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CDSC members plus affiliates and guests at Northwestern University September 2019. Back row, from left to right: Aaron, Nate, Jeremy, Mako, Jim, Charlie, Regina, Salt. Front row, f.l.t.r.: Sohyeon, Kaylea, Nick, Sejal, Floor, Jackie.

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.

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.

Workshops and Courses

In addition to research, we run workshops and teach classes. 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.

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 in 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.

University of Washington Courses

Northwestern Courses

  • [Winter 2020] History and Theory of Information — We live in an information age, with computers of unprecedented power in our pockets. This course seeks to understand how information shapes our lives today, and how it has in the past. It does so via an interdisciplinary inquiry into four technological infrastructures of information and communication—print, wires, airwaves, and bits. Co-taught by Aaron Shaw and Daniel Immerwahr.


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.

Research News

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

Recent posts from the blog include:

Community Data Science Collective at ICA 2021
As we do every year, members of the Community Data Science Collective will be presenting work at the International Communication Association (ICA)’s 71st Annual Conference which will take place virtually next week. Due to the asynchronous format of ICA this year, none of the talks will happen at specific times. Although the downside of the …
— Community Data Science Collective https://communitydata.cc/ 2021-05-28
Newcomers, Help, Feedback, Critical Infrastructure….: Social Computing Scholarship at SANER 2021
This year I was fortunate to present to the 2021 IEEE International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution and Re-engineering or “SANER 2021.” You can see the write-up of my own presentation on “underproduction” elsewhere on this blog. SANER is primarily focused on software engineering practices, and several of the projects presented this year were of …
— kaylea 2021-05-04
Mako Hill gets an NSF CAREER Award!
In exciting collective news, the US National Science Foundation announced that Benjamin Mako Hill has received of one of this year’s CAREER awards. The CAREER is the most prestigious grant that the NSF gives to early career scientists in all fields. You can read lots more about the award in a detailed announcement that the …
— Benjamin Mako Hill http://mako.cc 2021-05-04
Detecting At-Risk Software Infrastructure
Critical software we all rely on can silently crumble away beneath us. Unfortunately, we often don’t find out software infrastructure is in poor condition until it is too late. Over the last year or so, I have been leading a project I announced earlier to measure software underproduction—a term I use to describe software that …
— kaylea 2021-03-29

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 <nowiki> tags like this: <math>\frac{\sigma}{\sqrt{n}}</math>