Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-3121
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-3121
15 Jan 2024
 | 15 Jan 2024

Editorial: The shadowlands of science communication in academia — definitions, problems, and possible solutions

Shahzad Gani, Louise Arnal, Lucy Beattie, John Hillier, Sam Illingworth, Tiziana Lanza, Solmaz Mohadjer, Karoliina Pulkkinen, Heidi Roop, Iain Stewart, Kirsten von Elverfeldt, and Stephanie Zihms

Abstract. Science communication is an important part of research, including in the geosciences, as it can benefit society, science, and make science more publicly accountable. However, much of this work takes place in “shadowlands” that are neither fully seen nor understood. These shadowlands are spaces, aspects, and practices of science communication which are not clearly defined and may be harmful with respect to the science being communicated or for the science communicators themselves. With the increasing expectation in academia that researchers should participate in science communication, there is a need to address some of the major issues that lurk in these shadowlands. Here the editorial team of Geoscience Communication seeks to shine a light on the shadowlands of geoscience communication and suggest some solutions and examples of effective practice. The issues broadly fall under three categories: 1) harmful or unclear objectives; 2) poor quality and lack of rigor; and 3) exploitation of science communicators working within academia. Ameliorating these will require: 1) clarifying objectives and audiences; 2) adequately training science communicators; and 3) giving science communication equivalent recognition to other professional activities. By shining a light on the shadowlands of science communication in academia and proposing potential remedies, our aim is to cultivate a more transparent and responsible landscape for geoscience communication—a transformation that will ultimately benefit the progress of science, the welfare of scientists, and more broadly society at large.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Shahzad Gani, Louise Arnal, Lucy Beattie, John Hillier, Sam Illingworth, Tiziana Lanza, Solmaz Mohadjer, Karoliina Pulkkinen, Heidi Roop, Iain Stewart, Kirsten von Elverfeldt, and Stephanie Zihms

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3121', Heather Doran, 15 Jan 2024
    • AC3: 'Reply on CC1', Shahzad Gani, 10 May 2024
  • CC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3121', David Crookall, 15 Feb 2024
    • AC4: 'Reply on CC2', Shahzad Gani, 10 May 2024
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3121', Anonymous Referee #1, 01 Mar 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Shahzad Gani, 10 May 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-3121', Robyn Pickering, 07 Mar 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Shahzad Gani, 10 May 2024
Shahzad Gani, Louise Arnal, Lucy Beattie, John Hillier, Sam Illingworth, Tiziana Lanza, Solmaz Mohadjer, Karoliina Pulkkinen, Heidi Roop, Iain Stewart, Kirsten von Elverfeldt, and Stephanie Zihms
Shahzad Gani, Louise Arnal, Lucy Beattie, John Hillier, Sam Illingworth, Tiziana Lanza, Solmaz Mohadjer, Karoliina Pulkkinen, Heidi Roop, Iain Stewart, Kirsten von Elverfeldt, and Stephanie Zihms

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Short summary
Science communication in geosciences has societal and scientific value but often operates in "shadowlands." This editorial highlights these issues and proposes potential solutions. Our objective is to create a transparent and responsible geoscience communication landscape, fostering scientific progress, the well-being of scientists, and societal benefits.