Science Communication

What is Science Communication

We define science communication as "successful dissemination of knowledge with a wide range of audiences including non-scientists".

scientific writing science communication

Principles of good science communication

Organized participation

You can teach anything to anybody as long as you provide . . .



Synthesized data


Visualization map

Illustrate key points


So what?

Science communication requires...

Good science communication ends up as part of a public discourse

In this example, a well communicated study by Margaret Palmer et al. resulted in an interview on the Colbert Report.

Margaret Palmer on Colbert

Science communication needed to SOLVE environmental problems

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Good science communication uses visuals

Good science communication can make you a better scientist

Envisioning the 'story' can lead to comprehensive research program

Identifying the linkages and developing comparisons can provide important insights

Combining visual elements can lead to new insights

Combining and comparing different data sets or approaches can lead to insights

Great scientists are also great communicators

Great scientists are great scientists because of their communication skills.

Charles Darwin Charles Darwin: 119 published books & papers

Not the first to come up with the theory of evolution, but he communicated effectively, using numerous examples and carefully worded text.

Albert Einstein Albert Einstein: 248 published books & papers.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." A. Einstein

Communicating science to effect social change

There are numerous examples of communicating science to effect social change that have transformed the world. From the Copernican Revolution to the Laws of Thermodynamics to the Laws of Relatively, communicating science has historically and will continue to change the world. So learning how to communicate science is probably as important a skill as learning how to do science. It is one thing to learn how to collect and analyze data—it's a whole other thing to learn how to effectively communicate science.

IAN Science Communication Products

IAN specializes in producing content rich / jargon free publications using a variety of visualization techniques including conceptual diagrams to produce a range of science communication products. These are the latest product in each publication type and link to the page containing all of those publications.

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Newsletters produced through IAN provide a vehicle for direct expression of a scientific perspective on coastal management issues. They synthesize scientific findings and therefore augment, not replace, various other science communication activities. You can susbcribe to our newsletter and email subscription service to receive notification of new newsletters (via our enewsletters), and/or have hardcopies mailed to you.

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Brochures produced through IAN will provide information aimed at a public audience. These brochures will augment, not replace, various other science communication activities.

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IAN produces posters designed for scientific meetings as well as posters for public education of environmental issues. These posters are:

  • A vehicle for communicating coastal management issues
  • Designed to augment, not replace other communications (e.g., peer reviewed papers)
  • Contain conceptual diagrams and other graphical tools for portraying ecosystem processes

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IAN will continue to produce a variety of presentations for scientific, government and public audiences. All presentations are downloadable in PDF format by clicking on the thumbnails. These presentations will focus on synthesizing data, information and knowledge into methods that can be used for problem solving. There will be a strong emphasis on the use of conceptual diagrams to relay our current understanding of various ecosystem processes and the issues affecting ecosystem health.

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The issues which these reports address include important environmental issues for coastal regions, particularly Chesapeake Bay and incorporate many of the science communication tools presented on this website. All reports are available as a PDF by clicking on the PDF icon pdf icon next to the report. These reports are:

  • A vehicle for communicating coastal management issues
  • Designed to augment, not replace other communications (e.g., peer reviewed papers)
  • Contain conceptual diagrams and other graphical tools for portraying ecosystem processes

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Books produced by IAN will utilize science communication principles:

  • All terms defined
  • Minimal/zero use of acronyms
  • Consistent style and format
  • Judicious use of color
  • Self contained units (maps, diagrams, etc. have enough legend to comprehend alone)
  • Simplified writing style

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Report Cards

Environmental report cards address the issues of transparency and accountability for environmental management. They synthesize and communicate large amounts of data that are readily accessible to a broad audience. The IAN/Eco-Check team has been developing environmental report cards for over a decade in a wide variety of locations over a diversity of scales (local, regional and national). Report Cards produced by IAN/EcoCheck will utilize science communication principles.