May 18, 2022

New Working Paper: “Measuring Verifiability in Online Information”

The following working paper by researchers from Dartmouth University and Duke University was shared on arXiv on September 18, 2015.


Measuring Verifiability in Online Information


Reed H. Harder
Dartmouth University

Alfredo J. Velasco
Duke University

Michael S. Evans
Dartmouth University

Daniel N. Rockmore
Dartmouth University


via arXiv
September 18, 2015


The verifiability of online information is important, but difficult to assess systematically.

We examine verifiability in the case of Wikipedia, one of the world’s largest and most consulted online information sources. We extend prior work about quality of Wikipedia articles, knowledge production, and sources to consider the quality of Wikipedia references.

We propose a multidimensional measure of verifiability that takes into account technical accuracy and practical accessibility of sources. We calculate article verifiability scores for a sample of 5,000 articles and 295,800 citations, and compare differently weighted models to illustrate effects of emphasizing particular elements of verifiability over others.

We find that, while the quality of references in the overall sample is reasonably high, verifiability varies significantly by article, particularly when emphasizing the use of standard digital identifiers and taking into account the practical availability of referenced sources. We discuss the implications of these findings for measuring verifiability in online information more generally.

Read the Full Text Article (20 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.