My collaborators and I have a new paper out in Health Communication on public understanding of scientific preprints.
In this study, we found that people noticed when a study’s preprint status was mentioned in a news story, but few understood what it meant – even with a brief explanation. Only a small % saw it as an indicator of preliminary science.
While preprint status disclosure had no impact, hedging of study claims generated less perceived source credibility and lower covid-19 vaccine intentions. Was it just the timing or topic of the study? We try to unpack this in the discussion and outline important next steps for research.