National Science Communication Institute

Marketing & nSCI

Marketing plays an important role in science communication, from effectively explaining information to the public and policymakers, to reaching out to communities, or simply sharing ideas with colleagues.

It's a new world

Science has never been big on self-promotion, so there are many traditional assumptions about communication protocols that your organization may raise. Why is "marketing" necessary and what's the benefit?

Tight budgets

Marketing expenses are usually the first thing companies cut in tight economies. That's why nSCI's goal is to help you find expert help for your science marketing projects at a fraction of the actual cost (or even free if we can).


  1. Stop calling science a ‘frontier’

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    In a televised speech introducing the first episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s reboot of Carl Sagan’s TV series “Cosmos,” President Obama used a metaphor that is both familiar and troubling: “America has always been a nation of fearless explorers. We dream...
  2. The top 40 scientists on social media?

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    Communicating information in the sciences, especially in a way that’s fun and entertaining, is both a honed skill and a natural talent. These 40 people have managed to perfect that voice and now serve as the esteemed “scientist social media wizards.”...
  3. Anti-vaccine group loses charity status

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    Over the last month, a group that had called itself the Australian Vaccination Network has suffered some heavy blows at the hands of Australian state governments. The group, which questions the safety and efficacy of vaccination, had been targeted by...
  4. The humanities of science communication

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    It’s a surreal feeling to be bothered by things that are completely reasonable. In recent months I’ve been part of many conversations about how to engage people with science. Every time the science of science communication comes up, and every...
  5. A Successor to Sagan Reboots ‘Cosmos’

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    A poignant moment occurs near the end of the first episode of “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” a rollicking 13-part tour of the universe to be broadcast on Fox starting on Sunday. Sitting on a rock by the Pacific, Neil deGrasse Tyson,...
  6. Why Carl Sagan is Truly Irreplaceable

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    We live in Carl Sagan’s universe–awesomely vast, deeply humbling. It’s a universe that, as Sagan reminded us again and again, isn’t about us. We’re a granular element. Our presence may even be ephemeral—a flash of luminescence in a great dark...

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  1. Fifth Annual Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference

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    When: Sept 9-10, 2014 Where: University of Washington, Seattle, WA Registration: pnwclimateconference.org The PNW Climate Science Conference annually brings together more than 250 researchers and practitioners from around the region to discuss scientific results, challenges, and solutions related to the impacts of climate...
  2. Journals & Science conference wrap-up

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    nSCI’s November 15th Journals & Science conference was a resounding success. Around 130 representatives of science groups from throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond were able to attend this full-day event. We are currently in the process of assembling the official...
  3. National Academies announces data challenge

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    The National Academy of Sciences Board on Research Data and Information (BRDI; www.nas.edu/brdi) is holding an open challenge to increase awareness of current issues and opportunities in research data and information. These issues include, but are not limited to, accessibility,...
  4. NISO webinar on altmetrics

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    November 13, 2013 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) About the Webinar Agenda Event Slides Event Q&A Registration Can’t make it on the webinar day? Register now and gain access to the archive for one year. System Requirements: You will need a computer for the presentation and Q&A. Audio...
  5. International OA Week Oct 21-27

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    Open Access Week, a global event now entering its sixth year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to...
  6. nSCI Hosting Conference on Science Journals

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    Join us for an important and groundbreaking conference on the current state of academic journal publishing, covering: The impact of rising journal subscription costs on libraries and research Journals and intellectual property rights: Can (or should) federally-funded research be locked away? Is...

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Man walks on moon!

Read more in the Journal of Moon Science, not available in English, online or in news stands

In academia, researchers are encouraged to publish journal articles over everything else, including books, blog posts, and other tidbits that bring clarity to science and science to the public. This might be one reason why science is generally unconcerned about “marketing”—the lack of institutional incentives. There is also a general sense among many in science that done improperly, “marketing” taints science by misrepresenting facts, spreading misinformation, and even worse, giving false hope to those in need. This arms-length relationship between science and clear communication ends up being a vicious circle—science isn’t often promoted properly, the public is uninspired, and scientists conclude that spending money on marketing is a waste.

The reality is that today more than ever before, clear and effective communication is important for grant-funded institutions who need to be efficient, effective and transparent in their messaging, and for endeavors like science outreach whose complicated and important messages need to compete for attention in a very entertaining and diverse information landscape.

Learn more