Is science communication its own field?



The present comment examines to what extent science communication has attained the status of an academic discipline and a distinct research field, as opposed to the common view that science communication is merely a sub-discipline of media studies, sociology of science or history of science. Against this background, the authors of this comment chart the progress science communication has made as an emerging subject over the last 50 years in terms of a number of measures. Although discussions are still ongoing about the elements that must be present to constitute a legitimate disciplinary field, we show here that science communication meets four key elements that constitute an analytical framework to classify academic disciplines: the presence of a community; a history of inquiry; a mode of inquiry that defines how data is collected; and the existence of a communications network.