Outreach communication

Reiko Hishiyama*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Citizens today are discovering that many critical issues remain to be solved, such as global climatic change, natural disaster response, resource and energy problems, and institutional fatigue of political and economic systems. Scientists, as experts, can make valuable contributions in given areas by providing technological solutions and an awareness of the latest technology. Creating new social systems and innovations that encourage sound social decision-making is also essential to ensure the sustainable preservation and use of natural environments, social infrastructures, and human resources, all of which took eons to develop and should be passed to the next generation. To tie scientists contributions to the publics welfare in an organic manner, scientists must contribute to public-centered organizations tasked with establishing innovation and strengthening contact with local knowledge bases. To ensure that scientific knowledge and expertise are actually converted into societal value, it is further necessary to create both settings and frameworks in which a diverse set of actors, who will act as leaders in innovation, can interact and reach consensus. In this chapter, outreach communication is discussed as a feasible approach to tackling these problems. Originally, the word outreach meant to exceed or go beyond or reaching out to the community, and it was mainly used in the public welfare field. It covers the welfare service activities that a community outreach worker, who normally works in a hospital or local health center, provides to those who need help or social support in external venues (Rowe 1999). However, outreach has recently been widely applied to the initiative activities that a researcher, who works in a public research organization or university, provides to or shares with the public or people outside the academic community. In science and technology fields especially, this word is used to express an attempt to promote public understanding of scientific knowledge and to delineate possible future scenarios with regard to science and technology for the next generation. These types of outreach activities are called science communication or science and engineering communication. Lately, these words are widely used not only in the science and technology fields but also in the humanities and social sciences fields.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationField Informatics
Subtitle of host publicationKyoto University Field Informatics Research Group
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783642290060
ISBN (Print)9783642290053
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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