About SMC ES

The Science Media Centre Spain is what you need when science is in the news. Yes, but: what do we do, why, when and how? where are we and who are we? All the answers are to be found below.

SMC ES
The 5Ws + 1 of the SMC
What?

SMC Spain is an independent office that provides the media with resources, reliable content, and expert sources to cover science-related news. Set up by FECYT, we are part of an international network of SMCs that started in 2002.

Why?

Because, to paraphrase the UK SMC, the media will do science better when scientists do the media better. Much science news generates controversy, and improving public debate requires context, sources and evidence.

How?

We offer content with varying degrees of immediacy to cover science news: quick reactions, explanations and analysis. We also offer resources on communication and current affairs, all under the Creative Commons licence.

When?

We are on the lookout for any controversial information on science to react with the agility the media needs. We work with science journal embargoes and follow the public debate in case it requires specialised voices.

Where?

You can find us on this website and on social media. We will also be launching a newsletter to notify journalists of our news forecasts and developments. In addition, we are in the international COVID-19 Vaccine Media Hub as a Spanish node since 2021.

Who?

The team is made up of journalists with extensive experience in scientific information. We have the collaboration of scientists, together with the press offices of their centres, and with the support of our advisory board. And all within an international network.   

Statute
Subtítulo

SMC Spain wants to contribute to science being reported in the media with context, expert sources, and the best available evidence. Because only in this way can we improve the quality of public discussion on the many topical issues that are linked to science.

Read our guiding principles and objectives

Advisory Board
Subtítulo

This voluntary team of independent experts provides expertise and advice to the SMC Spain team.

Read more

The methodology
How we work

When science generates controversy on the news agenda, SMC Spain responds quickly with ‘reactions’ from sources that help put the news into context. The topics we cover can originate from research results (which we know about before they are published, through the embargo system) or from unpredictable news (statements, crises, announcements, etc.).

We also publish articles written by specialists: ‘expert voices’ and explanatory articles written by members of the editorial staff: ‘what we know’.

We choose sources according to their expertise, seeking points of view that are representative of the opinions to be taken into account in each debate in the scientific community. We take care to ensure gender balance and specify the possible conflicts of interest of each source.

SMC Spain brings together all its scientific contacts in a database for internal use only, with labels by area, which includes press officers. If you, as a scientist, would like to be part of this database, please write to us.

CC Licence

The contents of the SMC Spain are published under the Creative Commons BY 4.0 licence, which permits the copying, distribution, public communication, and transformation of such contents, including for commercial purposes.

Registration and embargoes
  • Journalists will be able to register with SMC Spain to access embargoed content before the information is made public. They will have to agree in writing to abide by the embargo policy and will be responsible for ensuring that this embargoed material is not disseminated in part or in full. SMC Spain reserves the right to authorise such a registration. In no event shall SMC Spain be liable for the misuse of embargoed material by a journalist. Failure to comply with the embargo policy will result in the journalist's automatic removal from SMC Spain´s register.
  • Press office managers will be able to register in the directory to facilitate journalists’ searches. This register will also enable all content in which the centre's research staff have participated to be brought together on the website.
Governance
Independence

The mission of an SMC is to make the best available science available to journalists. Operational and editorial independence is achieved through:

  • A statute that ensures the independence of SMC Spain, avoiding any kind of interference in its contents, whatever the subject matter.
  • An advisory board, composed of a group of independent volunteer advisors from the fields of science, engineering, medicine, journalism, and communication, who provide expertise and advice.
Funding

In addition to independence in governance, another key element for SMCs is sustained funding over time. Some have achieved this through a model of external multi-funding, with a maximum percentage share of the total for each funder, which ensures that the SMC’s activity is not subject to the interests of any one institution.

Other SMCs operate with state public funding and small private donations. The Spanish SMC will be launched with funding from FECYT and, only if deemed appropriate in the future, donations may be sought from organisations with an interest in scientific information: research bodies and centres, universities, science-based companies, publishers, professional and patient societies, the media, research funders and the government itself.

