Campaigning for facts

In recent years, pseudo-scientific publishers have appeared on the Internet where studies are not checked for quality before publication. Because these studies cannot be distinguished from critically peer-reviewed studies at first glance, poor or even falsified research is increasingly being given the appearance of qualitatively reviewed science.

The day before yesterday, the writer came across a possible example. During a discussion on Facebook about the origin of SARS-CoV-2, someone claimed that there are studies that prove that the virus was grown in a laboratory and then referred to the “study” published on Zenodo.

Controversial article on Zenodo

This is in fact visually indistinguishable from studies published by Nature, a magazine that reviews studies so rigorously and critically before they are published that it often takes months before they are published (or rejected). The person writing here was allowed to experience this for himself when he was involved in an article on ozone hole research as part of his diploma thesis.

How can one now assess whether such an article or study is serious and should be taken seriously? The ReclaimTheFacts-Fact-Check infographics provides at this point to google the most important statements together with the term “Fact Check” and then look up the imprint or About.

The search leads to an article in which the study is critically reviewed. “… does not demonstrate sufficient scientific evidence to support its claims. Claims are at times baseless and are not supported by the data and methods used. Decision-makers should consider the author’s claims in this study misleading.

Under About it says on the one hand that articles can be published here before a critical review, but allegedly only until this review. The latter seems legitimate, but doubts remain about how serious the site really is. After all, the fact check has shown that at least the published article does not stand up to a critical review, which would lead to deletion on a serious platform.

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