On Disruption, Race, and the Digital Humanities


International students: where do they go to study? – interactive map

By Rebecca Radcliff in the Guardian

Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). Data from 2011 is used for Canada, South Africa, Malaysia, Algeria, Barbados, Botswana, Brazil, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Yemen. 2010 figures are used for Egypt, China and Morocco. All other statistics taken from 2012. Where countries are grey, no data is available.

The statistics refer to students who have crossed a national border to study, or are enrolled in a distance learning programme abroad. These students are not residents or citizens of the country where they study. Both part-time, full-time, undergraduate and postgraduate students are included.

Students who are under short-term, for-credit study and exchange programmes that last less than a full academic year are not included.

Read the full story Here


A political economy of Twitter data? Conducting research with proprietary data is neither easy nor free.

By Sam Kinsley in The Impact Blog

Social media research is on the rise but researchers are increasingly at the mercy of the changing limits and access policies of social media platforms. API and third party access to platforms can be unreliable and costly. Sam Kinsley outlines the limitations and stumbling blocks when researchers gather social media data. Should researchers be using data sources (however potentially interesting/valuable) that restrict the capability of reproducing our research results?

Many of the research articles and blogs concerning conducting research with social media data, and in particular with Twitter data, offer overviews of their methods for harvesting data through an API. An Application Programming Interface is a set of software components that allow third parties to connect to a given application or system and utilise its capacities using their own code. Most of these research accounts tend to make this process seem rather straight forward. Researchers can either write a programme themselves, such as, or can utilise one of several tools that have emerged that provide a WYSIWYG interface for undertaking the connection to the social networking platform, such as implementing yourTwapperKeeper, COSMOS or using a service such as ScraperWiki (to which I will return). However, what is little commented upon is the restrictions put on access to data through many of the social networking platform APIs, in particular Twitter. The aim of this blog post is to address some of the issues around access to data and what we are permitted to do with it.

Read More Here


Survey on academics’ use of social media

This Sociological Life

In January I conducted an online survey to find out how academics are using social media sites and tools. A total of 711 faculty members and postgraduate students completed the survey, mostly from the UK, Australia/New Zealand and North America.

The complete report can be accessed here.

Here is the abstract providing an overview of the findings:

This report outlines findings from an international online survey of 711 academics about their use of social media as part of their work conducted in January 2014. The survey sought to identify the tools that the respondents used, those they found most useful and the benefits and the drawbacks of using social media as a university faculty member or postgraduate student. The results offer insights into the sophisticated and strategic ways in which some academics are using social media and the many benefits they have experienced for their academic work. These benefits…

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Altmetrics could enable scholarship from developing countries to receive due recognition.

Juan Pablo Alperin in LSE Blog:

The Web of Science and its corresponding Journal Impact Factor are inadequate for an understanding of the impact of scholarly work from developing regions, argues Juan Pablo Alperin. Alternative metrics offer the opportunity to redirect incentive structures towards problems that contribute to development, or at least to local priorities. But the altmetrics community needs to actively engage with scholars from developing regions to ensure the new metrics do not continue to cater to well-known and well-established networks.

More Here