Numans M.E. & Smeets I. (2019), Expert quotes and exaggeration in health news: a retrospective quantitative content analysis, Wellcome Open Research 4: 56.
- Vries M.J. de, Land-Zandstra A.M. & Smeets I. (2019), Citizen scientists’ preferences for communication of scientific output: a literature review, Citizen Science: Theory and Practice 4(1): 2.
- Venhuizen G.J., Hut R., Albers C., Stoof C.R. & Smeets I. (2019), Flooded by jargon: how the interpretation of water-related terms differs between hydrology experts and the general audience, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 23: 393-403.
- Hariman M., Vries M.J. de & Smeets I. (2019), Topic modeling for exploring cancer-related coverage in journalistic texts. In: Atzmueller M., Duivesteijn W. (Eds.) Artificial Intelligence. BNAIC 2018. no. 1021 Cham: Springer. 43-51.
- Schat J., Bossema F.G., Numans M.E., Smeets I. & Burger P. (2018), Overdreven gezondheidsnieuws. Relatie tussen overdrijving in academische persberichten en in nieuwsmedia, Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde 162(1): D1936.
- Smeets I. (2018), What Do People Like about Mathematics?, ALM International Journal 13(1): 58-64.
- Smeets I. (2017), Gelijk hebben én krijgen. In: Smeets, I. (Ed.) NVVK Congresbundel.: Vakmedianet. 6-10.
- Hut R.W., Land-Zandstra A.M., Smeets I. & Stoof C. (2016), Geoscience on television: a review of science communication literature in the context of geosciences, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 20: 2507-2518.
- Smeets I. (13 May 2016), Enige beschouwingen over de waarde der wetenschapscommunicatie (Inaugural address. Institute of Biology, Science, Leiden). Leiden: Universiteit Leiden.
- Smeets I. (16 June 2010), On continued fraction algorithms (PhD thesis. Mathematical Institute (MI), Faculty of Science, Leiden University). Supervisor(s) and Co-supervisor(s): Tijdeman, R., Kraaikamp, C.
- Wetenschapsjournalist, columnist en programma-maker
- Spreker en/of dagvoorzitter
- Lid Raad van Toezicht - portefeuille Wetenschapscommunicatie