The Impact of misinformation and fake news on the quality of academic research


  • Miriam Linda Akeriwe University for Development Studies Library
  • Daniel Azerikatoa Ayoung Bolgatanga Technical University, Box 767, Bolgatanga, Ghana
  • Francis Abagre Bolgatanga Technical University, Box 767, Bolgatanga, Ghana
  • Stephen Bekoe Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Accra, Ghana


Misinformation, fake news, academic research, information professionals, librarianship, information literacy


The spread of misinformation and fake news has become a significant problem in recent years. While this issue is often discussed in the context of politics and social media, it can also have serious consequences for academic research. This study aims to examine the impact of misinformation and fake news on the quality of academic research. This study examines the impact of misinformation and fake news on the quality of academic research, particularly in terms of its influence on the research process, bias, dissemination of findings, and trust in research. Using a qualitative research methodology, the study will employ a literature review to examine the existing research on the subject, analyse the ways in which misinformation and fake news can affect the quality of academic research, and identify potential solutions to mitigate the negative impact. The study will examine how researchers can be influenced by fake news or misinformation and how it can impact the research process, lead to biased research, and affect the dissemination of research findings. This study highlights the critical need to address the problem of misinformation and fake news in the academic research community. By doing so, we can help to safeguard the integrity of research, promote the dissemination of accurate and reliable information, and maintain the public's trust in the scientific community. The paper further proffers some recommendations to help combat the menace of misinformation and fake news in academic and research activities.

Author Biography

Daniel Azerikatoa Ayoung, Bolgatanga Technical University, Box 767, Bolgatanga, Ghana

University Library


Aitamurto, T., & Kangas, K. (2020). Misinformation in academic research: How to recognize and address it. European Journal of Political Research, 59(4), 941-951.

Banks, M. (2016). Fighting fake news. In American libraries. December 27th. Retrieved from

Besley, J. C., & Nisbet, M. C. (2013). How scientists view the public, the media, and the political process. Public Understanding of Science, 22(6), 644-659.

Betz, M. (2018). Detecting Fake News in Peer-Reviewed Studies. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, 37(5), 4–6.

Brennen, J. S., Simon, F. M., Howard, P. N., & Nielsen, R. K. (2020). Types, sources, and claims of COVID-19 misinformation. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 1-29.

Brewer, D. J., & Hunter, A. (2006). Foundations of academic success: Words of wisdom. Journal of Extension, 44(4), 4FEA1.

Brossard, D., & Scheufele, D.A. (2013). Science, new media, and the public. Science, 339(6115), 40-41.

Brossard, D., Scheufele, D. A., Xenos, M. A. & Dunwoody, S. (2013). Science communication in the 21st century: The need for “framing” in the communication of science. In L. Kahlor & P. Stout (Eds.), Communication and Public Understanding of Science and Technology (pp. 99-119). Routledge.

Brown, S. W., & Wasserman, S. (2020). Fake news, misinformation, and propaganda. In the International Encyclopedia of Media Psychology. Wiley-Blackwell. doi:10.1002/9781119011076.iemp0220

Carey, G., White, M. J., &Williamson, L. D. (2016). Racial and ethnic minorities in research: Evidence of disparities and intervention strategies. Ethnicity & Disease, 26(2), 253-257.

Cho, A. H., Johnson, T. P., VanGeest, J. B., & Kaslow, N. J. (2018). Misinformation and biases in news media coverage of genomics research. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 320(20), 2158-2159.

Costas, R., & van Eck, N. J. (2020). Fake news as we feel it: Perception and conceptualization. Journal of Documentation, 76(6), 1358-1378. doi: 10.1108/JD-05-2020-0081

Council on Competitiveness. (2008). Innovate America: National innovation initiative summit and report. Retrieved from

Eva, N., & Shea, E. (2018). Marketing libraries in an era of "fake news". Reference & User Services Quarterly, 57(3), 168–171. Finley, W., McGowan, B., & Kluever, J. (2017).

Fournier-Viger, P., et al. (2021). An overview of fake news detection in social media. Information Fusion, 78,187-209.

Frenkel, S., et al. (2020). A rapid review of the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of healthcare workers: Implications for supporting psychological well-being. BMC Public Health, 20(1), 1-8.

Gross, K., Alperin, J. P. & Bower, J. L. (2019). Communicating science in the digital age: social media and the democratization of knowledge. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 70(3), 233-244.

Holmes, D. (2018). Fake news and the spread of misinformation. Medscape. Retrieved from

Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2017). The importance of transparency in research practice. European Journal of Clinical Investigation, 47(1), 1-9. doi: 10.1111/eci.12712

Jahangiry, L., Bakhtiari, A., & Sarbakhsh, P. (2018). The impact of fake news on people's health: A systematic review protocol. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 7, 25.

