Building a science communication process

Executive Summary

A key goal of the Sci-Comm project at VitaDAO is (1) increasing presence in the community by generating a diversified portfolio of high-quality scientific content, (2) increasing influx of contributing DAO members, funding- and investment opportunities and (3) building a structured interface between the longevity working group and the awareness working group.

In order to reach these goals, we are putting together a cross-disciplinary team that is generating and distributing content on 3 main channels: audio, video and text. We aim to keep the fixed operational and editorial footprint lightweight and instead have an incentive-based system for contributors, in which creators and distributors are compensated on an event-driven basis.
For activities of Q3 2021, we request a budget of 8000 USD in $VITA from the longevity working group budget

Strategic / Objectives and Key Results (OKR) Alignment

Theme: Science & Communications

OKR Target / Goal: until end of Q3 ’21:

Product, Market and Technology:

  • 10 Journal club episodes with >= 25 participants
  • Video transcripts of > 5 journal club episodes on Youtube
  • 5 articles published covering hallmarks of ageing and related topics
  • 5 videos added on Youtube
  • First conversations@vita with scientist / entrepreneur

Team:

  • grow the scicomm team to 10 regular contributors from both the longevity working group and the community & awareness group
  • standardized processes for the creation of content
  • assigned responsibilities within the scicomm team

Financials:

  • generate min. 1 academic project lead
  • generate min. 1 non-academic project lead
  • generate min. 10 more contributing discord members via scicomm activity
  • create a dashboard for comms
    • impressions of scicomm content on twitter
    • max. number of participants in journal club
    • number of pageviews for articles
    • number of views for youtube videos
    • number of downloads for podcast episodes
  • establish a public bounty program with a fixed amount of VITA offered for a high quality contribution that is shared (especially relevant for articles, but also video and journal club)

Product, Market and Technology

The science communication team is developing 5 products:

  • longevity journal club - interactive journal club conversations on clubhouse
  • conversations@vita - interactive conversations with selected guest speakers
  • medium - written pieces spanning 1000-2000 words, covering scientific topics
  • talks@vita - recorded talks given by members of the community
  • long life short papers - 2 min explainers of recent and relevant ageing biology literature

Team (alphabetical order)

  • Aaron King (WG-mem)
  • Alev Basaran (WG-mem)
  • Alex Dobrin (WG-mem)
  • Ariella Coler-Reilly (WG-mem)
  • Estefano Pinilla (WG-mem)
  • Ilyssa Evans
  • Jason Colasanti (WG-mem)
  • Keaton Minor
  • Maria Marinova (WG-mem)
  • Niklas Rindtorff (WG-mem)
  • Max Unfried (WG-mem)
  • Steven Zuber (WG-mem)

Financials

The working group is rewarding members and guests for their efforts using a bounty system. On a quarterly basis, contributors will get paid a fixed amount based on the number and previously defined value of their contribution.

Moving forward, we will measure the impact of our sci-comm efforts using engagement analytics and onboarding questions with the awareness group to refine the internal pricing for different formats/activities.

requested budget: 8000 USD in $VITA in total from the longevity working group

link to spreadsheet: q421.sci-comm.planning

Detailed description of projects:

Journal Club
The longevity journal club is a weekly event hosted on clubhouse with one hour of scientific discussion about a particular topic within the ageing field. The hosts prepare at least 30 minutes of content and engage in an interactive conversation with the audience.

key activities

  • coordinate topic with current project steward
  • Fill the airtable in for the episode
  • identify team mate for journal club episode and tag all the necessary people on Airtable
  • notify awareness WG members about the event and schedule it on CH
    • in the event description, add an invite link to discord: VitaDAO 💛
    • in the event description, add a shortened link to a read-only version of the slide deck once it is camera ready
  • prepare slides with at least 24h of buffer before the event
  • schedule a 30-60min meeting right in front of the event to go over the slides with your teammate one more time and rehearse (yes, rehearse) the first minutes of the event.

Long Life Short Papers
This is a project where host scientists explain the most recent (since 2021) longevity related papers in a 2-min video every week. This series is more likely to start in October 2021 once the protocol is well-established. The researcher should focus on new studies, review papers shall not be included. If possible, visual support (e.g. highlighting the part of the paper that is being explained and adding some visual supporters like images) should be included into the videos. The researcher should also submit a voice recording to the awareness team to improve the sound quality if needed in the video. Notification of the awareness team and the finalisation of the video is solely the responsibility of the researcher. If the researcher is not a wg member they can still foster the communication on Discord and seek help to get the activities they have accomplished registered on Airtable (for example, by contacting Niklas, Alev, Estefano)

Articles
The team is publishing and editing articles for topics surrounding the biology of ageing and the potential translation of new insights into clinical practice. Examples include articles on drug discovery.

Talks@vita
recorded talks include a three part series on bottlenecks in longevity by Aaron King.

