Examining Chinese scientists’ media behaviours: Institutional support and media experience predict involvement

Author: Hepeng Jia – Department of Communication, Cornell University, China


  • Lin Shi – School of Arts & Communication, Beijing Normal University, China
  • Yihong Tan – National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • Dapeng Wang – China Research Institute for Science Popularization, China

Mobilizing scientists to engage the public has long been both a significant task of science communication practice and a research target. Despite studies revealing worldwide reality, trend, and pattern in the field, few studies have been done to examine how Chinese scientists have been engaged in the process, although the country has become a scientific powerhouse. The current research is such an effort.

Through an online survey responded by more than 500 Chinese scientists, we found that only a small portion of Chinese scientists regularly had media contacts. The descriptive analysis found that Chinese scientists have a very infrequent media interaction and low evaluation of media reporting quality. They also perceived the minimal role of the media in their professional development. The findings were supplemented by regression analysis that suggested Chinese scientists’ low media involvement was primarily a result of the lack of institutional supports, their unfamiliarity with the media, and their perceived institutional censorship.

While highlighting the organizational and cultural preferences of the Chinese scientists in communicating science, our results also have substantial policy implications. It is not only necessary to work out more policy incentives to promote science communication, but also urgent to launch various interaction initiatives to narrow the gap between science and the media. Research institutions’ publicity function must be enhanced, and intermediary organizations between science and the media should be developed to help scientists better engage the public through the media.

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

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Time