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Beyond the ivory tower: Measuring and explaining academic engagement with journalists, politicians and industry representatives among Swiss professorss


Rauchfleisch, Adrian; Schäfer, Mike S; Siegen, Dario (2021). Beyond the ivory tower: Measuring and explaining academic engagement with journalists, politicians and industry representatives among Swiss professorss. PLoS ONE, 16(5):e0251051.

Abstract

Scholars from different theoretical schools have posited that in recent decades, science and society have moved closer together, and the concept of academic engagement has been proposed to capture one part of this approximation empirically. This study analyzes the academic engagement of individual scholars towards politicians, industry representatives and journalists. It uses comprehensive survey data on Swiss professors from all disciplines, all the country’s universities and from associated research institutes. It assesses, firstly, the degree to which these professors have professional contacts to journalists, politicians and industry representatives. Secondly, it explains the extent of these contacts, using multi-level modelling that incorporates individual factors as well as organizational and institutional contexts. Our study shows that academic engagement is quite common with strong differences between disciplines. Furthermore, professors with higher academic productivity, positive personal attitude towards communication activities as well as a leadership position have more outside contacts. The gender and nationality of the professors, however, only play a role for some of the contacts with non-scientific actors.

Abstract

Scholars from different theoretical schools have posited that in recent decades, science and society have moved closer together, and the concept of academic engagement has been proposed to capture one part of this approximation empirically. This study analyzes the academic engagement of individual scholars towards politicians, industry representatives and journalists. It uses comprehensive survey data on Swiss professors from all disciplines, all the country’s universities and from associated research institutes. It assesses, firstly, the degree to which these professors have professional contacts to journalists, politicians and industry representatives. Secondly, it explains the extent of these contacts, using multi-level modelling that incorporates individual factors as well as organizational and institutional contexts. Our study shows that academic engagement is quite common with strong differences between disciplines. Furthermore, professors with higher academic productivity, positive personal attitude towards communication activities as well as a leadership position have more outside contacts. The gender and nationality of the professors, however, only play a role for some of the contacts with non-scientific actors.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:070 News media, journalism & publishing
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Uncontrolled Keywords:Multidisciplinary
Language:English
Date:21 May 2021
Deposited On:04 Nov 2022 10:35
Last Modified:28 Mar 2024 02:39
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0251051
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)