Oxford
Summer Institute in Computational Social Science Partner Site

June 16 - June 29, 2019 | Oxford University

Partner location for SICSS organised at Princeton University

The Summer Institute in Computational Social Science (SICSS) brings together graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and beginning faculty interested in computational social science. SICSS is for both social scientists and data scientists. SICSS started as an initiative at Princeton University in 2017. In 2019, we will be hosting a partner institute in Oxford for the first time. It will be held from the evening of Sunday, June 16 to the morning of Saturday, June 29, 2019 at Nuffield College. The aim of SICSS-Oxford is to build and expand a network of researchers interested in computational social science, bringing together individuals from across the University of Oxford and from other institutions.

DETAILS

SICSS-Oxford is being organized by former participants of the 2017 and 2018 SICSS workshops and will feature local speakers and live streams from Princeton. In the first week, participants at the Oxford location will also be able to work in teams to learn how to implement the material from the lectures and workshops. Participants will also be expected to present some of their work and research interests early on in the workshop. In the second week, participants will form teams to develop a research project related to computational social science.

The instructional program will involve lectures, group problem sets, and participant-led research projects. There will also be speakers who conduct computational social science research. Topics covered include text as data, website scraping and digital trace data, online experiments, non-probability sampling, machine learning, 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.

COST & ACCOMMODATIONS

The Summer Institute in Computational Social Science is funded in part by grants from the Russell Sage Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. SICSS-Oxford is additionally supported by grants from Nuffield College and the TDEP Awards of the Oxford University Social Sciences Division. There are no registration fees for participating in SICSS-Oxford.

Participants are expected to attend both weeks of the institute. Meals and refreshments will be provided free of cost for all participants at SICSS-Oxford during the event. Accommodation for those participants from outside Oxford will also be covered. Travel costs (up to a set cap) will be reimbursed for those from outside Oxford.

ELIGIBILITY

We are inviting applications from Ph.D. students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty within 7 years of their Ph.D. We are hoping to have wide participation from researchers across different departments and institutes within the University of Oxford, both from the social sciences and the computational/data sciences. We would also like to welcome a limited number of participants from other institutions both in the UK and abroad. 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.

The deadline for applications was Monday, April 15, 2019, 11.59 pm (UK). Applications are now closed.

Organizers

Ridhi Kashyap

Ridhi Kashyap is associate professor of social demography and fellow of Nuffield College at the University of Oxford. She completed her DPhil in Sociology jointly affiliated with the University of Oxford and Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. Her research spans a number of substantive areas in demography and sociology, including gender, mortality and health, the diversification of family forms, and ethnicity and migration. Her work has sought to adopt computational innovations both in terms of modelling approaches such as agent-based models and digital trace data from web and social media platforms to study social and demographic processes. She is currently leading a Data2X and UN Foundation supported project that uses big data from the web, in particular large-scale online advertising data that provide information on the aggregate numbers of users of online platforms by demographic characteristics, to measure sustainable development and gender inequality indicators.

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Nicolo Cavalli

Nicolò is a DPhil candidate in Sociology at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. He holds a BA in Politics from University of Bologna and a MSc in Economics from Bocconi University, Milan. Before joining Nuffield College, Nicolò worked as journalist, reporting on social issues and political movements from Italy, Greece, Catalunya, California and Peru. His Doctoral Thesis focuses on how intergroup emotional stratification emerged in Europe in times of economic recession.

Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is a doctoral student in the Duke Sociology department, and is associated with the Duke Network Analysis Center. She has broad interests in computational methods and social media studies. Her dissertation explores gender inequality in creative professions. Taylor holds an MA in sociology from UNC-Chapel Hill and an MSc in evidence-based social intervention from the University of Oxford. Prior to beginning her PhD, Taylor fulfilled an appointment at the National Science Foundation in the division of Social and Economic Sciences.

Local Speakers

Pablo Barbera

Pablo Barberá is an Assistant Professor of Computational Social Science at the London School of Economics. His research develops text and network analysis methods that improve our understanding of how exposure to political information through social media sites affects political behavior. He is also the authors of several R packages that allow scholars to collect and analyze social media data.

