The IFCN welcomes new applications to its Code of Principles beginning Jan. 16, 2024. Our website is currently under renovation, so new signatories should begin the application process by emailing their interest to info@ifcn.org with "New Signatory" in the subject line.

Agence Science-Presse

Organization: Agence Science-Presse
Applicant: Josée Nadia Drouin
Assessor: Laurent Bigot

Background

"Le Détecteur de Rumeurs" is a distinct fact-checking section of Agence Science Presse, a legally registered Quebec media outlet.

It was launched in 2016 for the purpose of fact-checking. 3 to 4 regular freelance journalists are working for Le Détecteur de Rumeurs to debunk questionable rumours, public statements and allegations (Détecteur de Rumeurs' part of the website: https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/detecteur-rumeurs).

Quebec, where this medium is based, is a democratic country which allows "Le Détecteur de Rumeurs" to work independently, even when a media is part of a media partly funded by public funds. 

Assessment Conclusion

According to my assessment, Le Détecteur de Rumeurs could be a reliable fact-checking partner.

This media is compliant with all the principles enacted by the IFCN.

But complements are needed for next year on several criteria :

1.1: Details of Agence Science-Presse’s legal registration can't be easily found on its website.

5.5: Le détecteur de Rumeurs seeks where possible to contact those who made the claim. But the team should do it more often.

on 17-Apr-2023 (10 months ago)

Laurent Bigot assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

"Le détecteur de rumeurs" est une section distincte de vérification des faits de l'Agence Science Presse, un média québécois légalement enregistré.

Il a été lancé en 2016 à des fins de vérification des faits. 3 à 4 journalistes pigistes réguliers travaillent pour Le Détecteur de rumeurs pour démystifier les rumeurs, déclarations publiques et allégations douteuses (https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/detecteur-rumeurs).

Le Québec, où ce média est basé, est un pays démocratique qui permet au "Détecteur de Rumeurs" de travailler de manière indépendante, même lorsqu'un média fait partie d'un média financé en partie par des fonds publics.

Selon mon évaluation, "Le détecteur de rumeurs" pourrait être un partenaire fiable pour la vérification des faits.

Ce média est conforme à tous les principes édictés par l'IFCN.

Mais des compléments sont également nécessaires pour l'année prochaine sur plusieurs critères :

1.1: Les détails de l'enregistrement légal de l'Agence Science-Presse ne peuvent pas être facilement trouvés sur son site Web.

5.5 : Le détecteur de rumeurs cherche, dans la mesure du possible, à contacter les auteurs de la réclamation. Mais l'équipe devrait le faire plus souvent.

Section 1: Eligibility to be a signatory

To be eligible to be a signatory, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 1.1 The applicant is a legally registered organization, or a distinct team or unit within a legally registered organization, and details of this are easily found on its website.
  • 1.2 The team, unit or organization is set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking.
  • 1.3 The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application. For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track. Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.
  • 1.4 On average, at least 75% of the applicant’s fact checks focus on claims related to issues that, in the view of the IFCN, relate to or could have an impact on the welfare or well-being of individuals, the general public or society.
  • 1.5 The applicant’s editorial output is not, in the view of the IFCN, controlled by the state, a political party or politician.
  • 1.6 If the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, it provides a statement on its site setting out to the satisfaction of the IFCN, how it ensures its funders do not influence the findings of its reports.

Criteria 1.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain where on your website you set out information about your organization’s legal status and how this complies with criteria. Attach a link to the relevant page of your website.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Agence Science-Presse is a non-profit organization, founded in Montréal, Québec in 1978. Its Québec enterprise Number is 1143809995. This document can be found in the Québec Enterprise Register (https://www.registreentreprises.gouv.qc.ca/fr/default.aspx). 

This is an independent French-language media organization, specializing in science news. One of its objectives is to distribute its content to other media, in Québec and in the rest of French Canada. It mission, history and funding are described here: https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/agence

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Agence Science-Presse is a legally registered Quebec media outlet.

