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Credibility signal. A small unit of information used in making a credibility assessment. This can be a measurable feature of the information being assessed for credibility, or information about it metadata , or information about entities which relate to it in various ways, such as the entity who provided it.

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Credibility indicator. Commonly, same as credibility signal. See CredWeb Issue 3.

Techniques for assessing credibility can be grouped into the following four types of strategies. Each of these strategies could be applied in a range of specific ways, and some tools will likely combine elements of several strategies. People necessarily make credibility assessments about content items and about the people who provided the content. It seems likely they make these assessments across a wide range of granularities, all of which need to be taken into account in understanding and assisting with credibility.

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Content providers can each be assessed for credibility; that is, one can attempt to determine the likelihood the information they provide is nonmisleading. This assessment might be done across a wide range from the general coarse-grained, wide scope to the very specific fine-grained, narrow scope :.

For example, we might consider the credibility of a complete snapshot of Wikipedia, of a particular Wikipedia page, of the text of a paragraph, or of a specific claim. Content which does not make explicit assertions, including jokes and photographs, can also be seen as implying a variety of claims, although that implication relationship may itself be subject to uncertainty. Sites which aggregate content from other providers, including social media sites, will need special consideration, as will sites which analyze or review other content, sometimes including false content as an example or evidence.

That is, a site should be able to present misleading information for analysis without risking its own credibility due to tools simply seeing it hosting misleading information. In general, in designing systems which inspect and annotate web content, it often works to initially assume each interesting chunk of content will be on its own web page.

Then, one can expand the granularity up to web origins loosely, domain names and shrink it down to page fragments loosely, identified portions of a page or portions of media shown on the page. To sidestep this added credibility complexity, protocols for securely referencing site content versions and noticing changes are likely to be necessary. Fortunately, secure hashes and third-party archives, already standardized and implemented in memento , seem well-suited to help. In addition to securing against some attack vectors like this, such a secure history mechanism can provide useful historical evidence while assessing credibility.

In avoiding harm, including all the different kinds of done by misleading information, it can help to understand the people and systems involved.

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This section is a brief survey of some of the aspects of misleading information on the web. Providers of misleading information have many motivations, and often their motivations will never be known. Still, it can help to consider some of these types of attackers and their motives:. There are, of course, many other kinds of difficult people online.

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For a survey on types of bad information and some of the motives behind them, see Fake News, It's Complicated. How much effort is an attacker willing and able to devote to a disinformation attack? Here are some options, roughly in order of increasing threat. The higher resource levels are often not worth designing against and may not even be ethical or legal to design against. There are numerous ways to scam people online and a vast array of weaknesses in computer security systems which can help. A few are particularly relevant in credibility assessment:.

Also see landscape spreadsheet. There are dozens if not hundreds of research groups studying aspects of credibility around the world. Listed here are groups that have expressed interest in helping with technical standards work around credibility. Please add your group if this applies. Many of the proposed solutions have strong network effects. They offer users minimal value until they have a critical mass of users. This makes it quite challenging to achieve adoption. This kind of challenge is usually addressed by achieving critical mass in a small community and then expanding outward.

Facebook famously started at Harvard and then gradually expanded to other universities before eventually opening to the public. Within the target small community, adoption can be promoted or even required by the people managing the community. In general, funding is an issue. There are not yet any clear business models for credibility systems.

Philanthropic funding may be necessary, at least for now. The user experience UX of credibility assessment tools is likely to vary widely, given the range in granularity, subject matter, and computing environments where credibility matters and where software can help. Some of the ways users might experience credibility assessment tools:. We can organize the discussion of possible tool designs using a spectrum of user effort, from no effort at all, where the user benefits without doing anything, up to major effort, where a user might be spending hours or even days trying to determine whether to trust a single claim.

The appropriate tools are quite different at different points along this spectrum. Additionally, these concerns can be managed by allowing users to opt-in and configure settings for these features. Most of these are perhaps best done at the claim level, where the user indicates a specific questionable claim in the content, rather than a whole page or site.

