The Public Face of Science in America: Priorities for the Future

Priorities, Goals, and Actions for Shaping the Public Face of Science

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The Public Face of Science

Priority 1

Building capacity for effective science communication and engagement in the scientific community.


GOAL 1: Increase appreciation, awareness, and understanding of the skills required for effective science communication and engagement among the scientific community.

ACTION 1: STEM undergraduate and graduate programs should integrate core science communication and engagement competencies into their curricula.

ACTION 2: Scientific societies should establish or further develop their resources on science communication and engagement.


GOAL 2: Increase the capacity for science communication and engagement at higher education institutions.

ACTION 1: Higher education institutions should designate centralized staff to connect and support on-campus science communication and engagement activities. Designated staff could support bridge-building between local efforts and the broader field and serve as a central resource for the dissemination of best practices.

ACTION 2: Higher education institutions should encourage on-campus interdisciplinary research and programming partnerships to support science communication and engagement.

ACTION 3: The promotion and tenure system should reward—not discount—participation in science communication and engagement activities.


Priority 2

Shaping the narrative around science.


GOAL 1: Decrease mischaracterizations of science in science communication.

ACTION 1: Whenever possible, science communicators should emphasize the scientific process, highlight unanswered questions, note previous advances within the field, and avoid sensationalism when discussing science.

ACTION 2: Scientific societies should develop action plans to enable rapid responses to significant mischaracterizations of scientific discoveries or misinformation on scientific topics.


GOAL 2: Increase fundamental resources for science journalism.

ACTION 1: With support from external funders, higher education institutions should develop workshops and experiences to provide journalists with insights into the scientific process and research enterprise.

ACTION 2: Funders should support initiatives that provide journalists and editors with sources, fact sheets, and resources on controversial or topical scientific subjects. Science journalists and editors should seek out existing resources.


Priority 3

Developing systemic support for science engagement efforts.


GOAL 1: Increase opportunities among researchers, practitioners, science centers, and communication and engagement organizations and networks to collaborate and share resources and best practices.

ACTION 1: Funders should support the development of centers, databases, and practical approaches that connect researchers and practitioners, such as through travel support for conferences and meetings.

ACTION 2: The leaders of science communication and engagement organizations and networks should collaborate on areas of shared interest.

ACTION 3: Science engagement networks and programs should dedicate resources to support efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion and share these resources with the broader community.


GOAL 2: Strengthen local science engagement ecosystems, especially where access may be limited, and increase cooperative science engagement efforts.

ACTION 1: Local scientific institutions, schools, science centers, and libraries should (continue to) form strategic partnerships and collaborations on local science issues and engagement outcomes. Local stakeholders (government, university, industry) should invest resources in these ecosystems.


GOAL 3: Standardize and increase the number of resources for assessing outcomes and long-term impacts of science communication and engagement.

ACTION 1: Funders should support professional organizations in establishing shared databases and metrics.