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SAGE Publishing sponsors Public Editor to enable evaluation of the news at scale

September 17, 2018

SAGE Publishing today announces a $50,000 sponsorship of Public Editor, a high-scale content analysis tool that involves digital volunteers in multi-layered, simultaneous assessments of news articles. A nonpartisan project, the tool uses transparent, neutral criteria to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of news articles resulting in credibility scores for the news.

Ziyad Marar, President of Global Publishing at SAGE commented:

“SAGE is greatly concerned with the issues of misinformation, bias, and fake news that we face globally, but equally inspired by the work of social scientists in finding solutions to these problems. As a publisher committed to social science, we are dedicated to empowering researchers in their efforts to address pressing social issues. Combining an advanced technological tool, the power of big data, and the critical thinking skills of a passionate and concerned public, Public Editor has the potential to extend the impact of fact-based, well-reasoned reporting and expose faulty and biased news for what it is.”

Members of the public wanting to help in the editing process receive training and then the Public Editor web interface guides them to read passages from news articles and respond to a few prompts that help them identify mistakes made by journalists and those they quote. Volunteers’ assessments turn into credibility scores for articles, journalists, news publishers, and public figures quoted in the news. Identified mistakes are also labeled so that news readers understand the quality of the news through a colorful overlay of the text. Content platforms can use Public Editor’s credibility scores to promote high quality journalism while reducing the quantity of sloppy content appearing in news feeds.

Public Editor helps to expose the following in news articles:

  • Psychological and cognitive biases
  • Inappropriate representation of sources
  • Mistaken inferences about data or causality
  • Logical and argumentative fallacies
  • Issues of tone or slanted writing

“Of, by, and for the people, Public Editor will help expose the nuanced misinformation that is so difficult for computers to identify and evaluate, but that humans can often recognize fairly easily,” said Nick Adams, Director & Chief Scientist of the Goodly Labs. “At a time when billions have the power to distribute news content, we need ways to ensure that readers are considering information quality before they ‘like,’ or share. If we can encourage widespread recognition and appreciation of high-quality content, we can enjoy the best features of our socially networked news environment: a broad spectrum of people freely sharing useful content that contributes to a more constructive discourse. SAGE’s support will help engage the human power we need to do just that.”

Through the creation of videos, updated websites, a robust social media campaign, and other communication tools, SAGE’s $50,000 support will be used to inspire a large community of volunteers to have a positive impact ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Public Editor is a project from Goodly Labs, which develops and shares tools to help individuals cooperate more effectively, make better group decisions, improve lives, and promote our common well-being. It uses Thusly's TagWorks, a web-based content analysis software for researchers.

More information will be shared at the “Designing Collective Intelligence” event hosted by Nesta and SAGE, taking place today at the Nesta offices in London.

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Goodly Labs is a non-profit sociotechnical innovation facility operationalizing university research for the public benefit. Goodly's mission is to empower individuals with tools and activities allowing them to find common ground and take responsibility for building a better society.

Thusly Inc. is a collective intelligence services company that is dedicated to helping its research customers find insights in their large sets of documents, and to reducing the costs and durations of their projects by a factor of ten. With Thusly's TagWorks software, researchers can get fast answers to complex questions - quickly and accurately tagging, classifying and extracting information from thousands of documents by tapping into the power of the crowd.

Sara Miller McCune founded SAGE Publishing in 1965 to support the dissemination of usable knowledge and educate a global community. SAGE is a leading international provider of innovative, high-quality content publishing more than 1000 journals and over 800 new books each year, spanning a wide range of subject areas. A growing selection of library products includes archives, data, case studies and video. SAGE remains majority owned by our founder and after her lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures the company’s continued independence. Principal offices are located in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC and Melbourne.

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