Anyone trying to get good evidence into public discussion, particularly on areas that affect policy, faces hundreds of examples of misleading claims. Every time attention is focused on one claim, another claim crops up somewhere else. We need a systematic approach for responding to misleading claims but have limited ability to do that. At Sense about Science, we experimented in addressing this by getting more members of the public insisting on evidence and holding people to account for the claims they make.
In September 2011 we officially launched our Ask for Evidence campaign, supported by a grant from the Wellcome Trust. The launch was covered on BBC Breakfast, in the Metro, the Times, Irish Times, BMJ, and 40 special interest magazines and websites. More than 50 organisations ranging from Mumsnet and Which? to Ovarian Cancer Action voiced their support for the campaign.