“One might tweet just for money”: Organisational and institutional incentives for researchers’ social media communication and public engagement practices
Keywords:science communication, organisational communication, communication management, institutional leadership, digitalisation, researchers, communication professionals, evaluation
The changing media landscape and proliferation of social media potentially increase agency amongst researchers to communicate individually. It also points to a need for studying science communication at an organisational level to understand how science communication activities can be collectively organised to have a substantial impact. Despite these changes, there are ongoing questions regarding the perceived value of science communication and the ways in which it can receive institutional support in credit-driven academic cultures. Therefore, this study set out to explore how incentives relate to researchers’ communication activity and how these can be influenced by digital communication contexts. This article presents a qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews with 17 researchers and 15 communication professionals in Finland. Results indicate that academic leaders are in the key position to support organisational science communication culture, and their acknowledgement for science communication can be more effective than encouragement from in-house communication staff. This suggests that there may be a key gap vis-à-vis training in science communication and engagement which is targeted towards scientific and organisational leaders. The results also imply there is enduring value in communication activities featuring in periodical performance evaluation and that analytic data from digital media endeavours can form an intrinsic reward.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Kaisu Koivumäki, Clare Wilkinson
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