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  • Writer's pictureVioleta Trkulja

Investigating Scientific Misinformation Originating from Retracted Publications and Their Perception

The 86th Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) was held from October 27 to 31, in London. Themed " Making a Difference: Translating Information Research into Practice, Policy, and Action," the conference focused on translating research in information science into practical, policy, and action-oriented outcomes. ASIS&T is the largest association in the field of information science and technology, bringing together researchers to exchange research findings and support their implementation in practical applications.


Violeta Trkulja (m.) and Juliane Stiller (r.) with Isabella Peters (Chair of the Board)

Juliane Stiller and Violeta Trkulja participated with a poster presentation to present research findings from the project DESIVE² - Understanding Disinformation Behavior.


Together with Senta Terner, Juliane Stiller and Violeta Trkulja investigated the spread of scientific misinformation through retracted scientific publications and how they are perceived by the media. For this purpose, they used the "Retraction Watch" database (https://retractionwatch.com/retracted-coronavirus-covid-19-papers), which provides a listing of retracted scientific publications related to COVID-19. A list of 270 retracted COVID-19 papers was the basis for the analysis of 180 news articles, from which ultimately 16 publications were selected.


Using three very different cases, they illustrate the various aspects of the dissemination and perception of scientific misinformation in the media. In this regard, the authors identified four main factors that influence the portrayal of retracted scientific articles in the media:

  1. The subject of the article determines whether the article itself or its retraction is reported on,

  2. the characteristics of the news article determine how detailed and comprehensive the retraction is discussed,

  3. the target audience of the article influences its reception and impact, and

  4. the characteristics of the original publication, particularly the motives or intentions of the authors, are also taken into account.

The study provides important insights into the spread of scientific misinformation and highlights the role of reactions in its dissemination through the media. It also emphasizes the importance of careful and accurate reporting, particularly in the context of scientific research and publications.

The poster for the presentation is available for download on Zenodo: Download poster


Publication: Stiller, J., Terner, S. and Trkulja, V. (2023): Investigating Scientific Misinformation Originating from Retracted Publications and Their Perception. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 60: 1134-1136. https://doi.org/10.1002/pra2.969


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