Science and the public interest: communicating the results of new scientific research to the public

11 May 2006

A number of controversies have arisen in recent years about when and how scientists have communicated their results to the public. The Royal Society has prepared a report that addresses a number of the issues raised by these controversies and provides guidance to researchers. Its central recommendation is that researchers should take account of the public interest when considering whether or how to communicate their results.

The report makes a number of recommendations about practices such as the promotion of papers from journals and scientific conferences, and managing interests that compete with the public interest. It includes a checklist of questions to help researchers to consider the public interest in relation to their results.