University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
COVID-19: the changing science
In WFSJ Briefing—our collection of SARS-CoV2 science, ideas and analysis—we have published a link to a page of retractions of SARS-CoV2 science from the useful online resource Retraction Watch. Today, we publish a letter calling for the retraction of a much-shared paper on asymptomatic transmission.
It’s really worth keeping an eye on the status of the science as it evolves. We have never seen such a flood of science (both preprints and research that has been through the peer-review and editing process), and things are shifting and evolving in real time. It’s wonderful to see things moving so fast and to see clinicians and researchers talking to each other and throwing ideas around in the quest to find interdisciplinary answers and solutions.
But at the same time, for journalists, it’s a bit nerve-wracking. Something that looks like a truly juicy finding just begging for a headline can become an embarrassment tomorrow – one of those stories that make you wince when you are reminded of it.
All too often the haste to publish, to get the clicks, leads to irresponsible reporting. We hope that our readers will remember to report with caution and care, with qualifications and with thoughtful commentary that shares what could be useful info but makes clear that it may not be the be-all and end-all in the field.
Tread carefully, be thoughtful and remember the awesome responsibility you bear. As we say in South Africa, hamba kahle: go well.
Please let us know about any good articles you find or have written chasing down facts about fake news – or any particularly interesting research or analysis of science that you might like to share with science journalists across the world. Send links to email@example.com – we’d like to share the best coverage and analysis with our readership.
This page is organised so that you can find information on different topics (from the drop-down COVID-19 menu at the top of the page), and then see that information separated into different types (see the tabs in the articles list, left).
If you would like to do a more advanced search of the content, start by putting a term in the search box. This will take you to our search page, which allows you to search by keyword, date, topic, type of information, and (where applicable) location.
We put up this site very quickly (it was eight days from the idea being originally mooted to the site going live) because we saw an urgent need and wanted to help. This means the site is far from perfect as it stands. Rest assured that we will be actively working to improve it.
… and, if you’d like to help:
- If you cover this subject and would like to regularly contribute links to the site, or would like to contribute tips about best (and worst) practice in writing about this subject, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you have a few links you’d like to contribute but do not want to do so on a regular basis, just send the links to: email@example.com.
- If you think the interface could be easier to use, we are missing out important areas of content, or would like to suggest other changes (or if you think there is another looming crisis we should create a briefing for), please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Finally, if you have any day-to-day issues, notice mislabelled or bad material, or see any technical glitches, please contact: email@example.com.