Debates about the relationship between science, citizenship and democracy continue to influence public policies related to science communication and public engagement in science. In part, these debates involve discussions about scientific and other ways of knowing. For an introduction to these issues, see Irwin (1999).
This premise, of exchanging information and learning from others, is also relevant to your communication with other expert scientists. As a research student you will learn from your colleagues, but you will also bring new ideas and knowledge to these exchanges. As your career progresses, you will develop communication skills, e.g. in writing, presentation and teaching science. In this way, you will learn to communicate ‘scientifically’, following the practices and conventions of your chosen specialism, with a view to developing a trustworthy and influential reputation. Whether you continue to practice science or not, it is important to remember that one of the key skills for an effective science communicator is to know how to communicate scientifically to different audiences, both to your peers and to non-experts. This requires skills in the production (e.g. speaking) and reception (e.g. listening) of information, and an ability to identify, acknowledge and respect the prior knowledge, experience, attitudes and beliefs of other communicators, which is a challenging set of skills to master.