Dilshani Sarathchandra Presents on the Effects of Scientific Retractions at National Conference
December 05, 2018
Dilshani Sarathchandra, assistant professor of sociology in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, presented her research on the impact of scientific retractions in the media on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at the 2018 Society for Risk Analysis Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sarathchandra and her co-author Aaron McCreight of Michigan State University discussed their study, "The Effects of Media Coverage of Scientific Retractions on Trust in Science," which examined how trust in scientists was shaped by exposure to news coverage of the retraction of a stem cell study. Preliminary findings show that being exposed to the news coverage does reduce trust and negative effects on trust are even larger for retractions due to "intentional misconduct."
The results suggest that journalists and publishers should be more aware of these effects when reporting on retractions and should clarify the reason for retraction (honest mistakes vs. intentional misconduct). Clarifying the reasoning can influence how journalists cover the stories, and how the public perceives the news. Making this distinction can also help destigmatize retractions due to honest mistakes which could increase trust in the scientific community.
The paper, originally published in May 2017, can be read online
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