You are here

Public Understanding of Science

Public Understanding of Science

2018 Impact Factor: 2.754
2018 Ranking: 13/88 in Communication | 2/46 in History & Philosophy Of Science (SSCI)
Source: Journal Citation Reports (Web of Science Group, 2019)

eISSN: 13616609 | ISSN: 09636625 | Current volume: 29 | Current issue: 2 Frequency: 8 Times/Year

NOW LIVE: The Public Understanding of Science blog on Science and Society

Follow the Public Understanding of Science blog on science and society! The blog is a new forum for all those engaged with doing and communicating science to discuss, debate, and deliberate on often contentious issues. We welcome contributions on public engagement with contemporary issues around science and technology, including links to articles, news reports, photographs, video clips, and web sites.

"Public Understanding of Science is an essential source for any scholar working in this field. Its international reach and its wide range of contributors make it even more valuable." Professor Jon D. Miller

Public Understanding of Science is a fully peer reviewed international journal covering all aspects of the inter-relationships between science (including technology and medicine) and the public.

Topics Covered Include:

  • citizen science
  • communication of innovation and technology
  • history of science popularisation and of science in culture
  • perceptions of science
  • popular protest against science ('anti-science')
  • popular representations of science
  • public engagement in science and technology
  • scientific and para-scientific belief systems
  • science and scientists in fiction
  • science and the media
  • science communication
  • scientific lobbying

Comprehensive Coverage

Public Understanding of Science publishes articles which are are both broad in scope and detailed in coverage. Each peer-reviewed article encourages development of new knowledge and analysis.

Regular Features Include:

  • Research papers - Reports of original research
  • Perspectives - Exploration of key ideas and issues in theory, practice, and policy
  • Reviews - Commissioned reviews of recent books, exhibitions, and other issues of interest
  • Bibliography - Annotated bibliography of recent research in the field

Electronic access:

Public Understanding of Science is available electronically on SAGE Journals Online at

Public Understanding of Science is a fully peer-reviewed international journal covering all aspects of the inter-relationships between science (including technology and medicine) and the public.

Topics Covered Include...

  • Citizen science
  • Communication of innovation and technology
  • History of science popularisation and of science in culture
  • Perceptions of science
  • Popular protest against science ('anti-science')
  • Popular representations of science
  • Public engagement in science and technology
  • Scientific and para-scientific belief systems
  • Science and scientists in fiction
  • Science and the media
  • Science communication
  • Scientific lobbying
Hans Peter Peters Research Center Jülich & Free University of Berlin, Germany
Managing Editor
Susan Howard London, UK
Book Review Editor
Brian Trench Dublin City University, Ireland
Historical Moments Editor
Jean-Baptiste Gouyon University College London, UK
Social Media Editor
Cristina Rigutto University of Trento, Italy
Editorial Board
Ayelet Baram-Tsabari Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
Massimiano Bucchi University of Trento, Italy
Jean-Baptiste Gouyon University College London, UK
Pablo Kreimer Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina
Niels Mejlgaard Aarhus University, Denmark
Sally Stares City University London, UK
Esa Väliverronen University of Helsinki, Finland
Former Editors
Massimiano Bucchi University of Trento, Italy (2016-2019)
Martin W. Bauer London School of Economics and Political Science, UK (2010-2015)
Edna F. Einsiedel University of Calgary, Canada (2004-2009)
Bruce V. Lewenstein Cornell University, USA (1998-2003)
John Durant MIT Museum, USA (1992-1997)
Editorial Advisory Board
Nick Allum Essex University, UK
John C. Besley Michigan State University, USA
Dominique Brossard University of Wisconsin, USA
Donghong Cheng China Association of Science and Technology, China
Celeste Michelle Condit University of Georgia, USA
Fabienne Crettaz von Roten University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Sharon Dunwoody University of Wisconsin - Madison, USA
Declan Fahy Dublin City University, Ireland
Felice Frankel Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Jane Gregory University of Cambridge, UK
Christine Hauskeller University of Exeter, UK
Stephen Hilgartner Cornell University, USA
Maja Horst University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Alan Irwin Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Hepeng Jia Soochow University, China
Marina Joubert Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Hak-Soo Kim Sogang University, South Korea
Tadashi Kobayashi Osaka University, Japan
Nicole Kronberger Johannes Kepler University, Austria
Simon Lock University College London, UK
Luisa Massarani Public Communication of Science and Technology, Brazil
Jon Miller Michigan State University, USA
Matthew C. Nisbet Northeastern University, USA
Vincenzo Pavone Spanish National Research Council, Spain
Giuseppe Pellegrini Observa Science in Society, Italy
Gauhar Raza National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, India
Mike S. Schäfer University of Zurich, Switzerland
Bernard Schiele Université du Québec, Canada
Rajesh Shukla Institute for Human Development, India
Giuseppe Veltri University of Trento, Italy
Wolfgang Wagner University of Tartu, Estonia
Guosheng Wu Tsinghua University, China
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index
  • Cab Abstracts
  • Communication & Mass Media Complete
  • Communication Abstracts
  • Current Contents / Arts & Humanities
  • Current Contents / Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Current Contents/ Arts & Humanities
  • Current Contents/ Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Educational Research Abstracts Online - e-Psyche
  • Food Science and Technology Abstracts
  • INIS Atomindex
  • INIS Database (0nline and CD Rom)
  • ISI Alerting Services
  • ISI Web of Science
  • Peace Research Abstracts
  • Periodical Abstracts
  • Public Administration Abstracts
  • Science Direct Navigator
  • Social SciSearch
  • Social Sciences Citation Index
  • Soils and Fertilizers - Abstracts of World Literature
  • World Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology Abstracts
  • Manuscript Submission Guidelines: Public Understanding of Science

