Category: Data science

Without urgent action big and open data may widen existing inequalities and social divides

The juncture of big and open data informs areas as diverse as artificial intelligence, agriculture, and public health, and promises to transform our ability to tackle global challenges. However, Sabina Leonelli highlights three major concerns over how big and open data are currently managed: the unsustainable nature of the digital data landscape; the quality and credibility of the data themselves; […]

An emerging iron cage? Understanding the risks of increased use of big data applications in social policy

Big data technologies are increasingly being utilised in the field of social policy. Although big data methods and strategies are often preferred as a form of evidence-based policy development, big data techniques do not necessarily guarantee scientific objectivity. Hamish Robertson and Joanne Travaglia discuss concerns about the rapid growth in big data methods being used to inform and shape social […]

More data or better data? Using statistical decision theory to guide data collection

When designing data collection, researchers must take important decisions on how much data to collect and what resources to devote to enhancing the quality of the collected data. But the threshold for choosing better over bigger data may be reached long before the sample numbers in the thousands, write Jeff Dominitz and Charles F. Manski. Big data has become an […]

Book Review: Once Upon an Algorithm: How Stories Explain Computing by Martin Erwig

In Once Upon an Algorithm: How Stories Explain Computing, Martin Erwig aims to spread an interest in computer science by drawing parallels between processes of computation and the problem-solving stories found in popular culture, including the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel and the film Groundhog Day. While some of the content does demand close attention, the concrete examples make this generally an accessible and […]

Book Review: Open Data and the Knowledge Society by Bridgette Wessels, Kush Wadhwa, Rachel L. Finn and Thordis Sveinsdottir

In Open Data and the Knowledge Society, authors Bridgette Wessels, Kush Wadhwa, Rachel L. Finn and Thordis Sveinsdottir place the management of open data ecosystems at the heart of the transformation into a “knowledge society”, presenting five case studies through which to consider various ways of dealing with different types of data. Miranda Nell welcomes this book for showing how open data is […]

Collaboration and concerted action are key to making open data a reality

The case for open data is increasingly inarguable. Improved data practice can help to address concerns about reproducibility and research integrity, reducing fraud and improving patient outcomes, for example. Research also shows good data practice can lead to improved productivity and increased citations. However, as Grace Baynes reports, recent survey data shows that while the research community recognises the value […]

Book Review: We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of Our Digital Selves by John Cheney-Lippold

In We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of Our Digital Selves, John Cheney-Lippold examines how algorithms increasingly interpret and influence our behaviour. With the author concluding with some pragmatic suggestions for challenging the digital status quo, Daniel Zwi welcomes the book for both capably elucidating the problem of algorithmic regulation and forearming us to tackle this issue. This review originally appeared on LSE Review of […]

Journal policies that encourage data sharing prove extremely effective

There is currently little incentive for researchers to share their data. But what if it was enough for journals to simply ask authors to make their data available? Michèle B. Nuijten reports on a recent study that found journal policies that encourage data sharing to be extremely effective, with a steep increase in the percentage of articles with open data […]

Seven functionalities the scholarly literature should have

Some of the most basic functionalities to be expected of a digital object continue to elude scholarly articles, making the literature much less useful than it could be. Björn Brembs has compiled a short list of seven such functionalities that academic publishers looking to modernise their operations might invest in; from unencumbered access and improved social components, to dynamic data […]

New digital methods can be used to analyse linguistic terms and better understand Reddit communities

Reddit is now the fourth most visited website in the US. Yet, surprisingly, given its position as an extremely large community, it has been the subject of relatively little research. Tim Squirrell has developed methods of studying the genealogy, spread, and use of particular words on Reddit, as demonstrated by this case study of The_Donald, the largest pro-Trump community on […]