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The need for public understanding of science
Science news is a special case in the mass media and so needs specialised treatment by scientifically-qualified science reporters who understand and appreciate the nature of scientific work. Discuss
Government funding, through tax dollars, supports more than half of all scientific research in the United States. In order to maintain that level of funding, the public needs to support the work of scientists. Some might not think we are in danger of losing such support, riding the success of the campaign to double the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget. In general, the U.S. public supports scientific research and values science stories in the media. Nonetheless, most do not understand the fundamentals of research or scientific processes. This makes it difficult for them to comprehend highly specialized areas of current research. This, in turn, can have a direct impact on support for science: A report by the Department of Energy, addressing the crisis of its dwindling purchasing power, identifies a lack of appreciation of its research by the public as a source of this problem.