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How online media are changing science communication

Deadline: May 01 2017

Updated: December 08 2016

Call for papers for a special issue of Science Communication Public science in a wired world
Guest Editors: Sarah R Davies (University of Copenhagen), Joachim Allgaier (Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt), and Noriko Hara (Indiana University).

Science communication – public dissemination and debate of scientific knowledge – is increasingly taking place online. From the websites of scientific organizations such as universities or scholarly societies to social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook groups or Reddit, science is negotiated by public audiences in online spaces alongside traditional formats such as the mass media, public lectures, or popular science writing. Social research is starting to engage with these spaces and tools, and to understand how science communication is produced and consumed in digital and social media. Recent work has, for example, explored how authority is negotiated in science blogs (Riesch & Mendel 2013), what kind of science is presented online (Brossard 2013), how Twitter is used to engage with scientific projects (Gastrow 2015; Kahle et al 2016), or how blogging is used to manage scientific identity (Steinke 2013). As of yet, however, there has been no dedicated volume or special issue devoted to science communication in digital and social media, and this emergent body of research remains dispersed. This special issue will showcase cutting edge research in online science communication and thereby consolidate and draw together this emerging field.

Potential focus areas for papers (which may use any recognized systematic methodological approach, whether qualitative or quantitative) might include (but are not limited to):

* Science videos on YouTube, TED or other platforms; * Science as a social media phenomenon (such as Facebook pages or science on Twitter); * Science blogging by scientists or non-scientists; * University websites and online branding activities; * The role of science journalism in an online era; * Online public information campaigns (such as Science: It’s a Girl Thing!); * Discussion forums and online dialogue and debate by scientists or non-scientists.

We welcome papers that interrogate these developments by critically exploring, for instance, how online media are affecting scientific authority, the visions of science that are being constructed through online communication, the reception and interpretation of science online, or how online science communication is managed, produced and/or misused.

Full papers are due May 1, 2017, for publication likely in late 2017 or early 2018. Earlier submissions are very strongly encouraged. Mention the special issue in your cover letter. Late papers may be considered if extra space is available. Papers should follow the Science Communication guidelines for length and format; submit at Our ideal manuscript is between 7,000 and 9,000 words, inclusive of notes, references, and other material. Additional guidelines can be found at Queries regarding the special issue can be addressed to the guest editors (Sarah Davies, Joachim Allgaier, and Noriko Hara; contact at or to the journal’s editor, Susanna Priest, at

References Brossard D (2013) New media landscapes and the science information consumer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(Supplement 3): 14096–14101. Gastrow M (2015) Science and the Social Media in an African Context The Case of the Square Kilometre Array Telescope. Science Communication 37(6): 703–722. Kahle K, Sharon AJ and Baram-Tsabari A (2016) Footprints of Fascination: Digital Traces of Public Engagement with Particle Physics on CERN’s Social Media Platforms. PLOS ONE 11(5): e0156409. Riesch H and Mendel J (2013) Science Blogging: Networks, Boundaries and Limitations. Science as Culture 23(1): 51–72. Steinke J (2013) In Her Own Voice: Identity Centrality and Perceptions of Workplace Climate in Blogs by Women Scientists. International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology 5(1): 25–51.