The COVID-19 infodemic : the role and place of academics in communicating science to the public. / Cole, Jennifer.

In: Global Journal of Medicine and Public Health, Vol. 9, No. 2, 27.12.2020, p. 1-9.

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Abstract

As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the world, a concurrent pandemic of information has spread with it. This has been deemed an ‘infodemic’ by the World Health Organization. Defined as an overabundance of information – some accurate, some not – that occurs during an epidemic, this proliferation of data, research and opinions provides opportunities and challenges. Academics and scientists have a key role to play in infodemics: as educators, influencers and communicators, their insights are of great value to public discussion even though they too are experiencing SARS-Cov2 and COVID-19 for the first time.

Successful communication requires a deeper understanding of how the public seeks, understands and processes scientific information in order to maximize experts’ engagement with traditional and social media. Such engagement must not add to confusion and misinformation alongside efforts to challenge it. This paper outlines the key advantages to be had from greater engagement with public COVID-19 discussions, identifies popular channels through which such discussions take place and describes how information is disseminated through them. Common pitfalls are identified but these are far outweighed by the benefits of such engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalGlobal Journal of Medicine and Public Health
Volume9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2020
This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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