Book Review: Communicating Science: Professional, Popular, Literary by Nicholas Russell | Science News

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Book Review: Communicating Science: Professional, Popular, Literary by Nicholas Russell

Review by Rachel Zelkowitz

By
1:46pm, January 15, 2010

Books about science communication typically start from the premise that communication is important and proceed to tell scientists how to do it better. Russell’s book departs from that tradition to analyze the history of such communication and look at how views of its importance have changed over time. The result is a fascinating exploration of past and current trends, with some insight into what the future may hold.

As the title denotes, the book covers science communication in three realms, beginning with information sharing among scientists themselves. Russell, a professor of science communication at Imperial College London, describes how respected journals such as Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society evolved. He questions the effectiveness and fairness of peer review and looks ahead to the future role of open-access online journals in professional science communication.

Russell then parses efforts to impart scientific understanding to th

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