Health, nutrition, and other science communicators, for some time, have been frustrated over the inability or reluctance of policy makers and significant portions of the public to accept scientific messages around topics such as nutrition, obesity, biotechnology, genetic, vaccine, and climate science, as well as other controversial topics of public interest. To date, experts in communication have relied on their experience in developing best practices to overcome antiscience doubts and deliver accurate scientific messages. The National Academies of Science has endorsed a new approach. More than a year ago, the National Academies of Science launched a rigorous project to identify research gaps and ultimately to formulate best guidance for science communicators, particularly in communicating around controversial issues. The present article explores interim findings presented at a November 2017 conference on the Science of Science Communication.
Sylvia B. Rowe, MA, is currently president of SR Strategy pursuing communications and issues management consulting on a broad range of health, nutrition, food safety, and risk issues. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
Nick Alexander, BA, is former senior media counselor for the IFIC Foundation in Washington, DC. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard University and is a former network correspondent with ABC News. For more than the past decade, Alexander has tracked and written about science communications issues and the evolving challenge to public acceptance of credible science.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Correspondence: Sylvia B. Rowe, MA, SR Strategy, LLC, 1100 Connecticut Ave, NW Ste 600, Washington, DC 20036 (firstname.lastname@example.org).