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date: 26 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

As scientists increasingly communicate with the public, hype (i.e., exaggerating and/or sensationalizing communication with other scientists and with public audiences) has become a matter of concern. There are many sources of hype, some of which reinforce each other—science itself, mass media science reporting, and universities engaging in public relations and self-promotion with varying degrees of legitimacy. Competition for public attention affects science in particular when the resulting hype undermines public perception of science’s commitment to factual evidence, and hype borders on fraud when claims of discoveries prove to be unsubstantiated. Science organizations have reacted by formulating codes of conduct and trying to eliminate both practices that overstate the impact of findings and postpublication activities that distort scholarly conclusions. More research is needed on the effects of hype on public trust in science and the effectiveness of alternative ways to discourage and penalize it.

Keywords: hype, science communication, media, public relations, competition, attention

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