Communicating Discovery Science: Announcing a special journal JCOM issue and call for abstracts

Communicating Discovery Science: Announcing a special journal JCOM issue and call for abstracts

Advances in discovery science (including basic, curiosity-driven, blue-sky or fundamental scientific research) make it possible to solve complex problems and provide the building blocks of new knowledge and innovation. While discovery science is crucial in shaping our future, some may perceive it as abstract and somewhat removed from society. And, occasionally, public audiences may question the funding of discovery science. Therefore, public communication and engagement in discovery science demand specific goals and strategies, and we need research evidence about effective ways to communicate about these topics and engage diverse audiences.

Public communication and engagement in support of discovery science will be the theme of a special issue of JCOM (Journal of Science Communication) scheduled for publication in 2024, with the support of The Kavli Foundation.

With this special issue of JCOM, we aim to produce a scholarly record of current knowledge and insights into relevant research and practice and stimulate new research and reflection around this topic. We invite researchers, practitioners, policymakers and funders to submit contributions to science communication research, practice and training specifically relevant to discovery science. Please consider these themes when preparing your abstract:

  • How society makes sense of and responds to discovery science.
  • Differences and similarities between discovery science and applied science in terms of public communication and engagement.
  • Understanding scientists working on curiosity-driven topics in terms of the motivations, challenges and barriers that affect their public communication and engagement behaviour.
  • The roles of professional science communicators (institutional communicators and journalists) in communicating discovery science.
  • How communication and engagement around discovery science should respond to equity, diversity, inclusion and social justice concerns.
  • How science institutions, policymakers and funders influence public communication and engagement around discovery science.
  • Effective communication and engagement strategies for discovery science, including novel and creative approaches such as art-science linkages.
  • Best practice in communication and engagement training for scientists working on discovery science.

Timeline and submissions

The deadline for abstracts is 1 February 2024. Authors will be informed by 15 March 2024 whether they are invited to submit a full manuscript, which will be due by 30 June 2024. The target date for producing the journal issue is October 2024.

Please submit your 500-word abstract to the JCOM deputy editor (Marina Joubert) at:

The abstract must indicate whether the contribution is intended as a research article (typically 6,000 to 8,000 words), a practice insight (3,000 to 5,000 words), or an essay (3,500 to 4,500 words).

The guest editors of this special edition are:

Rick Borchelt (guest editor)
Professor Sara Yeo (University of Utah)
Dr T.Y. Branch (Leibniz University Hannover)
Dr Julia Cramer (Leiden University)
Dr Jeanne Garbarino (The Rockefeller University)
Professor Marina Joubert (Stellenbosch University)

Enquiries: Professor Marina Joubert, Stellenbosch University (