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Equipping Physicists with the Skills Necessary to Address Science Misinformation

The Science Trust Project is an APS initiative with the long-term goals of: (1) empowering members to meaningfully contend with misinformation about science in their professional and personal lives and (2) developing a better understanding of the impact of membership participation in addressing misinformation. We aim to build a vibrant and engaged community ready to take action on addressing misinformation by providing a hub for resources, training, collaboration, and action. The core of this project is training members in cutting-edge science communication skills (for online, offline, professional, and personal interactions), bringing together the collective experience of participants to learn from each other, and mobilizing members to apply their new skills, to prevent and mitigate the spread of misinformation about science. Our guiding principles in this endeavor are humility, curiosity, empathy, and fact.

This project from the start has been member-driven, responding to members’ growing concerns about misinformation and disinformation. APS recognized the need for more to be done on the issue, and the Science Trust Project was born.

"I believe these techniques should be learned and practiced by all scientists and science students at all levels."–Science Trust Project Participant

Countering Science Misinformation Is an APS Priority

At the 2022 APS Annual Leadership Meeting, a panel discussed the extent, causes, and impact of misinformation about science. Robert Rosner, 2022 APS president-elect, provided the introduction, and the panel was moderated by Frank Sesno of George Washington University. Panelists included: Sara Gorman of Critica, David Helfand of Columbia University, Neil Johnson of George Washington University, and Christo Wilson of Northeastern University.

Resources to Respond to Misinformation about Science

Science denial and misinformation are rapidly approaching a boiling point and affecting our work-potential, public opinion, and the wellbeing of society. The last few years have presented unique and complex challenges on misinformation and disinformation with regard to issues such as COVID-19 and climate change. To assist scientists in addressing misinformation, the Science Trust Project hosts webinars, workshops, and other events  to create a network of physicists responding to misinformation about science using effective, research-based techniques.

The following resources provide examples of the techniques covered in our trainings:

View additional resources.

"The Science Trust Project provided me with the tools and confidence to engage with others on climate issues."–Science Trust Project Participant

APS Members Are Concerned about Misinformation

How concerned are you about misinformation and disinformation?

Data was gathered at a poll in the countering misinformation session at the APS Annual Leadership Meeting in January 2022.

Do you feel you should play an active role in countering disinformation?

Data was gathered at a poll in the countering misinformation session at the APS Annual Leadership Meeting in January 2022.

Previous Science Trust Workshop

In Spring 2022, APS piloted an interactive, four-part training sequence with a small group of members, focused on addressing misinformation around climate change. After attending this Science Trust Workshop, APS members felt empowered to address misinformation about science.

"The APS Science Trust project helped me understand the value in speaking up against misinformation. It put me in touch with other like-minded individuals that offered their own stories in support. I hope to use the skills I've learned from the workshop to more effectively reach others."–Science Trust Project Participant

The next Science Trust Project workshop and other events are expected to take place in Fall 2022. Sign up to receive more information about upcoming workshops and learn how you can get involved.

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Working to Overcome Science Misinformation. Donate to the Science Trust Project.