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IC2s2 2017, conference preview

Mon Jul 10, 2017

567 Words
Posted In: ic2s2, conference, Köln, computational social science, SAGE

I’m about to head to Köln for the International Conference on Computational Social Science (IC2S2) and I’m pretty excited for a whole bunch of reasons.

I’ve been fascinated by network science, and the potential application of techniques from that science to the rest of research, for quite a while, but generally this has been an interest that I have entertained from a distance.

I had the pleasure of attending an early instance of the NetSci conference series back in 2008, and even contributed to a working paper looking at the implications of the intersection between social data and network algorithms (Mining for Social Serendipity), however the academic track has not been my track at all, and with one thing or another this was a community that my career moved me away from for some time.

Over the last year that’s changed quite a bit, and now with my role for SAGE the very heart of what I am doing is trying to learn about this new emerging field of computational social science, and more that just learn about it, actually try to build tools to support it. It’s an awesome opportunity, because the intersection of tooling for data at scale to social data and data about social phenomena is transformational for the social sciences.

I’m really looking forward to reconnecting to some of the network science community at IC2S2 and getting up to speed with how that relates to computational social science, as well as learning a load about where this aspect of the research field is right now, and what they see as their key challenges.

A few months ago I was interviewed by PLOS about my new role and this field. I’m still learning, but the interview is a good reflection of some of what remain my core beliefs about the effects of data on the social sciences.

Since that interview we have started to roll out the first product that has come out of thinking about researcher needs in this space. We think that there remains a lot that can be done to build up technical capacity in the social sciences, and we are designing online courses with exactly that in mind. (SAGE Campus)[https://campus.sagepub.com] will support researchers through learning support and really well tailored content (I’m particularly excited about the experiments that we are doing around using Jupyterhub) for some of the courses.

SAGE Campus).

I’m going to be attending the conference with my awesome colleague Katie Metzler. We are working on a bunch of other product ideas too, and one question we have for you is:

What question would you most have liked help with as you were getting started with computational social science? 

We want to build up a sense of what kinds of questions those are, and more interestingly find out if there are people who would love to help answer those questions. If you are at the conference and you see us please stop us and let us know, and if you want to ping us on twitter please go ahead!

Finally, Köln is a great city, and my wife and her family are from there, so it’s going to be a pleasure to engage with some amazing conversations in a city that I know really well. I’ll be at the conference from tomorrow through to the end of the week, if you see me, please stop me and say hi!