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Addressing Inaccurate and Misleading Information about Biological Threats through Scientific Collaboration and Communication: Committee Meeting 4
October 21, 2021 @ 8:00 am - 10:00 am EDT
In this fourth meeting of the committee on Addressing Inaccurate and Misleading Information about Biological Threats through Scientific Collaboration and Communication, the committee will meet in closed session to discuss the structure and content of the report, and will establish a plan for the committee’s activities moving forward.
Inaccurate and misleading information during infectious disease outbreaks have become commonplace, presenting challenges to effective outbreak control, seeding distrust among affected populations in foreign response activities, and eliciting questions among security experts about the true origins of outbreaks. Some false claims may be disproven through sound scientific analysis, suggesting a role for scientists to provide evidence-based, scientifically defensible information to refute such claims. The National Academies are evaluating how to enable long-term engagement of scientists internationally to identify and address claims about biological threats that emerge from or are perpetuated by inaccurate and misleading information.
As part of this evaluation, the committee will suggest a community engagement strategy for developing an international network of scientists to address claims about biological threats resulting from inaccurate and misleading information. Specifically, this activity will:
- Evaluate existing online platforms and virtual communities for sharing information about and analyzing data from biological events including emerging outbreaks, and current approaches for community-based review of scientific publications, blog posts, and other materials in this topical area.
- Explore key considerations for developing an international community or network of scientists to address the veracity of claims relating to biological threats. Considerations may include evaluation of the scientific qualifications of participants, the accuracy and objectivity of analytic results, transparency and integrity of analyses and peer review, protection of scientists seeking to contribute to the community, sustainability of the community, and communication of scientific results.
- Incorporate knowledge from social and behavioral science fields in addressing network development and influence, and community-based interactions in online settings.
- Develop a community engagement strategy for establishing an international network of scientists to evaluate the credibility of reported biological threats. The strategy would incorporate lessons observed from existing platforms and approaches, and include suggestions for organizational structures, hosts and sustainability.
This project will involve the production of a short consensus report that will summarize the study findings and the suggested engagement strategy. The report and strategy to develop the network will be directed toward organizations involved in bioengagement activities and/or the broader scientific community.
Submit Input: Addressing Inaccurate and Misleading Information about Biological Threats through Scientific Collaboration and Communication
Submit your ideas to the National Academies’ study on Addressing Inaccurate and Misleading Information about Biological Threats through Scientific Collaboration and Communication. More information can be found on the study webpage.