Make a Science of Communication
Elizabeth L. Beard and Samantha M. Wilson
Communication often seems like an afterthought to scientists, who often have a reputation as being more focused on practicing science than communicating. Many fisheries scientists, particularly students and young professionals, are intimidated by a variety of forms of communication. Relax! Humans are born communicators, and when you think about how many times a day you communicate in any form (speaking, writing, and nonverbally), communication may seem like a more natural part of your work. Note that we do not say “an extension of your work”; communication is something that should be incorporated into your research from the very beginning. We encourage young professionals to use many forms of communication to disseminate their research or to discuss their work and their excitement about science.
Here, we consider two types of formal scientific communication young professionals may be trying for the first time—peer-reviewed papers and presentations—along with more informal types of communication like public outreach and education. We asked several young professionals to share their early experiences in communication, and we use those examples to illustrate some larger principles of scientific communication for the young professional.