Learning how to effectively communicate your research, is JUST as important as doing the research itself. 🔬
To that, I think we can all agree!
But did you know that there is a whole field of research on the very practice of science communication itself?
Just as cancer research or particle physics have their own journals, science communication research does too!
Inside each journal, you can find studies that explore the many facets of communication.
These studies range from testing the effectiveness of graphical abstracts versus video abstracts in engaging audiences (Spoiler alert: it’s definitely video abstracts 😉), to examining the roles and impacts of good science journalism, and even exploring how to use humour or similar acting skills to really enamour your audience!
And. There’s. Still. So. Much. More! 🤩
Here, we aim to showcase some of the best science communication journals you may not have heard of but should definitely add to your reading pile. 📚
But first, what makes them special? 👇
What is a science communication journal?
These journals cover a wide range of science communication topics, from climate change to medical research to social science. They use a wide range of formats like feature articles, practical perspectives, and letters, for compiling each issue.
And why should I read them?
You might be thinking:
“Well, why should I care if I’m not a journalist or a science communicator? I’ve got plenty on my reading list already!” 😤📰
Let me tell you, because there’s PLENTY of great reasons:
You can stay up to date: Science communication, its methodologies and strategies are rapidly changing. ⏳ These journals feature articles on the latest developments in science communication practices; providing researchers with new ideas, technologies, and approaches for promoting research in the field.
Find inspiration and learn from others: These journals offer great insight into some of the best communication techniques. They also often feature case studies and interviews with successful science communicators, so you can learn from the hands-on experience of others. These new and innovative strategies can help you engage with the public more effectively. 🗣️
Discover new publication opportunities: We all know how important it is for a researcher’s career to publish in peer-reviewed journals, have you ever considered publishing papers about your successes (and failures) in science communication? It could be a low-hanging fruit paper that takes zero extra funding to publish.
While well-known journals like Nature, Cell and Science would be familiar to many of you, these 5 science communication journals should also be on your radar! 🗺️
Dive in and discover these fantastic journals. 👇
Impact Factor: 7.441
Science Communication is a highly ranked international communication research journal published by SAGE London.
First launched in 1979, this long-standing journal publishes only the highest quality scientific manuscripts, with a focus on the aspect of communication. Papers from all scientific fields are accepted, including social science, technology, environment, engineering, health, physical and natural sciences.
Editor-in-chief, Dr. LeeAnn Kahlor (University of Texas, Austin) emphasizes that manuscripts should address the practical implications of research, alongside the theory.
Here are two articles we think are worth reading, but there are so many great options to choose from:
Don’t Look Up: Science Communication Revisited Published in May 2022 by Angelone, a film maker and science communicator. This article delves into common communication challenges through the lens of the movie Don’t Look Up and covers how scientists can better communicate science to the wider public.
Humor Can Increase Perceived Communicator Effectiveness Regardless of Race, Gender, and Expertise—If You are Funny Enough Published in October 2022 by Yeo et al. this article looks at the effect of race, gender, expertise and humour on communication effectiveness.
Impact Factor 5.750
Another journal to keep on your radar is the Journal of Communication (JOC), which has been around for over 70 years!
Launched in 1951, JOC is the flagship publication of the International Communication Association and is published by Wiley-Blackwell.
Current editors-in-chief David R. Ewoldsen, Natascha Just, Chul-joo "CJ" Lee, and Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt ensure that the journal concentrates on communication research, practice, policy, and theory. JOC is particularly interested in cross-disciplinary research.
Here is an article we think you might enjoy:
Silenced on social media: the gatekeeping functions of shadowbans in the American Twitterverse Published in 2023 by Jadika et al. this interesting article discusses how algorithms can perpetuate bias and the contribution shadowbanning has on this.
Impact factor - N/A Cite score 2.1
Frontiers in Communication is a relatively new journal with its first issue published only 7 years ago, in 2016.
This open-access journal, published by Frontiers, fosters the best cross-disciplinary research, breaking down barriers in the ever-changing field of communication.
Editor Justin Lewis (Cardiff University, UK) ensures rigorous peer-review and transparency, publishing research in a range of areas, from politics to health, culture to science, Frontiers in Communication covers it all, even expanding into new areas like multimodality and advertising.
So, if you want to stay ahead of the game check out some of these articles:
Evidence-Based Science Communication Published in 2019, this article presents some controversial opinions on using an evidence-based approach for science communication.
Video abstract production guide This perspective piece was published this year and provides practice insight, into the experience of creating a video abstract exemplifying the different stages of the process: selecting the paper, writing the script, producing the video, editing the video and promoting the film.
Next up is the Journal of Science Communication (JCOM), which tackles issues related to the communication of science and technology, and how it affects society. 🌎
This somewhat new journal was launched in 2002 and publishes on a wide range of research on topics. Editor-in-Chief Michelle Riedlinger (Queensland University of Technology, Australia) brings together scholars from a variety of fields, including sociology, media, and museum studies, to explore the intersection of science and communication.
Plus it's not just for academics – JCOM is also a platform for practitioners like journalists and museum operators who want to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in science communication.
So whether you're an expert in the field or just interested in science communication, JCOM has something for everyone. Here are two fun articles that we think you'll enjoy:
Who doesn't love a good story? — What neuroscience tells about how we respond to narratives Published in 2019 by Craig Cormick this is an essay style article and moves away from a traditional “research” article. It is a really fun read, written in a story style. It even starts with Once upon a time. Check it out.
Debunking strategies for misleading bar charts Published in 2022 by Winnifred Wijnker, this article discusses strategies to prevent misinformation through misleading graphs.
Impact Factor: 6.300
Communication Research has been keeping us in the loop for almost half a century!
Since it’s launch in 1974, this journal has been a must read for anyone wanting to stay at the forefront of communication research and theory.
With editors-in-chief Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick (Ohio State University, Ohio) and Jennifer Gibbs (University of California, Santa Barbara) – these ladies are both legends in their fields.
The journal Communication Research provides multi-disciplinary perspectives and themed issues, publishing both empirical and review articles on the processes, and outcomes of communication in various societal systems.
For those working in a highly controversial area, the strategies discussed in this article may be useful for reaching skeptics. 😉
Reaching Science Skeptics: How Adaptive Framing of Climate Change Leads to Positive Responses Via Persuasion Knowledge and Perceived Behavioral Control Published last year by Coleman et al. this article dives into the research behind a new “adaptive frame” which proves beneficial in making science skeptics more likely to intend to take action, engage with the news, and agree with the story’s perspective.
That’s a wrap
So there you have it, 5 science communication journals that we think you should keep an eye on.
Journal of Communication
Frontiers in Communication
Journal of Science Communication
While some researchers successfully get their research out of the ivory tower and into society, many often struggle to communicate their work to a broader audience.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Build on the shoulders of giants by leveraging the science of science communication.
The Science of Science Communication
We hear you. Don’t have time to keep up with all these journals? 🕐
Keep an eye out for our Science of Science Communication series in SWIPE SciComm! Where, in each issue, we summarise the research behind a recent science communication article so you don’t have to.
Launched in October 2022, SWIPE SciComm is the world’s first science communication magazine where we do the heavy lifting and provide you with the best practices, tools, and ideas in science communication.
Subscribe to the magazine to receive a FREE issue quarterly!