All the evidence of the Agence Science-Presse’s legal registration are presented in the national legal registration website of Quebec here: https://www.registreentreprises.gouv.qc.ca/fr/default.asp

Just type in the company registration number : 1143809995


But details of this can't be easily found on its website.
Agence Science Presse should modify this...


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 1.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please answer the following questions – (see notes in Guidelines for Application on how to answer)

 1. When and why was your fact-checking operation started?
 2. How many people work or volunteer in the organization and what are their roles?
 3. What different activities does your organization carry out?
 4. What are the goals of your fact-checking operation over the coming year?

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

1) "Le Détecteur de rumeurs", our fact-checking operation, was launched in December 2016. The idea of a science fact-checking column came to us when the international fact-checking movement was developing, but very often focused on political news. As science journalists, we were in a good position to know that the media, and social media in particular, were a breeding ground for questionable information about science. Often this news has a lasting impact on political decisions or public health. In 2020, the pandemic unfortunately confirmed this.

2) One full time science journalist is working on Le Détecteur de rumeurs, as well as 3 to 4 regular freelance journalists. The editor of Agence Science-Presse acts as editor of Le Détecteur de rumeurs. Two journalists external to operations systematically reread articles before publication. 

3) The primary goal of Le Détecteur de rumeurs is to debunk questionable rumours, public statements and allegations. It publishes 2 or 3 articles a week. But it has also adopted the objective of teaching the public how to debunk. In this context, since 2020, it has produced videos, podcasts, computer graphics and educational fact sheets. 

More broadly, Agence Science-Presse is a news agency specializing in science. Its radio program and Détecteur de rumeurs articles are also offered for republication to other media.  

4) In the coming year, Détecteur de rumeurs will continue to publish 2 to 3 texts a year. It soon will have a regular podcast explaining some of the techniques of fact-checking, and an online science literacy course for unspecialized journalists, communicators and influencers. 

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Le Détecteur de Rumeurs is the distinct fact-checking section of Agence Science-Presse. It was launched in 2016.  3 to 4 regular freelance journalists are working for Le Détecteur de Rumeurs to debunk questionable rumours, public statements and allegations. They publish 2 or 3 articles a week. They are launching a podcast...


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 1.3
Proof you meet criteria
- The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application.
- For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track.
- Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

In 2022, Détecteur de rumeurs published 99 fact-checks. On those, 41 in the last semester of 2022 (July to December). At the moment of this writing (end of January 2023) 7 fact-checks have been published since returning from the New Year pause. All fact-checks can be found here: https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/detecteur-rumeurs

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Le Détecteur de rumeurs publish at least 1 fact-check a week on science, environmental, health issues.

These fact-checks can be viewed here:

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/detecteur-rumeurs


done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 1.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous three months. No additional information required.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

According to our assessment, the fact-checking stories presented by "Le Détecteurs de rumeurs" are in line with IFCN's expectations.

We find that these fact checks deal in majority (more than 75%) with “public interest” issues that “relate to or could have an impact on the well-being of individuals, the general public or society”.


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 1.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain any commercial, financial and/or institutional relationship your organization has to the state, politicians or political parties in the country or countries you cover. Also explain funding or support received from foreign as well as local state or political actors over the previous financial year.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Le Détecteur de rumeurs is partly funded by public funds from the Fonds de recherche du Québec and the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire. During the 2020-2021 fiscal year, Agence Science-Presse also received special funding from the Government of Canada (Department of Canadian Heritage) for media and information literacy in the COVID context, which served to increase the Détecteur de rumeurs production, and to produce contents regardings science information literacy. Agence Science-Presse has never received or solicited revenue from political parties.

