Medizin transparent - Donau-Universität Krems

Organization: Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
Applicant: Bernd Kerschner
Assessor: Stephan Mündges

Background

"Medizin transparent" is a project dedicated to fact checking health claims. It is operated by the department of evidence-based medicine and evaluation at Danube University Krems. A small team of researchers with expertise in medicine and science journalism fact check health claims. It is independently funded and editorial independence is ensured.

The applicant has published a very detailed description about their methods and processes when fact checking claims. This "method paper" is exemplary and it should be noted that the applicant applies it thoroughly in their fact checks.

Within the science journalism community in Austria and Germany, "Medizin transparent" is well known and respected as a reliable publication.   

Assessment Conclusion

Overall, the applicant meets every criteria. Even though it is specialized on health claims, the applicant is eligible to be a signatory, provides the information asked for in the IFCN's criteria, is non-partisan, independently financed, and uses very sophisticated methods and processes when fact checking health claims.

I would suggest that in future fact checks the applicant should more consistently try to contact people or companies who made the fact checked health claims. In my review I found two instances in which this was not the case. (see criteria 5.5)

on 12-May-2022 (4 months ago)

Stephan Mündges assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

Die Bewerbung erfüllt die Anforderungen des IFCN.

Hervorzuheben ist das ausführliche und systematische Methodenpapier. Das strukturierte Vorgehen anhand des Papiers macht die Ergebnisse und die Recherchearbeit transparent und nachvollziehbar.

Lediglich in einem Punkt möchte ich für die Zukunft eine Empfehlung aussprechen: Gefordert in den Kriterien des IFCN ist es, dass die Urheber von gecheckten Behauptungen kontaktiert werden sollen (s. Kriterium 5.5). In vielen Fällen ist dieses Kriterium irrelevant, da es sich um Gesundheits-Mythen oder obskuren Online-Behauptungen handelt, deren Urheber sich nicht nachvollziehen lassen. In einigen anderen Fällen handelt es sich bei den Urhebern von Behauptungen aber auch um Firmen. Diese sollten konsequenter im Verlauf der Recherche kontaktiert und befragt werden. Sollte die Kontaktaufnahme ergebnislos verlaufen, sollte auch das mit in die Texte aufgenommen werden.  

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Medizin-transparent.at is a non-profit project by a publicly funded university: Danube University Krems in Austria (Department of Evidence-based Medicine and Evaluation). This is stated in our website imprint: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/impressum as well as on the website of Danube University Krems: https://www.donau-uni.ac.at/de/universitaet/fakultaeten/gesundheit-medizin/departments/evidenzbasierte-medizin-klinische-epidemiologie/zentren-und-fachbereiche/zentrum-cochrane-oesterreich/fb-medizin-transparent.html

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?

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

1. Medizin-transparent started in June 2011 as a fact-checking project for health claims published in mass media. In 2014, it was decided to extend the fact checking to all health claims sent in by readers, such as those in commercials, on webpages, the media or common health myths.

2. At the moment, our team consists of 4 persons with expertise in both evidence based medicine and medical journalism at the moment. Me (Bernd Kerschner), a psychologist and biologist, Julia Harlfinger (biologist and expert in public health), Jana Meixner (MD) and Iris Hinneburg (external journalist and pharmaceutical scientist)

3. Medizin-transparent concentrates solely on fact checking health claims. The department of evidence-based medicine and evaluation at Danube University Krems, which Medizin-transparent is a part of, conducts systematic reviews and evidence assessments. See https://www.donau-uni.ac.at/en/university/faculties/health-medicine/departments/evidence-based-medicine-clinical-epidemiology.html for more information.

4. Our goal is to educate the general public about health myths and circulating health claims.We set a goal of publishing 90 articles/fact checks per year.

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

We have published 90 fact checking articles in 2020, see attached Excel-file for details. All fact checks concern widespread health claims or health myths. Therefore, all of our fact checks focus on the public interest issue "individual and public health".

