The University of Valencia leads European project No Rumour Health to combat disinformation about health on social networks

By 18 diciembre, 2019Arts and Humanities

Carolina Moreno, Professor of Journalism at the University of Valencia, and researcher Empar Vengut, manager of the No Rumour Health project, have started working on the project with a consortium of three European countries (Spain, Greece and Poland). The proposal, with a duration of two years and endowed with almost 130,000 euros in funding, aims to design a mobile application for older people to help differentiate whether the news they collect through social networks is true or false.
NO_RUMOUR_HEALTH

The planning, methodology and objectives of the No Rumour Health project have been defined among its members in a meeting at the Faculty of Philology, Translation and Communication of the University of Valencia this December.

The importance of the project lies in combating disinformation, especially in people over 65 and more specifically in women, since they are the ones who are most concerned about the health of those around them. To carry out this task of combating the health lies that circulate through the Internet, the project proposes “two main objectives: one will be a mobile application in which the most common false health information and the most shared information on social networks can be checked; the other is to make online modules to learn how to identify fake news and to know which pages are reliable. These modules can help discern when information is true and when it is not”, says Empar Vengut.

In addition, Carolina Moreno, coordinator of the project, explains that the objective of the research is different from the other ones she has directed so far, since “its strong point is focused on fake news and rumours about health and how they circulate through social networks, especially on WhatsApp. It is the first time that I study the false news in the framework of a European project”. In addition to Moreno and Vengut, ScienceFlows researchers Lorena Cano and Isabel Mendoza are part of the University of Valencia team; Soledad Rubio, director of the Scientific Culture Unit and Guillermo López, principal investigator of the MediaFlows group.

All the contents that will be created will be available in the three languages of the participating countries, that is, in Spanish, Polish and Greek, as well as in English. They will have the collaboration of several associations, both social and health-related, that will help support the study and test its application.

They are part of the European No Rumour Health consortium, the Polibienestar Institute of the University of Valencia, as coordinator, together with the partners Salud Sin Bulos, FyG consultants, Danmar Computer and Evropei Inhilates. The project has been positively endorsed by ERASMUS + and has received 129,543 Euros in funding.

Citizen science

In addition, Carolina Moreno is also the main researcher of the CONCISE project, which has almost 1.2 million Euros in funding, which aims to find a standard of indicators to improve scientific communication. There have been five public citizen consultations, held in five European cities (Lisbon, Valencia, Vicenza, Lodz and Trnava). In each city the opinions of 100 volunteers have been registered and once transcribed, they will be analysed to identify different markers. These will help the scientific communication research staff, the political class, science journalists and the general public, to communicate more directly and effectively, and thus avoid erroneous speeches that generate mistrust and misunderstanding. The results of CONCISE will be scalable and its methodology can be applied to other different scientific topics and in European countries to promote scientific communication throughout Europe, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Carolina Moreno

Carolina Moreno Castro is a journalism professor at the University of Valencia and a researcher at the Polibienestar Institute. She leads ScienceFlows (www.scienceflows.com), a research group formed by a multidisciplinary work team that comes from the areas of Health Sciences, Engineering, Education Sciences and Social Sciences. The team participates in training activities, seminars, meetings, conferences, postgraduate and doctoral programs of different Spanish universities, in areas of work on the representation of science, health, technology and the environment through the media Communication and social networks. In addition, it works in international teams to improve and advance in the construction of indicators that allow to assess the contemporary scientific culture of citizens.

Empar Vengut Climent

Empar Vengut Climent has a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Seville and a Master in Journalism and Communication from Science, Technology, Environment and Health from the Carlos III University of Madrid. He began his research career in the area of organic chemistry in the summer of 2008 at the Institute of Chemical Research (CSIC-US) and since then she has worked in several national and European research groups. In addition, she made a 2-year postdoctoral stay at the Department of Chemistry at McGill University in Montreal (2016-2018), thanks to funding from the Alfonso Martín Escudero Foundation. She is currently part of the ScienceFlows group through the European projects Persist_EU, CONCISE, and No Rumor Health.