The overall aim of the PLACES project (in French: “Plateforme collaborative pour les enjeux sociétaux”) is to propose answers to the current impasses in science communication, presently based on a strict division of work between producers and popularisers of academic knowledge. Such an organization shows nowadays two main limitations: (1) the slow process of mediatization of academic knowledge, and (2) perceived low impact of such knowledge for society, especially for disciplines in the fields of the social sciences and the humanities (SSH). The importance of the current phenomenon of massive disinformation in democratic societies can be seen as a direct consequence of this problem of the organization of scientific communication. To explore a new model for science communication, the PLACES project proposes to bring together practitioners from the two professional worlds of journalism and SSH research, from the very beginning of knowledge production, in order to make them both co-actors of the overall process. The aim is to break down the silos of research practices, by creating the conditions for a dialogue on the modalities of science production (as opposed to vertical communication characterizing the dissemination mode). From this point of view, the project aims to put into practice collaborations following the model of "Extreme Citizen Science". To do so, the PLACES project supports three experimental collaborative researches, each bringing together a SSH researcher and a journalist, with the aim of highlighting the difficulties and obstacles encountered in this type of inter-professional collaboration. In order to synthesize and problematize what has been observed, the three experimental researches are then observed by professional researchers in order to write a research report on the subject and to make proposals for the creation of a specific platform supporting this type of collaboration.
The first goal of the PLACES project is to bring social science and humanities (SSH) researchers and journalists to work hand in hand on the same research, i.e. to define a subject of study, to explore a field and produce a common analysis, or even to shape together the final product that will be disseminated. Three experimental investigations have been engaged. The first explored the life of young people (under 50) with Alzheimer's disease, producing a final podcast series broadcasted by Binge Audio. The second explored the issue of migration effects during a municipal election in a border area between France and Italy, leading to a series of three press articles on Cafébabel.com. The third investigation, explores the issue of "false periods" induced in women by contraceptive pills, and will be published by 20 Minutes France. The second goal of the PLACES project is to observe these collaborations between SSH researchers and journalists at work during their implementation, in order to identify the obstacles, the needs for support, and the successes of such collaborations, and the way they can provide a model for renewing the communication of research. These observations are carried out by a team of two researchers, one in language sciences and the other in anthropology. Their analyses will be published in the form of a research report. The third goal is to draft specifications for the creation of a platform supporting the close collaboration of SSH researchers and journalists involved in a joint research project. The challenge here is to provide the participants first of all with a privileged communication channel as well as a database of different resources needed, but also a toolbox for applications facilitating data sharing and, more largely, collaborative work.