Future Built on Knowledge

Fighting fake news on Covid-19: unity is strength

April 15, 2020

The FBK research group CoMuNe Lab, which recently created a platform for monitoring tweets about coronavirus, has launched an open call to scientists and experts for support in data analysis. This is sheer "open science"

Collaboration among scientists is a crucial factor in facing the emergency we are experiencing. This can be observed in the medical sector, where researchers from around the world are working together with the aim of finding an effective vaccine against Covid-19 soon.

However, many other research areas share the will, and in some cases the need, for collaboration. A valuable example of “open science” now comes from the CoMuNe Lab research unit of the Bruno Kessler Foundation, which has recently created a digital platform for monitoring information on the coronavirus emergency circulating on Twitter, very useful especially for evaluating the impact of fake news on the topic.

As expected, the continuous increase in tweets to be analyzed (more than 250 million so far) makes it now impossible for the CoMuNe Lab researchers to be able to independently process the entire amount of available data. Thus the idea was born of launching a special call, addressed to computational and complex systems scientists but also data journalists and experts in the field, to select ten projects which may help FBK scientists with data analysis.

«We need help especially in the so-called “hydration” of the tweets, that is, the transition from raw data – which cannot be made public according to Twitter rules – to those useful for analysis, and also with the storage of data themselves», states Manlio De Domenico, head of the CoMuNe Lab unit. «It is important to underline that these collaborations will offer an advantage both to us, as we will have the possibility to manage the platform update in a much more efficient way, and to the groups that will be collaborating: indeed we will make available, in addition to the data, our computational resources, which may also be used for research activities that go far beyond this specific project».

The call does not have a deadline, but it works on a first-come-first-served-basis for the first ten submitted valid projects. «This is not a hackaton, though», De Domenico specifies. «The selection criteria will focus mainly on the soundness and effectiveness of the projects, but we will also take into account the speed at which the submitted proposals can then be implemented: we expect the projects to integrate our data within a few months. For this reason, we will give priority to projects that have already started».

Those who are interested can participate in the selection by filling out the form at the following address: shorturl.at/uAEHM


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