This is a list of specific resources (articles, blog posts, courses, degree programs) that are practical and helpful for researchers who want to improve their science communication skills.

Know of a resource you'd like to see added to this list? Email us here


Media Guide for Scientists

WHAT IT IS: Free, downloadable guide in three parts

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: Sense About Science USA


This three-part guide is the result of a survey of 218 mostly science journalists conducted in 2015. The results of the survey were compiled and synthesized to provide tips for researchers interacting with the media in three sections: Before the Interview, During the Interview, and After the Interview.

SCIENCE COMMUNICATION: A Practical Guide

WHAT IT IS: Open Courseware

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

INSTRUCTORS: Prof. John Durant; Dr. Bina Venkataraman

This class develops the abilities of students to communicate science effectively in a variety of real-world contexts. It covers strategies for dealing with complex areas like theoretical physics, genomics and neuroscience, and addresses challenges in communicating about topics such as climate change and evolution. Projects focus on speaking and writing, being an expert witness, preparing briefings for policy-makers, writing blogs, and giving live interviews for broadcast, as well as the creation of an interactive exhibit for display in the MIT Museum.


ENGLISH COMMUNICATION FOR SCIENTISTS

WHAT IT IS: Short E-Book

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: Nature Education

INSTRUCTORS: Dr. Jean-Iuc Doumont; Dr. Laura Frossenbacher; Dr. Christina Matta

This is a 6 unit short online textbook for scientists who are looking for guidance in communication. It covers Communicating as a Scientist, Writing Scientific Papers, Writing Correspondence, Giving Oral Presentations, Interacting During Conferences Sessions, Communicating in the Classroom.


COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: Giving Talks

WHAT IT IS: A comprehensive guide to being an effective public speaker

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: Burroughs Wellcome Fund

PUBLISHER: Russ Campbell

This 64-page guide provides tips from scientists who have successfully shared their science with the public via speaking. It links to additional resources, provides anecdotes and insights from a range of perspectives, and walks you through some of the most crucial components of effective speech writing and sharing.


THE SCIENCE OF SCIENCE COMMUNICATION II: Summary of a Colloquium

 

WHAT IT IS: E-Book (Download PDF for free)

COMPANY/ORG ANIZATION: Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia of the National Academy of Sciences

Published in 2014, this is a 138 page summary of a 2013 colloquium on the science of science communication. This includes evidence-based theories and strategies from across fields and includes chapters on: (i) The Sciences of Communication, (ii) Science in a Time of Controversy, and (iii) Creating Collaborations for Communication.


GUIDELINES FOR SCIENTISTS ON COMMUNICATING WITH THE MEDIA

WHAT IT IS: Pdf

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: Social Issues Research Centre

This 16 page pdf summarizes the risks and benefits of communicating with the media, and how to go about doing it. The report was developed as part of the EU Messenger project after extensive consultation with key stakeholders including scientific institutions, government agencies, journalists, broadcasters and media specialists, and representatives of civil society groups and organizations.


SUCCESSFUL COMMUNICATION: A Toolkit for Researchers and Civil Society Organisations

WHAT IT IS: Pdf

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: Overseas Development Institute

This 62 page pdf provides rationale and tools for four components of science communication: planning, packaging, targeting, and monitoring. While extensive, this document is easy to navigate for those wishing guidance with a particular aspect, or interest in a wide array of related ideas.


PUBLIC COMMUNICATION OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

WHAT IT IS Conference and Summer Doctoral School

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: Science in Public (UK)

As part of Science in Public Research Network, this conference has been running every summer since 2006, and they have recently begun to host a two day doctoral summer school before the conference.


ADVICE FOR SCIENTISTS WHO WANT TO WRITE FOR THE PUBLIC

WHAT IT IS: Blog post

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: Your Wild Life

Short blog post with 14 clear and well-written principles for communicating science for popular audiences. This stemmed from the author's interactions with scientists as he was interviewing them to write his new book, The Book of Invisible Life.


THE SENSE OF STYLE: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (paid)

WHAT IT IS: Book (paid)

AUTHOR: Stephen Pinker

In this short, cheerful, and eminently practical book, Pinker shows how writing depends on imagination, empathy, coherence, grammatical knowhow, and an ability to savor and reverse engineer the good prose of others. He replaces dogma about usage with reason and evidence, allowing writers and editors to apply the guidelines judiciously, rather than robotically, being mindful of what they are designed to accomplish.


YOU'VE GOT SOME EXPLAINING TO DO: Advice for Neuroscientists Writing for Lay Readers

WHAT IT IS: Book (pdf)

AUTHOR: Jane Nevins

Check out this short blog post interview with the author about the Do's and Don'ts of Science Writing!

This short book by Jane Nevins provides information and guidance for scientists, in particular neuroscientists, writing for the public.


TOP TEN WRITING TIPS FOR SCIENTISTS

WHAT IT IS: Blog post

Short blog post on the top ten writing tips for scientists trying to engage in science communication, written by a science communicator.


COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: A Roundtable Discussion

WHAT IT IS: Panel Discussion

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: Kavli Foundation

"Three educators who specialize in helping scientists become better communicators state a strong case for why scientists should engage the world beyond their labs, and share some of the most important principles for good communications."


SIX QUICK AND EASY WAYS TO BETTER EXPLAIN SCIENCE TO NON-SCIENTISTS

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WHAT IT IS: Article

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: Editage

Six tips for good science communication writing (with references and footnotes!). Covers the COIF fallacy (clear only if known) and provides practical solutions for overcoming it.


NINE WAYS SCIENTISTS DEMONSTRATE THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND JOURNALISM

WHAT IT IS: Article

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: The Guardian

This piece discusses journalism from the perspective of a scientist. It covers common patterns and mistakes of scientists when dealing with the media, as well as the reasons behind them, and offers advice from the perspective of journalism.


ELEVATOR PITCHES FOR SCIENTISTS: What Where and How

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WHAT IT IS: Blog post

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: The Postdoc Way

Speaking briefly about complex subjects can be difficult, especially for the experts in those subjects. This blog post covers suggestions and examples for the process of boiling down one's research into a short (30-60 sec) elevator pitch.


SIX TIPS ON HOW SCIENTISTS CAN EXCITE, RATHER THAN BORE, AN AUDIENCE

WHAT IT IS: Video

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: TED

In this four and a half minute talk, Melissa Marshall shares six tips for communicating scientific ideas clearly: (1) Be aware of your audience (2) Show the relevance (3) Paint a picture (4) Make numbers meaningful (5) Banish bullet points (6) Deliver dynamically.


WRITING SCIENCE FOR NON-SCIENTIST

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WHAT IT IS: Article

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: American Society for Cell Biology

Trying to understand a paper from a different scientific field can be a good way to simulate the experience of the public trying to understand your work. This piece discusses three tips for scientists wishing to engage in more science writing: practice, practice, practice, read other science writers, and take a writing class.


IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON: MSc in Science Communication

WHAT IT IS: MSc Program

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: Imperial College London

Academic and practical components provide a broad overview of the professional science communication landscape. A work placement or internship forms part of the course, as does an academic dissertation (guide length of report 10,000 words). Career opportunities after the course include print journalism, new media work, broadcast television or radio production and presentation, public affairs and public relations, museums/galleries and festivals, science policy work, academic research and development, and teaching.


SCIENCE COMMUNICATION PROGRAM AT UCSC

WHAT IT IS: 1 year graduate program

COMPANY/ORGANIZATION: UCSC

This is one year intensive program designed to prepare students for a career in science journalism. It's the only graduate science writing program in the U.S. that requires a degree in science and experience in research.