The InterAction Collaboration, a group of science communicators from 18 laboratories and institutions from 11 countries, has issued a new report summarizing communication best practices. It covers more than a dozen categories of communication and outreach activities, including managing reputational risks through communications, strategic approaches to communications and outreach, traditional media (newspapers, television and radio), social media, local community engagement and internal communications.
The collaboration was formed in 2003 to coordinate international communications for the science of particle physics and to foster peaceful collaboration across all borders. As part of its mission, in 2008 the group began carrying out peer reviews of the communications and outreach functions of its member and partner organizations. It is from those reviews that the best practices in the new report, titled “Communications and Outreach for Science Laboratories and Facilities: Best Practice Advice for Directors, CEOs and Communications Managers,” were drawn.
“For nearly 10 years we have been digging into the philosophies and techniques behind effective science communication from large research facilities and laboratories,” says Terry O’Connor, head of communications for the Science and Technology Facilities Council in the UK. “We’re pleased to be able to share what we’ve learned.”
The report lays out several clear recommendations, including articulating the mission and vision of the institution, creating a comprehensive strategic communications plan, maintaining close ties between management and communicators and keeping one’s message honest and consistent.