Where should you look for reliable information?

At the time of writing we have more information and more misinformation available to us than there ever has been in any previous age.

How is the layman to know where to find the reliable information and how to avoid the misinformation?

Misinformation regarding climate change is particularly prevalent, perhaps especially in Australia (with huge and profitable coal and gas industries and a federal government that is closely linked to the fossil fuel industries) and the USA. This page aims particularly at pointing people to reliable information relating to climate change, but also aims to help people find reliable information generally.

As it is written by an Australian, this page applies especially to Australia, but it aims to help anyone wherever they live. I should say that I make no claim to be an expert on the subject.

This page was written 2020/01/15, last edited 2023/11/16
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©

Climate change impact near where I live
Red stringybark
These red stringybark trees have been defoliated by increasing temperatures and decreasing rainfall related to climate change. For more information see Climate change in the Clare Valley

Your own first-hand observation is one of the most reliable sources of information.

What information sources are unreliable?

Don't accept at face value anything in Vimeo, Twitter, Facebook or any other platform where anybody can write anything, although these platforms can be useful sources so long as you carefully consider the source and/or do some checking.

Be careful about believing things you read in newspapers, particularly those produced by the Murdoch/News Limited empire; Andrew Bolt is notorious for his dishonesty.

Take what you hear on commercial radio and commercial TV with a pinch of salt, they often have hidden agendas, and they chase sensationalism as much as truth. (Adelaide radio station 5AA's David Penberthy has been particularly careless in reporting.) Popular commentators on commercial radio, often known as Shock Jocks, such as Alan Jones (in Australia) are highly unreliable.

Anything produced by a commercial business, corporation or company, without necessarily being false, will probably be heavily biased to make that organisation look good.

Statements coming from politicians belonging to the major Australian political parties, and to several of the minor parties too (Connie Bonaros of SA Best has shamelessly tried to mislead the South Australian parliament for example), are highly unreliable.

Take great care of organisations that are, or may be, aligned to a particular lobby group; in Australia anything coming from the Institute of Public Affairs will be biased toward the fossil fuel industries and the right wing of politics.

Beware of misleading names such as:

Both of these are dishonest advocates for fossil fuels and both oppose much needed action on climate change.

What information sources are reliable?

Respected peer-reviewed science journals

The most reliable sources are the respected peer-reviewed science journals, but these can be difficult for the layman to understand. Google Scholar can be used to search for scholarly articles.

Almost as reliable and easier to understand are the respected national and international science organisations:

  • Internationally...
    • IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
    • Publications produced by the United Nations
    • WHO (World Health Organisation)
  • In Australia...
  • In the USA...
    • NASA (National Aeronautic and Space Administration)
    • NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

The respected popular science magazines

Also reliable are popular science magazines such as Cosmos (Australia), Scientific American (USA), and New Scientist (UK).

The national broadcasters of Australia and the UK

Such as the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) and BBC (British Broadcasting Commission) are generally reliable. ABC TV's Media Watch exposes poor media practice in Australia, including some in the ABC itself. The Drum on ABC TV provides generally well informed opinions and discussion on the current hot topics; it includes a lot of opinion, some of it dubious.


RenewEconomy can help to keep you up to date with developments in energy, renewable energy in particular.


On anything relating to health, the AMA (Australian Medical Association), Climate and Health Alliance and Doctors for the Environment are reliable.

General information

In Australia, and increasingly internationally, The Conversation is a very reliable source of information on a great many subjects. It is written by academics who have a strong incentive to be careful to stick to the truth.

Perhaps surprisingly, since anyone can edit a Wikipedia page, I have found Wikipedia to be remarkable reliable.

Of the commercial newspapers I've found the local papers to be generally reliable and among the nationals The Guardian and the Sydney Morning Herald seem to be as reliable as any in Australia. Checking may be required.

Google news alerts are very useful in keeping track of particular subjects; checking veracity of the items that turn up is required.

I have found The Australia Institute to be reliable.

Of Australian politicians I've found independent Andrew Wilkie to be honest and courageous. Several other independents are honest and useful sources. The Australian Greens are more likely to be speaking truth than members of any other Australian political party. I have found Australian federal Centre Alliance MPs Rebekha Sharkie and Rex Patrick to be reliable.

Domain name

As explained in an article by Renee Morrison dated 2020/02/12 in The Conversation:
Teaching students to choose websites based on domain name extensions can also help ensure they are in charge, not the search engine. The easily purchasable “.com”, for example, denotes a commercial site while information on websites with a “.gov”(government) or “.edu” (education) domain name extension better assure quality information.

Checking the reliability of sources

SourceWatch; run by The Center for Media and Democracy can be used to check the reliability of a great many sites on the internet. Another that I have often used is Snopes. Others are Politifact and FactCheck.org.

