Scholarly communication


This article is about manga-based messaging for risk communication on COVID-19, describing the practice of collaboration between a group of experts and a popular manga artist. Collaborative storytelling through popular manga provides an effective discussion platform for diverse experts in various specialties, ages, and genders to discuss a topic in a short time. These “stories” can integrate social meaning, legitimacy, and a local context into scientific messages. They also provide the public with a deeper understanding of the messages through the characters and their “real-life” situations, as long as the messages remain consistent with the worldview of the original work.


Inequalities in scientific knowledge are the subject of increasing attention, so how factual science knowledge is measured, and any inconsistencies in said measurement, is extremely relevant to the field of science communication. Different operationalizations of factual science knowledge are used interchangeably in research, potentially resulting in artificially comparable knowledge levels among respondents. Here, we present data from an experiment embedded in an online survey conducted in the United States (N = 1,530) that examined the distribution of factual science knowledge responses on a 3- vs. 5-point response scale. Though the scale did not impact a summative knowledge index, significant differences emerged when knowledge items were analyzed individually or grouped based on whether the correct response was “true” or “false.” Our findings emphasize the necessity for communicators to consider the goals of knowledge assessment when making operationalization decisions.


This special issue of JCOM features six commentary articles from the research stream of the Australian Science Communicators conference, held in February 2020. These opportunistic assessments and deliberate analyses explore important themes of trust, engagement, and communication strategy across a diverse range of scientific contexts. Together, they demonstrate the importance of opportunities to come together and share the research that underpins our practice. The conference and these commentaries enable us to engage in professional development during these exceptional times when successful evidence-based science communication is of critical significance.


Reflecting on the practice of storytelling, this practice insight explores how collaborations between scholars and practitioners can improve storytelling for science communication outcomes with publics. The case studies presented demonstrate the benefits of collaborative storytelling for inspiring publics, promoting understanding of science, and engaging publics more deliberatively in science. The projects show how collaboration between scholars and practitioners [in storytelling] can happen across a continuum of scholarship from evaluation and action research to more critical thinking perspectives. They also show how stories of possible futures and community efficacy can support greater engagement of publics in evidence-informed policymaking. Storytelling in collaborations between scholars and practitioners involves many activities: combining cultural and scientific understandings; making publics central to storytelling; equipping scientists to tell their own stories directly to publics; co-creating stories; and retelling collaborative success stories. Collaborative storytelling, as demonstrated in these case studies, may improve the efficacy of science communication practice as well as its scholarship.


This paper explores the possible role of Open Science in the knowledge transfer between research and policy, focusing on its potential use by scientific councillors at Estonian ministries. Qualitative interviews with scientific councillors show that they perceive their role as intermediaries between research and policy and focus their work on improving the quality of research commissioned by their ministry. This process, for them, involves using existing academic articles and datasets to which, however, they lack official access. We show that Open Science can contribute to knowledge transfer if there are knowledge brokers in public sector organizations.


Citizen science (CS) terms the active participation of the general public in scientific research activities. With increasing amounts of information generated by citizen scientists, best practices to go beyond science communication and publish these findings to the scientific community are needed. This letter is a synopsis of authors' personal experiences when publishing results from citizen science projects in peer-reviewed journals, as presented at the Austrian Citizen Science Conference 2018. Here, we address authors' selection criteria for publishing CS data in open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journals as well as barriers encountered during the publishing process. We also outline factors that influence the probability of publication using CS data, including 1) funding to cover publication costs; 2) quality, quantity and scientific novelty of CS data; 3) recommendations to acknowledge contributions of citizen scientists in scientific, peer-reviewed publications; 4) citizen scientists' preference of the hands-on experience over the product (publication) and 5) bias among scientists for certain data sources and the scientific jargon. These experiences show that addressing these barriers could greatly increase the rate of CS data included in scientific publications.


Since the early 1990s, there has been a considerable increase in the number of scientific studies on science communication, and this increase has been accompanied by a diversification of the research field. This study focuses on one aspect of this development: it analyses how citation network structures within the field have developed over time, and whether science communication research shows signs of becoming a research field or a discipline in its own right. Employing a co-citation analysis of scholarly publications published between 1996 and 2015, it assesses to what extent a coherent communication network exists within science communication research. The results show a field with a diverse internal structure and clear internal changes over time which suggest an increasing emancipation of the field.


While most researchers still primarily use emails and simple websites for professional communication, the number of specialised online portals, information services and scholarly social online networks is constantly growing. This development led to the 6th workshop organized by the team of openTA, an online portal for technology assessment. This issue of JCOM pools commentaries on the workshop which deal with questions such as: what are the criteria of successful digital infrastructures? Which potential for changing workflows or scholarly interaction and collaboration patterns do we ascribe to digital infrastructures?


April marks a milestone in the history of JCOM, with the launch of new features for the International, English language journal alongside the launch of a sister journal, JCOM América Latina which will cater for the dynamic and fast growing Spanish and Portuguese speaking science communication community. Luisa Massarani, a long standing JCOM Editorial Board member, has led the development of JCOM América Latina and will act as the Editor for the new journal. JCOM and JCOM América Latina will work closely together, providing free, open access publishing for science communication research across the globe.


Research in the field of science communication started emerging about 50 years ago and has since then matured as a field of academic enquiry. Early findings about research-active authors and countries reveal that scholarly activity in the field has traditionally been dominated by male authors from English-speaking countries in the West. The current study is a systematic, bibliographic analysis of a full sample of research papers that were published in the three most prominent journals in the field from 1979 to 2016. The findings reveal that early inequities remain prevalent, but also that there are indications that recent increases in research outputs and trends in authorship patterns ― for example the growth in female authorship ― are beginning to correct some of these imbalances. Furthermore, the current study verifies earlier indications that science communication research is becoming increasingly institutionalised and internationalised, as demonstrated by an upward trend in papers reflecting cross-institutional collaboration and the diversity of countries where authors are based.


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