Intended for healthcare professionals


Covid-19: Scientists report “unacceptable” abuse and threats after speaking out during pandemic

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 15 October 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n2528


Academics and social media hostility: should we give up or do more?

  1. Matthew Limb
  1. London

Scientists who have spoken to the media about covid-19 have faced shocking and unacceptable abuse and threats, an international survey has shown.

Nature magazine found that of 321 scientists surveyed, 47 (15%) had received death threats and 72 (22%) had received threats of physical or sexual violence.1 Of those respondents who told their employers about death threats—and not all did—some 20% said they were not at all supportive.

Nature’s editorial called on “institutions at all levels to do more to protect and defend scientists and to condemn intimidation.”

A subset of researchers who had commented in the media about covid-19—mainly from Germany, the UK, and the …

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