Science communication is a broad, catch-all term that can describe a large number of ways by which science is communicated. Usually it’s focused on sharing science with non-experts.
Examples of science communication
Not everyone uses the same definition of science communication, which can lead to confusion. For some people, it includes mainly public engagement and outreach activities. Others may include science writing, videos, stand-up comedy, social media, writing for magazines and websites, giving public talks, and a whole lot of other activities.
Many people make a clear distinction between science communication and science journalism. Science journalism is an independent, critical observation and reporting of research, whereas science communication usually has as goal to get an audience excited about science.
Who does science communication?
Many researchers communicate science as part of their job or as a volunteer activity. Giving a public seminar for an audience of non-scientists, visiting school classes, updating wikipedia pages or doing a media interview can all be considered science communication from the point of view of a researcher.
Other science communicators may have a full-time communication role. Press information officers for research institutes, science writers at magazines, curators and guides in science museums, marketing manager for a scientific company, or even editor for a scientific journal. All these roles (and many more) involve aspects of the communication of science, but they’re all very different jobs.
This diversity in what can be considered science communication can make it difficult to talk about the concept as a whole. To illustrate how complex it is, there is even a field of research that studies the science of science communication!
The one thing that all science communicators have in common is that they want to share science with their audiences.
- What is science communication? BIG STEM Communicators Network
- The EU Guide to Science Communication. EU Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) Toolkit
- Science communication: What was it, what is it, and what should it be? Brigitte Nehrlich, University of Nottingham, Making Science Public