This article focuses on scholarly discourse on the science-policy interface, and in particular on questions regarding how this discourse can be understood in the course of history and which lessons we can learn. We aim to structure the discourse, show kinships of different concepts, and contextualize these concepts. For the twentieth century we identify three major phases that describe interactions on the science policy interface: the “linear phase” (1960s–1970s) when science informed policy-making in a unidirectional manner, the “interactive phase” (1970–2000s) when both sides found themselves in a continuous interaction, and the “embedded phase” (starting from the 2000s) when citizens’ voices come to be involved within this dialogue more explicitly. We show that the communicative relationship between science and policy-making has become more complex over time with an increasing number of actors involved. We argue that better skill-building and education can help to improve communication within the science-policy interface.