research papers & book chapters

New book chapter on social data APIs

Tada! A new book chapter by Cornelius Puschmann and me is out: Social data APIs: Origin, types, issues. In the text, we discuss different aspects of APIs from the perspectives of social scientists who use APIs for data collection. We describe the origin of APIs in software development, conduct a survey of popular Web APIs by type, and discuss issues with regard to the reliability, validity and representativeness of data retrieved from APIs. We close by pointing to future developments in this area.

The chapter is available as open access – as is the whole book: “The datafied society: Studying culture through data” was edited Mirko Tobias Schäfer and Karin van Es and contains contributions from scholars, whose works I highly appreaciate. From the back cover:

The book is a collection of scholarly investigations into computer-aided methods and practices. While several contributors offer essays representing their skills, methods and exemplary research projects, others reflect on the sensibilities and competencies that scholars need to develop in order to study contemporary culture through data. Together they make a volume that will stimulate and engage humanities scholars via their perspectives on debates and reflections on the theory and practices of digital data research.

Please cite it as:

Puschmann, C., & Ausserhofer, J. (2017). Social data APIs: Origin, types, issues. In M. T. Schäfer & K. van Es (Eds.), The datafied society: Studying culture through data (pp. 147–154). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. doi:10.5281/zenodo.344887

New paper: A systematic review of research on data journalism

I am very happy to announce that a new paper by me and colleagues from Graz and Vienna will be published in Journalism. We have worked on this for around one and a half years. The paper is a meta analysis of the past 20 years of academic scholarship on data journalism and related data-intensive newswork.

This is the accepted manuscript. The production of the copy-editing by SAGE starts these days. I hope that there will be a final version ready soon. The paper will be published as an open access article.

And this is what the article is about:

This paper explores the existing research literature on data journalism. Over the past years this emerging journalistic practice has attracted significant attention from researchers in different fields and produced an increasing number of publications across a variety of channels. To better understand its current state, we surveyed the published academic literature between 1996 and 2015 and selected a corpus of 40 scholarly works that studied data journalism and related practices empirically. Analyzing this corpus with both quantitative and qualitative techniques allowed us to clarify the development of the literature, influential publications, and possible gaps in the research caused by the recurring use of particular theoretical frameworks and research designs. The article closes with proposals for future research in the field of data-intensive newswork.

Outreach in the past months

It has been rather silent on this blog for some time, but many things have happened. In the following, I summarize some of my outreach activities in the past months. I start with the public presentations and media coverage and then list the most important publications. As usual, the information and the PDFs are also available on the respective pages of this site: publications, presentations, media coverage.

In June, I gave a talk in Berlin at the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften (“Long Night of the Sciences”) and presented our project Networks of Outrage to the public. There is also a video of the talk (~11 min.).

Ausserhofer, J. (2016, June). Wissenschaft und Datenjournalismus: Eine Kartographie des neuen Extremismus in Europa. Presented at the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften 2016, Berlin.

I also gave a few interviews to journalists, which contributed to the following texts:

Neues Buch: Digitale Methoden in der Kommunikationswissenschaft

Digitale Methoden in der KommunikationswissenschaftIn den vergangen Monaten ist viel Herzblut in dieses Projekt geflossen: Das von Axel, Christina, Monika und mir herausgegebene Buch: Digitale Methoden in der Kommunikationswissenschaft.

Sämtliche Inhalte sind frei online verfügbar.

Aus der (leicht angepassten) Ankündigung:

Auf knapp 350 Seiten versammelt der Band insgesamt 14 Beiträge unter anderem zu Ethik im Umgang mit Big Data, digitalen Methoden im Datenjournalismus, zur Analyse sozialer Online-Netzwerke wie Twitter und Facebook und der Messung von Personalisierung bei Google. Alle Beiträge können auf  oder im Open-Access-Repositorium SSOAR kostenfrei heruntergeladen werden. Auch der komplette Band steht für alle diejenigen bereit, die sich das Buch gerne via Print on Demand ausdrucken möchten.


