Category: Data science

To understand the replication crisis, imagine a world in which everything was published.

Countering the claim that failed replications merely reflect the underlying truth of the scientific process and are not a matter of concern, Andrew Gelman argues that actually, the process is largely broken and we are in danger of dismissing the value of replication efforts. Current practice, centered on publication thresholds, is not filtering out poorly designed and executed studies. John Snow points me […]

‘Picturing the Social’: Questions of method, ethics and transparency in the analysis of social media photography.

Anne Burns has been researching current norms of social media sharing, particularly in relation to photo sharing practices, and reflects here on the implications this research might have for social media research in years to come. Whilst there are many opportunities for researchers, more reflection is needed on the potential for harm that can be caused by the unauthorized reproduction of […]

Unless we change how we think about transparency, open data is unlikely to have a significant political impact at local level.

Open data and transparency have long been heralded as welcome innovations by policymakers and politicians, and the current Government has made it a priority at both a national and local level. But when it comes to the latter, how effective has it been and how much have citizens made use of it? Mark Frank argues that local authorities continued use of […]

Should policymakers follow the lead of Facebook and Google and use field experiments to implement better services?

In this article, Robert Metcalfe argues that field experiments can be instrumental in helping policymakers understand how to improve the welfare of their citizens. Field experiments represent a relatively new methodological approach capable of measuring the causal links between variables, thereby allowing policymakers to understand the behavioural responses of their citizens to changes in policies. Do neighbourhoods matter to outcomes? Which classroom […]

Reputation instead of obligation: forging new policies to motivate academic data sharing.

Despite strong support from funding agencies and policy makers academic data sharing sees hardly any adoption among researchers. Current policies that try to foster academic data sharing fail, as they try to either motivate researchers to share for the common good or force researchers to publish their data. Instead, Sascha Friesike, Benedikt Fecher, Marcel Hebing, and Stephanie Linek argue that in […]

Incentives for open science: New prizes to encourage research integrity and transparency in social science.

The high-profile political science study on same-sex marriage views, now determined to be fraudulent, is the latest case exposing the failure of incentive structures in the academy. The academic community must strengthen research evidence and do more to promote transparency. Temina Madon shares the launch of prizes run by the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) that look to provide recognition, visibility and […]

Book Review: Digital Humanitarians: How Big Data is changing the face of humanitarian response

The overflow of information generated during disasters can be as paralysing to humanitarian response as the lack of information. This flash flood of information is often referred to as Big Data, or Big Crisis Data. Making sense of Big Crisis Data is proving to be an impossible challenge for traditional humanitarian organisations, which is why they’re turning to Digital Humanitarians. Dimitrinka […]

Literacy as Numbers: The efficacy, merits and validity of transnational literacy assessment programmes.

Debates about the nature of literacy and how to account for the diversity of learning are far from resolved. A new book, Literacy as Numbers, looks at how literacy itself is being reframed around globalized assessment regimes. Camilla Addey delves into how these comparable numbers, now so heavily relied on in national policy, are produced, and how they are shaping our understanding of the meanings and purposes […]

Systems of measurement have a productive power in our lives

Metrics already perform a powerful productive role in the social world; they vindicate and limit, they cajole and incentivise, they legitimate and justify. When we reflect on how metrics are frequently used to manage performance, to facilitate competition, to judge us or to compare what we do with others, it is crucial that we see metrics as being central to the […]