The European Competence Centre for Science Communication is dedicated to supporting all actors from the research and innovation system and beyond, in their practice of science communication. We are not alone - a number of valuable resources, from handbooks to training materials have been produced by many institutions and individuals and are available in multiple languages.

The Competence Centre will offer an online library, inviting the science communication community for their contribution to collect such resources. To ensure their quality and maximise their impact, a set of standards, principles and criteria (SPCs) were created. The SPCs are aimed both to resource creators, as a self-reflection tool in their daily work, as well as, to facilitate a submission process, and to users, as a support tool to select the most relevant and effective resources from those to be available in the library.

The SPCs were defined based on theoretical literature, co-creation sessions with members of the COALESCE Community of Practice, and previous work by the SwafS-19 sister projects. The general approach was adapted from the principles, standards and indicators for outstanding open science communication, from ENJOI.


Concepts that serve as foundations for creating quality science communication resources. 


Aligned with the core principles of science communication – the resource promotes principles that have been defined for quality science communication in general (e.g., ENJOI principles or QUEST quality indicators) or for specific fields (e.g., RETHINK quality indicators for online science communication or NEWSERA indicators for citizen science projects), and is supporting the competences that are considered key skills for science communication (e.g., Mercer-Mapstone & Kuchel, 2017Aurbach et al., 2019Bray, France & Gilbert, 2012).


Scientific – the resource not only supports effective communication of scientific knowledge and the scientific process but also has itself followed scientific principles in preparing and/or evaluating its content. This might mean, for example, presenting evidence-based suggestions or using a scientific method to formulate these suggestions (e.g., using engagement workshops with stakeholders or using critical analysis of best practices).


Accessible – the resource strives for being as available and accessible as possible. This might include, for example, being open access where possible in support of the UNESCO Declaration for Open Science, publishing the resource in various languages or making it better accessible to people with impairments.


Responsible – the resource helps to uphold the ethical standards of science communication and support addressing current major challenges in science communication, such as, in fight against misinformation, increasing trust in science and reaching underrepresented or vulnerable groups. The resource contributes to advance the state of the art in science communication.


Reference models that are used as general rules to measure quality and value of science communication resources.


Contextualized and purposeful – the resource makes clear the contexts in which it is to be used, including, among others, medium, format, target group and science communication objective.


Audience-tailored – the resource uses language, tone and format that is appropriate for its target group.


Self-reflexive – the resource is aware of its strengths and weaknesses, collects user feedback, evaluates its impact and is updated when the context changes. The creator demonstrates willingness to adapt and improve the resource based on these inputs.


Measurable or observable factors, quantitative or qualitative, that help monitor the road towards the application of the principles and standards.


These criteria will be used to select and evaluate the resources uploaded to the Competence Centre library. The criteria are divided into three categories for separate stages of evaluation:

Relevance criteria (to decide whether the resource is suitable for the library)

  • Is the resource dedicated to science communication?
  • Is the resource providing specific guidance and/or suggestions to conduct and/or improve the practice of science communication?

General criteria (to evaluate various aspects of the resource) are considered in four dimensions.

  • Technical quality, including:
    • Production value – the professional level of making the resource clear, attractive and engaging (video or audio quality, visual design, etc)
    • Coherence – in style, format, structure, tone and language
    • Being up-to-date – keeping the resource current and relevant to ongoing developments, both regarding technical formats and content
  • Instructional quality, including: 
    • Well-defined competences – defining the competences that the resource helps to develop
    • Support – providing the user support in teaching or learning these competencies (e.g., with pre-prepared training materials)
  • Scientific quality, including: 
    • Context – clearly stating for what context the resource was designed for
    • Methodology – providing information how the suggestions were produced
    • Literature – engaging with existing academic literature on science communication
  • Impact quality, including: 
    • Feedback – collecting user feedback and using it to improve the resource
    • Evaluation – providing guidelines on how to evaluate the outcomes or impact of the resource
    • Inclusion – considering how the resource could support engagement with vulnerable or marginalised groups and promote diversity in science communication

Special endorsements (to assign endorsements to resources standing out as exemplary in certain aspects)

  • Scientifically validated – in case the provided suggestions have been scientifically tested and are based on evidence
  • Easy to use – in case the resource is designed for good user experience and is professionally produced
  • Impact tool – in case the resource provides clear guidelines how to evaluate the outcomes or impact of the resource
  • Trainer's choice – in case the resource provides specific guidelines and supporting materials for its use in teaching or training
  • Best practice – in case the resource is based on practical experiences or a case study and has analysed these critically to make suggestions
  • Inclusion champion – in case the resource is designed for or specifically addresses communication with vulnerable or marginalised groups or supports diversity and inclusion in science communication