    This Journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics.

    This Journal recommends that authors follow the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals formulated by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

    Please read the guidelines below then visit the Journal’s submission site to upload your manuscript. Please note that manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines may be returned.

    Only manuscripts of sufficient quality that meet the aims and scope of Public Understanding of Science will be reviewed.

    There are no fees payable to submit or publish in this journal.

    As part of the submission process you will be required to warrant that you are submitting your original work, that you have the rights in the work, and that you have obtained and can supply all necessary permissions for the reproduction of any copyright works not owned by you, that you are submitting the work for first publication in the Journal and that it is not being considered for publication elsewhere and has not already been published elsewhere. Please see our guidelines on prior publication and note that Public Understanding of Science may accept submissions of papers that have been posted on pre-print servers; please alert the Editorial Office when submitting (contact details are at the end of these guidelines) and include the DOI for the preprint in the designated field in the manuscript submission system. Authors should not post an updated version of their paper on the preprint server while it is being peer reviewed for possible publication in the journal. If the article is accepted for publication, the author may re-use their work according to the journal's author archiving policy.

    If your paper is accepted, you must include a link on your preprint to the final version of your paper.

    1. What do we publish?
      1.1 Aims & Scope
      1.2 Article types
      1.3 Writing your paper
    2. Editorial policies
      2.1 Peer review policy
      2.2 Authorship
      2.3 Acknowledgements
      2.4 Funding
      2.5 Declaration of conflicting interests
      2.6 Research data
    3. Publishing policies
      3.1 Publication ethics
      3.2 Contributor's publishing agreement
      3.3 Open access and author archiving
    4. Preparing your manuscript
      4.1 Formatting
      4.2 Artwork, figures and other graphics
      4.3 Supplemental material
      4.4 Reference style
      4.5 English language editing services
    5. Submitting your manuscript
      5.1 ORCID
      5.2 Information required for completing your submission
      5.3 Permissions
    6. On acceptance and publication
      6.1 SAGE Production
      6.2 Online First publication
      6.3 Access to your published article
      6.4 Promoting your article
    7. Further information

    1. What do we publish?

    1.1 Aims & Scope

    Before submitting your manuscript to Public Understanding of Science, please ensure you have read the Aims & Scope.

    1.2 Article Types

    Types of submissions:

      1. Theoretical-empirical papers or critical reviews of a research area - maximum 8000 words including Abstract, Notes and References.
      2. Research notes, practical innovations, essays or commentaries - maximum 4000 words including Abstract, Notes and References.
      3. Single book reviews (maximum 750 words) or comparative essay reviews of several new publications (maximum 2500 words) - for further details, please contact the Book Review Editor, Brian Trench: Completed reviews should be submitted directly to the Reviews Editor rather than via the ScholarOne process described below.

    For clarifications on these three types of submissions, please consult the editorial of the January issue 2010.

    1.3 Writing your paper

    The SAGE Author Gateway has some general advice and on how to get published, plus links to further resources.

    1.3.1 Make your article discoverable

    For information and guidance on how to make your article more discoverable, visit our Gateway page on How to Help Readers Find Your Article Online.

    Back to top

    2. Editorial policies

    2.1 Peer review policy

    Public Understanding of Science operates a strictly blinded peer review process in which the reviewer's name is withheld from the author and the author's name from the reviewer. The reviewer may -- at his or her own discretion -- opt to reveal his name to the author in the review but our standard policy practice is for both identities to remain concealed.

