Academies Kicks Off Study on Scientific Misinformation

In mid-December, the National Academies held the first meeting of a committee formed to assess the causes and extent of misinformation about science. Motivated by growing concern about the potential negative consequences of inaccuracies, the report will recommend ways to minimize the spread of science misinformation and limit its harms. The study is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and specifically the Decision, Risk, and Management Sciences Division of the Social, Behavioral, and Economics Directorate (SBE). Program Director Robert O’Connor addressed the committee, laying out the charge to examine the evidence base, engage stakeholders, and develop conclusions, recommendations, and a research agenda. He also reviewed the evolution of research and understanding of the topic, thanks to NSF funding, and noted that this is the first time that DMRS has funded a consensus project. See the agenda and full video here.

Dr. Kasisomayajula Viswanath, Harvard University, an expert in translational science communication inequalities and health disparities, will chair the study. At the first meeting, the study committee, which includes FABBS Early Career Award winner Dr. Lisa Fazio, heard from academics studying misinformation as well as speakers from NSF, the Pew Research Center, and the World Health Organization.

The two panels included:

Understanding the Science Information Landscape: Composition, Scope, and Impact

  • Dr. Cary Funk, Pew Research Center
  • Dr. Tina Purnat World Health Organization
  • Moderator: Dr. Lauren Feldman, Committee Member

Frameworks and Considerations for Defining Mis- and Disinformation

  • Dr. Claire Wardle, Brown University
  • Dr. Alice Marwick, University of North Carolina
  • Dr. Dietram Scheufele, University of Wisconsin

National Academies of Sciences, National Science Foundation, NSF, SBE