News / Highlights / Colloquium
- Published on 25 January 2015
Large-scale analysis of bibliographic data can help us better understand the complex social processes in science and provide more accurate evaluation methods
Research on how science works—the science of science—can benefit from studying the digital traces generated during the research process, such as peer-reviewed publications. This type of research is crucial for the future of science and that of scientists, according to Frank Schweitzer, Chair of Systems Design at ETH Zurich, in Switzerland. Indeed, quantitative measures of scientific output and success in science already impact the evaluation of researchers and the funding of proposals. He shares his views in an Editorial spearheading a thematic series of articles entitled “Scientific networks and success in science”, published in EPJ Data Science. There, Schweitzer notes, “it is appropriate to ask whether such quantitative measures convey the right information and what insights might be missing.”
- Published on 17 March 2013
Experience gained from data sharing during the human genome sequencing project could apply to the broader research community
In a paper about to be published in EPJ Data Science, Barbara Jasny, deputy editor for commentary at Science magazine in Washington, DC, USA, looks at the history of the debates surrounding data access during and after the human genome “war”. In this context, she outlines current challenges in accessing information affecting research, particularly with regard to the social sciences, personalised medicine and sustainability.
- Published on 20 December 2012
Physicists and biologists apply Big Data statistical tools to study marine plant evolution
A new method that could give a deeper insight into evolutional biology by tracing directionality in gene migration has just appeared in EPJ Data Science. Paolo Masucci from the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, at University College of London, UK, and colleagues identified the segregation of genes that a marine plant underwent during its evolution. They found that the exchange of genes, or gene flow, between populations of a marine plant went westward from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. This methodology could also be used to estimate the information flow in complex networks, including other biological or social networks.
- Published on 11 November 2012
Dynamics of Facebook: the structure of the network drives friends to congregate into many small, highly interconnected communities
For the first time, the dynamics of how Facebook user communities are formed have been identified, revealing surprisingly few large communities and innumerable highly connected small-size communities. These findings are about to be published in EPJ Data Science by Italian scientist Emilio Ferrara, affiliated with both Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, USA and his home University of Messina. This work could ultimately help identify the most efficient way to spread information, such as advertising, or ideas over large networks.
- Published on 21 October 2012
Scientists have devised a means to predict the outcome of election-based processes such as TV talent shows through the big data analysis of tweets.
Fabio Ciulla from Northeastern University, Boston, USA, and his colleagues demonstrated that the elimination of contestants in TV talent shows based on public voting, such as American Idol, can be anticipated. They unveiled the predictive power of microblogging Twitter signals—used as a proxy for the general preference of an audience—in a study recently published in EPJ Data Science.
- Published on 10 August 2012
Understanding crowd dynamics can prevent disaster at cultural or sports events.
Physicists investigating a recent crowd disaster in Germany found that one of the key causes was that at some point the crowd dynamics turned turbulent, akin to behaviour found in unstable fluid flows. The study, led by Dirk Helbing from the Risk Center at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich, Switzerland, is published in EPJ Data Science.
- Published on 10 August 2012
Words charged with a positive emotional content are used more frequently, thus enhancing human communication.
Scientists at ETH Zurich have studied the use of language, finding that words with a positive emotional content are more frequently used in written communication. This result supports the theory that social relations are enhanced by a positive bias in human communication. The study by David Garcia and his colleagues from the Chair of Systems Design is published in the first issue of the new SpringerOpen journal EPJ Data Science, and is freely available to the general public as an Open Access article.