About Copenhagen Center for Social Data Science
New types of data, in particular digital data, is flooding the social sciences. The broad catchphrase for the analysis of such data is ‘data science’. The Faculty of Social Sciences wishes to make new, digital forms of data – sometimes collectively known as big data – and the integration of such data with social scientific modes of enquiry a priority at the Faculty. We call this integration Social Data Science, and we are now launching an inter-department center with co-PIs from all five departments.
Goals of the center
- Copenhagen Center for Social Data Science (SODAS) will serve as the basis for a dedicated interdisciplinary social scientific agenda in education and research.
- SODAS will carry out interdisciplinary and disciplinary research involving social and/or digital data.
- We will develop and coordinate teaching using and analyzing new forms of data, ranging from issues such as collecting, handling, analyzing and integrating new forms of social data over the challenges confronting researchers and data users in terms of ethics and privacy to science and technology studies of the practice of empirical research.
- We will serve as a knowledge hub for people at the Faculty, from students to faculty, with an interest in – or need for expertise in – variations over big data / computational social science / data science as well as an interest in science and technology study aspects of the use and abuse of such data.
- SODAS will serve as SAMF’s contact point and active partner for the outside world, including other interested parties at the university, national and international partners at other universities; the public sector; the private sector; and non-profit sectors.
At a practical level, we hope to be able to offer assistance along a number of dimensions, including text analysis, classification, gathering data from social media incl. Facebook and Twitter, and prediction, as well as facilitating even further flows of knowledge across departmental boundaries. In addition, the center can be a partner, explicitly or in the background, when applying for externally funded projects involving such new forms of data; this can serve to document and increase the feasibility of such studies.
The center is hoping to engage everyone at the Faculty, from PhD students to Full Professors, with an interest, and active agenda in, social data science across disciplinary boundaries. David Dreyer Lassen (professor, Economics) will serve as the first center director. Sune Lehmann (assoc. professor, DTU) will serve as associate director. Rebecca Adler-Nissen (professor, Political Science), Anders Blok (assoc. professor, Sociology), Jesper Dammeyer (assoc. professor, Psychology) and Morten Axel Pedersen (professor, Anthropology) will be co-PIs, and directors and co-PIs constitute the steering committee.
Permanent research staff for the first three year period will be 2 postdocs and 2 PhD students. We will, to a limited extent, associate external partners from Danish and international universities.
At present, the center will be located in the space offered to Social Fabric in building 35.
What is social big data?
Social big data is data from large, rapidly growing digital databases of information derived from sensors, activity on social media or in apps, customers in shops, traffic on websites, traffic by land, sea and air, GPS units, text files from the internet, digital cameras and more – in short, from all the things people do that involve digital devices or networks.