Australia’s Science Channel is an Australian first, dedicated to science and serving Australian and International audiences. Australia’s Science Channel is designed to satisfy the needs of inquisitive members of the public and link day to day life with science.
Australia’s Science Channel offers audiences a unique experience by offering live events, printed publications and rich digital content. As an organisation, we are strongly committed to providing the highest level of content service without exception.
The programs themselves are structured around three key qualities: informative, educational and entertaining, within the field of science. Because Australia’s Science Channel is here to help integrate the knowledge and awareness of science in daily life, our programs and publications follow the standards set by the scientific research community. Our content strives to be accessible for and relevant to a wider Australian audience and seeks to open a dialogue with our audiences and the science community.
The Channel aims to become Australia’s most trusted source for informative, educational and entertaining content in the field of science. Our publishing and creative departments are dedicated to having a constant flow of interesting and exciting programs and publications that are accessible and relevant to a general audience. We will publish programs and publications by selected third parties that reflect our production values and meet our goals. We will provide forums and opportunities where the audience can directly engage in dialogue with the scientific community.
By using the most sophisticated methods of production, we aim to provide programming which is second to none in Australian science engagement. After developing and enhancing our online content services through interactive media like social media, this channel will give Australian science what it has long been waiting for; a platform to expose the Australian public to the work of Australian scientists, universities and scientific institutions, as well as a source of inspiration for budding scientists.
We aim to be sophisticated and contemporary, and our focus is on innovation, customer service and entrepreneurial spirit that will keep us at the top in our field and bring science to the widest audience possible.
Content in the context of this editorial policy and the activities of Australia’s Science Channel is described as digital content in the form of written word, stills photography, recorded audio, animation and videography as well as printed content and content delivered through live events.
1.2 Independence and Trust
The trust the audience has in Australia’s Science Channel depends on our editorial independence and integrity. Independence, trust and responsibility go hand in hand. Australia’s Science Channel is an independent, charitable association providing science to the public through a variety of distribution platforms.
1.3 Facts and Consilience
All information provided by Australia’s Science Channel will be fact-based and editorially independent, free from any bias and based on the consilience of the science available. If a material is to be presented that is outside the consilience or if a consilience on the issue does not exist or is unclear, this material must be presented in an appropriate context.
A note on Consilience: Consilience is where independent lines of research reach the same or similar conclusions. It is not the consensus of opinions of scientists. It is where the majority of research on a subject is in agreement with each other.
1.4 External Engagement
When Australia’s Science Channel is engaged to provide a service for a specific organisation we will do so within the parameters of our organisational mission and this policy. We will always identify all sponsors, funding partners or contributors of content to ensure full transparency.
1.5 Editorial Control
Full editorial control of the production of any content or materials made by Australia’s Science Channel will rest with Australia’s Science Channel on all occasions
Full editorial control of all material aggregated from external sources for dissemination by Australia’s Science Channel will rest with Australia’s Science Channel. Australia’s Science Channel reserves the right to not publish anything that it deems contrary to our mission or is contrary to this policy at its sole discretion.
1.6 Editorial Accountability
All editorial decisions are the ultimate responsibility of the Director as Editor-‐In Chief for The Royal Institution of Australia. This includes the determination of the consilience on a subject as well as the veracity and efficacy of all content. In making editorial decisions the Director has recourse to consult experts in their fields across Australia and internationally if required.
The day-‐to-‐day editorial decisions to be made by production staff and contributing editorial staff must be consistent with the editorial policy. Where questions arise over the editorial content, they must be referred up to Australia’s Science Channel management team for consideration.
The use of the word ‘science’, as in Australia’s Science Channel, encompasses the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. ‘Science’ refers to a body of knowledge amassed via specific methodologies, conclusions that are supported by evidence and phenomena or propositions that are measurable or testable. Weight is given to results reported in peer-‐reviewed literature.
3 Good Science Content
To capture a wide audience with science stories our content needs to be informative, educational and entertaining. Content also needs to be accessible to a wide audience and relevant to their daily lives. Our content needs to work on every personal entertainment screen.
Guidance note 1:
We acknowledge that we are asking our users to give us their time to watch our channel. Watching Australia’s Science Channel is an exchange of time for value. If we waste our viewer’s time we abuse and destroy the relationship we have with them and damage our reputation and brand. Our content standards need to be of the highest quality to deliver value to our users.
Guidance note 2:
Audiences travel to Australia’s Science Channel by their own choice. This means that they are searching for something. Generally, choices are motivated by aspirations; the aspiration to improve themselves or their lifestyles. We need to respect our audiences by pitching our content with high levels of integrity, accuracy, veracity and production values. We are not a television station, where people are willing to watch just because the thing is on, or the choices on the other channels are even worse. Trying to build volume by aiming at the lowest common denominator, doesn’t work in the case of an online niche content channel like Australia’s Science Channel.