This section enumerates proposals for technological approaches to reduce the risk of being misled. Items are organized primarily by credibility assessment strategies. In time, this list might evolve to include links to relevant research and available products. In the meantime, we hope it will inspire and guide students, startups, hackathons, incubators, social investment funds, and other people who want to help. It should be noted that if credibility tools start to become effective at scale, or look like they might do so, they will themselves come under attack from parties that benefit from higher levels of distrust and deception.

This initial summary table lists some of the more promising ideas, described as they might be implemented in a traditional web browser environment. This is per item effort; install and setup effort is not shown. Very low score results in warning which must be confirmed before proceeding. They will, however, likely have unpredictable failure modes bugs, unexpected training artifacts, etc.

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If such automated systems are widely deployed, it is likely attackers will try to game the system, producing misleading content engineered to register as highly credible to the algorithms. Defending against this is similar to defending against malicious SEO.

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Techniques include:. As such, it seems unlikely inspection alone is a viable long-term strategy. This can lead into the public reputation, which is vital to the business model of some providers. Here, the emphasis shifts toward the provider making an effort to be more visibly trustworthy. Transparency requires the provider reveal information about themselves and their content, which can require considerable effort and often brings significant risk, in the hope of being more credible. Many specific items about which transparency would be useful are discussed as part of the The Trust Project.

Much of the work here is about how to motivate transparency and avoid it being gamed.

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  7. Misleading disclosures are a sort of double-or-nothing gamble in trying to mislead consumers. As detailed above, in First, Do No Harm , it is quite possible for credibility standards work to do significant unintended damage. One technique which might help mitigate this risk would be to adhere to an independent and potentially adversarial review process.

    These review processes are often seen:. These boards can be expensive to operate and their process can be slow and unpleasant. They can, however, provide an antidote to the tendency of people to be remarkably blind to flaws in proposals they support. This antidote works as long as one or more members of the board is careful to remain disinterested. When set up carefully, with board members who have high credibility in various communities, the board itself and the products approved by the board can also have increased credibility.

    In contrast, if differential responding is observed for a specific item in the CIT, his statement would be considered false. The CIT can assess not only whether the statement is true, but also what the truth is, as the examinee remembers it. This type of CIT also can be used to examine eyewitness or victim statements. However, few research has been conducted on this topic; future research is expected to support this usage of CIT. As shown above, the CIT is used in the field in Japan to reveal examinees' recognition of the details of a crime. This approach differs from that used in typical laboratory CIT studies, which usually integrate responses among all CIT questions and conclude whether the examinee is guilty or innocent 14 — Ben-Shakhar and Elaad 17 reported that discrimination performance was much higher for integrating responses from 12 different CIT questions repeated once, than for integrating responses from one CIT question repeated 12 times.


    However, in the field, it is sometimes difficult to find enough crime details that have not been publicly announced. Thus, Japanese examiners actively use the searching CIT Since the crime-relevant item is not identified in the searching CIT, integrating multiple CIT questions is impossible. Moreover, it is difficult to assume that a person relevant to a crime remembers all the details. He or she may forget or genuinely not know some details.

    For example, the CIT in a theft case may reveal that the examinee knows the time the crime happened and the crime scene, but does not recognize the placement of the stolen item at the scene. This suggests the possibility that the examinee only drove a perpetrator to the crime scene. Analyzing CIT questions individually can reveal what the examinee knows and what he or she does not know about the crime.

    Such an approach is sometimes much more informative in criminal investigations than integrating the CIT questions to conclude whether the examinee is guilty or innocent. However, it should be noted that this approach requires a sufficient number of repetitions of each CIT question to maintain high discrimination performance 18 , In Japan, the results of the polygraph are usually used by investigative organizations as tools to assess whether and how the examinee is related to the crime.

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    The results are rarely dealt with in court: a few of the about 5, cases are discussed each year. However, the Supreme Court admitted polygraph results as an evidence in Recent legal literature has noted that the probative value of the CIT result can be relatively high if the CIT is correctly conducted to examine the defendant's knowledge of facts that only the perpetrator could know We checked court precedents relevant to the polygraph for the last 10 years. In many cases, legal professionals have focused on whether differential responding to the crime-relevant fact could be explained other than via a memory obtained through perpetration.

    For example:. These possibilities can detract from the probative value of the CIT for demonstrating the defendant's knowledge about the crime-relevant fact.