Tips for ethical and legal use of images in science presentations and other science communication (Using Images-A Best Practices Primer, Part 1)

When you are looking for great images to communicate about science, the internet is a treasure trove. But it is easy to overstep legal and ethical boundaries.

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Where your images come from, and how you get them, matters. (Sketching jackrabbit specimens, ©2017)

This article is the first in a series aimed at helping you enhance your #scicomm and #sciart by avoiding #visualplagiarism. It will do so by laying out some best practices for dealing with images (which are, by their nature) visual intellectual property protected by copyrights.

Please chime in, in the comments or by contacting me, if you have suggestions for how to enhance this article or the series.


DEFINITIONS & TIPS FOR ETHICAL AND LEGAL IMAGE USE

Images are a crucial element of compelling science communication.

After all, something like 50% of our brains are keyed in to visual stimuli. And, more than ever, compelling images are easy to find on the internet. That makes the internet a powerful #VisualSciComm tool.

However, like most tools, how you use the internet to source images can have serious implications — in this case for your outreach, reputation, and efficacy.

No matter the use — presenting during a lab meeting, to a public audience, in a classroom, at a conference, or communicating via websites, news agencies, press offices, and social media — using images ethically and legally is an important part of the #scicomm and #sciart process. 

To help you do this, this article series is comprised of several sections: Definitions and Tips (covered today). As the series continues, we’ll also talk about Top Image Sources, How to find the creator/copyright holder of an image you want to use, Working with an illustrator, and Creating your own images.

Continue reading Tips for ethical and legal use of images in science presentations and other science communication (Using Images-A Best Practices Primer, Part 1)

Suggestions for integrating drawing into university-level biology courses

Click to download PDF version.

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I’m collaborating with the coordinator of a series of undergraduate Animal Biology labs this semester.

She is interested in integrating drawing more fully and effectively into the work that instructors and students do in those labs.

Her motivation stems, at least in part, from noticing that photographing specimens appears to be the most common way students interact with specimens in these labs. And yet, based on low exam scores, students aren’t getting much out of taking photos.

And so, we’ve been talking about how to utilize drawing as an active learning tool, as well as a self- and summative assessment strategy. Considerations include how to introduce drawing to TAs and students, and how to integrate it in myriad forms (phylogenetic trees, graphs, food web diagrams, specimen sketches, etc.) throughout lab activities, homework assignments, quizzes and exams.

We’ll be doing a TA training session before the semester begins, to ensure the TAs have basic familiarity and comfort in sketching and to troubleshoot facilitating it with their students.

As we planned all this, I realized that one thing I take for granted is my capacity to articulate how and why to utilize drawing in these ways.

And so, I offered to write up some text which she could copy or modify and distribute to TAs and students. What follows is what I’ve come up with. Feel free to utilize it, and if you do, please do let me know how it goes, if and how you adapted it, etc. Continue reading Suggestions for integrating drawing into university-level biology courses

September 2016 Newsletter: Making Connections through SciArt

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Click image to view full newsletter.

I spent much of the summer contributing to/planning two summer teaching institutes at the University of Wyoming, working on an art-as-science research manuscript with some great collaborators in Canada’s Northwest Territories, and crafting some illustrations of native bees for a science ed/outreach initiative based in North Carolina. And most recently, I helped facilitate UW’s first ever SciArt Symposium, which was a fascinating blend of both fields.

Through it all, I’ve been thinking about my genuine interest in being a catalyst and idea-sharer, helping others access the pleasure and productive aspects of art-science integration.

And so, this month’s newsletter focuses on some of the ideas and info I’ve encountered and shared this summer, with an eye toward connecting you to others’ ideas.

Happy sketching!

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September Table of Contents

  • Sketching Tip: Sketching at zoos and aquariums (guest tip!)
  • Artful Science: Stardom – Women in science and the arts
  • Artful Classrooms: Drawing in the Classroom – Ideas in practice
  • Sketchbook Snapshot: Experimenting through repetition
  • News & Events:
    • Illustrated greeting cards for staying in touch this summer
    • University of Wyoming Natural History Class – student workshop
    • Bee Germs illustrations are live!
    • University of Wyoming SciArt Symposium follow-up

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Should we be feeding wild birds? How a desire to sketch birds led to a romp through the bird-feeding literature

Cross-posted on www.drawntothewest.com

Group of finches_v1You can tell it’s spring; the Internet is aflutter with bird articles.

A lot of those articles relate closely to the two-part series I just wrapped up about attracting wild birds using methods informed by ornithology research.

I was inspired to investigate the subject because we have a “new-to-us” backyard that is bare dirt. A few trees and shrubs sit at the corners of the lot, but that’s it. We’ve begun by seeding in some native grasses and installing a vegetable garden, and now are considering what we could do to attract birds.

What a frog in pants taught me about good visual communication

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I recently filled out an artist database profile, and one of the questions was both great and thought-provoking. It was also deceptively simple:

What kind of work do you want? 

 After mulling that over for a while, this is what I came up with:

I’m looking for projects that combine fascination with the natural world and a deep appreciation for visual communication. 

I’m particularly excited about illustration for adults and children that doesn’t obscure how ecosystems work; editorial projects that connect readers’ everyday lives to the natural world; and collaborating with researchers interested in incorporating drawing into their research, teaching, and public communication efforts.

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The database form also requested links to samples of previous projects, the kind I’d like to do more of. A set of illustrations from early this spring immediately sprang to mind. I made these drawings to accompany a 300-word nugget about the history of science – how an Italian priest made an important breakthrough in our understanding of animal reproduction. That might not sound terribly exciting, but the nuances of that not-so-priestly experiment are.

Lazzaro Spallanzani, Italian biologist

Frog in Pants details how a Renaissance-age priest dressed frogs in taffeta pants, and in so doing, (partially) demystified sex.

My illustrations, coupled with the text by American Scientist associate editor Katie Burke, were published by www.buzzhootroar.com in March.

The piece went viral.

 Just wanted to say thank you again for the great piece. Among many other things, you made it onto Boing Boing and iO9, and tens of thousands of people visited the site, thanks to your excellent talents.
All the best,
Eleanor and the rest of Buzz Hoot Roar

Continue reading What a frog in pants taught me about good visual communication