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David Cox

Sir David Cox is a statistician known in particular for the proportional hazards model. This is widely used in the analysis of survival data and has been applied in the medical, physical, life, earth, and social sciences, as well as engineering fields. His 1972 paper introducing the model and its analysis is one of the 100 most-cited papers of all time for all fields. Cox’s career has included research positions in government supported research organizations, as well as academic appointments at Cambridge, University of North Carolina, Birkbeck College, Imperial College, and Nuffield College, where he was Warden, 1988-1994. He earned his PhD from the University of Leeds in 1949, after first studying mathematics at St. Johns College, Cambridge. Knighted in 1985, Cox is a fellow of the Royal Society, an honorary fellow of the British Academy and a foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He has served as president of the Bernoulli Society, Royal Statistical Society and International Statistical Institute. In 2010, Cox received the Copley Medal, the Royal Society’s highest award, and in 2016, the International Prize in Statistics and shared the BBVA Foundation Prize for research in the physical sciences.

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Xiaowen Dong

Xiaowen Dong is a Departmental Lecturer in the Department of Engineering Science, a faculty member of the Oxford-Man Institute, and a research fellow of Somerville College, all at the University of Oxford. He is primarily interested in utilising graphs to model relational structure within the data, and developing novel techniques that lie at the intersection of machine learning, signal processing, and complex networks to study questions across social and economic sciences, with a particular focus on understanding human behaviour, decision making and societal changes.

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Ray Duch

Ray is an Official Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, and the Director of the Nuffield Centre for Experimental Social Sciences (CESS), which has centres in Oxford, Santiago (Chile), Tianjin (China) and Pune (India). Previously, he was the Senator Don Henderson Scholar in Political Science at the University of Houston. He received his PhD from the University of Rochester. He is currently the Long-Term Visiting Professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Toulouse School of Economics. Ray’s research uses experiments, digital trace and public opinion analysis to explain individual decision making. He has published extensively, including an award-winning book (The Economic Vote) on how economic outcomes affect democratic accountability. His work has appeared in forty leading journals in political science and economics. Ray’s current research agenda investigates the role of information acquisition in decision-making. In 2015, Ray was selected as a member of the UK Cabinet Office Cross-Whitehall Trial Advice Panel to assist Whitehall departments in designing and implementing experiments to assess policy effectiveness. He is a member of the Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) network.

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Scott Hale

Dr Scott A. Hale is a Senior Data Scientist and Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute of the University of Oxford, UK, and a Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute. He develops and applies techniques from computer science to research questions in both computer science and the social sciences and puts the results into practice with industry partners. He is particularly interested in mobilization/collective action, agenda setting, and antisocial behaviour (e.g., hate speech) and has a strong track record in building tools and teaching programmes that enable social science researchers to access new methods and forms of data. At Oxford, he directs the Social Data Science programme, supervises postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers, and teaches postgraduate students.

Image of Melinda Mills

Melinda Mills

Melinda Mills (MBE, FBA) is the Nuffield Professor of Sociology at the University of Oxford and Nuffield College and the Director of the new Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science in Oxford She completed her PhD in Demography at the University of Groningen (Netherlands), and has further studied bioinformatics and genetics. She was the Editor of the European Sociological Review (2012-2016). Mills’ research spans a range of interdisciplinary topics at the intersection of demography, sociology, molecular genetics and statistics. Her substantive research specializes in fertility and human reproductive behaviour, assortative mating, labour market, nonstandard employment and chronotypes, life course and inequality. She currently leads the ERC funded programme SOCIOGENOME (www.sociogenome.com). Mills has published various statistics textbooks in R on survival and event history analysis (2011, Sage) and has a forthcoming book on applied quantitative genetics statistical analysis (2019, MIT Press). She serves on various national science Boards such as the Executive Council of the Ecnomic and Social Research Council RCUK, the non-Executive Supervisory Board of the Dutch Science Council (NWO) and the NHS Digital Research Advisory Group.