The 2020-2021 Financial Statements and Report of Activities can be found here: https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/agence

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Le Détecteur de rumeurs explains:

"Le Détecteur de rumeurs is partly funded by public funds from the Fonds de recherche du Québec and the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire. During the 2020-2021 fiscal year, Agence Science-Presse also received special funding from the Government of Canada (Department of Canadian Heritage) for media and information literacy in the COVID context (...). Agence Science-Presse has never received or solicited revenue from political parties."


But most of Rumor Detector's income comes from stand-alone activities like training or other things, as we can see here:

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/sites/default/files/inline-files/E%CC%81tats%20financiers%20finaux%20-%202020-2021.pdf

(p.10)


done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 1.6
Proof you meet criteria
If you confirmed the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, provide a link to where on your website you set out how you ensure the editorial independence of your work.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

These organizations and donors have no say in editorial content. In addition, the Détecteur de rumeurs is subject to a rigorous code of conduct, described in its Charter. As a news media organization employing journalists, we also submit to the Guide de déontologie proposed by the Québec Press Council, which mentions that: « les médias d’information ne laissent, en aucun cas, leurs intérêts commerciaux, politiques, idéologiques ou autres primer sur l’intérêt légitime du public à une information de qualité ni ne restreignent l’indépendance professionnelle des journalistes. » Agence Science-Presse also undertakes (point 7) that no advertising by industry or pressure groups can place the Détecteur de rumeurs in a conflict of interest. 

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Le Détecteur de rumeurs explains the editorial independance of its work here:

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/charte-detecteur-rumeurs

“ The news media shall in no case allow their commercial, political, ideological or other interests to take precedence over the legitimate interest of the public in quality information or restrict the professional independence of journalists. »


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 2: A commitment to Non-partisanship and Fairness

To be compliant on nonpartisanship and fairness, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 2.1 The applicant fact-checks using the same high standards of evidence and judgement for equivalent claims regardless of who made the claim.
  • 2.2 The applicant does not unduly concentrate its fact-checking on any one side, considers the reach and importance of claims it selects to check and publishes a short statement on its website to set out how it selects claims to check.
  • 2.3 The applicant discloses in its fact checks relevant interests of the sources it quotes where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided. It also discloses in its fact checks any commercial or other such relationships it has that a member of the public might reasonably conclude could influence the findings of the fact check.
  • 2.4 The applicant is not as an organization affiliated with nor declares or shows support for any party, any politician or political candidate, nor does it advocate for or against any policy positions on any issues save for transparency and accuracy in public debate.
  • 2.5 The applicant sets out its policy on non-partisanship for staff on its site. Save for the issues of accuracy and transparency, the applicant’s staff do not get involved in advocacy or publicise their views on policy issues the organization might fact check in such a way as might lead a reasonable member of the public to see the organization’s work as biased.

Criteria 2.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please share links to 10 fact checks published over the past year that you believe demonstrate your non-partisanship.
Please briefly explain how the fact checks selected show that (I) you use the same high standards of evidence for equivalent claims, (II) follow the same essential process for every fact check and (III) let the evidence dictate your conclusions.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

As shown by the articles on this list, we use the same fact-checking standards, regardless of the source of the rumour. We are defending the facts; we do not defend a cause. Our targets include, among others: alleged impacts of a discovery; political statement based on a so-called scientific fact; questionable assertion about a product; rumour about health or the environment. The verdict, when there is one, is based on evidence, not on opinions.

1) Les dangers des vaccins à ARN et à ADN: distinguer le vrai du faux : https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/actualite/detecteur-rumeurs/2022/03/10/dangers-vaccins-arn-adn-distinguer-vrai-faux

2) 10 arguments trompeurs sur les vaccins : https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/actualite/detecteur-rumeurs/2022/12/15/10-arguments-trompeurs-vaccins

3) Non, 4 médecins de Toronto ne sont pas décédés à cause du vaccin : https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/actualite/detecteur-rumeurs/2022/08/23/verification-eclair-non-4-medecins-toronto-ne-decedes-cause

