Bringing people together to improve communication of research findings
Though, I am bit late to say, but, wish to put my thoughts on this very important and much relevant discussion. Given that your have already identified the obstacles from responses, for each point I will try to put my view:
Let me put example from Himalayan region in Asia, where a number of scientific and research institutions are involved in various research and scientific works. They are entrusted in Forestry, Land and Soil, Glaciers, WildLife, Water, Disasters, Environmental planning, etc. However, most of them are not able to communicate those thousands of researches and findings to the people in the region. That's what the region is called data deficit by various agencies and inefficient agencies in communicating science to the people.
In this let me quote an example from Environment Arena. The G. B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development was established in 1988 in Indian Himalayan region as an Autonomous Institute of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. It is a focal agency, to advance scientific knowledge, to evolve integrated management strategies, demonstrate their efficacy for conservation of natural resources and to ensure environmentally sound development in the entire Indian Himalayan Region (IHR), apart from undertaking research and technology development and/or demonstration. However, for last 22 years, the institution failed in various fronts. With huge infrastructure, the institute could develop a army of scientists and researchers and commissioned many research projects in the region. But, except a few demonstration models in one part of Himalaya, it could not lead in evolving natural resource management strategy, nor communicating their research to the people. Their scientists have spent months and years in publishing papers and articles and reading them in various international conferences but the people in the region are not aware about their research and its application in the life of people in various developmental fronts.
So, this is the typical example of efforts. Here, we need to see that how our entrusted research institutions are not doing what they are ought to do, and communicate that science to the people, in a manner which they claim while submitting their proposals to government of donors.
Language barriers are of course significant, but the dominance of English is not the problem. If all lanaguages were equal in their usage, cross-border communication would be even more difficult. My view is that every country should have a science translation council that attempts to identify priorities for government and academic support of science translation, and that can channel funds for translation projects in key areas.
In the case of Australia and New Zealand, for example, translation of agricultural science and food research from Japanese to English would be useful, as these countries can grow a range of crops that is similar to that found in Japan, and Japan is a major trade partner for agricultural products.
I have attempted to address this problem by creating The Research Cooperative, which is open to anyone involved in science communication, and where young inexperienced researchers, translators, editors, and publishers are welcome to join and start looking for opportunities to gain experience and build their personal networks.
We currently have more than 3,500 members, but actual activity on the network is still very limited. We also need some active, experienced communicators to join us and help encourage more discussion and activity!