Main Page

From CommunityData

The Community Data Science Collective is an interdisciplinary research group made of up of faculty and students at the University of Washington Department of Communication, the Northwestern University Department of Communication Studies, the University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science, the Carleton College Computer Science Department, and the Purdue University School of Communication.

CDSC members at the CDSC group retreat in March 2021 (pandemic virtual edition #3). Left to right by row, starting at top: Connor (special guest!), Regina, Nick, Floor, Aaron, Nate, Sohyeon, Carl, Stef, Emilia, Salt, Jeremy, Charlie, Kaylea, Sneha, Mako. Check out our other group photos!

We are social scientists applying a range of quantitative and qualitative methods to the study of online communities. We seek to understand both how and why some attempts at collaborative production — like Wikipedia and Linux — build large volunteer communities and high quality work products.

Our research is particularly focused on how the design of communication and information technologies shape fundamental social outcomes with broad theoretical and practical implications — like an individual’s decision to join a community, contribute to a public good, or a group’s ability to make decisions democratically.

Our research is deeply interdisciplinary, most frequently consists of “big data” quantitative analyses, and lies at the intersection of communication, sociology, and human-computer interaction.

Research News

Follow us as @comdatasci on Twitter and subscribe to the Community Data Science Collective blog.

Recent posts from the blog include:

How to Network from Home
We have been going on Lab Dates and it is pretty cool. CSCW 2021 introduced Lab Speed Dating wherein labs were matched and given an hour to get to know each other. Sohyeon Hwang organized our first lab date. It was so much fun we decided to go on more in order to meet other …
— mollydb 2022-07-14
Second Community Dialogue on Anonymity and Privacy
We recently held our second Community Dialogue around the theme of anonymity and privacy. Kaylea Champion presented on the role of anonymity in peer-contribution communities. Dr. Shruti Sannon joined us from the University of Michigan and talked about privacy in the gig economy. What’s Anonymity Worth (Kaylea Champion) Anonymity can protect and empower contributors in …
— mollydb 2022-06-09
A systems approach to studying online communities
Systems theory is a broad and multidisciplinary scientific approach that studies how things (molecules or cells or organs or people or companies) interact with each other. It argues that understanding how something works requires understanding its relationships and interdependencies. For example, if we want to predict whether a new online community will grow, an individual …
— Jeremy Foote 2022-05-16
Community Data Science Collective at ICA 2022
The International Communication Association (ICA)’s 72nd annual conference is coming up in just a couple of weeks. This year, the conference takes place in Paris and a subset of our collective is flying out to present work in person. We are looking forward to meeting up, talking research, and eating croissants. À bientôt! ICA takes …
— Community Data Science Collective 2022-05-29


In addition to research, we teach classes and run workshops. Some of that work is coordinated on this wiki. A more detailed lists of workshops and teaching material on this wikis is on our Workshops and Classes page. In this page, we only list ongoing classes and workshops.

Purdue Courses

  • [Spring 2022] Communication and Social Networks (COM 411, Spring 2021) – This class focuses on understanding how the structure of relationships between people influence communication patterns and behavior. This perspective can help us to understand a broad set of phenomena, from online communities to friendships to businesses. The course will also introduce students to using network visualizations to gain and share insights about network phenomena. Taught by Jeremy Foote.

University of Washington Courses

Public Data Science Workshops

Community Data Science Workshops — The Community Data Science Workshops (CDSW) are a series of workshops designed to introduce some of the basic tools of programming and analysis of data from online communities to absolute beginners. The CDSW have been held six times in Seattle between 2014 and 2020. So far, more than 100 people have volunteered their weekends to teach more than 500 people to program in Python, to build datasets from Web APIs, and to ask and answer questions using these data.

Research Resources

If you are a member of the collective, perhaps you're looking for CommunityData:Resources which includes details on email, TeX templates, documentation on our computing resources, etc.

About This Wiki

This is open to the public and hackable by all but mostly contains information that will be useful to collective members, their collaborators, people enrolled in their projects, or people interested in building off of their work. If you're interested in making a change or creating content here, generally feel empowered to Be Bold. If things don't fit, somebody who watches this wiki will be in touch.

This is mostly a normal MediaWiki although there are a few things to know:

  • There's a CAPTCHA enabled. If you create an account and then contact any collective member with the username (on or off wiki), they can turn the CAPTCHA off for you.
  • Extension:Math is installed so you can write math here. Basically you just add math by putting TeX inside <math> tags like this: <math>\frac{\sigma}{\sqrt{n}}</math> and it will write .