4) Non, un vaccin à ARN n’est pas une thérapie génique : https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/actualite/detecteur-rumeurs/2022/04/19/non-vaccin-arnm-therapie-genique

5) Des vêtements pour se protéger des ondes électromagnétiques? Faux https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/actualite/detecteur-rumeurs/2022/10/05/vetements-pour-se-proteger-ondes-electromagnetiques-faux

6) Des menstruations synchronisées? Probablement pas : https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/actualite/detecteur-rumeurs/2022/06/10/menstruations-synchronisees-probablement

7) On mange une carte de crédit par semaine? Faux : https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/actualite/detecteur-rumeurs/2022/08/25/mange-carte-credit-semaine-faux

8) Discuter avec un climatosceptique: 12 arguments à nuancer: https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/actualite/detecteur-rumeurs/2022/09/28/discuter-climatosceptique-12-affirmations-nuancer

9) Oui, les fausses nouvelles voyagent vraiment plus vite https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/actualite/detecteur-rumeurs/2022/04/12/oui-fausses-nouvelles-voyagent-vraiment-plus-vite

10) Ressusciter un mammouth d’ici 10 ans? Peu probable : https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/actualite/detecteur-rumeurs/2022/01/13/ressusciter-mammouth-ici-10-ans-peu-probable 

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Le Détecteur de rumeurs seem to use the same high standards of evidence and judgement for equivalent claims regardless of who made the claim. We didn't find any example of obvious unfair treatment...

The team explains:

"We are defending the facts; we do not defend a cause. Our targets include, among others: alleged impacts of a discovery; political statement based on a so-called scientific fact; questionable assertion about a product; rumour about health or the environment. The verdict, when there is one, is based on evidence, not on opinions."


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 2.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you explain how you select claims to check, explaining how you ensure you do not unduly concentrate your fact-checking on any one side, and how you consider the reach and importance of the claims you select to check.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Our articles are constructed on the most objective facts possible: statistics, dates, precise sources (points 1 à 3 de notre Charte). The hyperlinks of these sources are provided systematically, for the benefit of readers who would like to replicate our approach. Also, we always prefer studies over expert opinions. We consider the best evidence is based on meta-analyses or systematic reviews.

Some of these subjects are suggested by our readers, while others are taken from the news media or social media. Some topics are chosen because they have an impact on public health (examples 1 to 4 above), others on consumer choices (example 5), and still others on social priorities or even on the future of our planet (example 8). 

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Le Détecteur de rumeurs publish explainations on its website to set out how it selects claims to check, here:

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/charte-detecteur-rumeurs


"We verify what is factually verifiable, not opinions. (...)

We verify public information and statements. (...)

If it's about science, we're interested. The suggested impacts of a discovery, a political statement based on a scientific fact, a health or environmental rumor are among our targets. (...)

We are at the service of our readers. We seek to answer questions and controversies as they arise on social networks. We obviously do not have a monopoly on the truth.

(...) A drafting committee has been formed. Bringing together readers, journalists and researchers, this committee contributes to sorting out the subjects that will inevitably have to be done in the major news trends. Our readers are also strongly encouraged to submit news to Le Détecteur de Rumeurs for verification. Through our Facebook and Twitter accounts, we regularly invite our readers to suggest topics. There is also a "get involved" button at the very top of Le Détecteur de Rumeurs home page which invites the visitor to send "suggestions of topics to check out". As we are a small team, we cannot commit to responding to all requests, but we are committed to explaining why a subject has not yet been addressed."


