This case study investigates why and how public research institutes and scientists practice their organizational communication with the public, "organizational science communication". While existing literatures show almost no interest in science communication as organizational matter, the study focuses on its raising importance. The study explores the new phenomena and proposes a model of organizational science communication.

Data were mainly collected through participatory observation in a unit of governmental ICT research institute of Japan, consisting of field notes, records of meetings, official documents, and interviews with keypersons. The case includes two different types of sub cases occured in succession in the unit: (1) extibitions and demonstrations of ubiquitous information system for EXPO 2005 Aichi Japan; (2) a series of "science cafe" for dialogic discussion and "tutorial workshop" for collaborative practice using advanced ICT groupware.

The findings show science communication is a crucial factor not only to communicate science but also to reflectively construct research activities and strategies for research organizations. Under the recent new mode of science-driven R&D and innovation, the scientists are constantly involved in multi-disciplinary collaborative and strategically organized research projects drivened by publicly contextual concepts rather than individual excellence. Such a situation directly requires them, not the PR staff, to reinforce communication with the public in various ways, from multi-channel strategic PR to local collaborative dialogues, to survive this mode change.

In conclusion the model of organizational science communication as "social co-creation process of reflective science" is proposed being supported by evidence, in which dialogic communication between scientific knowledge and local knowledge creates reflective scientific knowledge and reflective science. In the future direction more case studies, especially in the other fields of ICT, should be conducted to refine the model. Investigating what really is the reflective science and its social process in detail is suggested.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Exploring organizational scicence communication
A case of governmental ICT research institute

Emiko Tayanagi   Sync Lab

This case study investigates why and how public research institutes and scientists practice their organizational communication with the public, "organizational science communication". While existing literatures show almost no interest in science communication as organizational matter, the study focuses on its raising importance. The study explores the new phenomena and proposes a model of organizational science communication.

Data were mainly collected through participatory observation in a unit of governmental ICT research institute of Japan, consisting of field notes, records of meetings, official documents, and interviews with keypersons. The case includes two different types of sub cases occured in succession in the unit: (1) extibitions and demonstrations of ubiquitous information system for EXPO 2005 Aichi Japan; (2) a series of "science cafe" for dialogic discussion and "tutorial workshop" for collaborative practice using advanced ICT groupware.

The findings show science communication is a crucial factor not only to communicate science but also to reflectively construct research activities and strategies for research organizations. Under the recent new mode of science-driven R&D and innovation, the scientists are constantly involved in multi-disciplinary collaborative and strategically organized research projects drivened by publicly contextual concepts rather than individual excellence. Such a situation directly requires them, not the PR staff, to reinforce communication with the public in various ways, from multi-channel strategic PR to local collaborative dialogues, to survive this mode change.

In conclusion the model of organizational science communication as "social co-creation process of reflective science" is proposed being supported by evidence, in which dialogic communication between scientific knowledge and local knowledge creates reflective scientific knowledge and reflective science. In the future direction more case studies, especially in the other fields of ICT, should be conducted to refine the model. Investigating what really is the reflective science and its social process in detail is suggested.

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

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