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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Commun. | doi: 10.3389/fcomm.2019.00055

Why science communication, and does it work? A taxonomy of science communication aims and a survey of the empirical evidence

  • 1University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2Roskilde University, Denmark

In this paper, we offer a novel conceptual framework of the most important aims for science communication efforts found in the contemporary literature on science communication. We identify several distinct aims present in the literature such as generating public epistemic and moral trust, generating social acceptance, and enhancing democratic legitimacy, and we discuss some of the relations between the different aims. Finally, we examine whether and, if so, to what extent these different aims can be said to have been successfully reached in practice and find that the empirical literature regarding the evaluation of science communications efforts is scarce. We conclude by suggesting that science communicators be attentive to formulating their communicative aim(s) in more precise terms, as well as conduct systematic studies of the effectiveness of their communicative efforts.

Keywords: Science Communication, Democratic legitimacy, Trust, consensus conference, Science Literacy

Received: 02 Jul 2019; Accepted: 08 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Kappel and Holmen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Klemens Kappel, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, kappel@hum.ku.dk