    Review Process: Manuscripts may be reviewed initially by the Editors and only those meeting the aims and scope of the journal will be sent for outside review. Each manuscript is reviewed by at least two referees. All manuscripts are reviewed as rapidly as possible.

    2.2 Authorship

    All parties who have made a substantive contribution to the article should be listed as authors. Principal authorship, authorship order, and other publication credits should be based on the relative scientific or professional contributions of the individuals involved, regardless of their status. A student is usually listed as principal author on any multiple-authored publication that substantially derives from the student’s dissertation or thesis.

    2.3 Acknowledgements

    All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an Acknowledgements section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, or a department chair who provided only general support.

    Any acknowledgements should appear first at the end of your article prior to your Declaration of Conflicting Interests (if applicable), any notes and your References.

    2.4 Funding

    Public Understanding of Science requires all authors to acknowledge their funding in a consistent fashion under a separate heading.  Please visit the Funding Acknowledgements page on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway to confirm the format of the acknowledgment text in the event of funding, or state that: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. 

    2.5 Declaration of conflicting interests

    Public Understanding of Science encourages authors to include a declaration of any conflicting interests and recommends you review the good practice guidelines on the SAGE Journal Author Gateway

    2.6 Research data

    At SAGE we are committed to facilitating openness, transparency and reproducibility of research. Where relevant, Public Understanding of Science encourages authors to share their research data in a suitable public repository subject to ethical considerations and where data is included, to add a data accessibility statement in their manuscript file. Authors should also follow data citation principles. For more information please visit the SAGE Author Gateway, which includes information about SAGE’s partnership with the data repository Figshare.

    Back to top

    3. Publishing Policies

    3.1 Publication ethics

    SAGE is committed to upholding the integrity of the academic record. We encourage authors to refer to the Committee on Publication Ethics’ International Standards for Authors and view the Publication Ethics page on the SAGE Author Gateway.

    3.1.1 Plagiarism

    Public Understanding of Science and SAGE take issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of our authors and we always investigate claims of plagiarism or misuse of published articles. Equally, we seek to protect the reputation of the journal against malpractice. Submitted articles may be checked with duplication-checking software. Where an article, for example, is found to have plagiarised other work or included third-party copyright material without permission or with insufficient acknowledgement, or where the authorship of the article is contested, we reserve the right to take action including, but not limited to: publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article; taking up the matter with the head of department or dean of the author's institution and/or relevant academic bodies or societies; or taking appropriate legal action.

    3.1.2 Prior publication

    If material has been previously published it is not generally acceptable for publication in a SAGE journal. However, there are certain circumstances where previously published material can be considered for publication. Please refer to the guidance on the SAGE Author Gateway or if in doubt, contact the Editor at the address given below.

    3.2 Contributor's publishing agreement

    Before publication, SAGE requires the author as the rights holder to sign a Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement. SAGE’s Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement is an exclusive licence agreement which means that the author retains copyright in the work but grants SAGE the sole and exclusive right and licence to publish for the full legal term of copyright. Exceptions may exist where an assignment of copyright is required or preferred by a proprietor other than SAGE. In this case copyright in the work will be assigned from the author to the society. For more information please visit the SAGE Author Gateway.

    3.3 Open access and author archiving

    Public Understanding of Science offers optional open access publishing via the SAGE Choice programme. For more information please visit the SAGE Choice website. For information on funding body compliance, and depositing your article in repositories, please visit SAGE Publishing Policies on our Journal Author Gateway.

    Back to top

    4. Preparing your manuscript for submission

    4.1 Formatting

    The preferred format for your manuscript is Word. LaTeX files are also accepted. Word and (La)Tex templates are available on the Manuscript Submission Guidelines page of our Author Gateway.

    4.2 Artwork, figures and other graphics

    A maximum of 5 tables or figures are permitted per paper. For full guidance on the preparation of illustrations, pictures and graphs in electronic format, please visit SAGE’s Manuscript Submission Guidelines.  

    Figures supplied in colour will appear in colour online regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in colour in the printed version. For specifically requested colour reproduction in print, you will receive information regarding the costs from SAGE after receipt of your accepted article.

    Authors should obtain the necessary permission to use others' images in their work, unless the use falls under 'fair dealing'. For more information on 'fair dealing' and what it covers, please visit SAGE's Copyright and Permissions FAQs

    4.3 Supplemental material

    This journal is able to host additional materials online (e.g. datasets, podcasts, videos, images etc) alongside the full-text of the article. For more information please refer to our guidelines on submitting supplementary files.

