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University central offices are moving away from doing towards facilitating science communication: a European cross-comparison

Entradas, Marta ORCID: 0000-0001-7146-9912, Marcinkowski, Frank, Bauer, Martin W. and Pellegrini, Giuseppe (2023) University central offices are moving away from doing towards facilitating science communication: a European cross-comparison. PLOS ONE, 18 (10). ISSN 1932-6203

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Identification Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0290504

Abstract

There is increasing interest in studying science communication from an institutional point of view. With much of the empirical research focusing on views of institutional actors on communication and their roles in the organisation, less attention has been paid to practices and dispositions of universities to communicate their research with publics. Universities have professionalised communication structures for external relations, and science communication has been absorbed in this. Yet, the evidence on what those practices represent for the university—at different levels of the organisation—is insufficient to understand the role of science communication within the university landscape. This study investigates science communication at central offices of research universities. Sampling whole populations of universities in four European countries (Germany, Italy, Portugal, and the United Kingdom; 44% response rate), we disentangle practices of communication as a centralised function. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first cross-national study on this topic based on all universities within the surveyed countries. We compare general trends in science communication of universities across countries. The evidence shows that science communication is a secondary function at central offices of universities, strongly medialised, and points to a supporting role for central structures in facilitating science communication at other levels while moving away from doing it themselves. Universities might need to consider their long-term positioning in enhancing national science culture by fostering science communication through models of dialogue and public debate.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
L Education
Q Science
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2023 16:00
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 17:51
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/120510

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