Normative Aspects of Science Communication: Science Communication Summer Symposium Series at Iowa State University

Michael Dahlstrom's picture
Type of Call: 
Call for submissions
January 15, 2014

Fourth Iowa State University Summer Symposium on Science Communication

Normative Aspects of Science Communication

30-31 May, 2014; Ames, IA

Submission deadline:  January 15, 2014

This workshop at Iowa State University continues the discussion of science communication ethics opened in previous events. While the principles of effective communication of science has attracted widespread interest in recent years, attention to normative aspects of the interactions among scientists, professional communicators, and publics has lagged. We invite work from relevant disciplines including communication, rhetoric, philosophy, science and technology studies, and the sciences themselves, on topics such as:

·      What are the underlying goals of science communication? What obligations do scientists have to communicate to broader publics?  What institutions and practices meet the demands of social justice?

·      When everyone can be a (science) journalist, does anything go? What are the obligations of those serving in new roles such as public information officer, science blogger, and advocacy group scientists.

·      What are the boundaries of appropriate advocacy and responsible promotion?

·      When are persuasive techniques such as metaphor, narrative, “framing,” and appeals to emotion appropriate in communicating science?

·      What ethical requirements should govern discussions of risks, benefits, “facts,” and uncertainties?

·      What are the normative issues in the design of public participation processes?

·      What normative expectations do various stakeholders in the science communication process have of each other?

Proceedings of the workshop will be published in print-on-demand and electronic formats. In addition, we hope participants in the symposium will consider submitting to a theoretically informed collected volume of science communication ethics being planned in parallel.  See for the call for papers for this volume.

For consideration, submit to Jean Goodwin ( by January 15, 2014:  (a) a 250-500 word abstract with an additional 5-10 item bibliography, and (b) a separate cover page with complete contact information.  Please also indicate the expected status of the work to be presented (from early overview to completed study); note that this will not affect acceptance, as we look forward to promoting dialogue among scholars at different stages.  For further information, see contact the symposium organizers.

Organizing committee: Jean Goodwin, with Michael Dahlstrom (Iowa State University) and Susanna Priest (University of Washington)