Files Attached
description MT-Artikel_2020-2021... (30 KB)
Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Upon request the applicant provided an updated list of published articles (see attachment). The list proves that the applicant meets the criteria.

Files Attached
description MT-Artikel_Jan-2020-... (34 KB)
done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

see excel file in criterium 1.3 for list of fact checks from previous 3 months.

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant's fact checks focus solely on health claims. As misleading or false health claims can be detrimental to the health of individuals, the criteria is fulfilled.


done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The project Medizin-transparent.at is funded by 2 legal bodies:

1) NÖGUS (Niederösterreichischer Gesundheits- und Sozialfonds, https://www.noegus.at ) the "Lower Austria Health and Social fund" - connected to the local government of the Austrian state "Lower Austria = Niederösterreich"

2) Bundes-Gesundheits-Agentur - a legal body where all 9 Austrian states are represented: https://www.sozialministerium.at/Themen/Gesundheit/Gesundheitssystem/Gesundheitssystem-und-Qualitaetssicherung/Institutionen/Die-Bundesgesundheitsagentur.html

For the current year (2021), the Danube University Krems will additionally contribute funding.

No funding organisation has any influence on the content published on Medizin-transparent.at or the decision to publish fact checks.

The Danube University Krems is a public university which is partly state funded and partly funded by tuition fees. The Department of Evidence-based medicine and evaluation, to which Medizin-transparent belongs, is funded in part by the Danube University Krems, and by third-party funds (usually public or state institutions, however the department NEVER receives funding from the pharmaceutical or health industry in order to avoid conflicts of interest.

Medizin-transparent is also a project by Cochrane Austria ( https://www.cochrane.at )  - the Austrian branch of the international NGO network Cochrane. Cochrane Austria is run by the Department of Evidence-based medicine and evaluation at Danube University Krems. Cochrane International and Cochrane Austria never receive funding from the pharmaceutical or health industry.

Cochrane Austria is funded by a grant from the Lower Austrian Health and Social Fund (NÖGUS) and supported by the Danube University Krems.

Cochrane is a registered not-for-profit organisation in England. Profits from the Cochrane Library are used to cover operating costs as well as centralized projects such as the development of the Cochrane website. Individual Cochrane entities and groups must seek their own financing; which, of course, may not come from a commercial source. In this way Cochrane remains neutral is avoids conflict-of-interest charges. (see https://austria.cochrane.org/about )

Medizin-transparent is free from advertising.

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Applicant provides and explains financial and institutional relationships to several organizations.



done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

No funding organization has influence on the content published on Medizin-transparent. This is stated on these two sub-sites:

https://www.medizin-transparent.at/partner-und-foerdergeber/ "Medizin-transparent ist inhaltlich unabhängig. Kein Fördergeber hat Einfluss auf die Inhalte, die auf Medizin-transparent.at veröffentlicht werden"

https://www.medizin-transparent.at/impressum "Kein Sponsor oder Partner hat Einfluss auf Inhalte, die auf dieser Internetseite veröffentlicht werden." 

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
02-May-2022 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

No funding organization has influence on the content published on Medizin-transparent. Being a project by the international scientific NGO Cochrane Austria, Medizin-transparent is self-committed to strict objectivity, independence in terms of content and freedom from conflicts of interests.  This is stated on this site:

https://www.medizin-transparent.at/partner-und-foerdergeber/ 

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant only states that Medizin-transparent is editorially independent. There is no explanation provided as to how editorial independence of Medizin-transparent's work is ensured. 

Please, provide detailled information and/or links how editorial independence is ensure despite the fact that Medizin-transparent is funded by the state.


cancel 1.6 marked as Request change by Stephan Mündges.
Stephan Mündges Assessor
12-May-2022 (4 months ago)



done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 3 weeks ago

The process for all our fact checks is explained in detail in our methods paper: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Methodenpapier-Medizin-transparent_v1.0-1.pdf

list of 10 selected fact checks:

1) 13 January 2021: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/vitamin-d-corona/  Is vitamin D supplements an effective treatment or prevention of Covid-19?

