Scholarly work in the field of science communication thus far focused primarily on communication between scientists and media and/or communication between scientists and public(s). In democracy, however, the facilitation of communication between scientists and policy makers is equally important. This is especially true when policy debates involve topics which are highly technical and controversial.

The need for more productive relationship between scientists and policy makers has been mainly addressed by scholars of Science, Technology and Society studies (STS). STS studies build extensively on the concept of boundary work proposed by Thomas Gieryn which demarcates science from non-science with an objective to help scientists to protect their professional autonomy (Gieryn 1983). Over the years the concept of boundary work has been critically examined and extended by STS scholars. The main criticism of the original concept lies in its ideological portrayal of scientific community which is seen as homogenous and value free. Jasanoff articulates that scientific knowledge is often constructed and deconstructed in policy process and this leads to a competition among scientists. It is therefore difficult to draw clear lines between scientific and policy world as these two are often interconnected (Jasanoff 1987; Moore 1996; Halffman 2003). Aware of these limitations, STS scholars proposed to extend the original concept of boundary work with boundary objects (Star and Griesemer 1989), boundary packages (Fujimura 1992), boundary organizations (Guston 1999; Guston 2001) and recently boundary layers (Shanahan 2011).

Empirical studies focusing on relationship between scientists and policy makers also point out that linking of knowledge production and knowledge use is not an easy task. This is partly caused by overwhelming amount of information which is made available to decision makers as well as format in which this information is presented to them (Sorian and Baugh 2002; Brownson et al. 2006).

Against this background, the objective of this presentation is to provide a literature review on science-policy interface in order to identify links with and potential gaps in the current literature on science communication. This can serve as a starting point for exploring science-policy interface from the science communication perspective.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Science–policy interface from communication perspective

Zuzana van der Werf Kulichova   Delft University of Technology

Robin Pierce   Delft University of Technology

Patricia Osseweijer   Delft University of Technology

Scholarly work in the field of science communication thus far focused primarily on communication between scientists and media and/or communication between scientists and public(s). In democracy, however, the facilitation of communication between scientists and policy makers is equally important. This is especially true when policy debates involve topics which are highly technical and controversial.

The need for more productive relationship between scientists and policy makers has been mainly addressed by scholars of Science, Technology and Society studies (STS). STS studies build extensively on the concept of boundary work proposed by Thomas Gieryn which demarcates science from non-science with an objective to help scientists to protect their professional autonomy (Gieryn 1983). Over the years the concept of boundary work has been critically examined and extended by STS scholars. The main criticism of the original concept lies in its ideological portrayal of scientific community which is seen as homogenous and value free. Jasanoff articulates that scientific knowledge is often constructed and deconstructed in policy process and this leads to a competition among scientists. It is therefore difficult to draw clear lines between scientific and policy world as these two are often interconnected (Jasanoff 1987; Moore 1996; Halffman 2003). Aware of these limitations, STS scholars proposed to extend the original concept of boundary work with boundary objects (Star and Griesemer 1989), boundary packages (Fujimura 1992), boundary organizations (Guston 1999; Guston 2001) and recently boundary layers (Shanahan 2011).

Empirical studies focusing on relationship between scientists and policy makers also point out that linking of knowledge production and knowledge use is not an easy task. This is partly caused by overwhelming amount of information which is made available to decision makers as well as format in which this information is presented to them (Sorian and Baugh 2002; Brownson et al. 2006).

Against this background, the objective of this presentation is to provide a literature review on science-policy interface in order to identify links with and potential gaps in the current literature on science communication. This can serve as a starting point for exploring science-policy interface from the science communication perspective.

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