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Fake News: Science Edition

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The threat of "fake news" in America is most synonymous with the current discourse within the US political system. However, a more insidious brand of fake news seems to be affecting the public’s perception of science. Currently, 32% of Americans hold a bachelor’s degree or higher; as of 2013, science and engineering bachelor’s degrees accounted for 32% of all bachelor’s degrees. With such a small fraction of Americans with an academic scientific background, it is easy to see how the general public can have difficulty distinguishing science fiction from science fact. In an effort to combat fake news in the science community, librarians at Marston Science Library at the University of Florida have created a one-hour workshop entitled “Fake News: Science Edition.” These one-hour workshops are designed to inform the public about the most prominent types of fake science news, the characteristics of fake science news, and ability to discern between good science communication and sensationalized misinformation.

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Fake News: Science Edition

  1. 1. Fake News: Science Edition Samuel Putnam Engineering Librarian, Marston Science Library, University of Florida
  2. 2. Goals for Today Define our terms Identify types of “Fake News” Share the Misinformation Checklist
  3. 3. –Lui Lam, San Jose State University “Science is humans' honest and earnest pursuit of knowledge about Nature—which includes humans and (living or nonliving) nonhuman systems, i.e., all simple and complex systems…”
  4. 4. Fake News • "screamed excitement, often about comparatively unimportant news." • "lavish use of pictures, many of them without significance." • "impostors and frauds of various kinds," including "faked interviews and stories." • "more or less ostentatious sympathy with the underdog, with campaigns against abuses suffered by the common people."
  5. 5. Fake News • "screamed excitement, often about comparatively unimportant news." • "lavish use of pictures, many of them without significance." • "impostors and frauds of various kinds," including "faked interviews and stories." • "more or less ostentatious sympathy with the underdog, with campaigns against abuses suffered by the common people." Frank Luther Mott (1941). American Journalism, p. 539.
  6. 6. Predatory open- access journals
  7. 7. Retractions
  8. 8. Media Misinformation
  9. 9. Link to the source
  10. 10. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fossilized-poo-reveals-vegetarian-dinosaurs-had-a-taste-for- crabs/
  11. 11. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fossilized-poo-reveals-vegetarian-dinosaurs-had-a-taste-for- crabs/
  12. 12. Interview the researcher
  13. 13. Consult the field
  14. 14. Samuel Putnam Engineering Librarian Marston Science Library University of Florida srputnam@ufl.edu @samuel_putnam https://medium.com/@samuel_putnam/ guides.uflib.ufl.edu/fnse

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