CFP: Communicating science visually in the digital age

Alon Lischinsky alischinsky at
Mon Sep 9 12:36:27 UTC 2013

(With apologies for cross-posting)

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Call for papers for a special issue of Science Communication: Linking
Theory and Practice

Communicating science visually in the digital age

The recent advent of new communication and representation tools and
technologies has created a myriad of new potentialities and new realities
in the creation and dissemination of science visuals, both within and
outside of the scientific disciplines. This trend has also raised
questions about the use and impact of these visuals. Science visuals have
progressed beyond simple tables and graphs to include digitized
schematics and simulations, interactive computer graphics, and even video
games, in addition to film, video, and photographic treatments.
Computerization gives the creator new power to shape representations and
thus invite new interpretations of information. In this call we intend
the term visualization to include any kind of representation that relies
on “pictures” (broadly defined) rather than solely on language, text, or

Visuals can both provide an entry point to science for people without
scientific training but also trivialize or confuse people about science
through the range of possible interpretations of imagery.   They may also
encourage creative thinking within science. This special issue will bring
together research that considers the changes in science visualization
considered across a variety of disciplines to encourage synergy among
divergent approaches and provide a resource for communication, teaching,
and future research.

This special issue will focus on whether and how visuals and
visualization technologies (old and new) and the broader access that they
may provide are affecting science communication.  Questions to be
addressed include how science is represented visually, how visuals
influence public perceptions and understandings of science, and what is
ultimately the impact of new science visualization technologies both
within the disciplines and in the public sphere.  Papers can address such
topics as:
• the impact of visualization techniques and technologies on public
• the ethics of visual science communication
• how scientific results are represented using new visualization
technologies, along with the implications of these representations
• visual metaphors, rhetoric, and framing in science visualization
• the changing use of visuals within science disciplines and what this means
• the use of iconic science imagery and its effects on emotion and public
• power issues related to the use of visuals and the public accessibility
of science
• visuals and their reception in the science museum/center and/or other
particular contexts

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list but only a starting point.
Theory-based papers with an empirical or analytical focus and using any
quantitative or qualitative methodology will be considered.  All papers
submitted will be subject to a rigorous and competitive peer review

Timeline and requirements
Papers are due April 1, 2014 for publication likely in late 2014 or early
2015.  Earlier submissions are very strongly encouraged. Mention the
special issue in your cover letter. Papers should follow the Science
Communication guidelines for length and format; submit at  Our ideal manuscript is between 7000 and
9000 words, inclusive of notes, references, and other material.
Additional guidelines can be found at Queries regarding
the special issue can be addressed to guest editor Mary Nucci at
mnucci at or to the journal’s editor, Susanna Priest, at
editorscicom at
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