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Dec 11, 2023 Essay
Strengthening interdisciplinarity in science communication education: promise, pleasures and problems

by Brian Trench

Science communication education is fundamentally concerned with relations between and within communities, cultures and institutions. Through exploration of these relations, it develops understanding of how knowledge is produced, shared and validated. Science communication operates at the boundaries and intersections of disciplines in its professional practice and it analyses them in research and education. At its interdisciplinary best, science communication is a continuing exercise in reflexivity on science and its place in wider intellectual and public culture. From this “premise”, this essay reflects on the “promise” of bringing perspectives from humanities, social sciences and natural sciences to bear on science, the “pleasures” of science communication as “joyously interdisciplinary”, but also on the “problems” in fulfilling the promise and realising the pleasures. It closes with a “proposition” for giving interdisciplinarity a more prominent place in science communication education.

Volume 22 • Issue 06 • 2023 • Special Issue: Science communication in higher education: global perspectives on the teaching of science communication

May 10, 2021 Essay
Rethinking science communication as the social conversation around science

by Massimiano Bucchi and Brian Trench

In this essay the authors reflect on some recent trends in science communication research, celebrating it as an inherently interdisciplinary endeavour. Some current tendencies in science communication are more limiting, however: they present theoretical and strategic prescriptions that do not adquately reflect the variety and cultural diversity of science communication internationally. Rethinking science communication in the context of such diverse practices and cultural reorientations, the authors revise some of their own views and revisit notions of communication as conversation to propose an inclusive definition of science communication as the social conversation around science.

Volume 20 • Issue 03 • 2021 • Special Issue: Re-examining Science Communication: models, perspectives, institutions, 2021

Dec 13, 2017 Commentary
Universities, science communication and professionalism

by Brian Trench

This essay examines several distinct roles universities play in science communication, with particular reference to professionalisation in the field. It identifies the ways in which universities have facilitated, even driven, that continuing process. But it also notes the potential and actual contradictions between some of the roles of universities, reflecting current developments in higher education across many different contexts.

Volume 16 • Issue 05 • 2017

Mar 13, 2014 Editorial
Do we know the value of what we are doing?

by Brian Trench

The demand for evaluation of science communication practices and the number and variety of such evaluations are all growing. But it is not clear what evaluation tells us - or even what it can tell us about the overall impacts of the now-global spread of science communication initiatives. On the other hand, well-designed evaluation of particular activities can support innovative and improved practices.

Volume 13 • Issue 01 • 2014

Jun 24, 2013 Editorial
New directions for JCOM

by Luisa Massarani, Matteo Merzagora, Nico Pitrelli, Brian Trench and Bora Zivkovic

A new editorial board is guiding JCOM through a period of change and here opens out the discussion on what JCOM has become and what it could or should become in the future. The journal's readers are invited to make their contributions.

Volume 12 • Issue 02 • 2013

Mar 21, 2013 Commentary
Open spaces for debate and discussion

by Brian Trench

JCOM can enhance its contribution to the science communication community by greater rigour in selection and editing and by opening up to reader comment.

Volume 12 • Issue 01 • 2013

Sep 21, 2012 Editorial
Review of PCST2012 conference: where is communication going?

by Brian Trench

The PCST (Public Communication of Science and Technology) conference, held every two years, offers an opportunity to chart the progress and direction of the international science communication community. The most recent conference, in Firenze, gave indications of a growing interest in science communication as cultural practice.

Volume 11 • Issue 03 • 2012

Sep 21, 2010 Commentary
Science communication, an emerging discipline

by Brian Trench and Massimiano Bucchi

Several publications have sought to define the field of science communication and review current issues and recent research. But the status of science communication is uncertain in disciplinary terms. This commentary considers two dimensions of the status of discipline as they apply to science communication – the clarity with which the field is defined and the level of development of theories to guide formal studies. It argues that further theoretical development is needed to support science communication’s full emergence as a discipline.

Volume 9 • Issue 03 • 2010

Mar 20, 2009 Commentary
Masters (MSc) in Science Communication. Dublin City University

by Brian Trench

The Masters (MSc) in Science Communication at Dublin City University (Ireland)
draws on expertise from several disciplines in human and physical sciences.
The programme takes a broad view of communication that includes the various
kinds of interaction between institutions of science and of society, as well
as the diverse means of exchanging information and ideas. Nearly 200 students
from a wide variety of backgrounds have completed the programme since its
start in 1996, and they work in many different types of employment, from
information and outreach services, to science centres, to publishing and
journalism. Through the programme, and in the dissertation in particular,
students are encouraged to reflect critically on the place and performance
of science in society, and on relations between the cultures of natural sciences
and of humanities and social sciences.

Volume 8 • Issue 01 • 2009