Credible sources of information have become an urgent matter in this era. With the increasing level of accessibility to sources, which we could have only dreamed of before the invention of the internet and the emergence of social networks, we face an utterly distinct task. At any given moment, we may encounter a piece of data that is not factual or labeled as such. This relates to all kinds of sources and “levels,” starting from social media and ending with scientific works published by highly reputable entities.
How to find something that would undoubtedly meet the conditions of “objectivity,” “reliability,” and “accuracy” in the world of bits and bytes?
What can we do to stop the spread of misinformation?
How to raise awareness and develop skills of independent critical thinking and evaluation of sources?
The digitalization era and overabundance of uncomplicated solutions offered by the internet lobbyists create a hyper-environment that has produced the fallacy that Google knows everything and that works authored by public figures can be fully trusted. Almost the entire human population is exposed to this hyperreality, particularly younger generations, shaping their beliefs and attitudes.
From the other side, it seems that the world’s libraries are at arm’s length; all it takes is pushing some buttons—and—any information is at your disposal. Four “black screens”—a TV screen, laptop, tablet, and smartphone screen are becoming mediators and substitutes for knowledge as a tool with an increasing tendency. These are not sources but programs and algorithms that cannot be disputed; they are impersonal and not responsible for data quality. They are electronic “hands” that pull some “sources” from the accessible information shelves of this world, and very often, these hands are nudged by search engines and social network marketing. No one is responsible for the quality of the content. Consequently, when it is about questions such as “Why do you/they/we think in a particular way?” there isn’t anything reasonable to say. Why? “Because that’s what scientists wrote. This is what Google says. This is the way it is commonly believed.” These are paradigms heard and relied on by many today.
However, some fundamental questions remain open.
WHAT are sources of information trustworthy?
WHAT can you actually work with?
IS IT POSSIBLE to irrevocably trust what is endorsed by “scientists”?
Have the parameters and requirements changed for esteemed scholars and scientists? Perhaps, the most open question is HOW to separate the fictional and fabricated from the authentic and functional?
The given event raises all these issues and tries to find solutions and practical methods that can be used for working with sources in academic areas. Scientists and experts in different fields pay attention to this problem and try to find solutions. International conference “Challenges of Source Evaluation in Science and Correlated Areas” is designed to bring together leading experts and academics from different areas to reflect on questions and find practical answers related to assessing and evaluating various kinds of sources.