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EDMO’s Scientific Focus

Identify and mitigate threats and risks to a healthy online information environment
EDMO brings together experts and organisations from the digital media fields in the widest sense. This includes fact-checkers, academic researchers, media professionals, media literacy experts to better understand and analyse online disinformation, in collaboration with - among others but not exclusively – online platforms, community leaders and national regulatory authorities. It promotes scientific knowledge on online disinformation, advances the development of fact-checking services and supports media literacy programmes.
As such, EDMO offers a body of facts, evidence and tools that gathers stakeholders and acts in the interest of society. Among its activities, EDMO organises workshops and conferences, delivers training initiatives, conducts policy analysis, creates repositories with relevant materials such as fact-checked items, media literacy initiatives and scientific articles, offers collaborative tools for fact-checkers and researchers. EDMO also facilitates the creation of a framework to access data of online platforms for research purposes.
EDMO works with the EDMO local hubs whose activities feed its platform. In particular, the hubs: (i) Detect, analyse and disclose
disinformation campaigns at national, multinational, and EU level; (ii) Analyse disinformation campaigns’ impact on society and democracy; (iii) Promote media literacy activities; (iv) Monitor online platforms’ policies and the digital media ecosystem, in cooperation with national authorities.
EDMO also collaborates with other EC funded projects such as the small-scale online media projects.
Finally, within its broader role as enabler and collector of activities aiming at countering online disinformation, EDMO is involved in selecting externally funded research, media literacy and fact-checking projects.

This document acts as a background framework to guide the work of EDMO in all of its activities aimed at identifying and mitigating threats and risks to a healthy online information environment, including when organizing events and providing training, and to inform its overall approach to tackling online disinformation.

Principles Of Our Approach
Societal impact-oriented

All research related to EDMO activities needs to demonstrate its potential to have a significant societal impact. This implies that it creates value in terms of its contribution as to how society operates in a tangible, transparent and preferably measurable way. It also means that the research outcomes can be applied in the targeted areas and that the knowledge generated is directly relevant to these areas. An impact-oriented research approach will also allow evaluating and assessing the direct or indirect effects of interventions and initiatives, so as to respond to the question “what works?”

Knowledge has to benefit the EU

The research should aim at strengthening the knowledge on how disinformation is created and spread in the EU and at EU member states’ level. Research can be carried-out also by non-EU researchers provided that the research focus is on the EU. Research should specify its potential for significant societal impact by answering the question, "what works?" in relation to a particular problem, initiative or intervention. The relation between research outcomes and anticipated impact should be transparent and open to independent evaluation.

Scientifically grounded

EDMO aspires to advance original and high-quality research on disinformation. For this, it places value on the grounding of new insights into this phenomenon on rigorous scientific theories, hypotheses and methods. It also encourages the development of hybrid approaches that combine methods from the empirical sciences with those of the humanities. In addition, EDMO welcomes research that brings to bear the latest tools and techniques from data and information science and dynamical systems to the challenges the field of disinformation is facing.

Accessible and well-documented data

EDMO prioritizes research with accessible and well-documented datasets with high replicability that is not tied to exclusive and proprietary access to data from platforms and digital media organizations. Researchers are encouraged to use rigorous and legal methods for digital data collection; established (e.g. surveys, APIs, scraping, usage diaries, eye-tracking, experiments, simulations, census data, available archives and repositories, internet panels) as well as innovative methods to collect trace data (e.g. bots, data portability programs, apps). Research must respect applicable privacy and data protection rules.

Ethical principles

European legislation and ethical standards such as the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity and the EU General Data Protection Regulation must be respected as well as the ethical standards within the relevant research fields.

Open to all

Research within the framework of the EDMO activities can be carried out by any research institute, NGO or other organisation with a proven track record in scientifically-grounded high-quality research which meets the specific eligibility criteria of the call.

Focus Areas
EDMO identified a number of focus areas. This list is not intended to be exclusive and will adapt to the developments in the online disinformation sphere and in the tools and strategies to counter it.
The nature and flows of disinformation and associated phenomena
  • Archetypes and core features of disinformation narratives
  • Radicalization pathways’ network structures and dynamics
  • Categories of disinformation
  • Categories and logics of influence(rs)
  • Cascade dynamics across digital platforms
  • Disinformation as a symptom of more fundamental structural changes
  • Agents and consumers of online disinformation
  • Relation between information and disinformation
Ontology and epistemology
  • Establishing ground truth as ontological reference for humans and algorithms
  • Models of “truth” and “facts” in the real-world and cyberspace
  • Fact-checking methods, technologies and practices
  • User modelling and the psychological and neuronal principles underlying the construction, impact and propagation of disinformation
  • Disinformation and its demographics and propagation
  • Agents of online disinformation
  • Assessing media literacy and resilience
  • Public mental health impact of disinformation
  • Levels of media literacy among the public
  • Consequences of online disinformation for democracy
  • Consequences of online disinformation for public understanding (e.g. of science, health)
  • Motivations behind the spread of disinformation (political, financial, psychological, social, etc.)
Digital (communication) infrastructures: Algorithms, big data and AI
  • Big data analytics, access and visualization of disinformation
  • Online assessment of disinformation creation, consumption and propagation (also outside of the platforms)
  • The future of disinformation and the hijacking of deep faked reality
  • The algorithmic modulation of disinformation and disinformation campaigns
  • The construction and probing of a potential algorithmic transparency solution
  • The construction and probing of sustainable data sharing models with a balance between science for society and privacy for people
  • Fundamental structural dynamics influencing disinformation and associated phenomena
  • Cybersecurity aspects of disinformation
  • Wargaming future disinformation campaigns and defensive measures
  • Principles for the normative assessment of disinformation beyond the precautionary principle
  • Economic frameworks for estimating the cost of disinformation
  • Design of services that host and amplify or target disinformation
  • Market concentration in the online environment
Public knowledge, digital and media literacy and policy responses
  • Education for media literacy/building resilience – what works?
  • Formal curricula based approaches vs informal
  • Extent to which media skills and knowledge lead to higher-order competences
  • Civic education and where and how media literacy fits
  • Influencers and influencing practices
  • Understanding the relation between disinformation and public connectedness
  • Investigating how evidence-based research findings on media literacy can be translated into policy
  • How to develop future-proof policies in line with new trends and developments in the online environment
  • Legal frameworks for protective and punitive measures including experimental methods to validate and evolve them
  • Online disinformation and human rights
  • EU and Member State policies to tackle disinformation, including comparative analysis with non-EU countries
  • Platform practices to fight disinformation
  • New governance bodies/solutions to tackle disinformation
  • The role and future of journalism and media