Let's keep the science real TS Summary

Let's keep the science real  TS Summary

The first day of April is filled with mischief in the air. Those who are aware of the tradition of pranks look over their shoulders all day long, questioning everything and everyone, much to the annoyance of those who are not interested in the habit. Many scientists participate in this tradition as well, channeling their wits into crafting convincing tricks to fool their colleagues, students, or advisors. Such antics often strengthen laboratory friendship and provide unforgettable stories for years to come. I fondly remember the times during my graduate studies when some of us would lie about stolen bikes and “missing” specimens to temporarily panic our teammates.

However, there is a limit, and innocent jokes can cause harm. In my opinion, any science joke that spills over into the public domain is dangerous territory. When it comes to science communication, little lies pose a big danger. Scientists may post fake scientific results on public platforms with innocent intentions, expecting readers to experience a wave of reactions: the initial shock when reading a bizarre claim and the eventual chuckle when they realize they've fallen for a hoax. This works in an ideal scenario, but life is never that simple. Some readers may miss the disclaimer while scrolling through their busy routine, or some may not check the platform the next day when an update is released. They may therefore believe and share the lie, unwittingly spreading scientific misinformation.

Throughout the year, scientists and science communicators pride themselves on their ability to disseminate accurate information to keep the world informed of the latest updates in science. I worry that if those responsible for upholding scientific integrity spread misinformation – even for a single day – they could damage the trust and credibility they have built over time.

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It's time to remove scientific lies from the April Fools' Day prank lineup. If anyone believes the lies after today, the joke's on the clown. do you agree?

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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