- Our shared reality must be founded on open discourse, based on the theory or opinion with the soundest justification. No matter how confusing the global situation, this principle remains.
- The digital revolution of increased access to information and communication has given billions more people on the planet the opportunity to take part in the public debate.
- But this same revolution of access and communication has introduced beliefs — “alternative facts” — to the discussion, ones that do not hold up to scientific scrutiny.
- The boundary between beliefs and academically justified statements has become blurred in the public debate.
- Academic research must be able to justify its position in public discourse every day.
- The researchers of the world must unite to protect the truth from such arbitrary treatment.
- This means that it is important for researchers in all countries to communicate their results more actively and accessibly.
- Communications is a strategic measure, not an extraneous support service.
- Research and science must use the communication channels that the rest of the population does, and must be able to answer questions from the public in an accessible way.
- We must trust that the best argument will win, sooner or later. This will be the basis for the future of humanity.
Pekka Sauri is professor of practice at the University of Helsinki.
In the series Science Advocates, people describe the significance of research and research-based teaching for themselves. Read the other instalments on the Researchmatters website (scroll down).