Let’s Do Better: Public Representations of COVID-19 Science

Ottawa, Canada: (2020)

Abstract

COVID science is being both done and circulated at a furious pace. While it is inspiring to see the research community responding so vigorously to the pandemic crisis, all this activity has also created a churning sea of bad data, conflicting results, and exaggerated headlines. With representations of science becoming increasingly polarized, twisted and hyped, there is growing concern that the relevant science is being represented to the public in a manner that may cause confusion, inappropriate expectations, and the erosion of public trust. Here we explore some of the key issues associated with the representations of science in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these issues are not new. But the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight on the biomedical research process and amplified the adverse ramifications of poor public communication. We need to do better. As such, we conclude with ten recommendations aimed at key actors involved in the communication of COVID-19 science, including government, funders, universities, publishers, media and the research communities.

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References found in this work

Spinning the Genome: Why Science Hype Matters.Timothy Caulfield - 2018 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 61 (4):560-571.
Hype and Public Trust in Science.Zubin Master & David B. Resnik - 2013 - Science and Engineering Ethics 19 (2):321-335.

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