Advancing the Science and Practice of Science Communication: Misinformation about Science in the Public Sphere

April 03, 2019 to April 04, 2019
Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia of the National Academy of Sciences
Hosted by: 
May Berenbaum, Dietram Scheufele, William K. Hallman, Andrew Hoffman, Liz Neeley, and Czerne M. Reid
Irvine, CA

Misinformation about science in the public sphere is a topic of great concern to those who care about the use of science in public debate and decision-making. This special colloquium offers an opportunity for communicators, researchers, scientists and others to learn about the latest research on what makes people more or less likely to accept misinformation about science, and how to reduce its spread and impact. In a thoughtfully conceived agenda that features both large and small group sessions, participants will exchange and generate new ideas for practice and infrastructure, and discuss ways that they can work together to apply and conduct research on this important topic.

Sessions will feature opportunities to learn about new initiatives to gain insights and combat misinformation about science.

  • What do we already know about what works to address misinformation in science? What do we still need to learn?
  • How can we connect new information to what people already know?
  • How does controversy or uncertainty affect how people understand information from science?
  • How can we use new insights from network and data science?
  • What are businesses, the media, and museums doing about misinformation about science? Can these approaches be used more widely?
  • How can partnerships help advance research and practice on misinformation and what makes a partnership successful?

What participants will do

  1. Engage in small group discussions on important topics—reaching diverse audiences, the role of social media, the role of scientists, effective public deliberation, and more.
  2. Hear from leaders at Google, RAND, Pew Research Center, and RTI International about major initiatives to address misinformation in science.
  3. Graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and early career researchers are encouraged to submit abstracts for poster presentations of new empirical research on misinformation about science during registration. Applicants can be considered for travel subsidies to attend the colloquium.