Understanding Fake News: A Bibliographic Perspective

Andrew Park, Matteo Montecchi, Cai ‘Mitsu’ Feng, Kirk Plangger, Leyland Pitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


False information that appears similar to trustworthy media content, or what
is commonly referred to as ‘fake news’, is pervasive in both traditional and
digital strategic communication channels. This paper presents a comprehensive
bibliographic analysis of published academic articles related to ‘fake news’ and
the related concepts of truthiness, post-factuality, and deepfakes. Using the Web
of Science database and VOSViewer software, papers published on these topics
were extracted and analysed to identify and visualise key trends, influential authors,
and journals focusing on these topics. Articles in our dataset tend to cite authors,
papers, and journals that are also within the dataset, suggesting that the conversation
surrounding ‘fake news’ is still relatively centralised. Based on our findings, this
paper develops a conceptual ‘fake news’ framework—derived from variations of
the intention to deceive and/or harm—classifying ‘fake news’ into four subtypes:
mis-information, dis-information, mal-information, and non-information. We
conclude that most existing studies of ‘fake news’ investigate mis-information
and dis-information, thus we suggest further study of mal-information and noninformation. This paper helps scholars, practitioners, and global policy makers who wish to understand the current state of the academic conversation related to ‘fake
news’, and to determine important areas for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-172
JournalDefence Strategic Communications
Issue numberSpring 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


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