Coming of age in the academy? The status of our emerging field

Science communication is certainly growing as an academic field, as well as a professional specialization. This calls to mind predictions made decades ago about the ways in which the explosion of scientific knowledge was envisioned as the likely source of new difficulties in the relationship between science and society.

It is largely this challenge that has inspired the creation of the field of science communication. Has science communication become its own academic subdiscipline in the process? What exactly does this entail?


Is science communication its own field? …

Is science communication its own field? :

The present comment examines to what extent science communication has attained the status of an academic discipline and a distinct research field, as opposed to the common view that science communication is merely a sub-discipline of media studies, sociology of science or history of science. Against this background, the authors of this comment chart the progress science
communication has made as an emerging subject over the last 50 years in terms of a number of
measures. Although discussions are still ongoing about the elements that must be present to
constitute a legitimate disciplinary field, we show here that science communication meets four key
elements that constitute an analytical framework to classify academic disciplines: the presence of
a community; a history of inquiry; a mode of inquiry that defines how data is collected; and the
existence of a communications network.”


Science communication, an emerging discipline

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.