EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The shadowlands of science communication in academia — definitions, problems, and possible solutions

Shahzad Gani1,2, Louise Arnal3, Lucy Beattie4, John Hillier5, Sam Illingworth6, Tiziana Lanza7, Solmaz Mohadjer8, Karoliina Pulkkinen9, Heidi Roop10, Iain Stewart11, Mathew Stiller-Reeve12, Kirsten von Elverfeldt13, and Stephanie Zihms14
Shahzad Gani et al.
  • 1Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research/Physics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland (
  • 2Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan, Canmore, Alberta, Canada
  • 4School of Education and Social Sciences, University of the West of Scotland, Scotland
  • 5Geography, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom
  • 6Department of Learning and Teaching Enhancement, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 7Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy
  • 8Optics and Sensing Laboratory, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Tübingen, Germany
  • 9Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • 10University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership, St Paul, Minnesota, United States of America
  • 11Royal Scientific Society, Amman, Jordan
  • 12Konsulent Stiller-Reeve, Valestrandsfossen, Norway
  • 13Department of Geography and Regional Studies, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria
  • 14Research Services, University of the West of Scotland, United Kingdom

Science communication is important for researchers, including those working in the geosciences. However, much of this work takes place in “shadowlands” that are neither fully seen nor understood. With the increasing expectation in academia that all researchers should participate in science communication, there is an urgent need to address some of the major issues that lurk in these “shadowlands”. Here the editorial team of Geoscience Communication seeks to shine a light on the “shadowlands” of geoscience communication and suggest some solutions and examples of effective practice. The issues broadly fall under three categories: 1) unclear or harmful objectives; 2) poor quality and lack of rigor; and 3) exploitation of science communicators working within academia. Ameliorating these will require: 1) clarity in objectives and audiences; 2) adequately training science communicators; and 3) giving science communication equivalent recognition to other professional activities.

How to cite: Gani, S., Arnal, L., Beattie, L., Hillier, J., Illingworth, S., Lanza, T., Mohadjer, S., Pulkkinen, K., Roop, H., Stewart, I., Stiller-Reeve, M., von Elverfeldt, K., and Zihms, S.: The shadowlands of science communication in academia — definitions, problems, and possible solutions, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-5568,, 2023.