Introduction to Series: Informing Science Perspectives on Fake News

Eli Cohen
Informing Science: The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline  •  Volume 22  •  2019  •  pp. 091-094

This series of papers on Fake News: Bias, Misinformation, and Disinformation examines fake news from an Informing Science perspective. As such, the papers in this special series make novel con-tributions to the field by viewing the issues through the transdisciplinary lens of informing science. This series makes no claim to summarize or review all that has been written on this topic. Rather it provides a glimpse into this immense literature from the perspective of informing science.

It is one small step on the 20+ year quest by the editor to explore better ways to inform from an approach that transcends academic disciplines (Cohen, 1998, 1999) and a 20 year quest to under-stand the issues of how we become misinformed and disinformed (Cohen, 2000). The series pro-vided here gains thrust for two reasons. One reason is that the study has become more popular with academicians due to the blathering of politicians and the attacks by national powers on de-mocracy. The second reason is more mundane; without the deadline that the end-of-year affords, the papers would become richer, fuller, and more detailed.

Taken together, the results brought forth across these papers is truly scary. Due to their biases, when presented with information, people can and do generate their own misinformation. People tend to communicate such misinformation that they self-generated with others in groups sharing their beliefs, strengthening the misinformation by some and silencing those do not share these thoughts. This process creates divisions in society. How can humanity seek wise decisions when we cannot agree even upon the facts. We see the results of this syndrome in Operation SIG and cur-rent divisions within politics in the West.

informing science, bias, misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, fake news
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