(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

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Shawn Decaire does a blessing ceremony for the Hama?Elas Community Kitchen in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Hama?Elas Community Kitchen progress shared

Strategic planning, progress made on various projects also discussed at CRDCEH meeting

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
B.C. forestry companies agree to abide by cedar protocols drafted by Indigenous council

Western Forest Products and Interfor Corporation among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

Campbell River city council has given unanimous support to its mayor to continue the fight for the aquaculture industry on our coast. Black Press file photo
Campbell River city council unanimous in support of fish farms

‘I’m certainly not willing to roll over and accept a bad decision,’ says one councilor

(Black Press file photo)
One dead after single-vehicle accident in Campbell River yesterday

‘…we are hoping for a full recovery for both passengers,’ says RCMP

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Nursing staff at West Coast General Hospital celebrate the announcement of a $6.25-million expansion of the emergency department that will start in March 2021. (File photo)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

Most Read