2) 25 October 2021: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/wim-hof-methode/ The Wim Hof method: Does the iceman strengthen the immune system?

3) 1 February 2021: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/medistus-antivirus/ Is the product "Medistus Antivirus" effective in preventing respiratory infections?

4) 19 August 2021: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/remdesivir-covid-19/ Is remdesivir effective against Covid-19?

5) 29 July 2021: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/ivermectin-corona/ Ivermectin against Corona: possibly without effect

6) 11 May 2021: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/rotalge-erkaeltung/ Do carrageen-containing nasal sprays protect against viral infections?

7) 23 September 2021: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/vitamin-c-beinahe-nutzlos-gegen-erkaltungen/ Vitamin C for the common cold: practically no effect

8) 19 October 2021: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/saegepalme-prostata/ Saw palmetto without effect against prostate problems

9) 24 August 2021: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/spermidin/ Spermidine: anti-aging effect questionable

10) 30 June 2021: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/marillenkerne-krebs/ apricot kernels: dangerous and no cancer cure

All these fact checks (and also all others on our website) use the same methods: the process for literature research and critical evidence appraisal always follows the same high standard set out in our methods paper: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Methodenpapier-Medizin-transparent_v1.0-1.pdf

The basis of our fact checks is the total evidence base (all published relevant studies) determined by comprehensive systematic literature searches in several scientific publication databases.

We always apply the same strict methods, no matter whether the topic of the fact check is a single company's product (such as remdesivir or "Medistus Antivirus"), a product/treatment/´ offered by more than one company or a public health intervention (such as face masks), or a common myth not related to commercial companies (such as ketogenic diet for allegedly curing cancer)

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The methods and processes used for fact checking health claims is highly standardized, adhered to thoroughly and the fact checks provided show no signs of partinsanship.   


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The process for all our fact checks is explained in detail in our methods paper: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Methodenpapier-Medizin-transparent_v1.0-1.pdf

Most claims that we check are sent in by our readers. A small share of topics is chosen by us, if we feel a topic is discussed broadly in the public, in mass media or in social media. (see chapter 3.1 in our methods paper).

Our readers send in far more topics than we are able to fact-check. As we describe here: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/ueber/sie-fragen-wir-pruefen-nach/  , we have to make a selected choice. This choice is determined by public relevance, as expressed mainly by the number of search requests in internet search engines.

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Information provided is convincing; the methods paper is very comprehensive and sets out the method of the applicant's fact checking process in great detail.


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant uses scientific studies as sources in all fact checks which were reviewed for this assessment. Therefore, this criteria is not applicable as there are no apparent reasons to assume that the reader might reasonably conclude sources' interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The reviewed fact checks concern common health myths, dubious health claims and genuine important questions regarding Covid-19. Thus, political parties, politicians or policies are not subject of the applicant's fact checks.


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

As we declare here https://www.medizin-transparent.at/ueber/so-arbeiten-wir/ or in our methods paper, the sole basis of our fact checks is the evidence in the form of relevant scientific studies. Our fact checks are as objective and neutral in wording as possible (see our methods paper)

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.

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Sources are identified and linked to in a reference section at the end of each fact check.


done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant uses scientific studies pulled from well-established and comprehensive databases. This research method is reasonable to fact check health claims and the scientific studies used as can be considered as very robust primary sources of evidence. 


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Fact checks are comprehensive and check all key claims. Sources are listed and the applicant uses more than one named study to prove their point if there are in fact enough studies. If there are not enough studies to prove or disprove a claim, the applicant does disclose this in their fact check.


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

In the fact checks under review this criteria was not applicable.