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 2.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

In view of what we have observed, Le Détecteur de Rumeurs disclose in its fact checks relevant interests of the sources it quotes and any commercial or other such relationships it has.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 2.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

In view of what we have observed, Le Détecteur de Rumeurs does not show support for any party, any politician or political candidate.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 2.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you publish a statement setting out your policy on non-partisanship for staff and how it ensures the organization meets this criteria.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Le Détecteur de Rumeurs explains its policies to preserve its non-partisan way of fact-checking claims here:

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/charte-detecteur-rumeurs

"As journalists, we submit to the code of ethics proposed by the Quebec Press Council which states that " the news media shall in no case allow their commercial, political, ideological or other interests to take precedence over the interest right of the public to quality information or restrict the professional independence of journalists. The Agency also undertakes that no advertising from industry or pressure groups may place The Rumor Detector in a conflict of interest."


done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 3: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Sources

To be compliant on sources, applicants must meet these four criteria

  • 3.1 The applicant identifies the source of all significant evidence used in their fact checks, providing relevant links where the source is available online, in such a way that users can replicate their work if they wish. In cases where identifying the source would compromise the source’s personal security, the applicant provides as much detail as compatible with the source’s safety.
  • 3.2 The applicant uses the best available primary, not secondary, sources of evidence wherever suitable primary sources are available. Where suitable primary sources are not available, the applicant explains the use of a secondary source.
  • 3.3 The applicant checks all key elements of claims against more than one named source of evidence save where the one source is the only source relevant on the topic.
  • 3.4 The applicant identifies in its fact checks the relevant interests of the sources it uses where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided.

Criteria 3.1
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Our sources are accessible in a click. We never limit ourselves to a single source and our articles always provide hyperlinks, whether to the cited studies or to sites that have already done similar fact-checking. In some cases, readers can double-check our fact-checking on their own, not only because the sources are hyperlinked systematically, but because we often provide them with practical information on the reasons for our approach. 

Also, we never settle for citing an expert opinion: we begin with studies or, at best, with meta-analyses. When there is an expert opinion in the article, its purpose is always to support what we have cited or to explain it with better words . Finally, we are journalists and, as such, we are independent of our sources.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

In view of what we have observed, Le détecteur de Rumeurs identifies the sources of significant evidence used in its fact checks.


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 3.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

In view of what we have observed, Le Détecteur de Rumeurs (most of the time) uses the best available primary sources of evidence.


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 3.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

In view of what we have observed, Le Détecteur de Rumeurs checks all key elements of claims with more than one source of evidence.


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 3.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

In view of what we have observed, Le Détecteur de Rumeurs identifies in its fact-checks the relevant interests of the sources it uses where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 4: A commitment to Transparency of Funding & Organization

To be compliant on funding and organization, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 4.1 Applicants that are independent organizations have a page on their website detailing each source of funding accounting for 5% or more of total revenue for its previous financial year. This page also sets out the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).
  • 4.2 Applicants that are the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization make a statement on ownership.
  • 4.3 A statement on the applicant’s website sets out the applicant’s organizational structure and makes clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.
  • 4.4 A page on the applicant’s website details the professional biography of all those who, according to the organizational structure and play a significant part in its editorial output.
  • 4.5 The applicant provides easy means on its website and/or via social media for users to communicate with the editorial team.

Criteria 4.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please confirm whether you are an ‘independent organization’
or ‘the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization’ and share proof of this organizational status.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

L’Agence Science-Presse is an independant and not-for-profit media, founded in 1978 (link here to the Québec Enterprise Register: you will have to write "Agence Science-Presse" in the research box). Le Détecteur de rumeurs is an "unit" of Agence Science-Presse created in 2016. Mission and history of Agence are described here : https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/agence Its team is presented here: https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/equipe

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

Le Détecteur de rumeurs is the fact-checking section of Agence Science Presse.

The explaination is here:

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/historique-fonctionnement

"In this vein, his latest initiative, Le détecteur de Rumeurs, in addition to being the very first fact-checking section on science in French, is also an illustration of the role of the science journalist in the ecosystem modern information. Le détecteur de Rumeurs has benefited since December 2016 from a special grant from the Chief Scientist of Quebec which has enabled it to hire a full-time journalist — which is a rare event in the world of science journalism in Quebec. This section quickly became a content very used by the subscribed media."


done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 4.2
Proof you meet criteria
If your organization is an “independent organization”, please share a link to the page on your website where you detail your funding and indicate the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).
If your organization is “the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization”, please share a link to the statement on your website about your ownership.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/agence

The 2020-2021 Financial Statements and Report of Activities can be found at this link. 

