Focusing on determinants and distribution of health information and misinformation on the internet, and its effect on public and individual health.
Editor-in-Chief: Tim Ken Mackey, MAS, PhD, Professor, University of California San Diego; Director, Healthcare Research & Policy, University of California San Diego - Extension; Director, Global Health Policy and Data Institute
Tim Ken Mackey, MAS, PhD, Professor, University of California San Diego; Director, Healthcare Research & Policy, University of California San Diego - Extension; Director, Global Health Policy and Data Institute
JMIR Infodemiology (JI, ISSN 2564-1891, Editor-in-Chief: Tim Ken Mackey) is a new journal (launched in 2021) focusing on determinants and distribution of health information and misinformation on the internet, and its effect on public and individual health; a new scientific discipline that has has been called "Infodemiology" in 2002, and which has been gaining momentum in the COVID-19 related infodemic in 2020, with WHO recognizing this as an important pillar to manage public health emergencies. JMIR Publications is proud to have been spearheading the advancement of this new scientific discipline for the past decade or more, and is now accelerating the development of this new interdisciplinary discipline with the first and only journal devoted to this rapidly evolving field, by bringing together thought leaders in research and policy. Areas of interest include information monitoring (infoveillance, including social listening); ehealth literacy and science literacy; knowledge refinement and quality improvement processes and policies; and the influence of political and commercial interests on effective knowledge translation.
In 2018, JUUL Labs Inc, a popular e-cigarette manufacturer, announced it would substantially limit its social media presence in compliance with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) call to curb underage e-cigarette use. However, shortly after the announcement, a series of JUUL-related hashtags emerged on various social media platforms, calling the effectiveness of the FDA’s regulations into question.
Discussions of health issues on social media are a crucial information source reflecting real-world responses regarding events and opinions. They are often important in public health care, since these are influencing pathways that affect vaccination decision-making by hesitant individuals. Artificial intelligence methodologies based on internet search engine queries have been suggested to detect disease outbreaks and population behavior. Among social media, Twitter is a common platform of choice to search and share opinions and (mis)information about health care issues, including vaccination and vaccines.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been widely described as an infodemic, an excess of rapidly circulating information in social and traditional media in which some information may be erroneous, contradictory, or inaccurate. One key theme cutting across many infodemic analyses is that it stymies users’ capacities to identify appropriate information and guidelines, encourages them to take inappropriate or even harmful actions, and should be managed through multiple transdisciplinary approaches. Yet, investigations demonstrating how the COVID-19 information ecosystem influences complex public decision making and behavior offline are relatively few.
An infodemic is an overflow of information of varying quality that surges across digital and physical environments during an acute public health event. It leads to confusion, risk-taking, and behaviors that can harm health and lead to erosion of trust in health authorities and public health responses. Owing to the global scale and high stakes of the health emergency, responding to the infodemic related to the pandemic is particularly urgent. Building on diverse research disciplines and expanding the discipline of infodemiology, more evidence-based interventions are needed to design infodemic management interventions and tools and implement them by health emergency responders.
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, developing safe and effective coronavirus vaccines was considered critical to arresting the spread of the disease. News and social media discussions have extensively covered the issue of coronavirus vaccines, with a mixture of vaccine advocacies, concerns, and oppositions.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) has the third highest cancer mortality rate in the United States. Enhanced screening has reduced mortality rates; however, certain populations remain at high risk, notably African Americans. Raising awareness among at-risk populations may lead to improved CRC outcomes. The influence of celebrity death and illness is an important driver of public awareness. As such, the death of actor Chadwick Boseman from CRC may have influenced CRC awareness.