Image of Neave OClery

Neave OClery

Originally from Dublin, Dr Neave OClery is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford where she leads a research group focused on data-driven models for economic development and the emergence of complexity for urban systems. Neave was previously a Fulbright Scholar and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School following her PhD (mathematics) at Imperial College. She is also founder and Editor in Chief of Angle – a journal based at Imperial College focusing on the intersection of policy, politics and science – since 2009.

Image of Mariarosaria Taddeo

Mariarosaria Taddeo

Dr Mariarosaria Taddeo is Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, where she is the Deputy Director of the Digital Ethics Lab, and is Faculty Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute. Her recent work focuses mainly on the ethical analysis of Artificial Intelligence, cyber security , cyber conflicts, and ethics of digital innovation. Her area of expertise is Philosophy and Ethics of Information, although she has worked on issues concerning Epistemology, Logic, and Philosophy of AI. She has been listed among the top 50 most inspiring Italian women working in AI in 2018. Dr Taddeo has been awarded The Simon Award for Outstanding Research in Computing and Philosophy. She also received the World Technology Award for Ethics acknowledging the originality and her research on the ethics of cyber conflicts, and the social impact of the work that she developed in this area. Since 2016, Taddeo serves as editor-in-chief of Minds & Machines (SpringerNature) and of Philosophical Studies Series (SpringerNature).

Workshop Leaders

Image of Roberto Cerina

Roberto Cerina

Roberto Cerina is a third-year DPhil candidate in Sociology at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, with an interest in Election Forecasting, Bayesian Statistics and non-representative surveys. His recent work has focused on making inference on electoral preferences from revealed behaviour on social-media; in particular, together with Professor Raymond Duch, he has forecasted the 2018 mid-term elections in Texas using likes from pages of public candidates on Facebook, leveraging the latest technology in prediction and post-stratification, and achieving results comparable to state-of-the-art surveys, at a fraction of the cost (see here from more: http://raymondduch.com/forecasts/). Currently he is working on forecasting the 2019 Indian Lok Sabha Elections using a convenience sample and Mechanical Turks. He is also working on finalising a Machine Learning pipeline to produce fully automated Opinion Polling from Twitter.

Image of Charles Rahal

Charles Rahal

Charles Rahal is a social science methodologist and applied social data scientist with a background in high-dimensional econometrics, having completed his PhD in 2016. He currently holds a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship entitled ‘The Social Data Science of Healthcare Supply’ which develops data driven tools for analysing healthcare procurement processes. He is particularly interested in unique data origination processes, be they unstructured or otherwise, and is an advocate for open source and reproducible academic research, particularly in the forms of Python, LaTeX and Linux. He was a co-recipient (with Aaron Reeves, Sam Friedman and Magne Flemmen) of the 2018 European Academy of Sociology Best Paper award, and he presently teaches ‘Python for Sociologists’ in Michaelmas Term. Other current areas of interest include civic technology, applied econometrics (predominantly spatial and time series), scientometrics, data wrangling, software development, and social stratification and social mobility. He is increasingly interested in sociological applications of text mining algorithms. Follow his projects on github and Google Scholar!

Teaching Assistants

To be announced.

Schedule and materials

Sunday June 16, 2019

  • 6:30pm

    Participants arrive

Monday June 17, 2019 - Introduction and Ethics

  • 9:00am

    Opening remarks

  • 9:15am

    Housekeeping announcements

  • 9:30am

    Introductions of participants and organisers (flashtalks)

  • 1:00pm

    Lunch

  • 2:30pm

    Introduction to Computational Social Science (Livestream, Matt Salganik)

  • 3:15pm

    Tea break

  • 3:30pm

    Research Ethics: Principles-based approach; Four areas of difficulties: informed consent, informational risk, privacy, and making decisions in the face of uncertainty; Introduction to group exercise (Livestream, Matt Salganik)

  • 6:30pm

    Dinner

Tuesday June 18, 2019 - Collecting Digital Trace Data

  • 9:00am

    Housekeeping announcements

  • 9:15am

    Group exercise (Research Ethics)

