Editor's note

We live in an age of declining trust and information abundance. The information available has exploded but time we have to consume it has not. This creates a dilemma. How can we ration our precious time and decide what’s worthwhile? How can we know what to trust?

This week Australia’s university sector released research that suggests a solution. A survey commissioned from JWS Research found that despite declining trust in institutions, 53% of Australians rate academics as a trusted source of information. This puts researchers and scientists above doctors, journalists and politicians as a source of facts and evidence in public debate. Margaret Gardner, Chair of Universities Australia, said the survey made it clear Australians look to experts to verify facts, dispel myths and ensure public discussion is informed by evidence. In an age of grim news and endless outrage it was a welcome note of optimism.

But how do people access the experts? Most people don’t have the time or patience to trawl through academic journals. That’s why The Conversation exists: to make academic knowledge accessible across the community and inform public debate. We only work with academics who are drawing on their area of expertise. We make that expertise relevant and bring it to people when they need it. Whether it’s a Curious Kids article where an academic answers a question from a child, or a peer-reviewed FactCheck of a claim made by a politician, or an explanation of a court decision, we bring you academic expertise in a way that is useful. We do this with no agenda, other than to inform. We work to inject reliable information into a media ecosystem infected with disinformation.

All our work is published under a creative commons licence so it is free to reuse and republish. Many of our articles are picked up by media partners such as Fairfax/Nine, SBS and the ABC. If we are going to make progress addressing the challenges we now face we should trust experts, and turn to them for guidance. And after eight years of publishing academics from Australia and across our growing global network, I hope The Conversation is slowly earning your trust as a media platform where you can spend your precious time and find reliable information.

If you value what we do, support us in our mission.

Misha Ketchell


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