Guide to help researchers deal with online harassment

Dealing with harassment

All researchers should expect their work to be scrutinised by the public, but on some controversial topics this can go beyond what you’re expected to deal with.

  • Step back and assess: those supporting your research are often the silent majority
  • Don’t allow yourself to be silenced: engaging with media can help get your messages across
  • Think about the positive messages you want to get across
  • Focus on those who are interested in listening to your views
  • Be upfront and honest about uncertainties and limitations in your research
  • Maintain perspective: the attention can often disappear as quickly as it erupts
  • Get support: from your peers, institute, funder and the SMC.

These tips are from the UK Science Media Centre’s guide “Advice for researchers experiencing harrassment”, which helps researchers across academia tackle the online harassment they face while working on some of the world’s most controversial, and vital, topics.

The free resource aims to give experts increased confidence to communicate their research to the public. It encourages researchers to not be silenced by criticism, and to be upfront and honest about any uncertainties in their work. It also shows where to seek support and how to take action against the trolls.

Note: The UK SMC is the sister organisation to the SMC NZ. We share some resources but do not share funding or governance.

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