Science Communication Online

Get the book Free! Free/Open Access Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license version available online as a PDF here (click the top file under "View/Open" after the link:

Handouts of key findings/genre moves available on the Genre Across Borders project site:

 Engaging Experts and Publics on the Internet By Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher.Uncloistered by the web, science is finding its way into previously unimagined audiences. Whether collecting data in one’s backyard to help wildlife experts manage wolf populations or even funding research out of one’s own pocket, nonexperts can engage science at an unprecedented scale. As science communication has moved online, a range of important new genres have emerged that put professionals and the public into conversation with each other. In Science Communication Online: Engaging Experts and Publics on the Internet, Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher takes up these “trans-scientific” genres to explore how scientists are adapting their communications, how publics are increasingly involved in science, and how boundaries between experts and nonexperts continue to shift.

Bringing together genre studies and the rhetoric of science, Mehlenbacher examines a range of new forms of science communication that challenge traditional presumptions about experts and nonexperts—including Twitter and Reddit AMAs, crowdfunding proposals such as Kickstarter and, civic-minded databases such as Safecast, and the PLOS blogging network. Science Communication Online illustrates the unique features of these genres and connects them to their rhetorical functions and the larger context leading to their emergence and evolution—from the democratization of science, challenges to expertise and expert status, and new political economies. Science Communication Online captures the important moment we find ourselves in now—one not defined by science and society but science in society. 

"Mehlenbacher’s approach here is compelling and cohesive, connecting the theoretical basis of the book to the selected case studies in a way that develops a model for understanding broader historical trajectories and the current science communication landscape." —Scott S. D. Mitchell, Canadian Journal of Communication

"Of interest to all in the sciences and those among the interested public who wish to participate in new ways or to be better informed about the opportunities. Summing up: Recommended.” —R. E. Buntrock, CHOICE

"Fitting with the book’s blending of the rhetoric of science scholarship with genre studies, this book will be of interest to genre studies and science communication scholars. [...] The mapping of the genre-ing discourses of science communication both furthers our understanding of how genres operate and shows how scientists have adapted their communications to shifting exigencies and audiences in online spaces." —John Rountree, Southern Communication Journal

“Science Communication Online is a novel and thoroughgoing exploration of trans-scientific genres. The analyses presented provide a critical snapshot of the emerging digital scientific communication landscape. I fully expect the book to serve as an important touchstone for future scholarship on trans-scientific genres.” —S. Scott Graham

“Mehlenbacher’s insights on trans-scientific genres—genres in between the professional and popularizing genres of scientific communication, such as crowdfunding sites, open databases, and blogs—expand our understanding of both genre-ing activity (how genres coalesce, evolve, and work) and the emerging ways scientists communicate in online spaces.” —Jonathan Buehl

Available for order online. Paperback available: 29.95 USD/ 39.42 CAD. Cover design by Susan Zucker.