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How to fight the fake news epidemic in academia?

The issue of fake news is a menace both in academia and society. This epidemic spreads even faster than authentic news. And this is because it carries exactly what the audience wants to hear. The importance of trending news can’t be sidelined as it is the fastest means available to get information to a larger populace. However, with the inherent issues of the fake news epidemic, trending news seems to be losing its credibility, which is not good even for academia as a whole. There are three major ways to fight the fake news epidemic in academia and we will be addressing each as we proceed.

Fake news itself is definitely not new to anyone of us.  In fact, it is as old as mankind itself. Despite this, it is a topic that shouldn’t be neglected if academia is to move forward. The epidemic of fake news is the spread of information that seems to be beneficial, but has no element of truth in it.

Take for example the publications published by new PhD holders which also serve as a major branch of fake news epidemic in academia. These new scholars are always eager to publish articles with the expectation of meeting up with the requirements of attaining higher academic status. This eagerness leads to publishing poorly written research articles which end up misleading students that are hungry for information. Such things limit the financial and professional-expense of well intentioned authors.  They also misinform readers, increase preconceived biases and also reduce professional journalism, scholarly integrity and media literacy. Another example is when research done in other countries is interpreted or translated incorrectly due to lack of proper language translation leading to information alteration which further gives rise to fake news in research community in the other part of the world.

Similarly, fake universities are also existent within academia. For example, Cambridge International University is one such fake university that has been red-flagged by a higher-education programme portal.

Science journalism is a professional field that serves as the link between science and the general public. This generally takes place between scientists, journalists, and the general public. Often times, scientific publications that carry relevant information are quite difficult for ordinary people to interpret.

Science journalism breaks the details, and technical units into simpler facts that can be easily understood by the public. As a result of this, science-media ecosystem, new discoveries are being known.

Do you wish to introduce social journalism into your professional work? If yes, then you need to make sure you have best of content, team of experts and support of professional services before anything else. Researchers need to be at the top of their game and make effective use of everything science journalism has to offer. This will in one way or another help to combat the epidemic of fake news and put them upfront instead of all those frivolous rumor mongers.

The fight against fake news can only be won, if we are to put an end to the inherent misleads in academia. The first major fight is that against fake scientific blogs and social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others. Although these social media platforms are doing all that is within their power to curb fake news, but this isn’t enough.

There are three major ways  in which the academic community can fight the spread of fake news and these are:

  • Open Access – The only way to curb the bad is by doing more good. People are hungry for information which is why they patronize all fake platforms. Open Access fights the fake news epidemic by giving people the opportunity to access scientific research easily without the involvement of a third party. Some organizations and even companies like NASA, ScienceMatters, and many more have started this already and they are making a change within academia. If the academic community can do the same, things will change for the better. There are various open access journal finders that can be used to search for Open Access Journals.
  • Personal involvement – This fight is not for the academia community alone, it is a collective one. Sharing authentic research publications to others and building a strong foundation that deals with the reproducibility of research work should be encouraged.
  • Academia should take it upon itself to be the pioneer when it comes to dissemination of scientific findings to the public.

By following these, we can make sure that academic research community grows exponentially and general population is updated about trends from authentic sources of information.

Author Bio –

This post is an excerpt of Experts by Enago Academy which is a free knowledge sharing platform by Enago English Editing Services, created for ESL authors, early-stage researchers, and graduate students.

By Qamar

Dr. Shahzada Qamar Hussain is Founder and SEO of this website ISST Scholarship. Dr. Hussain is graduated from Sungkyunkwan University South Korea. Now He is working as Assistant Professor in Department of Physics at COMSATS University Islamabad, Lahore Campus, Pakistan.

Research Area: Material science, Silicon thin film solar cell, Light scattering in solar cell
M. Phil Physics (Laser Spectroscopy)@ Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad