Does Engagement in Advocacy Hurt the Credibility of Scientists? Results from a Randomized National Survey Experiment

  title={Does Engagement in Advocacy Hurt the Credibility of Scientists? Results from a Randomized National Survey Experiment},
  author={John E. Kotcher and Teresa A. Myers and Emily K. Vraga and Neil Stenhouse and Edward W. Maibach},
  journal={Environmental Communication},
  pages={415 - 429}
ABSTRACT It is often assumed that issue advocacy will compromise the credibility of scientists. We conducted a randomized controlled experiment to test public reactions to six different advocacy statements made by a scientist—ranging from a purely informational statement to an endorsement of specific policies. We found that perceived credibility of the communicating scientist was uniformly high in five of the six message conditions, suffering only when he advocated for a specific policy… 
Risk and Responsibility in Public Engagement by Climate Scientists: Reconsidering Advocacy During the Trump Era
ABSTRACT The election as US President of Donald J Trump, who denies the scientific consensus on climate change, raises questions about the role of scientists in public discourse. How far should
Evaluating the perils and promises of academic climate advocacy
What are the causes and consequences of academic climate advocacy in contemporary times? Should it be celebrated and pursued, or derided and eschewed? Does advocacy in various forms tarnish or
Scientific risk communication about controversial issues influences public perceptions of scientists' political orientations and credibility
It is found that risk communication on controversial scientific issues sometimes influences perceptions of the political orientations and credibility of the communicating scientist when the scientist addresses the risks of issues associated with conservative or liberal groups.
Controversy matters: Impacts of topic and solution controversy on the perceived credibility of a scientist who advocates
The influence of solution position on perceived credibility was mediated by several motivation perceptions; most notably through perception that the scientist was motivated to serve the public and persuade the public.
Scientific advocacy: A tool for assessing the risks of engagement
ABSTRACT Scientists active in the public sphere recognize the importance of communications but sometimes have an incomplete or exaggerated view of the risks to both their public and professional
Majority of German citizens, US citizens and climate scientists support policy advocacy by climate researchers and expect greater political engagement
Scientists’ role in outreach and advocacy has been debated extensively, but empirical evidence on its perceived legitimacy is scarce. We contacted scientists researching climate change to investigate
The Corrupted Scientist Archetype and Its Implications for Climate Change Communication and Public Perceptions of Science
ABSTRACT In debates about policy responses to anthropogenic global warming (AGW), arguers sometimes challenge the credibility of scientists by alleging that those scientists have been tainted by
Confidence in Local, National, and International Scientists on Climate Change
In many public policy areas, such as climate change, news media reports about scientific research play an important role. In presenting their research, scientists are providing guidance to the public
Researcher engagement in policy deemed societally beneficial yet unrewarded
If institutions encourage researchers’ engagement activities in a more appropriate way – by moving beyond incentives – they might better achieve their institutional missions and bolster the crucial contributions of researchers to society.
Scientists in the Politicoscientific Community: Beyond the Lorax
  • H. Spafford
  • Political Science
    Annals of the Entomological Society of America
  • 2019
There is a growing body of resources and perspectives, including those in this special collection of papers, to encourage and assist scientists in the politicoscientific community and help them develop the skills to be effective members of this community.


Finding your place on the science – advocacy continuum: an editorial essay
The late founder of this journal, Stephen Schneider, argued that climate scientists must find the right balance between being honest about the limits of our knowledge and being effective in
Climategate, Public Opinion, and the Loss of Trust
Nationally representative surveys conducted in 2008 and 2010 found significant declines in Americans’ climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and trust in scientists. Drawing upon the Social
Predictors of trust in the general science and climate science research of US federal agencies
It is found that federal agencies’ general science research is more trusted than their climate science research—although a large minority of respondents did not have an opinion—and that political ideology has a strong influence on public trust in federal scientific research.
Comparing Student and Professional Responses Toward Advocacy in Science
ABSTRACT To advance the conversation about scientists’ roles in advocacy, we conducted an exploratory study examining the perspectives of students alongside those of academic faculty and other
Science, scientists, and policy advocacy.
  • R. Lackey
  • Political Science
    Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology
  • 2007
My unequivocal overall view on the role of scientists in ecological policy and management is, first, that scientists should contribute to the policy process, and second, that it is sufficient for scientists to publish their findings solely as scholarly papers.
Science, Policy Advocacy, and Marine Protected Areas
Assessment of attitudes toward science and policy advocacy in the case of marine protected areas (MPAs) on the basis of a survey of delegates at the First International Marine Protected Areas Congress found scientists with a positivist view of science and government staff with positivist beliefs showed only partial support of positivist principles of science.
Scientific independence and credibility in sociopolitical processes.
Absence of scientific independence can be associated with a lack of impartiality and therefore with a lack of credibility. Yet scientific credibility is essential for effective participation in
Scientists' Views about Communication Training.
This study assesses how scientists think about science communication training based on the argument that such training represents an important tool in improving the quality of interactions between
Scientists’ Prioritization of Communication Objectives for Public Engagement
Analysis of the objectives that scientists report drive their public engagement behaviors shows that scientists most prioritize communication designed to defend science from misinformation and educate the public about science, and least prioritize communication that seeks to build trust and establish resonance with the public.
What do scientists think about the public and does it matter to their online engagement
A survey of a large, US-based science organization with members from a range of disciplines (n= 431) found relatively positive views about the public but such views were largely unrelated to past