Last week I pointed to two edited books released in 2008 that do an outstanding job of synthesizing the relevant issues and research on science communication and public engagement. Here are two more: From Oxford University Press there is a companion set of edited volumes that cover themes related to science communication research and practice respectively. Both books are worth checking out and owning for people working in the academic field or for scientists and communication professionals.

Holliman, R., Thomas, J., Smidt, Scanlon, E., & Whitelegg, E. (Eds.) 2008). Investigating Science Communication in the Information Age: Implications for Public Engagement and Popular Media. London: Oxford University Press.

How are recent policy changes affecting how scientists engage with the public? How are new technologies influencing how scientists disseminate their work and knowledge? How are new media platforms changing the way the public interact with scientific information? Investigating Science Communication in the Information Age is a collection of newly-commissioned chapters by leading science communication scholars. It addresses current theoretical, practical and policy developments in science communication, including recent calls for greater openness and transparency; and engagement and dialogue on the part of professional scientists with members of the public. It provides a timely and wide-ranging review of contemporary issues in science communication, focusing on two broad themes. The first theme critically reviews the recent dialogic turn and ascendant branding of 'public engagement with science'. It addresses contemporary theoretical and conceptual issues facing science communication researchers, and draws on a range of methodological approaches and examples. The second theme, popular media, examines recent trends in the theory and research of these forms of science communication. It includes contemporary accounts of the study of 'traditional' forms of popular media, including television and newspapers, examining how they are produced, represented and consumed. This theme also documents examples where novel forms of popular media are challenging researchers to re-think how they approach these forms of science communication.


Holliman, R., Thomas, J., Smidt, S., Scanlon, E. & Whitelegg E. (Eds.) (2008). Practising Science Communication in the Information Age: Theorising Professional Practices. London: Oxford University Press.

Practising science communication in the information age is a collection of newly-commissioned chapters by leading scholars and practitioners of science communication. It considers how scientists communicate with each other as part of their professional practice, critically evaluating how this forms the basis of the documenting of scientific knowledge, and investigating how open access publication and open review are influencing current practices. It also explores how science communication can play a crucial role when science is disputed, investigating the role of expertise in the formation of scientific controversy and consensus. The volume provides a theoretically informed review of contemporary trends and issues that are engaging practitioners of science communication, focusing on issues such as the norms and conventions governing the practices of science communication, and how scientists communicate between disciplines. Other topics that receive critical treatment include: peer review, open access publication, the protection of intellectual property, the formation of scientific controversy and consensus, the popularisation of science, and the practices of public engagement.