Category: Data science

Book Review: Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age by Matthew J. Salganik

In Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age, Matthew J. Salganik explores the process of undertaking social research in the digital era, examining a wide range of concepts while also offering teaching activities and materials. In bringing together the expertise of social and data scientists to the benefit of both, this is a comprehensive overview of new approaches to social research […]

Data-driven discrimination: a new challenge for civil society

Data-driven technologies have been a transformative force in society. However, while such innovations are often viewed as a positive development, discriminatory biases embedded in these technologies can serve to compound problems for society’s more vulnerable groups. Having recently published a report on automated discrimination in data-driven systems, Jędrzej Niklas and Seeta Peña Gangadharan explain how algorithms discriminate, why this raises […]

Mind the skills gap: creating a data access and reuse competency framework for government departments and organisations

Having access to the vital data collected by government departments can make a huge difference to the work of researchers in universities and charities. But for these researchers to actually access and be able to reuse this data is an often painstaking process that can take months or even longer. Richard Welpton suggests this process might be made quicker and […]

Book Review: News, Numbers and Public Opinion in a Data-Driven World, edited by An Nguyen

In News, Numbers and Public Opinion in a Data-Driven World, An Nguyen brings together contributors to showcase international research on the integration of statistical reasoning in journalistic education, production and consumption. In a data-driven context marked by concerns about fake news, “post-truth” and the spread of disinformation, this is a thoughtful and accessible contribution to understanding the role of numeracy in […]

Student data systems and GovTech apps will increase competition and performance measurement in higher education

Current debates in higher education policy have drawn attention to the significant impacts of marketisation, metrics, and performance management on the sector. Ben Williamson argues that a restructuring of the data infrastructure is shaping these HE trends. An examination of the HE data infrastructure reveals the political aspirations coded into its architecture, the actors involved in its production, and its […]

How people feel about what companies do with their data is just as important as what they know about it

The recent revelation that Cambridge Analytica was able to acquire the Facebook data of 50 million people has led to a surge of interest and questions around what companies do with people’s data. Amidst all of this, little attention has been paid to the feelings of those whose data are used, shared, and acted upon. According to Helen Kennedy, more […]

What factors do scientists perceive as promoting or hindering scientific data reuse?

Increased calls for data sharing have formed part of many governments’ agendas to boost innovation and scientific development. Data openness for reuse also resonates with the recognised need for more transparent, reproducible science. But what are scientists’ perceptions about data reuse? Renata Gonçalves Curty, Kevin Crowston, Alison Specht, Bruce W. Grant and Elizabeth D. Dalton make use of existing survey […]

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 […]