SEED-GRANT: Climate Feedback: Crowdsourcing the evaluation of climate change information credibility
Climate Feedback (http://climatefeedback.org) brings the expertise of scientists to subject influential media articles about climate change to a process akin to peer-review. Using a new web-annotation tool, Hypothesis, scientists provide their analyses layered directly onto original text, validating science-based content, highlighting inaccuracies, or adding context. Each article evaluation features a summary in clear language for lay readers and a credibility rating issued by scientists. This rating provides an easy to share, objective and transparent assessment of the scientific credibility of a news source.
Over the last 6 months, Climate Feedback's network of contributors has grown to 70+ PhD scientists who have completed evaluations of a dozen articles from The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, CNN, The New York Times, Pope Francis’ Encyclical and more. One of the evaluations has led a major British news outlet (The Telegraph) to issue an official correction and heavily modify its article.
Climate Feedback works towards creating a comprehensive database on the scientific trustworthiness of major climate change reporting that would allow anyone to easily compare and contrast the credibility of different news sources and identify sources of information they can trust. This approach has the potential to provide a strong incentive for news sources to ensure that their reporting is scientifically accurate.
Climate Feedback has developed an open-source website template that enables linking news articles to relevant experts, organizing contributors and quickly publishing a response. The hope is to inspire others to reuse this work and build on this approach in other fields of science.