Monthly Archives: January 2019

Twitter’s tampered samples: Limitations of big data sampling in social media


Social networks are widely used as sources of data in computational social science studies, and so it is of particular importance to determine whether these datasets are bias-free. In EPJ Data Science, Jürgen Pfeffer, Katja Mayer and Fred Morstatter demonstrate how Twitter’s sampling mechanism is prone to manipulation that could influence how researchers, journalists, marketeers and policy analysts interpret their data.

Social Science Technology

Cryptocurrency pump-and-dumps


A “pump-and-dump” scheme is a type of financial fraud that inflates the price of a commodity through the spreading of misinformation. Although this type of scam is by no means new, it has experienced its renaissance in the cryptocurrency space. A new study published in Crime Science used a computational approach to detecting these schemes that is necessary for any future large-scale detection work.

Social Science Technology

Tossing a word salad: Paraphrasing, language translation and plagiarism in a health sciences course


In an exploratory study recently published in the International Journal for Educational Integrity, authors analyse essays from students exhibiting unidiomatic and incomprehensible language, particularly where standardized medical terminology was expected. The study suggests that where specialist terminology is replaced by contextually inappropriate synonyms, this is more indicative of the use of online paraphrasing tools than language translation tools.

Health Medicine Social Science Technology

Hate is in the air! But where? Introducing an algorithm to detect hate speech in digital microenvironments


Crime science has consistently shown that crime is not randomly distributed in space and time. But how to detect criminal intentions and hate speech on social media, where ‘places’ are not physical? In a new paper published in Crime Science, researchers define what digital microenvironments are and introduce a new algorithm to detect hate speech that feeds solely on metadata, unlike traditional designs based on semantic and syntactic approaches.

Social Science Technology

Leading for energy change within an illiberal democracy

Change doesn’t happen spontaneously. Any social or sociotechnical changes require some form of pressure to be exerted. Pressure can come from policy entrepreneurs within, or civil society voices outside of the governing body. However, in some societies, voices for change may not be free to be heard, or may even be suppressed. So how to develop change in such societies? A new article examines potential protected transition spaces for policy development within illiberal democracies, such as Ecuador.

Social Science