(Photo: Dixon Tam)

(Photo: Dixon Tam)

Ever-changing pandemic pressures scientific research publication: SFU study

Publication of preliminary studies caused confusion in early pandemic days, research finds

As the world grappled with the uncertain, ever-changing world of COVID-19, researchers and journalists were compelled to rethink the way they distribute information in the pandemic.

A new study led by Simon Fraser University has found the urgency and volatility of the virus has shaken the traditional publication protocols of the scientific and media communities.

“The urgency of the pandemic required researchers and journalists to sacrifice assurances of peer review for more rapid publication,” said Juan Pablo Alperin, publishing program professor with SFU. “Just as researchers are adjusting to the new way of rapidly communicating among each other, so too are journalists figuring out how that greater uncertainty needs to be conveyed to the public.”

RELATED: B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Researchers say a combination of the expectation and need for credible health information and the breakneck pace of online news put significant pressure on the research process. Especially during the early days of the pandemic, this at times led to preliminary or “preprint” studies being misconstrued as peer-reviewed, confirmed information.

“We saw [confusion] with a couple of high profile preprints published at the beginning of the pandemic, for example, which linked tobacco to COVID-19 prevention,” said Alice Fleerackers, researcher in the Scholarly Communications Lab.

“These studies were highly flawed, but they got a ton of media coverage—sparking unnecessary panic and even encouraging some people to pick up smoking.”

RELATED: University of Victoria scientists study plants for use in COVID-19 antibody tests

Amid a constantly evolving approach to understanding and fighting back against COVID-19, Fleerackers noted news consumption during the pandemic has seen a boost in many countries.

“Journalists have not had an easy year. All things considered, I’m impressed with what they’ve been able to accomplish despite the odds,” she added. “And overall, audiences seem to be responding well. Many countries saw a boost in news consumption during the early stages of the pandemic, and trust in journalism has been high.”

The SFU-led study included research from scholars in the United States and Australia.


 

@ashwadhwani
adam.louis@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirusresearch

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This BC Hydro map shows some of the power outages across Northern BC. Many were caused by high winds. (BC Hydro Website)
Power out across much of Northern BC

BC Hydro anticipates some may be without power overnight

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

File photo
Ongoing petition for an accessible homeless shelter in Vanderhoof

The petition is addressed to Mayor Gerry Thiessen

The B.C. Government increased limited entry hunt (LEH) authorizations of cow/calf moose by 43 animals in 2020 in mountain caribou recovery areas near Revelstoke and Prince George. (Wikipedia Commons)
Cow moose and calf harvest numbers expected by May

No wolves culled yet; cull scheduled for 2021 winter

(Submitted photo)
BID delivering second state-of-art turnkey facility for Biewer Lumber

BID Group has recently received an order to deliver a second greenfield… Continue reading

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Victoria waterfront

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Most Read