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

As a fact-checking section of Agence Science Presse, Le Détecteur de Rumeurs shares a link to the statement on its website about its management:

The 2020-2021 Financial Statements and Report of Activities can be found at this link:

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/rapports-annuels



done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 4.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out your organizational structure, making clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/historique-fonctionnement

Main members of the team are also presented here: https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/equipe

Additionally, many articles' authors on Agence Science-Presse site have produced a small bio of themselves, which can be found by a click or their name.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

Le Détecteur de Rumeurs presents its organizational structure and makes clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised (Chief editor, deputy-chief editor, etc.) here:

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/equipe


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 4.4
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out the professional biographies of those who play a significant part in your organization’s editorial output.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The Détecteur de Rumeurs' team presents a page detailing the first and last names of most team members here:

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/agence



done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 4.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you encourage users to communicate with your editorial team.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

A reminder to "write to us" as well as a tile encouraging readers to submit topics, are permanently on the Détecteur de rumeurs main page.  

The "contact us" button, which is on all the pages of Agence Science-Presse, brings to this page:  https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/contactez-nous

Readers can also join us on our Facebook or Twitter accounts. 

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

It’s quite easy for readers to contact Le Détecteur de Rumeurs.

The link to do that, is at  the top of the Détecteur de Rumeurs page:

"Le détecteur de Rumeurs is our fact-checking feature. Give us some suggestions: news to check, sites whose credibility you would like to check? Wondering how to tell right from wrong? Write U.S !"


There's also a specific page to contact Agence Science Presse, with all the email adresses here:

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/contactez-nous




done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 5: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Methodology

To be compliant on methodology, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 5.1 The applicant publishes on its website a statement about the methodology it uses to select, research, write and publish its fact checks.
  • 5.2 The applicant selects claims to check based primarily on the reach and importance of the claims, and where possible explains the reason for choosing the claim to check.
  • 5.3 The applicant sets out in its fact checks relevant evidence that appears to support the claim as well as relevant evidence that appears to undermine it.
  • 5.4 The applicant in its fact checks assesses the merits of the evidence found using the same high standards applied to evidence on equivalent claims, regardless of who made the claim.
  • 5.5 The applicant seeks where possible to contact those who made the claim to seek supporting evidence, noting that (I) this is often not possible with online claims, (II) if the person who makes the claim fails to reply in a timely way this should not impede the fact check, (III) if a speaker adds caveats to the claim, the fact-checker should be free to continue with checking the original claim, (IV) fact-checkers may not wish to contact the person who made the claim for safety or other legitimate reasons.
  • 5.6 The applicant encourages users to send in claims to check, while making it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable.

Criteria 5.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to the statement on your website that explains the methodology you use to select, research, write and publish your fact checks.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Le Détecteur de Rumeurs gives precisions about its fact-checking methodology, here:

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/charte-detecteur-rumeurs


"A Détecteur de Rumeurs' article requires at least one to two days of work, not counting the editing phases. After dissecting the origin of the rumor and presenting the context of its dissemination or propagation, our journalist proceeds, according to the various principles listed below, to an exhaustive search in the scientific databases. We can conduct interviews with experts to better contextualize the subject. It sorts through this mass of information and then moves on to the popularization phase. If there is to be a verdict, it should be based on data, not opinion. If the state of scientific knowledge does not allow us to establish a true or false verdict, which is frequent, we mention it. Before publication, each text is validated by the editor-in-chief and a third party."


