Samantha Vilkins

PhD Researcher
Sessional Academic
BSc (Computational Science and Mathematics) Qld, MSciComm ANU

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Samantha Vilkins is a PhD candidate in science communication at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at The Australian National University in Canberra.

Drawing on a background in mathematics and an ungodly fascination with bureaucracy, her current research focuses on the uses of quantified evidence in politics, and what gets left behind by metrics and statistics.

She spends equal time despairing and proselytising about new media, social or otherwise. She has tutored the Science Communication and the Web course since 2017.

Her visual design work has been on display at the National Museum of Australia and the National Library of Australia, and was part of the Science Gallery Melbourne's 2018 PERFECTION exhibit.

She tweets @samvilkins.


Research interests

  • sociology of quantification
  • quantification rhetoric
  • public statistics
  • evidence & public policy
  • civic epistemologies
  • new media & society



  • Peer-reviewed
  • Vilkins, S. & Grant, W.J. (2017). Types of evidence cited in Australian Government publications. Scientometrics. Prepublished 10 October 2017. doi: 10.1007/s11192-017-2544-2.
  • Parisi, A., Crump, J. A., Glass, K., Howden, B. P., Furuya-Kanamori, L., Vilkins, S., Gray, D. J., Martyn, K. D. (2018). Health Outcomes from Multi-Drug-resistant Salmonella Infections in High-Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Foodborne Pathogens and Disease.
  • Presentations
  • Annual Meeting of the Science Democracy Network (Harvard University), 2019. Forging Stable Numbers from Political Controversy: The Case of the 2017 Australia Marriage Equality Plebiscite
  • Inaugural Asia-Pacific Science Communication Conference (National University of Singapore), 2018. Types of Evidence in Australian Public Policy.
  • Happy Anniversary? Reflecting on Marriage Equality (The Australian National University), 2018. Threshed out by others: Statistical and moral victories in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.


How do we know statistics can be trusted? We talked to the humans behind the numbers to find out, 2020. The Conversation

Is citizen science a throwback?, 2018. Lateral Magazine.