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Scientists United in the Fight Against Disinformation

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Four wooden cubes lined up in a row make the words "Fact" and "Fake". © Jo Panuwat D​/​
The “German-Austrian Digital Media Observatory” aims to systematically combat disinformation and misinformation.

It is the largest alliance of scientists and fact-checkers in the German-speaking world: On 1 November, the “German-Austrian Digital Media Observatory”, in short GADMO, was launched. Project leader is the Institute of Journalism (IJ) at TU Dortmund University.

The partners involved aim to take a coordinated approach to combating disinformation and misinformation. To this end, the leading fact-checking organizations in the German-speaking world – the German Press Agency (Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa)), Agence France Press (AFP), Austria Presse Agentur (APA) and the independent research network Correctiv – are collaborating for the first time. They are working together within the project with the communication and data scientists from the Institute of Journalism and the Department of Statistics of TU Dortmund University as well as the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology. Athens Technology Center is a technical partner in the project.

In the future, GADMO wants to make fact checks more easily accessible to the public and collect them centrally. In addition, the team plans to identify disinformation campaigns and analyze them from a scientific perspective. Among the project’s objectives are promoting media literacy in Austria and Germany and checking whether digital platforms and social networks are already doing enough in the fight against disinformation.

“Targeted dissemination of fake news is not only toxic for public debates but also undermines serious journalism that wants to inform society in a factual and truthful way. We are very pleased that with GADMO we can now upgrade and explore methods on several levels in order to protect discursive spaces in the digital domain and beyond,” explains Christina Elmer, Professor for Digital and Data Journalism at the IJ, who is in overall charge of GADMO’s research work and coordinates the entire project together with Stephan Mündges. Professor Henrik Müller from the IJ and Professor Carsten Jentsch and Professor Jörg Rahnenführer from the Department of Statistics at TU Dortmund University are also participating in GADMO.

Portrait of a women © Private
Christina Elmer has been Professor for Digital and Data Journalism at TU Dortmund University since 1 September 2021.

Pan-European collaboration between newsrooms

GADMO will be part of the Europe-wide “European Digital Media Observatory”, in short EDMO. This network comprises nine hubs which are active in 17 European countries. More hubs will join up until the beginning of 2023. This will enable all project partners to work and conduct research together across Europe: The German-language fact-checkers will have access to a secure online platform that enables pan-European collaboration between newsrooms. The communication and data scientists at TU Dortmund University will also profit from this Europe-wide exchange, e.g., through intensive cooperation with the fact-checking community and the whole EDMO network, whose working groups also include representatives from social media platforms.

GADMO will be funded in the first 30 months by the European Commission.

Contact for further information:

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Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Campus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dort­mund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Campus). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from North Campus to South Campus by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Campus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund University has its own train station (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station (“Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 15 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop “Dort­mund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dort­mund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”.

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on North Campus. One (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Campus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Campus and offers a direct connection to South Campus every five minutes.

The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.

Site Map of TU Dortmund University (Second Page in English).