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5 science communication journals you should read!

A researcher reading a peer-reviewed journal article in a science communication journal, with a stack of journals in their reading pile

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?

Barney Stinson mind blowing GIF
Mind-blowing, isn't it?

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?

A science communication journal, like any other academic journal, publishes peer-reviewed research on the practice of science communication.

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!” 😤📰

Who has time for that Jessica Alba GIF

Let me tell you, because there’s PLENTY of great reasons:

  1. 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.

  2. 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. 🗣️

  3. 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:

Science Communication Banner

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:

Journal of Communication (JOC) Banner

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.

Frontiers in Communication Banner

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:

Journal of Science Communication (JCOM) Banner

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. 😉

Communication Research Banner

That’s a wrap

So there you have it, 5 science communication journals that we think you should keep an eye on.

  1. Science Communication

  2. Journal of Communication

  3. Frontiers in Communication

  4. Journal of Science Communication

  5. Communication Research

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!

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