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Call for Papers: Communicating Science in Organizational Contexts: Towards an ‘Organizational Turn‘ in Science Communication Research

14.02.2019 11:33 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Special issue of Journal of Communication Management

Deadline for full papers: June 1, 2019

Edited by Mike S. Schäfer (University of Zurich) and Birte Fähnrich (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of the Science and Humanities). 

More information here.

We announce the Call for Papers for Issue No 15 of The International Journal of Public Relations (Revista Internacional de Relaciones Públicas). The forthcoming issue is about Public Relations in its wider scope. The deadline for full papers is open until March 31, 2019. We remind that the proposals (articles and book reviews) shall be presented via the Journal’s application placed under the following link:

We provide a model that authors can use to prepare articles and reviews. With this work we aim to facilitate the preparation and editing. The model is available here.


Science is central for contemporary knowledge societies. Scientific results and science-based technological innovations are crucial to address societal challenges. Accordingly, science communication – the public communication about science, its findings, methods and processes (cf. Davies & Horst 2016) – has become more important in recent years (e.g. Hall Jamieson et al. 2017; Schäfer 2012).

Science communication has also gained importance in organizational contexts. Scientific and higher education organizations have expanded and professionalized their strategic communication efforts with regard to media relations (e.g. Bauer & Gregory 2008), to brand building and reputation management (e.g. Chapleo et al. 2011) etc. The growing public and political attention towards universities poses new challenges for organizational legitimacy, not only but also in the context of organizational crises (Fähnrich, Janssen Danyi & Nothhaft, 2015). These developments have resulted in an active and growing community of science communication practitioners, the emergence of professional associations and the appearance of specialized study programs etc. (Gascoigne et al. 2010; Trench 2017).

Organizations such as companies, political parties, think tanks or NGOs increasingly communicate about science as well (e.g. Fähnrich 2018a). They may use science-related information in advertising to promote new products, refer to experts to justify political decisions, use scientific expertise to appear trustworthy in the eyes of stakeholders or emphasize their use of the latest scientific and technological developments to create a favorable public image. They may also publicly question science, point towards conflicting evidence, highlight potential risks or even promote misinformation, pseudo- or anti-science.

In spite of these pervasive trends, however, the communication of science in organizational contexts has not received much scholarly attention yet. Neither have many scholars from the field of communication management and strategic communication taken up the issue of science (cf. Fähnrich 2018b) nor has the growing field of science communication paid much attention to the role of organizations yet (cf. Horst 2013).

This special issue on "Communicating Science in Organizational Contexts" will contribute to closing this gap. It invites contributions from scholars of communication management, strategic communication, organizational communication and organizational sociology, as well as from science communication, science and technology studies, the sociology of science and other related fields and disciplines. In doing so, it brings together researchers that have not had many interchanges in the past in order to develop a comprehensive perspective on the organizational (meso) level of science communication.

Potential Topics

We invite scholars to submit research papers – welcoming both theoretical/conceptual work as well as empirical analyses – on a variety of aspects:

1. analyses of the (strategic) communication of organizations from science and higher education, such as universities, research institutes etc. These analyses may focus on public/media/stakeholder relations, public affairs management, crisis communication, reputation management, marketing or branding. They may concentrate on organizational communication strategies, on the institutional embedding of strategic communication within these organizations, the involved actors, communication formats, media and content, as well as on the use of this communication among different target groups and its effects.

2. analyses of the communication of non-scientific organizations (e.g. political parties, corporations, NGOs, think tanks etc.) on science-related issues, e.g. regarding health and nutrition, sustainability and environmental issues etc. They may also include organizations promoting science denial or anti- and pseudo-science. Again, such analyses could focus on these organizations' communication strategies, the organizational embedding of science-related communication, the chosen formats and media, the involved actors, or on the use of such communication among different target groups and its effects.

3. public communication about science with an organizational focus. This includes, e.g., analyses focusing on the role of organizations in public/media/online discourses on science-related issues, analyses of public communication efforts by members of such organizations (such as individual scientists), or analyses of the public perception of/trust in organizations in the field of science communication.

4. the importance and role of the organizational mediators of science communication. Such analyses may focus on 'traditional' mediators like news/legacy media organizations, but also on 'new' intermediaries like scientific publishing houses and libraries, social media platforms, or search engines.

5. contributions developing theoretical and/or normative frameworks for the analysis and evaluation of science communication in organizational contexts, e.g. focusing on professional and/or regulatory frameworks, or on ethical reflections and concerns.

The CfP welcomes papers focusing on one or more of these topics, but also on other aspects if they are related to the overall rationale of the special issue. Authors are requested to ensure the originality of their contributions, and to outline implications for research and practice.


  • Deadline for full papers Jun 1, 2019
  • Reviews of full papers provided Aug 1, 2019
  • Deadline for revised submissions Oct 15, 2019
  • Second round of reviews provided Dec 15, 2019
  • Final versions due Feb 30, 2020
  • Papers transferred to production Mar 30, 2020

Submission Guidelines for Quick Reference

  • Text length should be 6,000-8,000 words including references
  • A structured abstract with 4-7 sub-headings is required
  • Please use Harvard citation style (for in-text citations, references, figures, tables)
  • More detailed Emerald publishing guidelines for authors:
  • Manuscripts should be submitted under

Full papers will receive one double-blind external expert review as well as one review by the guest editors. A maximum of 8 articles will be published in JCM Volume 24, Issue 3 in July 2020.

Questions should be directed to the Guest Editors

  • Prof. Dr. Mike S. Schäfer, University of Zurich, Dept. of Communication and Media Research (IKMZ),
  • Dr. Birte Fähnrich, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Interdisciplinary Research Group “Science Communication” & Zeppelin University, Center for Political Communication,



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