Communicating their own research: What do we need to know about the role of scientists and researchers in science communication?

Author: Friederike Hendriks – University of Münster, Germany


  • Yael Barel-Ben David – Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
  • Carolin Enzigmüller – IPN Kiel, Germany
  • Hans Peter Peters – FZ Jülich & Free University Berlin, Germany

In this round table session, we take a cross-disciplinary look at scientists who engage in the communication of (their own) science and research. In the last years, scientists have been more actively involved in science communication, as scientific research itself is becoming more and more transparent, science communication does increasingly take place online, and outreach activities at universities are relying on scientists to communicate their science.

This increasing involvement of scientists in science communication raises interesting questions for science communication researchers. For example, the speakers in this round table session have investigated which motives researchers hold to engage in science communication, which different communication objectives may shape the science communication by scientists, how communication objectives are adapted to the event and an anticipated public, how science communication might interact with interdisciplinary communication within large collaborative research groups, and how research on the perspectives of scientists engaged in science communication can inform science communication training. To answer these questions, different theoretical approaches were used, e.g. the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991), theories related to the field of expert-lay communication (e.g. Clark, 1996), or models of educational reconstruction (e.g. Duit et al., 2012).

This roundtable discussion aims to connect cross-disciplinary and international ideas and findings, discussing which research questions need to be addressed in order to investigate the perspectives of scientists as science communicators. We also want to connect overarching theoretical approaches to address these research questions, reflecting on how different disciplinary perspectives can be useful to this field of research, including social science and communication science (Peters), psychology (Hendriks), and science education (Barel-Ben David, Enzingmüller).

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

Presentation type: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Transformation