Special Issue on Participatory Science Communication for Transformation


Date of call: July 9, 2021

  • Deadline for article outlines: August 2, 2021

  • Review of article abstracts and call for full manuscripts: August 16, 2021

  • Deadline for complete manuscripts: October 4, 2021

  • Peer review of completed manuscripts: November 22, 2021

  • Revision, submission of accepted manuscripts: December 17, 2021

  • Intended publication date: February, 2022

Expected contributors: Presenters at PCST2020+1


The last two decades have seen calls for science communication to become participatory in nature, moving away from linear engagement of publics. Participatory science communication happens when scientists and publics directly collaborate. The aim of this collaboration may be to deliberate about an issue, define a problem, collect and analyse data, and / or to co-create new knowledge.

Participatory science communication is a process that scholars argue leads to a greater democratisation of science. It can also lead to better research processes and more acceptable research outcomes.

Scientists do not necessarily drive the participative process, and publics may initiate and direct the engagement. This contrasts with deficit (one-way communication from scientists to public) and dialogue (two-way communication between scientists and publics) models of science communication, usually initiated by scientists.

Participatory science communication differs from the common definition of citizen science projects where citizens collect data separately to any deliberation or analysis by scientists. But citizen science is a broad field, and in its more extended form can involve publics in problem definition, collection and data analysis. This approaches what we mean when we talk about ‘participatory science communication’.

Several sessions and a number of papers focused on participatory science communication at the online PCST2020+1 conference.

JCOM, the Journal of Science Communication, aims to take the conference’s exploration further through a set of papers that look at research, theories and practical case studies of participatory science communication.

The invitation is extended only to those who presented papers at the PCST2020+1 online conference. The contributions need not be limited to what was presented at the conference, but can be derived from such presentations, perhaps reflecting further thought prompted by the conference.

We welcome unpublished papers from contributors with different backgrounds and who look at the issue with diverse perspectives and methodological approaches. We invite submissions that explore participatory science communication as part of the changing landscape of science communication. Participatory science communication may happen anywhere, including in the lab, museums, science centres, festivals, traditional media, social media, public spaces, entertainment or artistic contexts.

Those interested should initially submit a 1000-word (maximum) outline of their proposed paper. Please mark your outline clearly as to the format you would like to publish in: a research article (typically 5000 – 7500 words), practice insight (3000 – 5000 words) or an essay (3500 – 4500 words).

From the outlines, the editors will select those who will be invited to complete their paper. They will also make suggestions as to how they would wish to see the paper elaborated, but all completed manuscripts will be subject to peer review. There is no guarantee of publication.

Key dates:

  • Outlines of papers must be received by 2 August 2021. Send them to Jenni Metcalfe (jenni@econnect.com.au). Note that proposals that exceed the maximum word count (1000 words) or do not include the format of paper proposed (research article, practice insight or essay), will NOT be reviewed.

  • Completed manuscripts must be received by 4 October 2021. These should be submitted via JCOM, selecting the PCST Stories special issue option.

  • Intended publication date: February 2022

Guest editors

The editors of this special issue of JCOM are Jenni Metcalfe, Toss Gascoigne, Ana-Claudia Nepote and Fabien Medvecky.

You are welcome to write to jenni@econnect.com.au if you have any further questions.

Submissions of contributions to JCOM starting from August 16: to prepare your contribution for submission, please use the JCOM template available at: https://jcom.sissa.it/jcom/help/helpLoader.jsp?pgType=author#manuscript_preparation

To submit your manuscript for the special issue, please:

  1. Connect to http://jcom.sissa.it/jcom/index.jsp and register
  2. In the “Submit” section of the page select the link “Submit an article for the special issue”

  3. Select “Participatory Science Communication for Transformation - PCST2020+1” from the list

  4. Follow the step-by-step procedure for submission, referring to the instructions available in the section “For Authors” at the top of the JCOM home page http://jcom.sissa.it/jcom/help/helpLoader.jsp?pgType=author , For any further information and assistance, do not hesitate to contact the JCOM Editorial Office (jcom-eo@jcom.sissa.it)