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From CommunityData

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

CDSC members at the CDSC group retreat in September 2023 in Evanston. 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.

To learn more about the CDSC, please check out our about page (especially the links there). Prospective students should also review these materials.


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 wiki is on our Workshops and Classes page. In this page, we only list ongoing classes and workshops.

Purdue Courses

  • [Summer 2023] Advanced Computational Communication Methods – In this class, we will investigate a number of more advanced methods or concepts not covered in the Intro to Programming and Data Science course, including SQL, computational text analysis, creating reproducible projects, and advanced visualization.
  • [Spring 2023] Quantitative Methods for Communication – This course introduces students to a range of social-scientific research methods used to investigate human communication, with a focus on research design, statistics, and statistical software. Taught by Jeremy Foote and Hazel Chiu.

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 .

Research News

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

Recent posts from the blog include:

Meet us at FOSSY!
The Free and Open Source Software Yearly conference (FOSSY) is less than a month away and we will be there! We will be running the Science of Community track on Friday August 2nd and Saturday August 3rd. Check out the full schedule here. We’re excited to have a number of really amazing speakers presenting their work. Check out the …
— madisondeyo 2024-07-09
FOSSY 2024: Submission Deadline Extended!
Worried you didn’t submit your FOSSY proposal on time? Well fear not, the deadline has been extended to Tuesday, June 18th. Submit your proposal today! Does your work touch open source, communities, technology, or cooperation? Do you want to help bridge the gaps between research and practice? Join us at the Free and Open Source Software …
— madisondeyo 2024-06-14
Recording of Thought-leader dialogue: Decentralizing social media
A couple of weeks ago, I moderated a “Thought leader dialogue” panel on “Decentralizing Social Media” co-hosted by the Northwestern Center for Human-Computer Interaction + Design (HCI+D) and the Community Data Science Collective. The (extraordinary!) panelists were Jaz-Michael King (IFTAS), Christine Lemmer-Webber (Spritely Institute), and Bryan Newbold (BlueSky). The discussion ranged far and wide over …
— Aaron Shaw 2024-06-06
Book Review: The Conversational Firm
New hires from the rank-and-file arguing with the CEO in public. Employee-chosen projects and a management team reluctant to say no. Few if any written rules. No offices. Staff arriving and departing when they choose. Messes everywhere. Some companies—especially technology firms—describe their ways of working as remaking the model of the modern business. They describe …
— kaylea 2024-01-05
FOSSY 2024: Call for Proposals!
Does your work touch open source, communities, technology, or cooperation? Do you want to help bridge the gaps between research and practice? Join us at FOSSY! The Free and Open Source Software Yearly conference (FOSSY) is back this summer and the call for proposals is open! We’ll be running the Science of Community track, and are looking …
— Community Data Science Collective 2024-06-05