Since the debut of Public Understanding of Science (PuS) in 1992, science communication has become an established subfield of both communication and science and technology studies (STS). However, compared with other academic disciplines, few citation analyses and other bibliometric research have been done in the field. So far, the only visible bibliometric research (Suerdem et. al 2013) in science communication is focused on the intellectual brokerage role of an individual journal in the field of STS. Therefore, it is meaningful to use bibliometric and citation analyses to answer the following questions: Has the field of science communication become an academically established discipline in the bibliometric terms? What are the relationship between science communication journals and the other ISI journals of communication? Have science communication papers absorbed enough from natural science research and then produced due impacts? Has the practice-oriented field of science communication research produced meaningful influence and guides to practitioners? To our knowledge, the current paper is the first attempt to address some of the above questions with bibliometrics evidence. Using both ISI Web of Science, ISI Journal Citation Report and Elsevier’s Scopus, this paper analyzes citations and cross citations of the 1160 papers published by the end of 2012 in PuS, Science Communication (SC) and the Journal of SC. Based on initial observation and analyses, we found science communication scholars seldom care natural science research, and few science communication have been cited by (natural) scientists. While news media are a key source for  papers in the field, few science communication papers are mentioned by mass media (or news section of professional journals) archived in the database (mainly Scopus). Science communication journals cite more from other communication journals than being cited, but many most cited communication papers are neglected in this field. As a whole, science communication seems to have contributed far less fruits to communication studies than to STS in both highly cited papers and intellectual  brokerage. The study may be considered  a legitimate call for scholars in the field to become closer to scientists, general communication researchers and practitioners if they want to have a greater intellectual and practical imprint.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Are we hearing?
are we heard?

A bibliometric study of science communication journals since 1992

Hepeng Jia   Cornell University, United States

Bruce Lewenstein   Cornell University, United States

Since the debut of Public Understanding of Science (PuS) in 1992, science communication has become an established subfield of both communication and science and technology studies (STS). However, compared with other academic disciplines, few citation analyses and other bibliometric research have been done in the field. So far, the only visible bibliometric research (Suerdem et. al 2013) in science communication is focused on the intellectual brokerage role of an individual journal in the field of STS. Therefore, it is meaningful to use bibliometric and citation analyses to answer the following questions: Has the field of science communication become an academically established discipline in the bibliometric terms? What are the relationship between science communication journals and the other ISI journals of communication? Have science communication papers absorbed enough from natural science research and then produced due impacts? Has the practice-oriented field of science communication research produced meaningful influence and guides to practitioners? To our knowledge, the current paper is the first attempt to address some of the above questions with bibliometrics evidence. Using both ISI Web of Science, ISI Journal Citation Report and Elsevier’s Scopus, this paper analyzes citations and cross citations of the 1160 papers published by the end of 2012 in PuS, Science Communication (SC) and the Journal of SC. Based on initial observation and analyses, we found science communication scholars seldom care natural science research, and few science communication have been cited by (natural) scientists. While news media are a key source for  papers in the field, few science communication papers are mentioned by mass media (or news section of professional journals) archived in the database (mainly Scopus). Science communication journals cite more from other communication journals than being cited, but many most cited communication papers are neglected in this field. As a whole, science communication seems to have contributed far less fruits to communication studies than to STS in both highly cited papers and intellectual  brokerage. The study may be considered  a legitimate call for scholars in the field to become closer to scientists, general communication researchers and practitioners if they want to have a greater intellectual and practical imprint.

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

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