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Five thoughts about improving science communication as an organizational activity

John C. Besley (Department of Advertising and Public Relations, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Article publication date: 19 May 2020

Issue publication date: 18 August 2020




The purpose of this paper is to describe five key lessons learned from a decade of studying how scientists and science communicators think about communication strategy.


The paper is based on the experience of the researcher and the underlying literatures on strategic communication and science communication.


The key argument is that the scientific community needs to put more priority into enabling organizations to plan and implement strategic communication efforts on behalf of science. At present, there is too much reliance on individual communicators.


The value of this paper is in the degree to which it argues for a more strategic, organization-focused approach to science communication that emphasizes the setting of clear behavioral goals, followed by discussion about what communication objectives might help achieve those goals and the communication tactics needed to achieve the prioritized objectives.



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1713197. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


Besley, J.C. (2020), "Five thoughts about improving science communication as an organizational activity", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 155-161.



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