Science communication and the issue of trust



Science communication, whether internally or to the general public depends on trust, both trust in the source and trust in the medium of communication. With the new 'ecology of communication' this trust is endangered. On the one hand the very term of science communication has been captured by many different actors (e.g., governments, PR experts, universities and research institutions, science journalists, and bloggers) apart from scientists themselves to whom science communication means different things and whose communication is tainted by special interests. Some of these actors are probably more trusted by the general public than others. On the other hand, the channels that are used to communicate science are also not trusted equally. Particularly the widespread use of social media raises doubts about the credibility of the communication spread through them.