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Medizin-transparent is a fact checking project run by the Department of Evidence-based medicine and evaluation / Cochrane Austria - located at Danube University Krems. Cochrane Austria and Danube University Krems are independent organizations, see www.cochrane.at and www.donau-uni.ac.at (see answer/links under criteria 1.1)

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

https://www.medizin-transparent.at/impressum

"Die Webseite „Medizin-Transparent.at“ ist ein Service des Departments für evidenzbasierte Medizin und Evaluation ( www.donau-uni.ac.at/ebm ) an der Donau-Universität Krems sowie von Cochrane Österreich www.cochrane.at "

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

Each fact checking article states the names of author and reviewers, e.g. https://www.medizin-transparent.at/medistus-antivirus/

AutorIn: Jana Meixner

Review: Julia Harlfinger, Bernd Kerschner

A click on the names provide detailed information about authors/reviewers

Here is a link of all team members/authors/reviewers: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/ueber/unser-team/

Bernd Kerschner has editorial control ("Redaktionsleitung")

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

https://www.medizin-transparent.at/ueber/unser-team/

(only academic titles, names of universities and subject(s) studied there, as well as conflict of interest statements)

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
02-May-2022 (5 months ago)

We list CVs, conflict of interests and information regarding additional current or previous employers, education etc. for all current team members:

https://www.medizin-transparent.at/ueber/unser-team/

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Criteria requires applicants to provide professional biographies. The information provided does not suffice to meet the criteria. Please, provide more detailied professional biographies which, for example, state previous and/or additional employers.


cancel 4.4 marked as Request change by Stephan Mündges.
Stephan Mündges Assessor
12-May-2022 (4 months ago)



done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

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.

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

In the fact checks under review the importance of the fact checked claims were explained. In these instances where a fact check is a result ofa user question this is disclosed as well. In most fact checks under review there is no mention of the reach of the fact checked claims. 


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

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.

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant uses a very well structured and well-defined methodology in their fact checks which is applied to all fact checks regardless of who the claim is from.


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago
In most fact checks reviewed this criteria was no applicable as investigated claims were either online claims with an obscure origin or they were health myths which exist for a long time. In one reviewed fact check a company which made a dubious claim was contacted and asked for further studies. In two other instances those who made claims which were fact checked were not contacted - at least the texts do not state that they were. Even though they could have been easily contacted. I would recommend that the applicant should demonstrate more consistency in adhering to this criteria in future fact-checks.

done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 3 weeks ago

The corrections policy is very short and does not provide substantial details. However, it is easily accessible.


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
02-May-2022 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

changed the link and provided more details: https://www.medizin-transparent.at/ueber/so-arbeiten-wir/#korrekturen

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 3 weeks ago

The corrections policy does not provide enough details to meet the criteria.

Please, elaborate on what you mean with "Irrtum bei der Darstellung von Fakten" ["error presenting the facts"]. Furthermore, the policy states that articles are only updated "nach Möglichkeit" (as far as possible). What does this reservation mean? Do you constantly monitor new studies with regard to their relevance to previously published fact checks? Or do you update if you encounter new relevant studies by chance?

The corrections policy also does not explain, how mistakes are marked and corrected. Do you use disclaimers showing which parts of a fact check have been updated / corrected?


cancel 6.2 marked as Request change by Stephan Mündges.
Stephan Mündges Assessor
12-May-2022 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago



done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

If a correction or an update is made, we state this fact at the end of the article in bold script. Also, we change the date of last changes. Examples:

https://www.medizin-transparent.at/lavita

https://www.medizin-transparent.at/hydroxylapatit

Stephan Mündges Assessor
10-Mar-2022 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The corrections / updates provided by the applicant's do not provide substantial details, but they are clearly identifiable and prove to users that changes have been made to a text.


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Stephan Mündges.

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

not an existing signatory

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.

Medizin transparent - Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Donau-Universität Krems)
05-Feb-2021 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

not part of a media company