Fake News, Faux Science & Expert Opinion

One of the hardest issues for any community to resolve, is who to believe?  The science behind geological disposal is all well-established, but very complex and very detailed.  It is inevitable that there will be disagreements between ‘experts’ — so how do you know who and what to believe?

GDFWatch provide some simple ‘rule of thumb’ steps to help communities improve their critical skills in assessing potential conflicting opinions, eg:

  1. Peer Review:  has the scientist or expert had their research or opinions tested by other scientists? If not, then what they’re saying has unlikely been tested or verified by other scientists.  Check their credentials carefully, and ask about peer reviews of their work.
  2. Independent Opinion:  communities will be able to, and should, turn to a relevant professional or scientific institution (eg The Geological Society of London, Royal Society for Chemistry, etc) for informed and impartial advice, rather than relying on an individual or self-appointed ‘expert’.
  3. Digital Skills:  ask for a digital skills training programme as part of your agreement with RWM, so that people can be taught how to research online more effectively, and be better skilled at assessing the validity and credibility of the information they find — indeed, digital skills training is important for anyone wanting to participate in the process, since most of the information provided by Government and RWM will be provided online, in line with public sector policy of ‘digital by default’ (ie not printing actual documents, but making information available online).

GDFWatch has been working with many of the leading academic and scientific institutions, and can help communities find the support or reassurance they need to trust or challenge complex technical and scientific information, and ‘expert’ opinion.