Corporate Science Communication

Submission Deadline Date: 1 August 2023


For-profit organizations in the science, health, and technology sectors play a prominent role in the public communication of science. Research has demonstrated the influence science communication can have on decisions individuals make related to health behaviors (Kahan and Landrum, 2017), technology adoption (Myrick et al., 2019), and policy support (Levine and Kline, 2017). In 2020, the Journal of Communication Management published the special issue “Communicating Science in Organizational Contexts: Towards an ‘Organizational Turn’ in Science Communication Research.” That issue offered a broad array of scholarship on science communication from different types of organizations. To build on that, we believe corporate science communication is deserving of specific focus due to the relationship—and potential conflict—between honest and accurate science communication and commercial interests. From pharmaceutical companies communicating about mRNA vaccines to electric car manufacturers communicating about environmental benefits, it is important to examine the impacts of this communication on our daily lives.


Although laws and regulations vary around the world, the commercialization of science is a global trend. This is a prominent topic in scholarship about science policy (e.g., Leisyte, 2011), science education (e.g., Kleinman, Feinstein, & Downey, 2013), and science, technology and society (STS) (e.g., Hansen, 2011) but parallel conversations related to science communication are lacking and needed.


This special issue on corporate science communication will contribute to that discussion. For the purposes of this issue, science is broadly defined and may include scholarship on health, environmental, and risk communication. We invite contributions from researchers in all communication fields and related disciplines.


Potential Topics

We invite scholars to submit conceptual or empirical research papers on a variety of topics. We encourage both quantitative and qualitative submissions, including rhetorical and critical perspectives. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  1. Communication from and with companies in science related industries, such as those working in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, agriculture, artificial intelligence, etc. These analyses may focus on media relations, corporate science partnerships, social media management, crisis communication, community engagement, or any other area of strategic communication. The communication of scientific topics should be a central focus.
  2. Corporate communication around scientific topics from companies in other industries, such as organizations in any sector communicating about environmental issues, health, etc. This may include corporate social responsibility communication or corporate advocacy related to scientific topics.
  3. The influence of corporate communication and commercialized science on public communication of science. This may include examining relationships between for-profit entities and other sources of public information about science such as universities, government officials, and media.
  4. The role of for-profit entities in creating, spreading, correcting, or combatting misinformation related to science. This may include misleading or corrective information in advertising, lobbying, or other forms of strategic communication.
  5. Ethics and issues of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in corporate science communication. This may include examinations of how organizations have performed in these areas, or examinations of how internal or external publics have been affected by corporate science communication.

We welcome papers focusing on one or more of these topics, but also on other aspects if they are related to the overall rationale of the special issue. Authors are requested to ensure the originality of their contributions, and to outline implications for research and practice.



  • Submission site opens: 10 January 2023
  • Submission site closes (to new submissions): 1 August 2023
  • Final acceptance date: 6 November 2023
  • Target publication volume: Vol 28/1 (2024)


Submission Guidelines for Quick Reference 

Full papers will receive one double-blind external expert review as well as one review by the guest editors. A maximum of 8 articles will be published in JCOM in 2024.

Questions should be directed to the Guest Editors:

Dr. Matthew S. VanDyke, Department of Advertising and Public Relations, The University of Alabama, [email protected]

Dr. Haoran Chu, Department of Public Relations, University of Florida, [email protected]

Dr. Nicole M. Lee, School of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Arizona State University, [email protected]



Hansen, B. G. (2011). Beyond the boundary: Science, industry, and managing symbiosis. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 31(6), 493-505.

Kahan, D. M. & Landrum, A. R. (2017). A tale of two vaccines—and their science communication environments. In K. Hall Jamieson, D. M. Kahan, & D. A. Scheufele (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Science of Science Communication, (pp. 165–172), New York: Oxford University Press. 

Kleinman, D. L., Feinstein, N. W., & Downey, G. (2013). Beyond commercialization: Science, higher education and the culture of neoliberalism. Science & Education, 22, 2385-2401.

Leisyte, L. (2011). University commercialization policies and their implementation in the Netherlands and the United States. Science and Public Policy, 38(6), 437-448.

Levine, A. S., & Kline, R. (2017). A new approach for evaluating climate change communication. Climatic Change, 142, 301-309.

Myrick, J. G., Ahern, L., Shao, R., & Conlin, J. (2019). Technology name and celebrity endorsement effects of autonomous vehicle promotional messages: Mechanisms and moderators. Science Communication, 41, 38-65.