Academic Free Speech and Digital Voices

Dissident science experts confront scientific suppression in Higher Education, which can include the novel threat of online academic bullying (OAB). We are developing a definitive framework for OAB and exploring related concerns, such as academic cybermobs. Some IR experts are highly agentive in using Twitter and other digital platforms for networking and raising awareness for the Insulin Resistance Model of Chronic Ill Health (IRMCIH) paradigm. We explore the diverse strategies that experts follow in successfully exercising responsible free speech, especially those that support the sharing and development of IRMCIH research. 

Current Research Studies

Digital voices (DV)

Primary Research Outputs:

Twitter goals with a scientific article – small data research for new vistas on users’ disparate interactions and motivations (in review)

Noakes, T. 2021, The value (or otherwise) of social media to the medical professional : some personal reflections. Current Allergy and Clinical Immunology, volume 34, issue 1, pages 23-29, March, 2021. doi: 10.10520/ejc-caci-v34-n1-a5

Secondary Research Outputs:

Noakes, T.  (2021, 4-6 March). From informal academic debate to cyber harassment – navigating the minefield as a responsible contributor [Conference presentation]. World Nutrition Summit, Cape Town, South Africa.

Other Outputs:

Exemplary Digital Voices code report for Twitter reports and analysis.

Academic free speech (AFS)


In theory, universities should offer an environment for robust scholarly debates on scientific controversies. In contrast, dissident scholars experience scientific suppression driven by the overlapping interests of orthodox academics, embedded media and their business funders. Their collaboration creates the negative phenomenon of ‘undone science’, where research into promising interventions is prevented or suppressed. 

This is evident in the lack of debate in universities around Insulin Resistance versus the orthodox “cholesterol” model of chronic disease development. It is also obvious in how effective, but inexpensive,  COVID-19 preventative treatments have been ignored in favor of costly, but largely ineffective, mRNA inoculations.

Primary Research Outputs:

Noakes, T. David, B. Noakes, T. 2022, Who is watching the World Health Organisation? ‘Post-truth’ moments beyond infodemic research. Transdisciplinary Research Journal of Southern Africa special issue – Myth and fear in a post-truth age: Implications for communication and sociality in the 21st Century Southern Africa, December, 2022. doi:

Challenging Beliefs

Noakes, T., & Sboros, M. (2021). The Eat Right Revolution: Your guide to living a longer, healthier life. Penguin Random House South Africa.

Noakes, T., & Sboros, M. (2017). Lore of Nutrition: Challenging conventional dietary beliefs. Penguin Random House South Africa.

Noakes, T., & Vlismas, M. (2012). Challenging beliefs : memoirs of a career (New edition. ed.). Zebra Press.

Noakes, T. (2012). Waterlogged: the serious problem of overhydration in endurance sports. Human Kinetics.

Secondary Research Outputs:

Noakes, T. (2022) The Cause of Majority Modern Chronic Diseases can be Traced to the Effects of Diet

Online Academic Bullying (OAB)


OAB is ‘a drawn-out situation in which its recipients experience critique online by employees in HE that is excessive, one-sided and located outside of typical scholarly debate and accepted standards for their fields’ (Noakes and Noakes, 2021). The OAB study is preparing a definitive framework for this negative phenomenon. We will also work on defining ‘academic cybermobs’ and how these differ from earlier definitions for ‘academic mobs’. This work may raise awareness amongst victims concerning the range of forms cyber-harassment takes and strategies for countering each. Decision makers in Higher Education can also use our research outputs for informing actions to protect both the public and their employees against victimisation by academic cyberbullies.

Primary Research Outputs:

Noakes, T. Noakes, T. 2021, Distinguishing online academic bullying: identifying new forms of harassment in a dissenting Emeritus Professor’s case. Heliyon, volume 7, issue 2, February, 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e06326.

Secondary Research Outputs:

Noakes, T.  (2020, April 1). Ethical responses for health professionals contending with online harassment, [Nutrition Network presentation]. Nutrition Network ethics course, Cape Town, South Africa.

Noakes, T.  Harpur, P. (2021, October 22). A systematic literature review of academic cyberbullying- notable research absences in Higher Education contexts [Design Research Activities Workgroup presentation]. Cape Town, South Africa.

Other Outputs:

  1. A spreadsheet of strategies against cyber harassment at
  2. The OAB Routine Activities Theory (OABRAT) questionnaire at
  3. The design of five Shushmoji libraries (emojis to mark end-of-conversation points with cyber harassers). For example, Stop, academic bully! at
  4. An end-of-conversation anti-harassment Shushmoji app for WhatsApp by Younglings Africa and Create With. Examples of Shushmoji app use are on Pinterest at
  5. Online Academic Bullying code report for Twitter reports and analysis.

Affordable Data Extraction for Postgrads in the Digital Humanities (ADEPH)


Extracting social media data for qualitative analysis is a challenge for qualitative researchers with little formal exposure to such analysis. The Noakes Foundation supported the launch of the Social Media and Internet Lab for Research (SMILR) at Younglings Africa (YA). SMILR supports a postgraduate research pipeline with affordable data extraction by YA interns learning to do this via Twitter for CPUT postgrads’ research projects.

The AFSDV’s fourth research foci intends to develop a case study for a successful, sustainable site that can support small data research projects in the digital humanities.

Other Outputs:

The Social Media Internet Lab for Research (SMILR) is based at Younglings Africa.