  • 11:15am

    Coffee Break

  • 11:30am

    Talk by Mariarosaria Taddeo

  • 1:00pm

    Lunch

  • 2:00pm

    Digital trace data (Ridhi Kashyap)

  • 3:15pm

    Tea break

  • 3:30pm

    Digital trace data (Ridhi Kashyap)

  • 6:30pm

    Dinner

Wednesday June 19, 2019 - Automated Text Analysis

  • 9:00am

    Housekeeping announcements

  • 9:15am

    Group exercise (Digital Trace Data)

  • 11:15am

    Coffee Break

  • 11:30am

    Talk by Nick Ruktanonchai

  • 1:00pm

    Lunch

  • 2:00pm

    Automated Text Analysis (Taylor Brown)

  • 3:15pm

    Tea break

  • 3:30pm

    Automated Text Analysis (Taylor Brown)

  • 6:30pm

    Dinner

Thursday June 20, 2019 - Surveys in the Digital Age

  • 9:00am

    Housekeeping announcements

  • 9:15am

    Group exercise (Digital Trace Data)

  • 11:15am

    Coffee Break

  • 11:30am

    Talk by Scott Hale (TBC)

  • 1:00pm

    Lunch

  • 2:00pm

    Survey research in the digital age; Probability and non-probability sampling (Livestream, Matt Salganik)

  • 3:15pm

    Tea break

  • 3:30pm

    Survey research in the digital age; Probability and non-probability sampling (Livestream, Matt Salganik)

  • 6:30pm

    Dinner

Friday June 21, 2019 - Non-probability Surveys and Machine Learning

  • 9:00am

    Housekeeping announcements

  • 9:15am

    Workshop on non-probability surveys (Roberto Cerina)

  • 11:15am

    Coffee Break

  • 11:30am

    Workshop on non-probability surveys (Roberto Cerina)

  • 1:00pm

    Lunch

  • 2:00pm

    Workshop on Machine Learning (Charles Rahal)

  • 3:15pm

    Tea break

  • 3:30pm

    Workshop on Machine Learning (Charles Rahal)

  • 6:30pm

    Dinner

Saturday June 22, 2019 - Experiments

  • 9:00am

    Housekeeping announcements

  • 9:15am

    Workshop on Experiments (Sonke Ehret)

  • 11:15am

    Coffee Break

  • 11:30am

    Talk by Ray Duch

  • 1:00pm

    Lunch

  • 2:15pm

    Workshop on Experiments (continued)

  • 7:30pm

    Dinner

Sunday June 23, 2019 - Day off

Monday June 24, 2019 - Group projects

  • 9:00am

    Housekeeping announcements

  • 9:15am

    Groups form

  • 11:15am

    Coffee Break

  • 11:30am

    Talk by Pablo Barberà

  • 1:00pm

    Lunch

  • 2:00pm

    Groups work on project

  • 3:15pm

    Tea break

  • 3:30pm

    Groups work on project

  • 6:30pm

    Dinner

Tuesday June 25, 2019 - Group projects

  • 9:00am

    Housekeeping announcements

  • 9:15am

    Groups work on project

  • 11:15am

    Coffee Break

  • 11:30am

    Talk by David Cox (TBC)

  • 1:00pm

    Lunch

  • 2:00pm

    Groups work on project

  • 6:30pm

    Dinner

Wednesday June 26, 2019 - Group projects

  • 9:00am

    Housekeeping announcements

  • 9:15am

    Groups work on project

  • 11:30am

    Talk by Xiaowen Dong

  • 1:00pm

    Lunch

  • 2:00pm

    Groups work on project

  • 6:30pm

    Dinner

Thursday June 27, 2019 - Group presentations

  • 9:00am

    Housekeeping announcements

  • 9:15am

    Groups presentations

  • 1:00pm

    Lunch

  • 2:00pm

    Groups presentations

  • 6:30pm

    Closing dinner

Friday June 28, 2019 - Participants depart