Global Communication and Media Research

by Alexis S. Tan (Author)
©2018 Textbook XII, 240 Pages


This book identifies and analyzes priorities, themes, projects and publications in the world’s leading communication research institutes, centers and doctoral programs. It also presents an assessment of the state and future of communication research by prominent international scholars in communication. Using these data sources, the book provides a comprehensive review of communication and media research outside the United States, a critical gap in the literature. It is a useful reference for U.S. and international communication scholars, and can be a textbook for graduate and undergraduate courses in international communication, global communication and communication theories.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Global Communication and Media Research
  • Growth in Research
  • Global Interest
  • This Book’s Agenda
  • Defining Communication: An International Perspective
  • Methods, Measures, and Procedures
  • Organization of the Book
  • Note
  • References
  • Chapter 2. International Communication Research Centers, Institutes, and Graduate Programs
  • Organizational Structures and Worldwide Distribution
  • Research Priorities and Projects
  • International Collaborations and Funding
  • Doctoral Programs in International Universities
  • Conclusions, International Research Priorities, and Doctoral Programs
  • A Resource Guide to International Communication Centers, Institutes, and Graduate Programs
  • References
  • Chapter 3. International Scholars—Research Orientations and Perceptions of Communication Research
  • Response Rates and Demographics
  • Primary Scholarly and Methodological Orientations
  • Universities Granting the Highest Degree
  • Funding Sources for Research
  • Current Research Projects
  • Influential Theories
  • Influential Scholars, All Time
  • Current Communication Scholars, Impact on the Field
  • Leading Journals in Communication
  • Topics for Research Collaboration
  • Social Problems to Be Addressed by Communication Research
  • Challenges to Communication Research
  • Opportunities for Communication Research
  • Future of Communication Research
  • Respect for Communication Discipline in Home Countries
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Chapter 4. Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Communication Research Centers, Institutes, and Doctoral Programs
  • International Scholars
  • Opportunities for Collaboration
  • Limitations
  • Contributions of the Book
  • Recommendations for Future Projects
  • Appendix 1: Some International Communication and Media Academic Associations
  • Appendix 2: Communication Research Units and Graduate Programs
  • Appendix 3: Some Communication Research Journals
  • Appendix 4: Invitation Letters to Survey Respondents
  • Appendix 5: Questionnaire
  • Appendix 6: Senior Scholars: University Granting Highest Degree by Region
  • Appendix 7: Senior Scholars: Current Research Projects by Region and Country
  • Appendix 8: Senior Scholars: Influential Theories by Region and Country
  • Appendix 9: Senior Scholars: Influential Scholars All Time by Region and Country
  • Appendix 10: Senior Scholars: Current Influential Scholars by Region and Country
  • Appendix 11: Senior Scholars: Influential Journals by Region and Country
  • Appendix 12: Senior Scholars: Research Topics for Collaboration by Region and Country
  • Appendix 13: Senior Scholars: Social Problems to Be Addressed by Region and Country
  • Appendix 14: Senior Scholars: Challenges to Communication Research by Region and Country
  • Appendix 15: Senior Scholars: Opportunities for Communication Research by Region and Country
  • Appendix 16: Senior Scholars: Future of Communication Research by Region and Country
  • Index
  • Series index

← x | xi →


When I first proposed this book, I did not realize the enormity of the project. I was drawn to the novel and creative Scholarsourcing competition at AEJMC because of my respect for both the association and Peter Lang Publishing. As I began work on the project, the many challenges soon became apparent: identifying influential communication scholars who were leaders in their disciplines and identifying the leading international research centers and doctoral programs in communication; convincing potential survey respondents from around the world to answer a questionnaire that asked them to assess their own work, work of their peers, and the challenges and opportunities facing the disciplines in which they work; and, after all the information had been collected, the task of summarizing and integrating the megabytes of data into a meaningful and accessible form. After two years, we have this book. Its completion was made possible with help from many, so I say Thank You, Gracias, Arigatogozaimashita, Danke, Xiexie, Salamat, and in a host of other languages I wish I spoke:

To the international and U.S. scholars who participated in the survey, for your time, diligence, and thoughtful responses;

To AEJMC and Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., for publishing the book; specifically the AEJMC Scholarsourcing editorial board—Paula Poindexter, ← xi | xii → Carolyn Bronstein, David Perlumutter, Richard Waters, and Jane Singer who is also series editor for Peter Lang; Mary Savigar, former Acquisition Editor for Peter Lang; Jackie Pavlovic, Production Manager; and Kathryn Harrison, Acquisition Editor for Media/Com and Performing Arts for Peter Lang;

