Author: Luisa Massarani – Brazilian Institute of Public Communication of Science and Technology, Brazil


  • Alexander Gerber – Rhine-Waal University and Institute for Science for Science and Innovation Communication (Germany)
  • Lars Guenther – Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology, Stellenbosch University (South Africa)
  • Marina Joubert – Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology, Stellenbosch University (South Africa)
  • Jenni Metcalfe – Econnect Communication; PhD student Australian National University (Australia)

Although science communication in various forms likely predates the institutionalisation of science, the formal academic research of science communication goes back some 50 years. While there are three academic journals dedicated to the field, many relevant research articles are scattered over thousands of journals.

Science communication research, like science communication practice, is a very diverse field. Scholars from different disciplines often work more in parallel than together.

Despite it being almost impossible to capture the developments of the whole research field over the last decades, the participants in this roundtable will discuss their studies, which have attempted to analyse various parts of the science communication research picture. These studies shed light on the general trends and opportunities offered by science communication research to-date, but also identify significant gaps and needs in the research field.

Lars Guenther and Marina Joubert will discuss their study, which identified the trends, challenges and gaps by analysing research papers from the three journals dedicated to the field, Public Understanding of Science, Journal of Science Communication and Science Communication.

Alexander Gerber and Jenni Metcalfe will discuss the unpublished research results of the INSCICO team’s content analysis of more than 3,000 texts, review of grey literature, and two-stage interviews with 34 leading science communication researchers from all continents.

Luisa Massarani will present the results of a study, which identified and analysed 609 science communication papers from 80 journals that were written by 1,081 authors from 232 Latin America or related institutions.

The studies explore the opportunities and needs, and trends and gaps of the current science communication research field. The presenters will also discuss the relevant outcomes of discussions on science communication research being held at the Rockefeller Foundation-supported mini conference being held in November 2017.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Building a theoretical basis for science communication