Scientific Misinformation in the Digital Age

April 3, 2020 - April 5, 2020
Department of Philosophy and Religion, Northeastern University

909 Renaissance Park
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston 02115-5005
United States

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  • Northeastern University Ethics Institute
  • Northeastern University College of Social Sciences and Humanities


Northeastern University
Northeastern University

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The Information Ethics Roundtable is a yearly conference that brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines, including but not limited to, philosophy, computer and information science, political science, library science, journalism, and law to discuss ethical issues such as information privacy, intellectual property, access to information, artificial intelligence, and big data.

Scientific hoaxes (Feder 2017) and “quack” medicine (Kang and Pedersen 2017) are nothing new. But some are concerned that, with the rise of the internet, science is more seriously under threat from misinformation than ever before. In recent issues of the Journal of the American Heart Association and the Royal Society Open Science, scientists are sounding the alarm, arguing that our current digital environment is promoting the “wanton spread of medical misinformation” that is causing “significant harm” (Hill et al. 2019) and “undermining trust in science and the capacity of individuals and society to make evidence-informed choices, including on life-or-death issues” (Hopf et al. 2019). The 2020 Information Ethics Roundtable invites submissions that offer analyses, explanations, and/or solutions to the problem of scientific misinformation and disinformation in the digital era. We seek submissions that approach these issues from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, with a potential to inform discussions of information ethics.


  • Democracy and Scientific Information
  • Climate Science and Misinformation
  • Scientific Disagreement
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Filter Bubbles and Echo Chambers
  • Fake News and the Infopocalypse
  • Conspiracy Theories
  • Public Health Information
  • Bad Science/Pseudoscience


  • What is scientific misinformation, disinformation?
  • Do people have a right to accurate and accessible scientific information?
  • What are the biggest factors contributing to the problem of scientific misinformation?
  • What solutions are there to the problem of online scientific misinformation and disinformation?
  • What is the responsibility of scientists, the media, educational institutions, computer scientists, technology companies, etc?
  • How do we balance the need for accurate science and health information with the epistemic value of disagreement and outliers?

Registration is free and the conference is open to the public. Thus, we invite you to attend, regardless of whether or not you are presenting. However, we will have limited space, so please register for the conference, so we know that you are coming. Starting February 1st you will be able to register on the Ethics Institute Website. The deadline for registering is March 25th.

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March 25, 2020, 1:00pm CST

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