Scientific research has always been communicated. Nevertheless, the invitations and obligations to increase, enhance and renew science communication become more and more pressing: Among the current promises are more convenient opportunities to gather information, more transparency and participation, a better placement of science in civil society and the containment of scepticism and animosity directed not just at science, but also at liberal democracies. It is our assumption at the KWI that investments into science communication do not automatically solve complex social and political problems. First of all, we strive for a better understanding of how scientific communication has evolved historically and how it can be described even more precisely within different scientific systems. Only if its functions and, in some circumstances, its aberrations are fully understood will we be able to make justified recommendations for new formats of scientific communication.
We believe that cultural studies are able to contribute an important aspect to achieving this. This means also that the analysis of science communication cannot be left to communication sciences alone. Historians, cultural economists, and sociologists as well as experts in image design, design in general, media usage, storytelling, rhetoric, and journalism can provide valuable contributions. In this field, it is essential for us not to leave the description and analysis of science communication to commercial suppliers and consultants but instead to examine the working methods of new business models and methods ourselves. Additionally, we will study the long-term developments and systemic effects of popular measures in particular.