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 5.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

In view of what we have observed (20 fact checks selection), Le Détecteur de Rumeurs selects assertions to check based primarily on the reach and importance of the claims, and sometimes explains the reason for choosing the claim to check.


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 5.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

In view of what we have observed (20 fact checks selection), Le Détecteur de Rulmeurs sets out in its fact-checks relevant evidence that appears to support the claim as well as relevant evidence that appears to undermine it. 


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 5.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

In view of what we have observed (20 fact checks selection), Le Détecteur de Rumeurs assesses the merits of the evidence found using the same high standards applied to evidence on equivalent claims, regardless of who made the claim.


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 5.5
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

In view of what we have observed (20 fact checks selection), Le détecteur de Rumeurs seeks where possible to contact those who made the claim. 


But the team should do it more often.


done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 5.6
Proof you meet criteria
Please describe how you encourage users to send in claims to check, while making it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable. Include links where appropriate. If you do not allow this, explain why.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

In addition to the email and the contact information available on the website (« Contact us » button), readers can reach us via our Facebook or Twitter accounts. We also regularly remind our readers, through messages on these social media or our newsletter, that they can submit topics to us. A tile to this effect is permanently on the main page of Détecteur de rumeurs. Since we are a small team, we cannot commit to respond to every request, but we undertake to explain why a topic has not been addressed yet (point 14 of the charter). In many of our contents, we regularly remind readers of what could and could not be fact-checked (points 1-2 of our charter).

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

The Détecteur de Rumeurs' team encourage users to send in claims to check via:

- Facebook account (but no specific mention)

- Twitter account (but no specific mention)

- a "Contact us" button

- a sentence at the top of the main page :
"Le Détecteur de Rumeurs is our fact-checking section. Give us some suggestions: news to check, sites you'd like to check credit? Wondering how to tell right from wrong? Write U.S !"

The explanation to make it clear what isn’t fact-checkable is reachable here:

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/charte-detecteur-rumeurs



done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Section 6: A commitment to an Open & Honest Corrections Policy

To be compliant on corrections policy, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 6.1 The applicant has a corrections or complaints policy that is easily visible and accessible on the organization’s website or frequently referenced in broadcasts.
  • 6.2 The policy sets out clear definitions of what it does and does not cover, how major mistakes, especially those requiring revised conclusions of a fact check, are handled, and the fact that some complaints may justify no response. This policy is adhered to scrupulously.
  • 6.3 Where credible evidence is provided that the applicant has made a mistake worthy of correction, the applicant makes a correction openly and transparently, seeking as far as possible to ensure that users of the original see the correction and the corrected version.
  • 6.4 The applicant, if an existing signatory, should either on its corrections/complaints page or on the page where it declares itself an IFCN signatory inform users that if they believe the signatory is violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN, with a link to the IFCN site.
  • 6.5 If the applicant is the fact-checking unit of a media company, it is a requirement of signatory status that the parent media company has and adheres to an open and honest corrections policy.

Criteria 6.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to where you publish on your website your corrections or complaints policy. If you are primarily a broadcaster, please provide evidence you frequently reference your corrections policy in broadcasts.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

If a reader is complaining that we have not fact-checked an information important to him, we are explaining why. Remarks of readers are always taken into consideration and can bring to corrections. 

Policy about corrections is the 15th point of our charter


Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 11 months ago

Le Détecteur de Rumeurs gives precisions about its corrections policy, here:

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/charte-detecteur-rumeurs


"If any corrections need to be made. A modification after publication or an addition for clarification will always be indicated by a mention at the end of the article. There have been times when this change was the result of an interview that happened after the publication and that we thought was relevant to add. So far, we have never been confronted with factual errors, rather with clarifications. But if an error were to be reported to us, it would be inserted and reported at the end of the text in the same way. Readers can contact us for additions, modifications or corrections through the same channels: the email address is clearly listed on each page of the site, they can also contact us by Facebook or Twitter."