3.2 Content Requirements
Australia’s Science Channel content is entertaining, informative and educational. It is accessible and relevant to a general audience and invites them into discussions about issues in science. Our content takes the consumer seriously. All content is suitable for delivery on smart phones, tablets, computer screens and connected televisions.
We aim to deliver the highest possible production values but acknowledge that different types of content and production circumstances will deliver various levels of quality to different audiences.
4 Content Decisions
Australia’s Science Channel gathers its content through internal productions, through content partners and through third party publishers and acquisitions. Content that appears on Australia’s Science Channel is curated by our editorial team and our contributing publishers. All content needs to abide by our Editorial and Quality Guidelines outlined in the clauses under sections 1, 2, and 3. Content needs to be current, or otherwise relevant. All our content is compliant with the standards of good taste and community acceptability.
4.1 Internally Produced Content
Australia’s Science Channel has the facilities and capacities to produce a limited amount of our own material.
Procedural note 1:
Internally produced content is subject to a decision-making process referred to as the Content Pipeline. Content ideas can originate with various sources but travel through the decision and production process in the same fashion. Ideas can be presented at the weekly content meeting. A pitch framework has been developed to aid the development process of ideas. Ideas that receive the green light, travel through the content pipeline and get allocated resources for production and delivery. External requests for productions are treated in the same way as productions initiated by RiAus. The pitch framework is used to assess the business case, as well as the suitability of the ideas for Australia’s Science Channel.
The management structure associated with the content pipeline includes the following positions:
Director – holds final responsibility for all editorial content decisions
Executive Producer – responsible for the protection and promotion of the organisation’s commercial interests and governance requirements
Channel Manager – responsible for channel scheduling and content profile design, and content acquisitions
Program Manager – responsible for allocation of production staff and resources
Finance Manager – financial management of productions
Contributing Editor(s) – responsible for the curation, production and day to day editorial execution
4.2 Externally Produced and Third Party Content
Australia’s Science Channel is able to take submissions from third parties, commission and acquire content and be involved in co-‐productions with one or more external parties. To assess third party content Australia’s Science Channel uses the same principles as it uses to approve internally produced content. Production value criteria, as well as veracity and accuracy of the science content, are the deciding factors, as well as compliance with the standards of good taste and community acceptability.
Third party content is managed by the Channel Manager, guided by the editorial policy.
5 Content Partners
5.1 Content Partner Relationship
Australia’s Science Channel works with third parties Publishers to ensure a complete channel profile and audience experience. These Publishers are invited to publish on Australia’s Science Channel. To be eligible for a Publisher account organisations need to be a credible scientific institution, science organisation, university, museum or media organisation. Publishers can self-publish their content directly on Australia’s Science Channel.
Sponsors and Corporate Members are entitled to provide limited content to be programmed on Australia’s Science Channel.
Besides Sponsors and Corporate Members, Australia’s Science Channel may partner with other organisations that have a similar or complimentary social agenda as Australia’s Science Channel, and require distribution for their content through Australia’s Science Channel, under a formal agreement.
5.2 Third Party Content Criteria
Third party content is editorial content and must not be mistaken for advertising. RiAus will assess the content against the content criteria set out in this editorial policy in the clauses under sections 1, 2, and 3.
5.3 Purpose of Third Party Content
Third party content can only be programmed for the purpose of enhancing the channel profile and the user experience. Besides the criteria outlined in the editorial policy, this content needs to be complimentary to The Royal Institution of Australia, Australia’s Science Channel’s core content.
5.4 Right of Refusal
The Royal Institution of Australia holds the right to refuse content from any third party if the content doesn’t comply with this editorial policy.
5.5 Production Guidance and Assistance
Australia’s Science Channel can advise on production from, or produce content for third parties at a fee for service.
5.6 Publishing Rights to Third Party Content
RiAus has the right to publish content produced and owned by third parties in perpetuity unless otherwise agreed in writing.
5.7 External Publication Request
Content publication requests from organisations and corporations other than established content partners, Gold and Corporate Members, or organisations that have been invited to provide content by RiAus, will be entered into the editorial decision-making process (content pipeline) by the Executive Producer and/or Partnerships Manager.
6 Commissions and Acquisitions
RiAus has the ability to work with independent content producers for the acquisition and commissioning of content.
In the case of a commission, The Royal Institution of Australia will function as the Executive Producer of the project. The Royal Institution of Australia will require final script/draft approval and will need to have full insight in the projects' financials. If the involvement of other parties is required, provisional approval from The Royal Institution of Australia is needed.
