University of Oulu

Koivumäki, K. and Wilkinson, C. (2020), "Exploring the intersections: researchers and communication professionals’ perspectives on the organizational role of science communication", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 207-226.

Exploring the intersections : researchers and communication professionals’ perspectives on the organizational role of science communication

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Author: Koivumäki, Kaisu1; Wilkinson, Clare2
Organizations: 1Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Science Communication Unit, UWE Bristol, Bristol, UK
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-08-24


Purpose: This paper reports on research exploring the intersections between researchers and communication professionals’ perspectives on the objectives, funders and organizational influences on their science communication practices.

Design/methodology/approach: Examining one context, the inter-organizational BCDC Energy Research project based at five different research organizations in Finland, this paper presents data from semi-structured interviews with 17 researchers and 15 communication professionals.

Findings: The results suggest that performance-based funding policies that drive the proliferation of large-scale research projects can create challenges. In particular, a challenge arises in generating a shared sense of identity and purpose amongst researchers and communication professionals. This may have unintended negative impacts on the quality and cohesiveness of the science communication which occurs.

Research limitations/implications: The study was exploratory in nature and focuses on one organizational and institutional environment. Further research with a wider number of projects, as well as funders, would be conducive to a greater understanding of the issues involved.

Practical implications: On a practical level, this research suggests that the creation of clearer communications awareness and guidance may be helpful in some large-scale projects, particularly involving broad numbers of organizations, individual researchers and funders.

Originality/value: This is one of the first studies examining the perspectives of both researchers and communication professionals working over one project, drawing together a range of different institutional and disciplinary perspectives. The results highlight the importance of the influences of funding on science communication aims, assumptions, cultures and structures. The article articulates the need for further research in this area.

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Series: Journal of communication management
ISSN: 1363-254X
ISSN-E: 1478-0852
ISSN-L: 1363-254X
Volume: 24
Issue: 3
Pages: 207 - 226
DOI: 10.1108/JCOM-05-2019-0072
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 518 Media and communications
Funding: This study has been funded by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland, project no. 292854 and the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 292854
Detailed Information: 292854 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2020, Kaisu Koivumäki and Clare Wilkinson. ublished by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial & non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at