Richard Holliman is a sociologist studying the related areas of science communication and public engagement with the sciences. Trevor Collins is a computing researcher working in technology-enhanced learning and specialising in community informatics. They are based at the Open University, UK. Working with scientists and other stakeholders on the Informing science outreach and public engagement (Isotope) project, they collaboratively developed a community website for science engagement practitioners (http://isotope.open.ac.uk). Here’s why they put public engagement at the centre of their research.