I-KNOW 2015 Best Demo Award for the Styrian Diversity Visualization Project

Update: Hooray, we won the I-KNOW 2015 best demo award for our work. Congrats to Keith Andrews and Thomas Traunmüller who were the main drivers behind that paper.

iknow2015-best-demoBack in the summer of 2013 I drafted a concept for a visualization platform that would show the diversity of the Province Styria using open census data: Similar as in many news apps, users would interactively engage with the data visualization, find out more about their socio-economic situation in comparison to others, and thereby learn about the diversity of federal state.

The idea was then further developed by my colleagues Thomas Wolkinger and Keith Andrews. After a number of concept iterations, the Integration Department of the Government of Styria asked our Institute to develop such a platform in collaboration with Graz University of Technology. Thomas Traunmüller, Eva Goldgruber and Robert Gutounig came on board. While I was on educational leave, the four continued the work. Now it is almost finished and will go public soon. The launch will be accompanied with blog posts about diversity, published on our data blog. (more…)

New Publication: Assessing Barcamps

Screenshot from the paper.

A Barcamp is a place for low-threshold exchange of concepts and ideas.

Since 2008, I have been organizing a number of unfonferences, so-called Barcamps in Austria: At these types of events people gather and agree upon the schedule at the beginning. Everybody is expected to contribute to the unconference, either by presenting, by leading a discussion or by documenting the event. Heinz and I co-organized the first camp on political online communication in the German-speaking area. This year, I will organize a Barcamp at the European Forum Alpbach.

As Barcamps differ substantially from regular conferences, we at Wissensmanagementforum Graz decided to investigate this further and to conduct a research project about the Barcamp in Graz. This conference paper to be presented at I-KNOW in September is the first result of our research. 

You can download the full paper in the publication section. Here is the abstract:

Dennerlein, S., Gutounig, R., Kraker, P., Kaiser, R., Rauter, R., & Ausserhofer, J. (2013, forthcoming). Assessing Barcamps: Incentives for Participation in Ad-Hoc Conferences and the Role of Social Media. Presented at the I-KNOW 13th International Conference on Knowledge Management and Knowledge Technologies, Graz.

Barcamps are conferences without predefined content, often referred to as ad-hoc conferences or unconferences. Therefore, the outcomes of a barcamp are largely unknown before the event. This raises the question of participants’ motivations to attend and contribute. To answer this question, we conducted an exploratory empirical study at the Barcamp Graz 2012. We applied a mixed-method approach: first we used a sociodemographic questionnaire (n=99) which allowed us to characterize the ’typical barcamper’. Second, we conducted qualitative interviews (n=10) to get a deeper understanding of the participants’ motivations to attend, ex- pectations and the use of social media in that context. We identified three concepts, which could be deducted from the interviews: people, format and topics. We found that the motivation to attend and even a common identity is quite strongly based on these three factors. Furthermore, the results indicate that participants share a set of activities and methods by following the barcamp’s inherent rules and make extensive use of social media.

I would like to thank my co-authors, especially Sebastian Dennerlein and Robert Gutounig who took the lead in the publication, as well as all Barcamp participants who patiently answered our questions.

New Publication: National Politics on Twitter

What started as an idea at Axel Bruns’ PhD Seminar in the summer of 2011 is finally my most important scientific publication so far. Yesterday, National Politics on Twitter: Structures and Topics of a Networked Public Sphere was published in Information, Communication & Society (ICS). The paper will be printed in a special issue covering the Internet Research 13.0 conference. I am really happy about this publication, because ICS belongs to the most important journals in my field of research.

Here is the…

  • the draft version of the article [coming soon].
  • the research paper Twitterpolitik [26,4 MB PDF, 58 pages, in German) that covers the same topic.
  • the abstract  (more…)