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 6.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the corrections policy to verify it meets critera. No additional information needed.

Agence Science-Presse
23-Mar-2023 (11 months ago)

Tel qu'écrit au point 15 de la Charte, une modification après publication ou un ajout pour précision seront toujours signalés par une mention en fin d’article. Un lecteur qui signalerait une véritable erreur factuelle entrerait évidemment dans cette catégorie. Une précision ou une clarification, s'il s'avère qu'elle permet d'éviter une mauvaise interprétation d'un passage du texte, entrerait aussi dans cette catégorie.   

À l'inverse, certaines demandes ne justifient pas de modifications. Par exemple, il arrive que des lecteurs nous reprochent d'avoir passé sous silence une information qu'eux jugent capitale, ou une source qu'eux jugent importante. Lorsqu'il est clair par notre recherche que leur information n'est pas pertinente, ou que leur source est d'une fiabilité douteuse, aucune correction ou précision ne sera apportée. Nous allons toutefois répondre à la personne, par le canal avec lequel elle a communiqué. 

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

The policy sets out clear definitions of what it does and does not cover, how major mistakes, especially those requiring revised conclusions of a fact-check, are handled. Le Détecteur de Rumeurs seems to follow this corrections policy quite scrupulously.

But it doesn't set clearly that some complaints may justify no response. 

The team should also make corrections with more details at the end of the articles

cf https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/actualite/detecteur-rumeurs/2022/06/10/menstruations-synchronisees-probablement
(the sentence is not very clear: "Text modified on June 13 to clarify the penultimate paragraph")


cancel 6.2 marked as Request change by Laurent Bigot.
Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Apr-2023 (10 months ago)

The policy sets out clear definitions of what it does and does not cover, how major mistakes, especially those requiring revised conclusions of a fact-check, are handled. Le Détecteur de Rumeurs seems to follow this corrections policy quite scrupulously. It sets clearly that some complaints may justify no response. 



done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 6.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a short statement about how the policy was adhered to over the previous year (or six months if this is the first application) including evidence of two examples of the responses provided by the applicant to a correction request over the previous year. Where no correction request has been made in the previous year, you must state this in your application, which will be publicly available in the assessment if your application is successful.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

One of the examples cited above, gave initially the wrong number of kilometres of snow removal on bicycle lanes in Montréal (confusion between « snow removal » and « priority snow removal »). We therefore replaced this number. A quote by one of the researchers in this article was added in response to a comment that his comments needed clarification. A note has been added to this effect at the end of the article. No other correction request has been received in the last semester(July 2022 to January 2023). 

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

Le Détecteur de Rumeurs provides credible evidence that it makes corrections openly and transparently.

The team gives 2 examples.


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 6.4
Proof you meet criteria
If you are an existing signatory, please provide a link to show where on your site you inform users that if they believe you are violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN of this, with a link to the complaints page on the IFCN site.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We are not an existing signatory, but if we become one, the link will be on the main page of the Détecteur de rumeurs. 

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

Needs to be done.


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.

Criteria 6.5
Proof you meet criteria
If you are the fact-checking unit of a media company, please provide a link to the parent media company’s honest and open corrections policy and provide evidence that it adheres to this.

Agence Science-Presse
15-Jan-2023 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/historique-fonctionnement

Excluding the Détecteur de rumeurs, it is possible to find, on other Agence Science-Presse articles, examples of clarifications or updates, always mentioned the same way

Laurent Bigot Assessor
17-Mar-2023 (11 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

The parent media company of Le Détecteur de Rumeurs, called Agence Science Presse, has its own code of ethics:

https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/historique-fonctionnement

It seems to demonstrate a real honest and open correction policy. And the team gives evidences that Agence Science Presse adheres to it.


"We invite readers to suggest topics, to comment constructively on those we publish and of course, to point out errors: if corrections or clarifications need to be made, they will always be indicated by a mention at the end of the article."


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Laurent Bigot.