Desmog: 'Clearing the PR pollution that clouds climate science' is useful for exposing the lies of the fossil fuel industry and their supporters on the internet.

Many other of the organisations that I've listed under the reliable information sources, above, can be useful for checking.

General comments

While random postings on the social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo cannot be trusted in themselves I find a great many postings from Facebook friends (also Twitter, but I don't use Twitter much) to be very valuable sources of information. Veracity checking can be required.

I try to keep my own Web pages, comagecontra, as accurate and reliable as possible. I'd appreciate being informed of any errors (with supporting evidence).

This section added

Search engines

I have recently (mid to late 2021) found that Google Search misses many of my Internet pages; if it is incapable of finding my pages, even those that have been in place for a number of months, how many other pages does Google Search fail to find? Yandex has performed much better than Google Search in the tests I have done.

I have written more on this question on another page on this site.

Chat GPT on judging the reliability of sources

The following is the reply I had from ChatGPT when I asked the question "Where can reliable information be found on the internet, and how can one avoid the unreliable sources?"
"Finding reliable information on the internet can be a challenge, given the vast amount of content available. Here are some strategies to help you find trustworthy sources and avoid unreliable ones:
  1. Use Established Websites: Start your research with well-known, reputable websites and sources. These can include government websites, academic institutions, respected news outlets (e.g., The New York Times, BBC), and organisations dedicated to specific topics (e.g., Mayo Clinic for medical information).
  2. Check the Domain: Pay attention to the domain name of the website. Government and educational institutions typically have domains ending in .gov and .edu, respectively. While not foolproof, these domains often indicate more reliable information.
  3. Look for Citations: Reliable sources often cite their information, providing references to studies, experts, or other reputable sources. If a website doesn't cite its sources or references unreliable sources, be cautious.
  4. Check the Author's Credentials: Investigate the author's qualifications. Are they an expert in the field? Do they have relevant education or experience? If the author's credentials are not provided or seem questionable, it may raise doubts about the reliability of the content.
  5. Peer-Reviewed Journals: When researching academic or scientific topics, prefer information published in peer-reviewed journals. Peer-reviewed articles are evaluated by experts in the field before publication, which helps ensure their reliability.
  6. Cross-Reference Information: When in doubt, cross-reference information from multiple sources. If several reputable sources confirm the same information, it's more likely to be reliable.
  7. Check for Bias: Be aware of bias in the source. Does the website or author have a particular agenda or bias that might affect the information's accuracy? Look for balanced and objective reporting.
  8. Check the Publication Date: Information can become outdated quickly, especially in rapidly evolving fields like technology and medicine. Make sure the information is current and relevant to your research.
  9. Beware of Red Flags: Be cautious of websites with spelling and grammatical errors, excessive use of sensational language, or a lack of contact information. These can be signs of unreliability.
  10. Use Fact-Checking Websites: Fact-checking websites like Snopes, PolitiFact, and FactCheck.org can help verify the accuracy of claims and information you come across.
  11. Read User Reviews and Comments with Caution: User-generated content, such as comments and reviews, can be valuable, but they can also be manipulated or biased. Use them as supplementary information rather than your primary source.
  12. Educate Yourself: Develop critical thinking skills to evaluate information. Learn about logical fallacies, bias, and other factors that can distort information. Fact-check claims using reliable sources.
  13. Consider the Source's Reputation: Research the reputation of the website or organization. Do they have a history of providing accurate information, or have they been involved in controversies?
  14. Use Search Engines Wisely: Search engines like Google often rank pages based on relevance, not reliability. Don't rely solely on the order of search results; apply the above criteria to assess each source's reliability.
  15. Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off or too good to be true, take extra precautions and verify the information thoroughly.
Remember that no source is entirely infallible, but by using these strategies, you can significantly increase your chances of finding reliable information on the internet. Critical thinking and skepticism are essential tools when navigating the digital landscape."
All the above is, in my view, excellent advice. Getting advice from robots and the reliability of artificial intelligence such as ChatGPT are subjects that are far too big for me to go into here. But one point I will make is that AI robots can only get their information from sources that are accessible to them. Many of the very reliable sources, such as academic journals, are behind a paywall and may not be available to applications like ChatGPT.

Related pages

Related pages on external sites...

SourceWatch; run by The Center for Media and Democracy can be used to check the reliability of a great many sites on the internet.

Desmog: 'Clearing the PR pollution that clouds climate science' is useful for exposing the lies of the fossil fuel industry and their supporters on the internet.

Forbes: 10 Journalism Brands Where You Find Real Facts Rather Than Alternative Facts

Related pages on this site...

Ignorance; the problem and its prevalence

My main information sources

Wind power opposition writers and organisations are almost universally 'careless with the truth'.