    4.4 Reference style

    Public Understanding of Science adheres to the SAGE Harvard reference style. View the SAGE Harvard guidelines to ensure your manuscript conforms to this reference style.

    If you use EndNote to manage references, you can download the SAGE Harvard EndNote output file.

    4.5 English language editing services

    Authors seeking assistance with English language editing, translation, or figure and manuscript formatting to fit the journal’s specifications should consider using SAGE Language Services. Visit SAGE Language Services on our Journal Author Gateway for further information.

    Back to top

    5. Submitting your manuscript

    Public Understanding of Science is hosted on SAGE Track, a web based online submission and peer review system powered by ScholarOne™ Manuscripts. Visit to login and submit your article online.

    IMPORTANT: Please check whether you already have an account in the system before trying to create a new one. If you have reviewed or authored for the journal in the past year it is likely that you will have had an account created.  For further guidance on submitting your manuscript online please visit ScholarOne Online Help.

    5.1 ORCID

    As part of our commitment to ensuring an ethical, transparent and fair peer review process SAGE is a supporting member of ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID. ORCID provides a unique and persistent digital identifier that distinguishes researchers from every other researcher, even those who share the same name, and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between researchers and their professional activities, ensuring that their work is recognized.

    The collection of ORCID IDs from corresponding authors is now part of the submission process of this journal. If you already have an ORCID ID you will be asked to associate that to your submission during the online submission process. We also strongly encourage all co-authors to link their ORCID ID to their accounts in our online peer review platforms. It takes seconds to do: click the link when prompted, sign into your ORCID account and our systems are automatically updated. Your ORCID ID will become part of your accepted publication’s metadata, making your work attributable to you and only you. Your ORCID ID is published with your article so that fellow researchers reading your work can link to your ORCID profile and from there link to your other publications.

    If you do not already have an ORCID ID please follow this link to create one or visit our ORCID homepage to learn more.

    5.2 Information required for completing your submission

    You will be asked to provide contact details and academic affiliations for all co-authors via the submission system and identify who is to be the corresponding author. These details must match what appears on your manuscript. The affiliation listed in the manuscript should be the institution where the research was conducted. If an author has moved to a new institution since completing the research, the new affiliation can be included in a manuscript note at the end of the paper. At this stage please ensure you have included all the required statements and declarations and uploaded any additional supplementary files (including reporting guidelines where relevant).

    5.3 Permissions

    Please also ensure that you have obtained any necessary permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. For further information including guidance on fair dealing for criticism and review, please see the Copyright and Permissions page on the SAGE Author Gateway.

    Back to top

    6. On acceptance and publication

    6.1 SAGE Production

    Your SAGE Production Editor will keep you informed as to your article’s progress throughout the production process. Proofs will be made available to the corresponding author via our editing portal SAGE Edit or by email, and corrections should be made directly or notified to us promptly. Authors are reminded to check their proofs carefully to confirm that all author information, including names, affiliations, sequence and contact details are correct, and that Funding and Conflict of Interest statements, if any, are accurate. Please note that if there are any changes to the author list at this stage all authors will be required to complete and sign a form authorising the change.

    6.2 Online First publication

    Online First allows final articles (completed and approved articles awaiting assignment to a future issue) to be published online prior to their inclusion in a journal issue, which significantly reduces the lead time between submission and publication. Visit the SAGE Journals help page for more details, including how to cite Online First articles.

    6.3 Access to your published article

    SAGE provides authors with online access to their final article.

    6.4 Promoting your article

    Publication is not the end of the process! You can help disseminate your paper and ensure it is as widely read and cited as possible. The SAGE Author Gateway has numerous resources to help you promote your work. Visit the Promote Your Article page on the Gateway for tips and advice.

    Back to top

    7. Further information

    Any correspondence, queries or additional requests for information on the manuscript submission process should be sent to the Public Understanding of Science editorial office as follows:


    Individual Subscription, Print Only

    Institutional Backfile Purchase, E-access (Content through 1998)

    Institutional Subscription, E-access

    Institutional Subscription, Print Only

    Institutional Subscription & Backfile Lease, E-access Plus Backfile (All Online Content)

    Institutional Subscription, Combined (Print & E-access)

    Institutional Subscription & Backfile Lease, Combined Plus Backfile (Current Volume Print & All Online Content)

    Individual, Single Print Issue

    Institutional, Single Print Issue

    ePlatform, Single Issue 24 hour E-access