All author's publications are listed below.
Peter Weingart and Lars Guenther have written a short but nevertheless comprehensive stock-taking of science communication and the issue of trust. I fully agree with almost all of their theoretical and critical observations. My aim is to critically discuss the understanding of trust as expressed in the traditional discourse on science communication. From my point of view, this concept of trust in science reveals severe shortcomings. As a consequence, communication strategies following this concept could even jeopardize trust in science.
We argue that the institutionalized push communication of academic institutions has become the dominant form of public science communication and has tended to force other forms and functions of science communication into the background. Given the new schemes of public funding, public communication of science now primarily serves the purpose of enabling academic institutions to promote themselves in a competition that has been forced upon them by the political domain. What academics working under these conditions say about themselves and their work (and what they do not) will depend crucially on the strategic communication goals and concepts of the organizations to which they belong. We surmise that the inherent logic of this form of science communication represents a potential threat to the autonomy of scientific research.