Fighting fake science: the key role of scientists

Main Article Content

Bojana Obradović
Ana Barcus


Along with benefits that the Information Age has brought to the society, it has also proved to be an effective platform for spreading false information, referred to as ‘fake news’ and ‘fake science’. The problem with unverified theories falsely presented as scientific is that readership believes them to be true, which can produce harmful effects at all societal levels. The scientists and societies in which they operate, have mutual responsibility to instigate and cultivate the scientific method and critical inquiry. To combat the spread and adoption of false truths, scientists must take a more prominent role by upholding the highest scientific ethics, continuously educating their communities, and engaging in public debate. By sharing the scientific method with the whole society and actively contributing to enhancement of critical thinking abilities, the scientist could help advance skills for evaluation and analysis of presented information across wider population, and weaken the negative impact of ‘fake science’.

Article Details



Hesse H. The Glass Bead Game. New York, NY: Henry Holt & Co; 1990.

Hopf H, Krief A, Mehta G, Matlin SA. Fake science and the knowledge crisis: ignorance can be fatal. R Soc Open Sci. 2019; 6: 190161.

Pennycook G, McPhetres J, Zhang Y, Lu JG, Rand DG. Fighting COVID-19 misinformation on social media: experimental evidence for a scalable accuracy-nudge intervention. Psychol Sci. 2020; 31: 770-780.

Shermer M. Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company; 1997.

Science Council. Assessed August 16, 2020.

Crawford S, Stucki L. Peer review and the changing research record. J Am Soc Inf Sci Tec. 1990; 41: 223-228.

Neil SJD, Campbell EM. Fake Science: XMRV, COVID-19, and the toxic legacy of Dr. Judy Mikovits. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2020; 36: 545-549.

Menapace M. Scientific ethics: A new approach. Sci Eng Ethics. 2019; 25: 1193–1216.

Jones NL. A code of ethics for the life sciences. Sci Eng Ethics. 2007; 13: 25–43.

Kretser A, Murphy D, Bertuzzi S, Abraham T, Allison DB, Boor KJ, Dwyer J, Grantham A, Harris LJ, Hollander R, Jacobs‑Young C,·Rovito S, Vafiadis D, Woteki C,·Wyndham J,·Yada R. Scientific integrity principles and best practices: Recommendations from a Scientific Integrity Consortium. Sci Eng Ethics. 2019; 25: 327–355.

Abonizio HQ, de Morais JI, Tavares GM, Barbon Junior S. Language-independent fake news detection: English, Portuguese, and Spanish mutual features. Future Internet 2020; 12: 87.

Kappel K, Holmen SJ. Why science communication, and does it work? A taxonomy of science communication aims and a survey of the empirical evidence. Front. Commun. 2019; 4: 55.

Bonney R, Phillips TB, Ballard HL, Enck JW. Can citizen science enhance public understanding of science? Public Underst Sci. 2016; 25: 2–16.

Hese H. Igra staklenih perli. Podgorica, Beograd: Narodna knjiga, Miba books; 2017.