January 20, 2022

Research Article: “Credibility of Scientific Information on Social Media: Variation by Platform, Genre and Presence of Formal Credibility Cues”

The research article linked below was recently published by Quantitative Science Studies.


Credibility of Scientific Information on Social Media: Variation by Platform, Genre and Presence of Formal Credibility Cues


Clara Boothby
Indiana University Bloomington

Dakota Murray
Indiana University Bloomington

Anna Polovick Wagg
Indiana University Bloomington

Andrew Tsou
Indiana University Bloomington

Cassidy R. Sugimoto
Indiana University Bloomington
Georgia Institute of Technology


Quantitative Science Studies 1–18.
DOI: 10.1162/qss_a_00151


Responding to calls to take a more active role in communicating their research findings, scientists are increasingly using open online platforms, such as Twitter, to engage in science communication or to publicize their work. Given the ease with which misinformation spreads on these platforms, it is important for scientists to present their findings in a manner that appears credible. To examine the extent to which the online presentation of science information relates to its perceived credibility, we designed and conducted two surveys on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. In the first survey, participants rated the credibility of science information on Twitter compared with the same information in other media, and in the second, participants rated the credibility of tweets with modified characteristics: presence of an image, text sentiment, and the number of likes/retweets. We find that similar information about scientific findings is perceived as less credible when presented on Twitter compared to other platforms, and that perceived credibility increases when presented with recognizable features of a scientific article. On a platform as widely distrusted as Twitter, use of these features may allow researchers who regularly use Twitter for research-related networking and communication to present their findings in the most credible formats.

Direct to Full Text Article
18 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.