6.2 Terms of Trade
Relationships with independent content producers are assessed on a case by case basis and are subject to commercial in confidence.
Guiding note 3:
Australia’s Science Channel commits to delivering the best possible audience experiences. These experiences are achieved through a combination of content and user interface. We acknowledge that time is valuable, and we will not waste the time of our users. We are storytellers and our stories give shape and form to the human experience. They allow us to see the world in an unexpected way. We are readers, creators and consumers ourselves, living in the exploding world of digital media. Like our users, we are driven by our desire to find the next great story: one that will excite and change us. Stories that are testing the limits of storytelling and stories that are driven by authenticity, and not dollars. We believe that finding the next best thing should be intuitive, seamless and personalised. We want to help your next great story find you.
7 Value for Membership
The Royal Institution of Australia, owner of Australia’s Science Channel, is a membership-‐based charitable association. The Royal institution of Australia strives to create extra value for our members. Australia’s Science Channel will consider the value we provide to our members in every step of the editorial decision-making process.
8 Audience Care and Engagement
8.1 Sharing and Republishing Australia’s Science Channel publications
We encourage users to share and republish our content where copyright arrangements allow. Australia’s Science Channel will offer technology to assist our audiences to share and republish our content where appropriate.
8.2 Closed Feedback Loop
Australia’s Science Channel welcomes feedback and comments on content and services and encourages active discussions around the issues we present. Appropriate communication channels are offered and publicised. All feedback will be considered and followed up with an appropriate action.
8.3 Public Forum Moderation
Australia’s Science Channel reserves the right to moderate public contributions on all our social media platforms and all feedback and interactive portals. Australia’s Science Channel can delete, republish and endorse comments provided by the public at its own discretion. All comments need to be relevant to the item or topic the comments refer to, adhere to the standards set out in this Editorial Policy and they need to be compliant with the standards of good taste and community acceptability. Australia’s Science Channel cannot be held responsible for the content of comments made by members of the public through our social media, commenting and other feedback channels. Australia’s Science Channel will refer cases of defamation, threatening behaviour, or other inappropriate contributions to the appropriate authorities.
Guiding note 4:
On the Internet, users can comment on, endorse, share and campaign around issues and content. It is our intention to build communities around our content. Communities of loyal users that are brand ambassadors. We are committed to being responsive to the feedback we receive from our users and will reply to comments, complaints and suggestions from a customer care point of view. We install a sense of ownership within our user base by asking them for their feedback on our services, providing them with a development roadmap, and a clear statement that we are building the service together with our users. We welcome a user base that is critical, engaged and passionate about ‘their’ platform.
9 Corrective Action
Australia’s Science Channel will take corrective action in case of errors such as the inclusion in content of inaccurate information, or the omission of relevant contextual or balancing information. Australia’s Science Channel will correct, remove or substantiate the content in question. Australia’s Science Channel’s approach to dealing with errors is based on proportionality, common sense and reasonableness.
Guiding note 5:
Australia’s Science Channel will avoid the creation of false balance in the presentation of any issue. We will be guided by and seek to represent the consilience of the science on every issue. We will not have to take corrective action if the complaint seeks to create false balance on the issue under consideration.
Procedural note 2:
Any decision to retract or remove content must be upwardly referred to Australia’s Science Channel’s management team. Any decision to issue a formal apology as part of corrective action must be upwardly referred to the Royal Institution of Australia’s (owner of Australia’s Science Channel) Director and General Manager.
10 Advertising and Commercial Messaging
Australia’s Science Channel reserves the right to accept advertising and commercial messaging on its platforms consistent with this Editorial Policy. As an independent not for profit charitable organisation, Australia’s Science Channel relies on government, industry, philanthropic and public funding for its existence and the delivery of services. All advertising and commercial messaging will be identified as such for transparency.
10.1 Editorial Independence in relation to commercial interests
Australia’s Science Channel values its editorial independence and the trust relationship with the users. Commercial agendas and sponsorship arrangements will not interfere with the editorial choices nor the reputability of the science portrayed on Australia’s Science Channel.
10.2 Commercial messaging placement and treatment
Australia’s Science Channel values the user experience it offers as its greatest asset, therefore commercial messages and sponsorship and partnership related branding are integrated into the user experience, delivered in an un-‐obstructive and un-‐offensive way and deemed relevant to the content and audience profile.
10.3 Excluded advertising material
Australia’s Science Channel reserves the right to exclude advertising, the promotional or commercial material at management’s discretion.
11 Updates to this policy
Amendments to this policy need to be approved by Australia’s Science Channel’s Management Team and Board prior to being executed.