Special thanks to Jane Singer for her thoughtful, diplomatic, and “right-on” critique and suggestions for revisions which made this a far better book than it could have ever been;

To my AEJMC colleagues who supported my book idea from the beginning and who participated in the Scholarsourcing evaluations;

To my research assistants at Washington State University: Yiran Wang, who researched and prepared the list of journal survey respondents; to Chan Chen, who contributed significantly by researching and preparing the list of international communication center directors and graduate program heads. Ms. Chen also prepared the survey for online administration, sent it out, analyzed the quantitative data, and offered valuable advice (and followed through with action) on the project. This project would not have been completed without Ms. Chan’s assistance and considerable research skills.

And, not to be taken for granted, to Gerdean, Riz, Marco, Deb, and Lakota, who were sources of support and encouragement even when I was oblivious, in a zone, as I worked to meet book deadlines. Gerdean was an invaluable resource for formatting the manuscript and untangling the puzzles (to me) of MS-Word. This book would not have been completed without her assistance and her unselfish acquiescence to postponing many adventures we had planned.

They all share in whatever merits this book has, but errors, omissions, and shortcomings are mine.

← xii | 1 →

· 1 ·


Global communication and media research has grown significantly in the past decade. At the same time, this research, for the most part, continues to be insular with little collaboration across disciplines and across geographical boundaries (some research in Europe is the exception). The continued insularity is not for lack of interest in international and interdisciplinary collaborations. Rather, it can be traced to lack of knowledge about potential areas for collaboration, and more fundamentally, a lack of knowledge about research in other institutions. This book’s premise is that researchers across the world need more information about work by colleagues, particularly those in other geographical regions. To fill this void, this book provides information on research projects, research priorities, and collaborative opportunities in communication and media research from across a wide span of countries across the world. I analyzed the web sites of 83 communication and media research centers and institutes in 28 countries excluding the United States. I also conducted an online survey of 159 senior scholars working in 38 countries including the United States. I asked senior scholars to assess the state of our field, and to identify their current work and potential areas for international collaboration. ← 1 | 2 →

Much of the material in this book is new and not currently available in one reference. The sources I used—web sites of international communication research groups and senior scholars in our field—provide unique and in-depth information on the current state of global communication and media research from an international perspective. This book is best used as a resource guide for faculty and graduate students who would like to gain an international perspective on important work being done in their fields, and who would like to identify topics for collaboration and colleagues and centers/institutes to collaborate with.

Growth in Research

The growth of communication and media scholarship worldwide in countries other than the United States is indicated by a significant increase in the number of journals dedicated to research on mediated and interpersonal communication across the world. SCimago, a research group from the Consejo Superior de Invetigaciones Cientificas at the University of Grenada, identified 293 communication journals in 2017, 112 published in the United States and 181 in other countries (SCImago, 2017). By comparison, in 2012, there were 159 communication journals, 47 published in the United States and 112 published in other countries. The 181 international journals in 2017 represented 39 countries, most published in the United Kingdom (97), the Netherlands (23), Germany (10), and Spain (6). (As identified by SCimago, these geographical distributions are based on locations of publishing houses or their branches, and not necessarily on locations of the editorial offices.) At least one journal published in these countries was ranked by SCImago (2017) to be in the top four in impact factor among international journals. Other countries publishing at least one journal, in rank order of journal impact, were Austria, Colombia, Brazil, Lithuania, Portugal, Sweden, France, Italy, Denmark, South Korea, Chile, New Zealand, Poland, Egypt, Malaysia, Mexico, Australia, India, Finland, Sweden, Croatia, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, and Hungary. Therefore, within the limitations of SCImago’s sample and journal impact ratings formula, all continents except Africa had at least one communication journal published in 2017. (At least five communication journals are published in Africa which are not on SCImago’s list.) To identify journals in their worldwide sample, SCImago uses Scopus, a citation ← 2 | 3 → database of peer-reviewed literature including scientific journals, books, and conference proceedings.1

Another indicator of the growth of global communication and media research is the increase in the number of professional and academic organizations dedicated to promoting communication research. For example, the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA), the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), and the International Communication Association (ICA) sponsor a “Mapping of Communication Associations,” an ongoing project that identifies through self-nominations on a dedicated web site communication organizations across the world. In 2017, the project identified 33 associations, 30 representing Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Three associations are based in the United States. In 2012, the project identified 25 associations, 22 from countries other than the United States (International Association for Media and Communication Research, 2017a).

