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Project Citation: 

Entradas, Marta. Public communication by research institutes compared across countries and sciences. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2020-05-09.

Project Description

Summary:  View help for Summary Leading academic institutions, governments, and funders of research across the world have spent the last few decades fretting publicly about the need for scientists and research organisations to engage more widely with the public and be open about their research. While a global literature asserts that public communication has changed from a virtue to a duty for scientists in many countries and disciplines, our knowledge about what research institutions are doing and what factors drive their ‘going public’ is very limited. Here we present the first cross-national study of N=2,030 research institutes within universities and large scientific organisations in Brazil, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. We find that institutes embrace communication with non-peers and do so through a variety of public events and traditional news media – less so through new media channels – and we find variation across countries and sciences, yet these are less evident than we expected. Country and disciplinary cultures contribute to the level of this communication, as do the resources that institutes make available for the effort; institutes with professionalised staff show higher activity online. Future research should examine whether a real change in the organisational culture is happening or whether this activity and resource allocation is merely a means to increase institutional visibility.

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