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Dilshani Sarathchandra Presents on the Effects of Scientific Retractions at National Conference

December 05, 2018

Dilshani Sarathchandra, assistant professor of sociology in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, presented her research on the impact of scientific retractions in the media on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at the 2018 Society for Risk Analysis Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sarathchandra and her co-author Aaron McCreight of Michigan State University discussed their study, "The Effects of Media Coverage of Scientific Retractions on Trust in Science," which examined how trust in scientists was shaped by exposure to news coverage of the retraction of a stem cell study. Preliminary findings show that being exposed to the news coverage does reduce trust and negative effects on trust are even larger for retractions due to "intentional misconduct."

The results suggest that journalists and publishers should be more aware of these effects when reporting on retractions and should clarify the reason for retraction (honest mistakes vs. intentional misconduct). Clarifying the reasoning can influence how journalists cover the stories, and how the public perceives the news. Making this distinction can also help destigmatize retractions due to honest mistakes which could increase trust in the scientific community.

The paper, originally published in May 2017, can be read online

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The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at