Research dissemination on the path to virtue
Do universities have a special obligation to think twice before disseminating research results to the general public?
Numerous Danish media outlets have argued that university press releases exaggerate research findings, putting researchers and professional communications staff in a dilemma. On one hand, attention and funding in the research community make it tempting to emphasize cutting perspectives and catchy headlines. On the other hand, the world is being bombarded by fake news and alternative facts, so there is more of a need than ever for universities to be credible disseminators of research-based knowledge.
As a result, a working group under the auspices of Universities Denmark has drawn up a code of conduct for responsible research dissemination at universities. The focus has been on popular communications with the aims of, on one hand, supporting public confidence in universities and research, while and on the other hand, providing a set of common guidelines for professional university communications staff in their work with research dissemination.
Birgitte Lyhne Brokso
Birgitte Lyhne is Head of Communications at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Science. She is a trained journalist and holds a master’s degree in Corporate Communication, with many years of experience as a communications director in public and private organizations. As the University of Copenhagen’s representative in the Universities Denmark working group, she has been involved in drafting the new code of conduct for responsible research dissemination.