|Disinformation and Science: A survey of the gullibility of students with regard to false scientific news|
The main aim of this report is to present and discuss the results of a survey concerning perspectives on fake news among undergraduate university students in central Europe and northern Italy. The survey was carried out in spring 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. An online questionnaire was used. The report is therefore the product of what could be achieved under highly unusual circumstances and should serve as a pointer for further studies. Misinformation is always troubling, especially in science. Scientists feel distressed when public understanding diverges from the truth. Intentional disinformation (fake news), however, is not always the cause of misinformation. The report discusses the causes related to social trust and types of media consumption. The sample of the study consisted of several hundred bachelors or masters students from each participating country. Half of the students were recruited from social sciences areas and the other half of the sample were recruited from natural sciences areas. The method of approaching the students was online questioning. One university was chosen from each participating country, and the link to the questionnaire was sent by that university's administration to the students. The response to the questionnaire was naturally anonymous and voluntary.