It is an honor to have been nominated as candidate for the presidency of the International Communication Association (ICA). Our communication field is undergoing tremendous developments: a growing number of students internationally, a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers entering the field, an internationalization of scholarship. The communication ecosystem is changing, and against a backdrop of longstanding qualitative and quantitative approaches, new challenges and opportunities emerge as results of datafication, media hybridity, algorithms, computational methods, and artificial intelligence. And all of this take place in the context of significant societal, economic, cultural, and (geo)political changes. These are truly exciting, and daunting, times to be a communication scholar.
Why did I accept the nomination to run for the ICA leadership? First of all, the ICA has long served as my primary intellectual ‘home’. I presented at an ICA conference in my first year in graduate school and have enthusiastically attended each of the more than 20 conferences since then. It is a great conference, a great community, a great association. Throughout the years, my involvement with ICA has included service to various committees (related to the ICA journals, as chair of the ICA Awards), leadership as a division program planner and chair, and current work as the Editor-in-Chief of Political Communication, a joint journal between the Political Communication divisions of the ICA and the American Political Science Association (APSA). I would be keen to continue working for the ICA community. If elected President of the ICA, I want to contribute to sustaining an organization that will make communication scholars from all corners of the discipline feel welcome and at home.
Second, in an age of information abundance and ongoing discussions about the quality of scholarship, I would like to enable and contribute to a conversation in the ICA about Open Science. This is a broad conversation that I believe we need to have. This in not just about Open Access publishing, but also about sharing instruments, being up front about research ideas, transparent and thoughtful about analyzing our material, and ensuring that, when possible, data and instruments are available for future scholars to learn from and to challenge. We need an open conversation about what the Open Science movement implies for the diverse field of communication research. This conversation should be there to further increase the quality of our research and the transparency of the research process. Quality and transparency will help us to build better communication research with a broader appeal. It is important to stress that I do not believe in a one-size-fits-all answer to this challenge. But how can we develop best practices and share experiences in creating an ‘Open Communication Science’ space for all scholars? These are conversations that we should have as communication scholars, at our home universities, with our funders, and also in the ICA.
Third, I hope to contribute to a stronger institutional voice in ongoing discussions about the role of communication in society. We have an incredibly rich community with expertise on a great variety of topics. ICA’s 32 divisions and interest groups are a testimony to this richness. This expertise should be shared, not just with fellow scholars, but widely. Communication is well poised to play a central role, for example, in current discussions about digitalization, datafication, platforms, and artificial intelligence. Many communication scholars are involved in newly launched initiatives trying to bring for example platforms (like Facebook) and the academic community closer together. Is this an easy task? No. Are the initiatives without problems? No. Should we also pursue other research venues and remain critical about collaboration while being cognizant of our academic role? Absolutely. But do we need to have these conversations and provide a stronger, institutional voice? Yes. And the ICA should be a prominent one.
At this year’s ICA conference, I was honored to receive the David Swanson career achievement award. This award recognizes support and work for our discipline and acknowledges institution-building. In my research I am particularly thrilled with having had the opportunity to develop an international and comparative research program (with grants from science foundations and the European Research Council) while mentoring many young, international scholars. As a former Director of The Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR 2005-2013), journal editor (International Journal of Public Opinion Research 2011-2014, Political Communication 2014-now), active in university leadership, and in science policy-making as Chair of the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences’ Social Science Council, it meant a lot to me to receive the Swanson Award. At the conference in Prague, I encouraged young researchers to get involved in such activities and help build, create, and improve the environments in which we work. I will do my best to help, advise, and coach anyone who is willing to become involved and take on an office, a committee membership or spearhead a new initiative. Serving is fun and rewarding.
Keeping the ICA open and welcoming, starting a broader conversation about Open Science, and strengthening the voice of communication scholarship in societal discussions are key reasons for me to have accepted the nomination. ICA is thriving, the community is strong, and its membership increasingly international. We have a great foundation and team to build on, to launch into some of the new and pertinent challenges outlined above. It would be an honor and privilege to work with and for the ICA community.
Claes de Vreese l Amsterdam l https://claesdevreese.wordpress.com l T: @claesdevreese