The Academy has been named in the top 10 most prominent sources of information during the COVID-19 pandemic by the Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC).
The research, undertaken by media monitoring company Streem, looked at coronavirus-related media items in major metropolitan newspapers and the nation’s biggest news websites from the initial outbreak in China until the end of May.
The highest-ranked institution was the Peter Doherty Institute, closely followed by CSIRO and the Grattan Institute. The Academy ranked seventh in the list.
Australian Academy of Science Chief Executive, Anna-Maria Arabia, said since the outbreak of the pandemic the Academy had been working hard to provide the public with the latest and best evidence from experts regarding COVID-19.
“Not captured in this analysis are the hundreds of syndicated news stories published in regional Australian and other news outlets as a result of the extensive suite of COVID-19 videos and webinars produced by the Academy,” Ms Arabia said.
Our Fellows were also highly sought-after: Professor Peter Doherty was ranked third in media mentions of academics. He featured in Academy-produced webinars about COVID-19, along with Professors Eddie Holmes, Ian Frazer, Fiona Stanley, and Carola Vinuesa.
During the pandemic, the Academy launched a COVID-19 experts database and is leading the operations of the Rapid Research Information Forum, producing rapid evidence-based responses to questions related to COVID-19 posed directly by the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers.
The Academy is also providing free resources for home STEM education, publishing articles by experts under a new ‘Science for Australians’ banner, and supporting early- and mid-career researchers through online webinars.
The Academy has 2.3 million followers on Facebook, where Academy videos and articles about COVID-19 for a general audience remain popular. It also launched a video channel on Facebook and YouTube called Global Science TV, in partnership with the International Science Council.
Lyndal Byford, director of news and partnerships at the AusSMC, said it was reassuring to see that people qualified in immunology, virology and epidemiology had generally been the most prominent academic voices during the pandemic.
“In times of crisis, it is essential that the media can access the nation’s best scientific and medical experts so that they can share clear and accurate information with the public about what we know, but also about what we don’t know,” Ms Byford said.
© 2020 Australian Academy of Science