Assessing the readiness of academia in the topic of false and unverified information

Amir Ebrahimi Fard, Scott Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The spread of false and unverified information has the potential to inflict damage by harming the reputation of individuals or organisations, shaking financial markets, and influencing crowd decisions in important events. This phenomenon needs to be properly curbed, otherwise it can contaminate other aspects of our social life. In this regard, academia as a key institution against false and unverified information is expected to play a pivotal role. Despite a great deal of research in this arena, the amount of progress by academia is not clear yet. This can lead to misjudgements about the performance of the topic of interest that can ultimately result in wrong science policies regarding academic efforts for quelling false and unverified information. In this research, we address this issue by assessing the readiness of academia in the topic of false and unverified information. To this end, we adopt the emergence framework and measure its dimensions (novelty, growth, coherence, and impact) over more than 21,000 articles published by academia about false and unverified information. Our results show the current body of research has had organic growth so far, which is not promising enough for confronting the problem of false and unverified information. To tackle this problem, we suggest an external push strategy that, compared to the early stages of the topic of interest, reinforces the emergence dimensions and leads to a higher level in every dimension.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Data and Information Quality
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2019


  • False information
  • unverified information
  • rumour
  • misinformation
  • fake news
  • emergence


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