Think Tanks: Challenges and Opportunities in the Era of Fake News and Digital Technologies

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-7-92-101

P. Koshkin (,
Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2/3, Khlebnyi Per., Moscow, 121069, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article deals with the key challenges of Russian and Western think tanks in the era of digital technologies. It presents a detailed and comprehensive classification of analytical centers and shows how they have been developing historically and politically since the 20th century. The author pays attention to the problem of independence of academic and political expertise in the times of information wars, digital illiteracy and dissemination of fake news. In addition, the author compares Russian and Western think tanks, reveals their main differences, systematizes their problems and proposes several original ways of resolving these challenges facing the academic community both in Russia and the U.S. today. The article’s relevance is explained with the fact that today nobody, even experts and academics, are immune to fake news and “disruptive technologies”, with their ideas and expertise frequently taken out of context and used in the goal of manipulation, as exemplified by the case of The Brookings Institution and The Atlantic Council in February 2017. Moreover, the lack of demand of academic expertise in political circles during Donald Trump’s presidency, the plight of Russia Studies programs and International Relations schools in the U.S. as well as partisanship within think tanks only aggravate the problem of today’s ideas industry. But all this makes this article more timely and relevant. Its novelty adds up to the fact that the author uses the systemic and comprehensive approach to resolve the problems of Russian and American think tanks in the era of fake news and digital technologies. In particular, it is offered to focus on the roots of the problems (not their implications) by diversifying and streamlining the sources of think tanks funding, turning “disruptive technologies” into new opportunities and creative tools to restore credibility of political and academic expertise, make it better, more effective, educative, objective and independent.

Keywords: think tanks, ideas industry, fake news, media, digital revolution, international relations, public diplomacy, social media, political science, digital technologies


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For citation:
Think Tanks: Challenges and Opportunities in the Era of Fake News and Digital Technologies. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 7, pp. 92-101.

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