The World Journalism Education Council headquartered at the University of Oklahoma counts 32 academic associations worldwide dedicated to journalism education and research, all but four from countries and regions other than the United States. Among its members are associations from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. The four U.S. members are the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication (ASJMC), the International Communication Association (ICA), and the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) (World Journalism Education Council, 2017).

The growth of communication research and education worldwide has also been documented in several trend studies. Using data from the Web of Science, Nordenstreng and his colleagues (2016) compared the number of books and refereed journal articles in psychology, biotechnology, sociology, and mass communications from 1965 to 2009. Their sample included publications in the United States and other countries. The most growth was in psychology, from about 600 publications in 1965 to 2100 in 1995 and 4600 in 2009. Second was mass communications, from 100 publications in 1965 to 1000 in 1995 and 4000 in 2009, followed by biotechnology (250 in 1965, 700 in 1995, and 1800 in 2009) and sociology (250 in 1965, 700 in 1995, and 1400 in 2009). The publications counted were from the Web of Science database.

In France, the growth of communication and media studies is indicated by the increase in the number of teachers and researchers from 1977 (43) to ← 3 | 4 → 2005 (663), representing about a 10% growth each year (Kovisto & Thomas, 2010). This trend in communication and media studies surpasses the growth over the same period in philosophy and political science, and is comparable to the growth in sociology and linguistics (Kovisto & Thomas, 2010).

In Germany, the number of communication studies students more than doubled from 1995–96 (28,000) to 2005–06 (55,000), a greater growth than in the humanities disciplines and the total student population (Nordenstreng, 2016).

Global Interest

Interest in global communication research is indicated by activities of communication academic associations around the world. These activities include promoting international memberships, holding conferences in diverse geographical regions, and publishing international research journals. Also indicative of global interest are the growing numbers of communication academic associations, particularly in Asia.

International Memberships

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) counted among its 3,700 members 200 faculty and 50 graduate students from 50 countries outside the United States (Self, 2014). While the number of articles in three AEJMC journals remained at between 5% and 10% from 1970 to 2011, the number of authors affiliated with universities outside the United States has grown from 6% in 1970 to 22% in 2011 (Self, 2014). The International Communication Association (ICA) actively recruits international members. Of its 4,500 members, 41% come from 85 countries besides the United States (International Communication Association, 2017). The International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) offers tiered conference pricing based on country income. In addition, IAMCR for its 2018 conference in Eugene, Oregon, offers 16 conference grants up to $1,500 each “to early-stage scholars who are members of the association in good standing, reside in low and middle income countries and have papers accepted for the conference” (International Association for Media and Communication Research, 2017a). ← 4 | 5 →

Conferences in Diverse Regions

IAMCR regularly holds its conferences outside the United States (2018 is an exception, when its annual conference will be in Eugene, Oregon). Recent conferences were held in Cartagena (2017), Leicester (2016), Montreal (2015), and Hyderabad (2014) (International Association for Media and Communication Research, 2018). ICA regularly holds its annual conference outside the United States (Prague in 2018, Fukuoka in 2016). It also sponsors regional conferences in locations outside the United States (e.g., Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur) (International Communication Association, 2018). NCA is sponsoring a regional conference in 2018 in Beijing. Communication associations not based in the United States, such as the German Association of Communication Research (GACR), the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA), the Latin American Association of Communication Researchers (ALAIC), the Asian Media Information and Communication Center (AMIC), the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE), and the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA), hold their annual conferences in their respective regions.

Academic Journals Sponsored by International Associations

Several communication associations not based in the United States sponsor academic and research journals. Here are some examples (not an exhaustive or representative list).


XII, 240
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2018 (August)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2018. XII, 240 pp., 7 tables

Biographical notes

Alexis S. Tan (Author)

Alexis S. Tan (PhD, mass communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is a professor of communication, a former Senior Fulbright Award winner, the author of 5 books and over 60 journal articles, and a past president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is the founding director of the Murrow School of Communication and the inaugural Faculty Diversity Fellow at Washington State University. His books include Mass Communication Theories & Research; Communication & Prejudice: Theories, Effects and Interventions; and The Intercultural Communication Guidebook: Research-based Strategies for Successful Interactions.


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