Informed consent is important in large-scale social media research to protect the privacy, autonomy, and control of social media users. Ilka Gleibs argues for an approach to consent that fosters contextual integrity where adequate protection for privacy is tied to specific contexts. Rather than prescribing universal rules for what is public (a Facebook page, or Twitter feed) and what is private, contextual […]
A few weeks ago allegations surfaced over undisclosed ties between Dr Willie Soon, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and corporate interests from the energy industry. Dr Soon is now under investigation, and a Democratic member of Congress has used it as an opportunity to suggest climate change academics who have been invited by Republicans to give evidence at Congressional […]
Open peer review and its discontents: Criticism is an integral part of science – essential for progress and cohesion.
Discussing specific shortcomings of scientific research is no longer confined to scientific publications and discreet letters, but can be found online in blogs and across social media. This has opened up fruitful discussion, encouraging a more public form of peer review. But not all scientists are happy with public criticism. Sabine Hossenfelder argues that while not all scientific discourse should be conducted in […]
In the final interview in our Philosophy of Data Science series, Emma Uprichard, in conversation with Mark Carrigan, emphasises that big data has serious repercussions to the kinds of social futures we are shaping and those that are supporting big data developments need to be held accountable. This means we should also take stock of the methodological harm present in many big […]
Tara Thomson shares her experience attending a participant-driven ‘unconference’ for digital humanities students and scholars. The event format aims to be democratic, aligned with how the Digital Humanities has aimed to build itself on devolved authority. But disciplinary knowledge is not always equally shared. The discussions highlighted problems of access and exclusion as primary concerns for the field. Some felt excluded from the Digital Humanities as […]
Why Inaccessibility? Despite progressive tone, attacks on academics’ lack of clarity can be profoundly regressive.
It has become popular to denounce academic writing as elitist and unhelpful. Eric Detweiler argues that inaccessibility may be a more complex issue. “Inaccessible” writing may be the result of an author trying to do things with language that conventional, “clear” uses of language cannot. Furthermore, these critiques are often launched at marginalised fields that are writing in non-standard […]
This collection aims to offer a practical, how-to approach to researching social movement studies, with each author writing on a method they have used extensively in their own work. Leonardo Custódio is impressed by the book’s invitation to researchers to reflect about different approaches to studying mass demonstrations, protests, and other forms of collective action for socioeconomic and political change.
This piece originally appeared on LSE […]
Replication is not about making or breaking careers: it is about providing an opportunity to move science forward.
Replication and closer scrutiny of published findings are generally welcome in the scientific community, but questions have been raised over how replication attempts are being reported. Whilst there are certainly arguments for more friendly and cooperative tones to scientific debate, Dorothy Bishop welcomes this next chapter in rigorous debate. Reputation and career prospects will, at the end of the day, […]
How competitive should science be? External reward structure may inhibit creative thinking and innovation.
Competition for funding and jobs is often cited as a helpful mechanism for spurning innovation and productivity in science. But Jessica Polka challenges this idea by drawing from the results of an experiment known as Duncker’s candle problem. The experiment revealed external rewards can actually inhibit creative thinking. If science is like the version of the candle problem, are […]
Under the rouse of rigour and seriousness, professional norms in academia often preclude kindness. Jason Laker looks at the issue systemically in an effort to uncover why being kind and supportive to each other should be seen as surprising. He wonders how much of this contemptuous rhetoric is authentic, or rather, a performance used to socialize academics as a […]
A session at the Royal Geographical Society’s annual conference will explore the physical, emotional and reputational risks involved in doing research, with the hope that this will in turn, provide a starting point for a more comprehensive framework for understanding how risk operates. Amiera Sawas will be co-chairing the session and writes here on her experiences with risks in […]
Patenting of life-saving drugs has created a global health crisis where human life has become a commercial commodity.
Millions of people—mostly in developing countries—lack access to life-saving drugs. Righting this imbalance is among the most important challenges of global public health of this century, argues Akansha Mehta. There is scant evidence to prove that frameworks for intellectual property rights and patent protection have benefited research, development and innovation in developing countries. When the laws of trade and commerce override the human […]
Neglecting to confront conflicts of interest in industry-sponsored research unfairly burdens early career researchers
As public funding shrinks, industry-sponsored research may be a remedy. But Rebecca Cassidy reports back from a workshop on how the pressure caused by scarcity of funding and conflicts of interest in certain fields falls disproportionately on early career researchers, the most vulnerable members of the higher education precariat. Those who have yet to build up the social capital which comes […]
Scientific Misbehavior in Economics: Unacceptable research practice linked to perceived pressure to publish.
Upholding research integrity depends on our ability to understand the extent of misconduct. Sarah Necker describes her landmark study on economists’ research norms and practices. Fabrication, falsification and plagiarism are widely considered to be unjustifiable, but misbehaviour is still prevalent. For example, 1-3% of economists surveyed admit that they have accepted or offered gifts, money, or sex in exchange for […]
On Taxis and Rainbow Tables: Lessons for researchers and governments from NYC’s improperly anonymized taxi logs.
When New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission made publicly available 20GB worth of trip and fare logs, many welcomed the vast trove of open data. Unfortunately, prior to being widely shared, the personally identifiable information had not been anonymized properly. Vijay Pandurangan describes the structure of the data, what went wrong with its release, how easy it is to de-anonymize […]
The Outing of the Medical Profession: Data marathons to open clinical research gates to frontline service providers.
Could greater data transparency across the medical field solve the problem of unreliable evidence? Dr. Leo Anthony Celi charts the efforts to improve the publicly available MIMIC database, a creation of the public-private partnership between MIT, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Philips Health-Care, through a series of data marathons. Data scientists, nurses, clinicians and doctors are coming together to collaborate and answer clinically […]
The value of sharing research data is widely recognised by the research community and funders are setting in place stronger policy requirements for researchers to share data. But the costs to researchers in sharing their data can be considerable and the incentives are sometimes few and far between. A recent report from the cross-disciplinary Expert Advisory Group on Data […]