Conversations@vita
These conversations will be focusing on experts in mainly longevity science or the intersection of longevity with web3 technologies. The content can be expanded after the successful completion of the first couple episodes. A planning list of the experts to be interviewed for this event series can be found here: VitaDAO Conversations

key activities

  • Each episode should be planned similar to Journal Club episode planning. There should be a responsible person for organizing the event and doing the communications around it, preferably with a vitadao email account. Once the event is clarified in terms of who is being interviewed, what is the topic, who is the interviewer and who is the collaborator from the awareness team this event should be filled in on Airtable.
  • The event should be marketed with a great effort. There will most likely be a lot of external interest to this therefore the awareness team collaborator is responsible for posting the necessary information and links before and during the event.
  • The questions and/or the content should be communicated in the longevity wg. This is the responsibility of the interviewer. If this person is not a wg member they should provide a written content plan and share it with the scicomm core team to be discussed further.
  • approve
  • approve with changes
  • not approve

0 voters

6 Likes

I expressed some concerns on Discord regarding the compensation framework, and Niklas suggested we move the conversation here, so I’m copying my main comments below:

1. Effort ratios. Effort ratios do not appear accurate. While indeed there may need to be case-by-case adjustments, personally I believe even as a rough estimate these are way off.

“I definitely have some thoughts on the relative efforts of:
- drafting a post vs. skilled editing/rewriting (currently 10:2)
- drafting a post vs. producing illustrations/diagrams (currently 10:3)”

——

2. Effort vs. Skill vs. Impact. I have doubts that effort should be the sole criteria for determining compensation. This does not match the values of the DAO as expressed in previous VDP documents, which included variation in hourly rates depending on industry standards for professional skills. There has also been some discussion of including impact metrics in the calculation, which I heartily support in theory, though I have no experience/vision for how this will work in practice.

“Not to further complicate things, but… should there be any distinction between skilled vs unskilled labor? (Not a binary of course, but a spectrum.) As in, generally all hours are not created equal. There’s a reason hourly wages vary orders of magnitude between different jobs out in the IRL world…”

——

3. Management roles. Previous VDP documents have suggested management roles would also be compensated, rewarding active contributions to organizing and refining DAO activities. However, I see no mention of a framework for that here.

“I’m also not clear on how people like Niklas are being compensated for overseeing all of these projects.”

——
Additional comments not yet mentioned on Discord:

4. Articles section. In general, the section on “Articles” is much shorter than the other sections and lacks a useful description of the processes involved in brainstorming, organizing, drafting, revising, proof-reading, and publishing.

5. Graphics section. The proposal lacks a dedicated section for sci-comm graphics, including supporting figures for articles as well as standalone infographics. Visual science communication is known to be highly effective, particularly when it comes to generating interest and attention on social media, so I do not think this contribution should be overlooked or taken lightly.

In other words, 4 main channels: audio, video, graphics, and text.

4 Likes

Thanks @NiklasTR for such a comprehensive post. I echo @Ariella’s comments on effort vs. skill. It is subjective to account for effort and skill, but quality is better than quantity. Noting that how much one should be compensated based can lead to hurt feelings about who is worth what, let’s just be open to keeping this a fluid and open discussion. We should potentially have an Ombudsperson(s) to provide oversight on what’s getting paid out. I’m happy to be that person, though in an effort to continue to decentralize further perhaps it should be someone else (Keith Comito?).

My most important point to everyone about the SciComm efforts are they always reflect what VitaDAO uniquely brings to the table. Many organizations create longevity content. However, we are the only ones leveraging crypto. In everything we communicate, we should include the social/political/economic backstory of why the science matters.

For example, when we talk about hypoxia, let’s reference a reason we are talking about it because the original work was not published in high impact journals, yet it went on to win a Nobel Prize. This shows how hard it is to recognize the value of discoveries. Or when we talk about CRISPR, there is the backdrop of the fight between Broad vs. UCalifornia, which is slowing how many people get access to this revolutionary technology.

Crypto means aligning incentives, bringing power to the powerless, etc. Science isn’t just about genes and molecules. There are humans behind every discovery, so let’s bring those out.

4 Likes

Thank you for your comments @Ariella and @timrpeterson. I agree with most of the points you raised. Evaluating effort vs. skill vs. impact is hard, but that should not be an excuse to only focus on time spent or take a flat-fee approach.
I think we all agree that contributors should be rewarded relative to the impact they create. In the absence of data on impact and with a sense of urgency that we need some tokens earmarked to keep our creators motivated, we moved to put this proposal on discourse. To give people some perspective - this is the first time we are paying people within the DAO based on a specific task they have completed, we are still figuring things out.

I think there are three ways with which we can move forward:

  • benevolent ombudsperson that is in charge of allocating resources (most centralized solution)
  • a more detailed and comprehensive list of activities that the community agreed upon (based on what we did here)
  • a decentralized solution compensating members based on the aggregate subjective contribution to the community (see https://coordinape.com/)

I personally think that

  • appointing an ombudsperson might be the easiest, but not the necessarily best solution to this problem.
  • Using a democratic tool such as coordinape will be hard to implement, but might be worth the experiment.
  • hashing out an allocation for people that everybody agrees on is very laborious but democratic.

I suggest we vote on the earmarking of 8000 USD $VITA (which I believe is reasonable) and work out the distribution mechanism across the proposed projects by the end of the month in a separate proposal.

If you want to edit, improve or refine sections of the document, you can find the link in the sci-comm discord channel.

3 Likes

Coordinape seems like a good solution for the whole DAO. I agree let’s move forward with lowest-friction approach so we can start paying people today for SciComm but let’s plan for the long-term in coordination with @theobtl and @Stefano across the entire DAO. We can do both in parallel.

$8000 USD seems reasonable to me (not too much, not too little) just to get things going.

5 Likes