Purpose of review
Science and its public perception are compromised by scientific fraud and predatory journals, and also by the general erosion of the meaning of truth in the so-called post-truth era. These developments have significant influence on scientific medicine and their impact on the public discourse. The purpose of this article is to show how fake science, and also the uncritical dissemination of compromised results in public and social media, threatens scientific medicine.
As social media rises to the preferred source of information of ever larger parts of the modern societies, the dissemination of falsified scientific results within the communities is almost unstoppable. With growing numbers of predatory journals and repetitive cases of fake science, the risk of publication of false results increases. Due to the underlying mechanisms of the post-truth era and social media, these compromised results find their way to the public discourse and continue to be disseminated even when they were, beyond all doubt, proven to be a lie. In medical sciences, dissemination of falsified results directly threats health and life of patients.
In the post-truth era, publication of false results in predatory journals and by fraudulent authors become even more dangerous for the health and life of patients, as their dissemination via new social media is nearly unstoppable and in the public perception truth is losing its meaning. The scientific community has implemented specific counter-measures to minimize the chances of false results being published. However, it is even more important that every participant in the scientific process assumes the responsibility according to his or her role. An orientation towards the values that have constituted and formed science is helpful in fulfilling this responsibility.