As science continues to become implicated in personal and collective decision-making, the stakes for communicating science to non-expert audiences intensify. In such an environment, a clear articulation of ethical issues arising from science communication is essential. Unfortunately, such an articulation does not yet exist. The purpose of this symposium is to bring together scholars from across disciplines whose research can contribute toward a theoretical articulation of the ethical issues surrounding the communication of science to non-expert audiences. For this symposium, we invite work from relevant disciplines including communication, rhetoric, philosophy, science and technology studies, and the sciences themselves, on topics such as:

  • The underlying goals of science communication Specific ethical issues within science communication, such as hype, spin, appropriate advocacy
  • Ethical standards for the use of non-rational appeals such as narrative, framing, and metaphor
  • Normative roles of scientists, citizens, science journalists, science bloggers and other stakeholders within the science communication process
  • Ethical challenges in communicating subjects such as risk and uncertainty
  • Normative issues in the design of public participation processes Empirical work on the perceptions of ethical issues from the perspectives of various stakeholders
  • Approaches to teaching science communication ethics

Table of Contents

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Tuesday, January 1st

A Role for Social Justice in Science Communication?

Robin L. Pierce, Delft University of Technology

Attracting Audiences to Science News: Ethical and Moral Considerations

William Evans, University of Alabama

Autonomy, Manipulation, and Respect (for Mortals)

Thomas Atchison, Metropolitan State University

Bioeconomy Institute Trading Cards: Promotional Objects with Internal Purposes

Sara Beth Parks, Iowa State University

Bridging the Gap on Both Sides: Issues of an Ethical Communication of Science

Alain Létourneau, Université de Sherbrooke

Can Strategic and Democratic Goals Coexist in Communicating Science? Nanotechnology as a Case Study in the Ethics of Science Communication and the Need for “Critical” Science Literacy

Susanna Priest, University of Washington

Communicating Climate Science: Components of Engaging the Agricultural Audience

Adam K. Wilke, Iowa State University

Communication throughout Investigation: A Pragmatist Framework for Conducting Clinical Science

Susan C. C. Hawthorne, St. Catherine University

Encounters between Science Communication Idea(l)s: A Comparative Exploration of Two Science Communication Logics, with a Focus on Possible Conflicts and the Potential for Mutual Learning

Gitte Meyer, Copenhagen Business School

Enriching Rationality: Rehabilitating Practical Reason in Service to Sustainable Agriculture

Betty L. Wells, Iowa State University

Ethical Implications of Global Scientific Communication: Exploring Classroom Practices in Technical Communication Courses

Diane L. Martinez, Western Carolina University

Framing Science for Public Action

Leah Sprain, University of Colorado Boulder

Framing Uncertainty: A Case for Purposefully Using Frames in Science Communication

Molly Simis, University of Wisconsin-Madison

From Stakeholders to Experts: A Careful Approach to Democratizing Pharmaceuticals Policy

S. Scott Graham, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Christa B. Teston, The Ohio State University

Genre Mash-Up: When Two Worldviews Collide, the Genre Conventions from Each Undergo a Syncretistic Re-emergence

Karen Taylor, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Terry Chapin, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Richard Hum, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Lost in Translation: How Science Communicators are Depriving Modern Society of Science

Josette Jacobs, Wageningen University

Manufacturing Kairos: Opportunity and Ethos in Emerging Biotechnologies

Molly Hartzog Storment, North Carolina State University

Moving from a Legally Adequate Consent to a Morally Valid Consent: Using Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication to Investigate Latino Understanding of an Informed Consent Conference

Laura M. Pigozzi, University of Minnesota

Nano-scientists as Consumers and Sources of Information about Nanoethics

Ming-Ching Liang, University of Texas at Austin
Anthony Dudo, University of Texas at Austin
Lee Ann Kahlor, University of Texas at Austin
Niveen Abi Ghannam, University of Texas at Austin
Allison J. Lazard, University of Texas at Austin

#overlyhonestmethods: Ethical Implications When Scientists Joke with Each Other on Public Social Media

Janet D. Stemwedel, San Jose State University

Science Communication as Communication about Persons

Brent Ranalli, The Cadmus Group

Science Communicators as Ethical Agents: Taking a Reflexive Politics of Knowledge Approach in Technoscience Controversies

Kelly Bronson, St. Thomas University

The Discursive Construction of Risk in Medicine and Health Media

Carolina Fernandez Branson, University of Minnesota

The Ethics of Distributing Scientific Knowledge: Epistemic and Ethical Injustices in Context

Fabien Medvecky, University of Queensland
Joan Leach, University of Queensland

The Two-Dimensional Values Gap in the GMOf Controversy: An Extended Abstract

Daniel Hicks, Western University

Uncertainty, Spheres of Argument, and the Transgressive Ethos of the Science Adviser

Lynda Walsh, University of Nevada, Reno
Kenny Walker, University of Arizona

Understanding “Understanding” in Science Communication

Nicky Priaulx, Cardiff University
Martin Weinelm, Cardiff University

Walking the Ethical Tightrope between Science and Policy

Franca Davenport, University of the West of England

“Wrong, but It Worked”: How Lay Citizens Assess the Ethics of Communicating about Risk in the Context of Local Scientific/Technological Controversy

Andrew R. Binder, North Carolina State University

Friday, January 1st

Introduction: Towards a Research Agenda for Science Communication Ethics

Jean Goodwin, Iowa State University
Michael Dahlstrom, Iowa State University
Susanna Priest, Iowa State University