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    The main obstacles to better research data management and sharing are cultural. But change is in our hands

The main obstacles to better research data management and sharing are cultural. But change is in our hands

Recommendations on how to better support researchers in good data management and sharing practices are typically focused on developing new tools or improving infrastructure. Yet research shows the most common obstacles are actually cultural, not technological. Marta Teperek and Alastair Dunning outline how appointing data stewards and data champions can be key to improving research data management through positive cultural change.

This […]

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    Research data should be available long-term…but who is going to pay?

Research data should be available long-term…but who is going to pay?

There is now a broad consensus that sharing and preserving data makes research more efficient, reproducible and potentially innovative. As such, most funding bodies now require research data to be stored, preserved, and made available long-term. But who is going to pay for this to happen? Marta Teperek and Alastair Dunning outline how the costs of long-term data preservation […]

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

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 […]

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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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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 […]

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

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 […]

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    It’s time designing for the colour blind became a more integrated component of academic and media training

It’s time designing for the colour blind became a more integrated component of academic and media training

Despite affecting one in 12 men and one in 200 women, colour blindness rarely features in discussions around access and inclusivity. Oliver Daddow explains how his preferred research methodology has been informed by his colour blindness, but also reveals the frustration he has felt since joining Twitter earlier this year. A variety of data representations are increasingly shared via […]

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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.