Wednesday, 6 June 2018

New research needs to be better reported and librarians can help with that

Image of Andy Tattersall
Andy Tattersall

I delivered a talk at the 'This is not a Fake News  Conference' hosted by the London South Bank University on June 5th. The conference was aimed at librarians and information professionals but also had members of the academic publishing sector, journalists and academics in attendance. My slides and abstract are below and you can read more about the conference here

New research needs to be better reported and librarians can help with that

Scientific research is increasingly being given coverage and attention in the media. The problem is that the media often fail to acknowledge who actually carried out the research and link to a publicly available version of that work or institute. This can lead to misreporting (sometimes intentional) and biased news coverage. Whilst academics, collaborators and institutions do not get the credit they deserve. As the REF and impact agenda become increasingly more important, so does the accurate reporting and collection of such impact, through such as altmetrics and media monitoring. Without citing and linking back to the work it becomes harder to track as a story takes on a life of its own through social media and reposts. Linking to the research makes it harder to misreport or cherry pick facts and stats as interested parties are able to check the facts for themselves. At a time when we have been told ‘people have had enough of experts’ and world leaders denouncing scientific fact, proper and accurate reporting of research has never mattered more. There are a few important things librarians can do to support the better reporting of research through encouraging linking to the open access versions and exploring how research is received through altmetrics. This talk will explore the issue and what can be done to tackle it.

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