CFP – Science Communication: Linking Theory and Practice


 Science Communication: Linking Theory and Practice

Special Issue

Science Communication and Broad Societal Change

Guest Editors Maarten van der Sanden and William Evans
Increasingly, government funding for scientific research requires that research to have a broad societal impact. Researchers often propose to achieve this impact at least in part through public communication, assuming that engaging the public in science is a worthwhile end in itself or will necessarily serve to raise knowledge levels and change attitudes. Most also seem to assume that communication can play a key role in bolstering the societal impact of the scientific enterprise. Yet, are these assumptions justified? 

Theoretically informed, systematic research on the role of science communication in bringing about changes in society is essential. Developing solid evidence about the broader impacts of science communication is methodologically difficult but very important for the field. For this special issue we seek contributions that can meet this need. Papers are welcome from a variety of perspectives and from a wide range in terms of analytical scope, from focused case studies to the analysis of national and global trends.

We seek research papers that not only establish that change took place, but also make a reasoned theoretical and empirical argument that science communication served as an agent of that change. The kinds of changes in question could involve, for example, such things as more responsible technological innovation; increased interdisciplinary collaboration; better mutual understanding between scientists, publics, industry and government; gains in levels of critical awareness of science; or improved opportunities for meaningful input into science policy by various stakeholders. This may involve the impact of science communication research and teaching on communication skills and practices (e.g., among communication professionals, scientists or citizens), as well as the field’s impact on knowledge, attitudes or professional identities. It can involve impacts on organizations (e.g., businesses, industries, universities, even governments), as well as on individuals.

To successfully pass peer review, all research article submissions to the journal must present findings that are both theoretically informed and empirically demonstrated. We encourage potential contributors to consider using approaches such as case study research, meta-analysis of evaluative data, and historical or ethnographic approaches, as well as experiments, surveys, and other common social science methods. Both quantitative and qualitative work is welcome.


SUBMISSIONS: Please be sure that the version you submit for review is anonymous with respect to authorship. Papers of roughly 7000-9000 words should be submitted via with a note in the cover letter requesting consideration for the special issue. Follow the instructions at the site to create an author account and complete the submission process. Refer to for details about the journal, its mission, paper requirements details, and examples of what we have published in the past.

DEADLINES: Papers may be submitted until November 1, 2016. Early submissions (by August 1, 2016), if accepted, will have priority for space in the special issue, to be published as early as possible in 2017. (Any accepted papers for which space is not available will be published in a subsequent issue.)

QUESTIONS: Please feel free to write to the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Susanna Priest at, or the issue’s guest editors, Maarten van der Sanden at or William Evans at, with further questions.