Joining Advisory Board of LSE Impact Blog at London School of Economics and Political Science

The Impact Blog

I’ve recently been invited to join the Advisory Board for the LSE Impact Blog, at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The blog is one of the leading publications exploring how social science research is put to work in society.

Further details about the new Advisory Board are available here, and you can follow the blog on Twitter here.

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New Paper: “Narrating Networks: Exploring the Affordances of Networks as Storytelling Devices in Journalism”

A journal article which I co-authored with Liliana Bounegru, Tommaso Venturini and Mathieu Jacomy has just been published in Digital Journalism.

The title is “Narrating Networks: Exploring the Affordances of Networks as Storytelling Devices in Journalism”, and the abstract is copied below.

An open access pre-print of the paper is available here, and a list of the projects that were compiled during the course of the research is available here.

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New Paper: “Open Data, Privacy and Fair Information Principles: Towards a Balancing Framework”

A journal article which I co-authored with Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius and Mireille van Eechoud – both at the Institute for Information Law (IVIR) at the University of Amsterdam – has just been published in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal (BTLJ).

The title is “Open Data, Privacy and Fair Information Principles: Towards a Balancing Framework”, and the abstract is copied below. The full paper can be downloaded here (PDF).

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New Paper: “Opening the Black Box of Scholarly Communication Funding: A Public Data Infrastructure for Financial Flows in Academic Publishing”

A journal article on scholarly communication finances which I co-authored with Stuart Lawson and Michele Mauri is now online at the Open Library of Humanities. It is titled “Opening the Black Box of Scholarly Communication Funding: A Public Data Infrastructure for Financial Flows in Academic Publishing” and the abstract is copied below.

While in this paper we have mainly focused on scholarly communication finances in the UK, we would like to continue to develop this research agenda in other countries. If you’re interested in collaborating, please do get in touch.

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New Paper: “OpenTrials: Towards a Collaborative Open Database of All Available Information on All Clinical Trials”

A few years ago, I had some discussions with the physician, academic and science writer Ben Goldacre which led to a collaboration on a new project called OpenTrials.

Clinical trials are conducted in order to generate information about the safety and effectiveness of a given medical treatment. This information is used to take decisions which can transform people’s lives. However research suggests that negative results are often withheld, and outcomes are often only selectively reported. OpenTrials aspires to address this by providing a collaborative database of public information about clinical trials, collated from a wide variety of different sources for and by patients, doctors, researchers, civil society groups, public institutions and others.

Ben and I have co-authored a paper which outlines what we hope to do with the OpenTrials project, which has just come out in the open access Trials journal published by BioMed Central. The abstract for the paper is copied below.

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New Report: “Changing What Counts: How Can Citizen-Generated and Civil Society Data Be Used as an Advocacy Tool to Change Official Data Collection?”

Changing What Counts

A new report that I co-authored for Open Knowledge and the CIVICUS DataShift initiative has just been released today, following on from a discussion paper I wrote on “Democratising the Data Revolution”.

It is titled “Changing What Counts: How Can Citizen-Generated and Civil Society Data Be Used as an Advocacy Tool to Change Official Data Collection?”, and contains seven case studies accompanied by a series of recommendations for civil society groups, public institutions and policy-makers. The case studies cover data collection initiatives around a wide variety of different topics – from literacy rates in East Africa to water access in Malawi, migration deaths in Europe to fracking pollution in the US. It was researched and written by myself, Danny Lämmerhirt and Liliana Bounegru.

We hope that it will contribute to advancing policies and practices to make public information systems more responsive to the interests and concerns of civil society. The full report can be downloaded here.

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Visiting Researcher at Sciences Po

For the next few months I’ll be a Visiting Researcher at Sciences Po in Paris, collaborating on several research initiatives with the médialab led by Professor Bruno Latour and the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA).

This will include mapping controversies around the taxation of multinational companies, as well as developing research on data infrastructures and the politics of public information.

medialab website

Posted in academia, actor-network theory, data, datajournalism, digital methods, open data, research, science and technology studies, taxjustice | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Talk: “Ways of Seeing Data: Towards a Critical Literacy for Data Visualisations as Research Objects and Devices”, University of Amsterdam, 14th January 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 08.56.05

Yesterday I gave a presentation on “Ways of Seeing Data” at the Digital Methods Winter School Mini-Conference at the University of Amsterdam.

The presentation was based on a forthcoming publication co-authored with Liliana Bounegru, Stefania Milan and Paolo Ciuccarelli in which we propose a heuristic framework for advancing critical literacies to read, understand, create and work with data visualisations.

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New project on the Politics of Data at the University of Amsterdam

I’m part of a new research project called DATACTIVE: The Politics of Data According to Civil Society at the University of Amsterdam. The project is funded by the European Research Council and led by Stefania Milan who specialises in the study of social movements and their technologies.

The three main research questions of the project are as follows:

  1. How do citizens resist massive data collection by means of technical fixes (re-active data activism)?
  2. How do social movements use big data to foster social change (pro-active data activism)?
  3. How does data activism affect the dynamics of transnational civil society, and transnational advocacy networks in particular?

I will largely focus on the second question, building on my research on the politics of public information – including on open data, data journalism, data activism and transparency after the “digital turn”. This will incorporate a combination of empirical, historical and theoretical research to critically study and contribute to rethinking the politics of data.

This research will also inform my work to advance a more ambitious civil society agenda around reshaping data infrastructures as Director of Policy and Research at Open Knowledge.

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Making Climate Negotiations Public

This piece was originally published in Open Democracy on 9th December 2015. It was co-authored with Tommaso Venturini and Rufus Pollock.

COP21 negotiations in Paris

World leaders are currently gathered in Paris in order to coordinate action around climate change. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of our planet will depend on what they decide.

But how much will the rest of us learn about the circumstances of these decisions to determine our collective fate? Will the deliberations be made public – so that civil society groups can hold decision-makers democratically accountable for their commitments? Or will what happens in Paris effectively stay in Paris?

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  • Jonathan Gray is Researcher at the University of Amsterdam and Director of Policy and Research at Open Knowledge. More about his work can be found here. He is on Twitter at @jwyg.