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

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 […]

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    Data-driven discrimination: a new challenge for civil society

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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    We need more carrots: give academic researchers the support and incentives to share data

We need more carrots: give academic researchers the support and incentives to share data

Making data available for other researchers to find, use, reuse, and reproduce is fundamental to open science, and ultimately makes research more efficient and effective. Yet despite funder policies that encourage and require data sharing, researchers in both the UK and the US report lower percentages of data sharing than the global average. In addition to progressive policies, Grace […]

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

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 […]

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    What a fossil revolution reveals about the history of “big data”

What a fossil revolution reveals about the history of “big data”

Improved technologies have allowed faster and more powerful statistical analysis and changed how we “see” data. It’s now taken for granted that the best way to understand large, complex phenomena is by crunching the numbers via computers and projecting the results as visual summaries. To David Sepkoski, that’s not a bad thing, but it does pose some challenges. The […]

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

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, […]

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    Releasing 1.8 million open access publications from publisher systems for text and data mining

Releasing 1.8 million open access publications from publisher systems for text and data mining

Text and data mining offers an opportunity to improve the way we access and analyse the outputs of academic research. But the technical infrastructure of the current scholarly communication system is not yet ready to support TDM to its full potential, even for open access outputs. To address this problem, Petr Knoth, Nancy Pontika and Lucas Anastasiou have developed […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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    Journal policies that encourage data sharing prove extremely effective

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 […]

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Starter tips on sharing data and analysis scripts

Researchers are increasingly encouraged to make their data openly accessible and usable for others. To early-career researchers in particular, this can seem daunting, with different considerations when posting data publicly rather than retaining it solely for internal use. Katherine Wood has compiled a short open data starter guide to make the process less overwhelming and help researchers do their bit […]

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    The number and proportion of freely available articles is growing; reaching 45% of the literature published in 2015

The number and proportion of freely available articles is growing; reaching 45% of the literature published in 2015

Using open data and open services, a large-scale study of the state of open and free access has found both the number and proportion of articles freely available to the public is growing, having reached 45% of the literature published in 2015. Juan Pablo Alperin reveals more about this study and suggests we are at the beginning of a […]

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    Formalised data citation practices would encourage more authors to make their data available for reuse

Formalised data citation practices would encourage more authors to make their data available for reuse

It is increasingly common for researchers to make their data freely available. This is often a requirement of funding agencies but also consistent with the principles of open science, according to which all research data should be shared and made available for reuse. Once data is reused, the researchers who have provided access to it should be acknowledged for […]

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This work by LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.