Princeton University

June 18, 2017 - July 1, 2017 | Princeton University

University of Bamberg


From the evening of Sunday, June 18 to the morning of Saturday, July 1, 2017, the Russell Sage Foundation will sponsor the first Summer Institute in Computational Social Science, to be held at Princeton University. The purpose of the Summer Institute is to introduce graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and beginning faculty to computational social science. The Summer Institute is for both social scientists (broadly conceived) and data scientists (broadly conceived). The co-organizers and principal faculty of the Summer Institute are Christopher Bail and Matthew Salganik.

The instructional program will involve lectures, group problem sets, and participant-led group research projects. There will also be outside speakers who conduct computational social science research in academia, industry, and government. Topics covered include text as data, website scraping, digital field experiments, non-probability sampling, mass collaboration, and ethics. There will be ample opportunities for students to discuss their ideas and research with the organizers, other participants, and visiting speakers. Because we are committed to open and reproducible research, all materials created by faculty and students for the Summer Institute will be released open source.

Participation is restricted to Ph.D. students, postdoctoral researchers, and untenured faculty within 7 years of their Ph.D. Most participant costs during the workshop, including housing and most meals, will be covered, and most travel expenses will be reimbursed up to a set cap. About thirty participants will be invited. Participants with less experience with social science research will be expected to complete additional readings in advance of the Institute, and participants with less experience coding will be expected to complete a set of online learning modules on the R programming language. Students doing this preparatory work will be supported by a teaching assistant who will hold online office hours during the two months before the Institute.

We are not longer accepting applications for the 2017 Summer Institute. However, we plan to have the Summer Institute in future years as well. We will circulate the call for applications widely, and both Chris and Matt will announce it on Twitter.

Participant-led group projects

An important element of the Summer Institute is the participant-led group projects that begin in the second week and often continue long after the Summer Institute ends. Here are the results from some of the 2017 projects.

  • Becker, Joshua, Porter, Ethan, and Damon Centola. (in press) “The Wisdom of Partisan Crowds.” Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.
  • Almaatouq, Abdullah, Krafft, Peter, Dunham, Yarrow, Rand, David G., Pentland, Alex (in press) “Turkers of the World Unite: Multilevel In-Group Bias Amongst Crowdworkers On Amazon Mechanical Turk.” Social Psychological and Personality Science.
  • Filippova, Anna, Gilroy, Connor, Kashyap, Ridhi, Kirchner, Antje, Morgan, Allison C., Polimis, Kivan, Usmani, Adaner and Tong Wang. (in press) “Humans in the Loop: Incorporating Expert and Crowdsourced Knowledge for Predictions using Survey Data.” Socius.

Host a Location

You can host a partner location of the Summer Institutes of Computational Social Science (SICSS) at your university, company, NGO, or government agency.

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