The aim of this special issue on science communication is to inspire and help scientists who are taking part or want to take part in science communication and engage with the wider public, clinicians, other scientists or policy makers. For this, some articles provide concise and accessible advice to individual scientists, science networks, or learned societies on how to communicate effectively; others share rationales, objectives and aims, experiences, implementation strategies and resources derived from existing long-term science communication initiatives. Although this issue is primarily addressing scientists working in the field of biomedical research, much of it similarly applies to scientists from other disciplines. Furthermore, we hope that this issue will also be used as a helpful resource by academic science communicators and social scientists, as a collection that highlights some of the major communication challenges that the biomedical sciences face, and which provides interesting case studies of initiatives that use a breadth of strategies to address these challenges. In this editorial, we first discuss why we should communicate our science and contemplate some of the different approaches, aspirations and definitions of science communication. We then address the specific challenges that researchers in the biomedical sciences are faced with when engaging with wider audiences. Finally, we explain the rationales and contents of the different articles in this issue and the various science communication initiatives and strategies discussed in each of them, whilst also providing some information on the wide range of further science communication activities in the biomedical sciences that could not all be covered here.