Communicating science in developing contexts: The Philippine perspective

Communicating science in developing contexts: The Philippine perspective

Author: Kamila Navarro – Formerly De La Salle University, Philippines


  • Kamila Isabelle Navarro – Formerly De La Salle University

Since the establishment of science communication as an academic discipline, much of the literature produced has come from developed, typically Western, English-speaking countries with prominent scientific cultures. The Western dominance of science communication research was tackled by Guenther and Joubert in their 2017 bibliographic survey of articles published in three major science communication journals. Almost 70% of the surveyed articles originated from just five countries – the USA, UK, Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia. Although studies from these countries offer interesting insights into best practices in science communication, their findings cannot always be generalized to developing countries with vastly different worldviews and socioeconomic milieus.

It is crucial to also highlight science communication experiences from developing, non-Western environments. This particular study focuses on the present context of the Philippines, a populous Southeast Asian archipelago. Science in the Philippines has historically been characterized by scarce funding, insufficient scientific capacity, and middling research productivity. Furthermore, with over 7,000 islands and more than 180 different languages, the Philippines offers a distinct science communication context worth further exploration.

This study therefore examined the challenges encountered by scientists and science communicators from Manila, Philippines when publicly communicating science through an online survey and semi-structured, investigative interviews. Their answers were surprisingly similar to challenges raised in other international studies – problems with the lack of time, training, opportunities, financial resources, and manpower. However, challenges regarding the accessibility of science communication efforts and the local attitudes to science were magnified due to the distinct cultural, geographical, and socioeconomic context of the Philippines. These results indicate the universality of certain challenges in science communication as well as the need for science communication frameworks that consider each country’s unique cultural context.

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

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Time