Team
Pampa García Molina
Pampa García Molina
Coordinator of SMC Spain

Science journalist, coordinator of the SMC Spain and before that, of the SINC agency from 2011 to 2022. Graduate in Physics and master’s degree in Science Journalism.

Sergio Ferrer
Sergio Ferrer
Collaborator of SMC Spain

Science journalist for 10 years. Degree in Biology, master's degree in Microbiology and master's degree in Science Communication.

Laura Chaparro
Laura Chaparro
Editor of SMC Spain

Science journalist. With 15 years of experience in media and press offices. Graduate in Journalism. Master in Science Communication.

Jesús Méndez
Jesús Méndez
Collaborator of SMC Spain

Freelance journalist and science writer.
Degree in Medicine, PhD in Biochemistry and former researcher in cancer epigenetics. Master in Science Communication.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A Science Media Centre (SMC) is an independent communications office that helps ensure that the public has access to the best science through the media when science hits the headlines. There are several SMCs around the world: in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Canada, Germany, Africa and Japan. Although each operates autonomously, they all come together in an international consortium. SMC Spain, launched by FECYT, has joined this network.

 

Yes, each SMC retains its independence, but we all share guiding principles with a clear mission: to enhance public debate and discussion of current affairs by bringing evidence-based information to the headlines.

We offer formats with varying degrees of depth and immediacy to cover science-related news. We produce these types of products now, with more to come in the future.

  • Reactions: when science hits the headlines, we seek the point of view of different authoritative sources that assess the news with rigour and speed, according to the available evidence and outlining the accepted consensus and controversies in the scientific community.
  • Expert voices: each one of these pieces is an in-depth, more relaxed analysis of a topical issue commented on by specialists in that subject. These ‘expert voices’ put news stories into context, especially those involving controversies of social interest, which can be easily misinterpreted.
  • What we know: The SMC team produces explanatory articles on topical issues to answer society’s questions, with the necessary context and depth. The sources and resources used to produce the article are always provided.
  • Resource library: guides on different scientific topics for journalists and communication departments. Also, hints and suggestions are aimed at research staff, to help them when dealing with the media.

The contents are aimed at three profiles: journalists, research staff and press office technicians. Through these three audiences, the work of SMC Spain will also reach the public.

The Creative Commons BY 4.0 licence allows them to be republished in whole or in part, citing SMC Spain as the source. In the case of content signed by an author, the media outlet must cite SMC Spain and the author. In addition, if the content is disseminated via the Internet, it must be linked to the SMC Spain website.

The Creative Commons BY 4.0 licence allows the contents to be republished in whole or in part, citing SMC Spain as the source. In the case of content signed by an author, the media outlet must cite SMC Spain and the author. In addition, if the content is disseminated via the Internet, it must be linked to the SMC Spain website.

The only specific agenda an SMC must have is to promote the dissemination of evidence-based science. Therefore, it must maintain its operational and editorial independence. This is achieved by:

  • A statute that ensures the independence of SMC Spain, avoiding any kind of interference in its contents, whatever the subject matter.
  • An Advisory Committee composed of a group of independent volunteer advisors from the fields of science, engineering, medicine, journalism, and communication, who provide expertise and advice.

In addition to independence in governance, another key element for SMCs is sustained funding over time. Some have achieved this through an external multi-funding model, with a cap on grants for each funding body, which ensures that their activity is not subject to the interests of any one institution.

Other SMCs operate with state public funding and small private donations. The Spanish SMC will be launched with funding from the Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología (FECYT).

They are different media with different content: the SINC agency team produces news, reports, and interviews on different current scientific topics, while the editors of SMC Spain focus on gathering quick reactions from expert sources, write explanatory pieces that do not amount to reports (the ‘what we know’ articles) and write guides on different topics for researchers and journalists.

The only format they have in common is the opinion pieces written by scientists (called ‘expert voices’ in SMC Spain).

  • It is not a repository of press releases.
  • It is not a press office that provides journalists with contacts to scientists.
  • It is not a regular media outlet with news, features and interviews; that is the SINC agency.