The role of professional science communication associations in supporting science communicators and legitimising science communication practices

Author: Michelle Riedlinger – University of the Fraser Valley, Canada

Germana Barata – Simon Fraser University/University of Campinas

Science communicators have important and emerging roles to play as curators of research content, catalysts to engage the public in science concerning their health, wellbeing and prosperity, and even advocates for improved science and evidence-based policies. The “social” web has also mobilized bloggers, vloggers, and social media practitioners; these communicators may not be trained or identify as science communicators but they can have a substantial impact on the direction of the public’s engagement with science. National associations of science communication have important roles to play in attracting new classes of communicators engaged in the participatory and pluralistic media landscape, and promoting ethical communication practices. In this roundtable, we explore the role of national science communication associations and networks in legitimating and supporting the many and diverse forms of science communication. We also examine the potential for national science communication associations to recognise and support the activities of non-conventional science communicators who are engaging with publics and policy makers. We ask: where are the boundaries of association membership? What image of science communication are these associations communicating? How do professional science communication associations support those entering the field to be most relevant for both science and society? How can associations attract writers with other areas of expertise to engage in evidence-based reporting? The answers to these questions and others have important implications for professional practices, ethics, training, and mentoring in the field of science communication.

Participants: Marina Joubert (South Africa), Fabien Medvecky (New Zealand), Michelle Riedlinger (Canada), and Maarten van der Sanden (The Netherlands)

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

Presentation type: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices