Science Communication

Guidelines for communicating scientists

Ein Photo einer Gruppe von Protestierenden, die vor einem rosa Boot auf dem Boden sitzen. Auf dem Boot steht in schwarzer Farbe "Tell the truth". Auf dem Boot spricht eine Frau in ein Mikrophon. Die Protestierenden scheinen der Gruppe Extinction Rebellion anzugehören.

The effective communication of research and scientific findings is a challenging task due to the complexity of the subject matter, the contexts in which communication takes place, the different interests and cultures of the stakeholders and also because of the significance of the results for society and politics. This is particularly true in times of crisis, as during the COVID pandemic or in the context of climate change. Proposals are needed on how academics can effectively communicate knowledge in these and other situations, as well as the uncertainties and lack of scientific findings, in order to constructively participate in public discourse.

The aim of this project within the working group Engaged Science is to create a guide to science communication by and for scientists. A further aim is to improve interaction with journalists on the basis of these guidelines. What are the principles and perhaps also (unwritten) norms of science communication? What mistakes can be avoided and how? And what is needed to make science communication more effective?

Among other things, the project group wants to address the question of how to deal with phenomena such as "false balance", false statements by colleagues and "fake news", how to communicate a lack of information, uncertainties and limitations of scientific findings and contradictory points of view, and how to draw the line between the knowledge base and normative decisions based on it. The work is based on a series of expert interviews with scientists, journalists and communication professionals using interview guidelines. An initial discussion of the results took place at the Forum Wissenschaftksommunikation in November 2023.

participating Members