Health On the Net Foundation 'permanently discontinued' (7)

13 March, 2023

Thomas Krichel writes, "How would such a kite-marking scheme look like? Who would own and operate it? And are you not concerned that it would impeed the progress on science, which depends on constantly challenging the existing information?"

While it is true that a number of kite-marking schemes have been proposed and many have died a death (Health on the Net, or HON being the latest to pull down the shutters - see, it continues to amaze me that there is nothing that guarantees the good quality of health information, other than provenance: if it is a good source, it is likely to be as good as is available.

To answer Thomas's question directly, IMHO the best scheme proposed has been to set up a trusted domain. WHO has tried on two separate occasions to establish .Health as such a trusted domain (the second time under the leadership of none other than Dr Najeeb Al Shorbaji), but in both instances, commercial interests won out, and the WHO application was rejected by ICANN. The .Health domain is now being operated as a commercial activity. I still believe that WHO, in collaboration with other parities committed to public health, could create and operate such a domain (see my paper on infodemics and infodemiology - WHO should be encouraged to try again.

Finally, I certainly agree with Thomas that science only advances through falsification - "constantly challenging the existing information" - but don't see how creating a domain of trusted information obstructs that. Instead of researchers wasting their time seeking to falsify mis/disinformation, they should be challenging the best information there is.

Chris Zielinski

Centre for Global Health, University of Winchester, UK and

Vice President, World Association of Medical Editors (WAME)

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HIFA profile: Chris Zielinski: As a Visiting Fellow and Lecturer at the Centre for Global Health, University of Winchester, Chris leads the Partnerships in Health Information (Phi) programme, which supports knowledge development and brokers healthcare information exchanges of all kinds. He is the elected Vice President (and President-in-Waiting) of the World Association of Medical Editors. Chris has held senior positions in publishing and knowledge management with WHO in Brazzaville, Geneva, Cairo and New Delhi, with FAO in Rome, ILO in Geneva, and UNIDO in Vienna. He served on WHO's Ethical Review Committee, and was an originator of the African Health Observatory. He also spent three years in London as Chief Executive of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society. Chris has been a director of the UK Copyright Licensing Agency, Educational Recording Agency, and International Association of Audiovisual Writers and Directors. He has served on the boards of several NGOs and ethics groupings (information and computer ethics and bioethics). chris AT His publications are at and and his blogs are and