This week the Royal Society published The Online Information Environment: Understanding how the internet shapes people’s engagement with scientific information.

It is also highly relevant to our work at the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) – which is to support public confidence in statistics and data produced by Government.

The report sets out a clear articulation of the challenges posed by the online environment, and how it is potentially dangerous for science. Within the last 15 years we have seen a remarkable rise in online activity across the world. While this has enabled greater opportunities for collaboration on social and scientific topics of interest, the information world can seem daunting to navigate. It is a place where misrepresentation and misinformation can seem to thrive.

In a guest blog for the Royal Society, our OSR Director General Ed Humpherson said:

“This may very well be the first ever Royal Society report to feature Tom Cruise prominently. (In fact, I’m straining every sinew not to have lots of Cruise references in this blog).

And this is not the main reason to celebrate the report: it stands as being essential, insightful, and, I think, cautiously optimistic.”

See the full blog ‘We are not powerless in the face of online information’ on the Royal Society’s website.