Jasny, B. R., Chin, G., Chong, L. & Vignieri, S. (2017). Misrepresentation of science under the guise of scientific debate. Science, 356(6336), 1260-1261.

Kahan, D. M. (2017). Fake news, misinformation, and alternative facts: The political is personal. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 658(1), 16-36.

Kata, A. (2019). A postmodern Pandora’s box: Anti-vaccination misinformation on the Internet. Vaccine, 37(7), 963–969.

Kouzy, R., Abi Jaoude, J., Kraitem,A., El Alam, M. B., Karam, B., Adib, E., Zarka, J., & Traboulsi, C. (2020). Coronavirus goes viral: Quantifying the COVID-19 misinformation epidemic on Twitter. Cureus, 12(3).

Kwon,H., Brossard, D., Scheufele, D. A., & Xenos, M. A. (2020). Misinformation, disinformation, and violent political extremism: The impact of social media on the 2018 US midterm election and beyond. The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, 1(1).

Larson, H. J., Jarrett, C., Schulz. S., Chaudhuri, M., Zhou, Y., Dube, E., ... & Wilson, R. (2018). Measuring vaccine hesitancy: The development of a survey tool. Vaccine, 36(5),527-535.

Lewandowsky, S., et al. (2020). Beyond Misinformation: Understanding and Coping with the “Post-Truth” Era. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 9(4), 269-278.

LIBRARIAN RESOURCES (2023). Taylor & Francis supporting your library Librarians and fake news: Trust me I’m a librarian, 20.05.2023 available at

Madsen, K. M., Hviid, A., Vestergaard, M., Schendel, D., Wohlfahrt, J., Thorsen, P., ... Melbye, M. (2002). A population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism. New England Journal of Medicine, 347(19), 1477-1482. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa021134

Makri, A., & Warburton, K. (2019). Struggling for space and a voice: The impact of misinformation on academic research. Information Research: An International Electronic Journal, 24(1), paper 807. Retrieved from

Mehra, M. R., Desai, S. S., Ruschitzka, F., & Patel, A. N. (2020). RETRACTED: Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis. The Lancet, 395(10240), 1820. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31180-6

Merton, R. K. (1973). The sociology of science: Theoretical and empirical investigations. University of Chicago Press.

Moloney, K. (2017). The mediatisation of research: A review of theory and empirical research. Public Understanding of Science, 26(7), 764-779.

NASEM (2017a). Communicating science effectively: A research agenda. National Academies Press.

NASEM (2017b). Fostering integrity in research. National Academies Press.

Pennycook, G., & Rand, D. G. (2021). The psychology of fake news. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 25(5), 388-402. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2021.01.007

Paor De, S. De. (2020). Information literacy and fake news: How the field of librarianship can help combat the epidemic of fake news. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 46. Retrieved from

Pew Research Center (2019). Public confidence in scientists has remained stable for decades. Retrieved from

Pew Research Center (2020). Trust and Mistrust in Americans' Views of Scientific Experts. Retrieved from

Poland, G. A., & Spier, R. E. (2010). Fear, misinformation, and innumerate: How the Wakefield paper, the press, and advocacy groups damaged the public health. Vaccine, 28(12), 2361-2362.

Pomerantz, J., & Peek, R. (2016). Fifty shades of true: An experimentally validated taxonomy of fact-checking statement. Journalism Studies, 17(4), 417-432.

Sarathchandra, D., & Singh, A. (2021). Social media, misinformation, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 8(4), 845-851.

Shimizu, K. (2020). 2019-nCoV, fake news, and racism. The Lancet, 395(10225), 685-686. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30357-3

Shu, K., Sliva, A., Wang, S., Tang., & Liu, H. (2020). Fake news detection on social media: A data mining perspective. ACM SIGKDD Explorations Newsletter, 22(2), 22-36. doi:10.1145/3383584.3383587

Sullivan, M. C. (2019). Why librarians can’t fight fake news. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 51(4), 1146-1156. Doi:10.1177/096 1000 6-42 58

Swire-Thompson, B., Lazer, D., & Yuchen, Z. (2020). Falsehoods and their cascading effects in the COVID-19pandemic. Journal of Experimental Political Science, 7(2), 1-14. doi:10.1017/XPS.2020.30

Van der Linden, S., Roozenbeek, J. & Compton, J. (2020). Inoculating against fake news about COVID-19. Frontiers in Psychology, 11.

van der Zee, A. & Elders, M. (2020). Fake news: the impact on people and society. Journal of Policy Modeling, 42(5), 1110-1125.

Vosoughi, S., Roy, D. & Aral, S. (2018). The spread of true and false news online. Science, 359(6380), 1146-1151. doi:10.1126/science.aap9559

Vraga, E. K., & Tully, M. (2019). Fake news: Incorrect, but not corrupted. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 24(4), 151-157.