Who are the science communicators? – Profiling backgrounds, practices and aspirations of a professional community

Author: Manuel Valença – ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal

Martin Bauer – London School of Economics
Marta Entradas – London School of Economics

Science communication has expanded significantly in the last decades in response to society demands. We can see this expansion in increasing communication structures, practices and individual practitioners. While the communication practice has received some attention, less is known about the community of individuals that take onboard science communication. What roles do they have? What is their motivation and ethos?

We ran a survey with the PCST registered members to learn about this community. The chosen methodology introduced a sampling bias, which was accepted in view of the difficulty of individually listing such a diverse and dispersed community. The online survey was distributed between 14 of April and 12 of August of 2016, having collected 335 responses.

The survey was structured around four main areas: a) Individual background (main professional activity, country, etc); b) Communication practices (types of activities, audiences, etc); c) Professional ethos (what is a ‘good’ science communicator’s skill set, etc.); d) Future expectations (career aspirations, work satisfaction, etc).

Multivariate statistical analysis shows, for example: I) A high diversity in professional activities (science journalists, scientists, PR/Communication professionals, museum technicians, etc); II) Differences in the perceived science communicator’s main role according to the respondent’s professional activity; III) Differences in the level of work satisfaction by world region (the respondents’ countries were organized into five world regions). In this presentation, we will discuss main findings, and ways of researching this rather dispersed community with a view of understanding their role in science communication.

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

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices