Science journals are one of the main sources of information in science news coverage. In Brazil, data from 2007-2008 shows that 43,5% of the news about science published in national newspapers correspond to international research and 16,3% of the total is about research published in international journals. As studies published in the newspaper get more visibility than if they had only appeared in the science journals, journals have improved strategies to speak directly to lay public and journalists. Another reason for this proximity is that the internet has allowed communication to a public increasingly interested in science. This paper has analyzed the communication strategies of the 20 journals with higher impact factor, according to data available at the Journal Citation Reports. Review journals were not considered, since this genre of journal usually gets more visibility than others. There is an increasing attempt to communicate to lay public and the media, which can contribute to raise the journals’ visibility and, indirectly, their citation per paper. Journals of medicine and related fields seems to be more involved with communication to general public, since those are also the topics that raise more public interest. This study shows that those journals invest on a popular science communication format by using multimedia channels and promoting engagement with the media (press releases or sending embargoed material through mailing list), and public participation (through blogs, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and other tools as email alerts, RSS, audio, video, podcast). Those journals are also the most cited by two of the biggest Brazilian newspapers. Although the journals analyzed have a positive demand to popularize their contents, most of the other journals only focus on the expert public and the online format reproduces their printed version. Despite the fact that the main goal of journals is to communicate to scientists, editors should consider a shift into their responsibility toward more involvement in the dialogue with the general public.

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Science journals investing on science communication

Germana Barata   Laboratory of Advanced Studies in Journalism, State University of Campinas (Unicamp)

Science journals are one of the main sources of information in science news coverage. In Brazil, data from 2007-2008 shows that 43,5% of the news about science published in national newspapers correspond to international research and 16,3% of the total is about research published in international journals. As studies published in the newspaper get more visibility than if they had only appeared in the science journals, journals have improved strategies to speak directly to lay public and journalists. Another reason for this proximity is that the internet has allowed communication to a public increasingly interested in science. This paper has analyzed the communication strategies of the 20 journals with higher impact factor, according to data available at the Journal Citation Reports. Review journals were not considered, since this genre of journal usually gets more visibility than others. There is an increasing attempt to communicate to lay public and the media, which can contribute to raise the journals’ visibility and, indirectly, their citation per paper. Journals of medicine and related fields seems to be more involved with communication to general public, since those are also the topics that raise more public interest. This study shows that those journals invest on a popular science communication format by using multimedia channels and promoting engagement with the media (press releases or sending embargoed material through mailing list), and public participation (through blogs, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and other tools as email alerts, RSS, audio, video, podcast). Those journals are also the most cited by two of the biggest Brazilian newspapers. Although the journals analyzed have a positive demand to popularize their contents, most of the other journals only focus on the expert public and the online format reproduces their printed version. Despite the fact that the main goal of journals is to communicate to scientists, editors should consider a shift into their responsibility toward more involvement in the dialogue with the general public.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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