Science information service
The Information Wissenschaft e. V. (idw) operates an Internet platform that bundles press releases and date information from around 1,000 scientific institutions: universities, technical colleges, governmental and non-governmental research institutes, research funding institutions and science administration. He operates an expert agency, the idw expert broker, exclusively for journalists. He has also been offering an image database since 2017. This makes the idw one of the most comprehensive sources of science news in the German-speaking area. Journalists and institutions from mostly European countries also use the idw today.
The idw has two main goals:
- to give the public a comprehensive picture of the German-speaking scientific landscape and
- to establish a close network between the affiliated (research) institutions.
The information in idw can be accessed free of charge - either directly on the www pages of the Science Information Service, via an individually configurable RSS feed or as an e-mail subscription. Each user can obtain the content that corresponds to his thematic and regional interests and use it for his own information offers. All offers of the Science Information Service can be used free of charge: the current news ticker, the science calendar, research in the archive (with more than 390,000 press releases and 62,000 appointments) and the listing of the institutions affiliated with the idw including the contact details of the contacts there. For journalists, idw also has tools for finding experts.
Members' press offices have various options for communicating with journalists. Membership is only possible for domestic and foreign institutions that conduct research or teaching themselves, promote them or are directly involved in science in another way.
Idea and foundation
The original idea of the science information service was to provide expert placement for journalists. Following the example of the American ProfNet, the then press spokespersons of the University of Bayreuth , the Ruhr University Bochum and the TU Clausthal, together with the data center at the TU Clausthal, developed a concept for a German-speaking network using the new media in early 1995. Technically, the concept was implemented by employees in the Clausthal data center. Today, nine people at the Bayreuth, Bochum and Clausthal locations take care of idw: our own software developers maintain and develop the service's operating system, everyone else is responsible for user support and further development of the content.
Funding and development
Project funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research ( BMBF ) secured the initial phase (1996–1999). The Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft supported the technical development of the idw together with the ministry. The idw has had a cooperation with the Science in Dialogue initiative for years. The Science Information Service has been economically independent since 2000. It is financed through the contributions of the affiliated member institutions. Since 2002 it has been organized as a non-profit, registered association. As part of its quality assurance, it has been awarding an annual prize for the best press releases of the year since 2009, the idw Prize for Science Communication.
Importance and scope
More than 40,000 subscribers regularly receive reports from idw, 8,000 of them are registered as journalists. Around 1,000 institutions publish their press releases and schedule information via the Science Information Service. (As of June 2020)
- Website on the idw Prize for Science Communication
- Anne Weißschädel: Craft, Relevance and Originality - 10 Years of the idw Prize for Good Press Releases. Interview. In: Wissenschaftskommunikation.de. May 7, 2019, accessed June 8, 2020 .
- idw: Who we are. Retrieved June 8, 2020 .