Science communication is a growing area of practice and research and withholds particular value for natural sciences. Science communication is recognized as the public communication of science-related topics. The act of communicating science is carried out in many ways, encompassing science journalism, blogging, social media, videos, art, academic publishing, and any other activity that aims to help people understand anything related to research findings or the scientific process. Science communication is primarily broken down into two facets: 1) The science of science communication; and 2) The practice of science communication. The science of science communication breaks down what works effectively for communicating science, how it works, and why it works. While the practice of science communication is the actual implementation of communicating scientific ideas to a variety of audiences – and often multiple audiences!
WHY Communicate Science?
“When scientists are able to communicate effectively beyond their peers to broader, non-scientist audiences, it builds support for science, promotes understanding of its wider relevance to society, and encourages more informed decision-making at all levels, from government to communities to individuals. It can also make science accessible to audiences that traditionally have been excluded from the process of science. It can help make science more diverse and inclusive.”
(Feliú-Mójer, 2015, Scientific American)
PROS and CONS of Science Communication
Science communication can be perceived in many ways, which is both the benefit and drawback of this field. However, if approached in the correct manner, effective science communication ultimately proves to be more of a positive tool than a negative practice.
- Increased public science education
- Potential to effect societal change
- Helps scientists improve their grasp of their own field through the development of communication materials at multiple levels
- Inspires future young scientists to pursue careers in science
- Develops scientists’ toolkits by learning skills including leadership, organization, and creativity
- Expands science networks through interaction with more scientists who share similar or adjacent research interests
- Fear of not being viewed as professional
- Being taken out of context
- Someone taking your ideas
- Taking valuable time needed for doing research