CLARIN-ERIC: COVID-19 activities

CLARIN-ERIC: COVID-19 activities

CLARIN-ERIC launched initiatives aimed at providing tools and data that can be deployed as part of the Social Science and Humanities response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These include a campaign towards extending the coverage of the parliamentary data setsoffered through our central platform with curated collections of recent parliamentary debates about the corona dynamics. The enhanced data can be the basis for comparative research into the ways in which public bodies have responded to the crisis across countries and for the fast tracking of new trends and angles in debates. Additionally, CLARIN is promoting and supporting the development of tools for detecting mis- and disinformation to be applied to news sources and social media platforms. The uniqueness of these resources is that they are available in all European languages, allowing a multilingual approach to research related to COVID-19 and similar global challenges. A dedicated web page maintains an overview of other relevant initiatives based on language data: Specifically, CLAIN offers:

  • Project ParlaMint: Towards Comparable Parliamentary Corpora

This CLARIN initiative is aimed at the collection and curation of parliamentary debates on the COVID-19 outbreak for multiple languages. (See of the most important aspects of processing contemporary parliamentary data is its direct correspondence to events and phenomena with global impact on human health, social life and economics such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. The study of public debate in a comparative perspective helps to identify and understand the regional and cultural diversity in the political response.   By comparing the data synchronically and diachronically within a cross-lingual context, the scientific and civil communities will be able to track pan-European discussion and to be quickly updated on emerging topics.

ParlaMint aims to provide resources and tools for focused observations on trends, opinions, decisions on lockdowns and restrictive measures as well as on the consequences with respect to health, medical care systems, employment, etc.  ParlaMint starts from the resources that can be collected for COVID-19 debates, but the methodology will be scalable to public debates on a range of global challenges, such as economic crises, climate change, etc. It will use the metadata standards for encoding parliamentary data that have been developed within CLARIN already. The outcomes will be as follows:

  • a collection of parliamentary datasets (corpora) in a number of languages and in a harmonized format, covering both the current data and older, reference data,
  • harmonized indexation of corpora based on popular concordancers so that interested parties can search and extract the relevant information across languages,
  • a series of use cases illustrating the potential for societal impact.
  • Hackathon on COVID-19 related disinformation

In the period September – October 2020 CLARIN is organising a hackathon on COVID-19 related disinformation with the goal to bring together cross-disciplinary groups of researchers to jointly work towards methods for disinformation detection in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Disinformation and fake news have been a growing concern all over the world within the recent years. With the global COVID-19 pandemic, this issue has become even more urgent and is calling for methods for the detection of disinformation based on scientific insights. Collaboration between such fields as (computational) linguistics, data science and other related disciplines can yield significant progress by using existing data to classify disinformation or even to predict to a certain degree whether a piece of text is likely to be misinterpreting the facts. With this hackathon, CLARIN intends to bring together cross-disciplinary groups of researchers to work on the task of disinformation detection in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are invited to use existing data sets containing disinformation and fake news in order to create algorithmic solutions to research questions of their choice, e.g. by assigning the likelihood for a text to be disinformation or automatically detecting re-postings of known conspiracy theories even if they are rephrased. The datasets and the analytical tools developed and used for the hackaton will be made available through the CLARIN portal. 


  • CLARIN2020: Webinar “How to Present Online”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, good skills for presenting online have proven to be indispensable more than ever. Therefore, a virtual seminar was organised for the members of the CLARIN User Involvement Committee and the presenters and participants of the CLARIN Annual Conference, aimed at improving their online presentation skills and giving insights into how to get the most out of virtual interaction in scholarly settings. The webinar was conducted by Hans Van de Water, an experienced presentation coach from The Floor is Yours. In the seminar, the participants learned about simple and effective methods that will help them present difficult arguments in a clear and convincing way, because, as the lecturer put it, life is too short for a bad presentation. In the try-out sessions, the participants put the theory into practice by creating their own presentation and received 1:1 feedback from the lecturer.