New Digital Studies book series on Amsterdam University Press

To coincide with the launch of The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice, today we’re also launching a new Digital Studies book series on Amsterdam University Press. This is co-edited together with Tobias Blanke, Liliana Bounegru, Carolin Gerlitz, Sabine Niederer and Richard Rogers.

We are particularly pleased to have this series based at AUP, which has a longstanding commitment to open access publication and which has published number of titles at the intersection between new media studies and science and technology studies in recent years, such as Issue Mapping for an Ageing Europe (Rogers, Sánchez Querubín & Kil, 2015), The Datafied Society: Studying Culture through Data (Schäfer & Es, 2017), Data Visualization in Society (Engebretsen & Kennedy, 2020), The Politics of Social Media Manipulation (Rogers & Niederer, 2020) and Engines of Order: A Mechanology of Algorithmic Techniques (Rieder, 2020).

Further details about the new series are copied below.

The Digital Studies book series aims to provide a space for social and cultural research with and about the digital. In particular, it focuses on ambitious and experimental works which explore and critically engage with the roles of digital data, methods, devices and infrastructures in collective life as well as the issues, challenges and troubles that accompany them.

The series invites proposals for monographs and edited collections which attend to the dynamics, politics, economics and social lives of digital technologies and techniques, informed by and in conversation with fields such as science and technology studies and new media studies.

The series welcomes works which conceptualize, rethink and/or intervene around digitally mediated practices and cultures. It is open to a range of contributions including thoughtful interpretive work, analytical artefacts, creative code, speculative design and/or inventive repurposing of digital objects and methods of the medium.

Series editors
Tobias Blanke, University of Amsterdam
Liliana Bounegru, King’s College London
Carolin Gerlitz, University of Siegen
Jonathan Gray, King’s College London
Sabine Niederer, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
Richard Rogers, University of Amsterdam

Editorial Board
Claudia Aradau, King’s College London
Payal Arora, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Taina Bucher, University of Oslo
Jean Burgess, Queensland University of Technology
Anita Say Chan, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Wendy Chun, Simon Fraser University
Gabriella Coleman, McGill University
Jennifer Gabrys, University of Cambridge
Evelyn Ruppert, Goldsmiths, University of London

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“The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice” now published on Amsterdam University Press

The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice (which I co-edited with Liliana Bounegru) is out today on Amsterdam University Press (AUP) as part of a new Digital Studies book series which is also launching today. It is also available as an open access PDF which you can find linked to from the book’s web page. Here’s the blurb:

The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice provides a rich and panoramic introduction to data journalism, combining both critical reflection and practical insight. It offers a diverse collection of perspectives on how data journalism is done around the world and the broader consequences of datafication in the news, serving as both a textbook and a sourcebook for this emerging field. With more than 50 chapters from leading researchers and practitioners of data journalism, it explores the work needed to render technologies and data productive for journalistic purposes. It also gives a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the social lives of datasets, data infrastructures, and data stories in newsrooms, media organizations, startups, civil society organizations and beyond. The book includes sections on ‘doing issues with data’, ‘assembling data’, ‘working with data’, ‘experiencing data’, ‘investigating data, platforms and algorithms’, ‘organizing data journalism’, ‘learning data journalism together’ and ‘situating data journalism’.

The full table of contents can be found on Liliana Bounegru’s blog along with a selection of quotes about the book from Kate Crawford, Wendy Espeland, Emmanuel Didier, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Lina Dencik, Rob Kitchin, José van Dijck, Alberto Cairo, Celia Lury, Sylvain Parasie and Anja Bechmann.

We’re most grateful to Sarah Sze and her studio, the Victoria Miro gallery and Mudam Luxembourg for permission to feature a picture of Sarah’s “Fixed Points Finding a Home” on the cover of the book. Here’s a brief quote on why we thought this would be a suitable image for the book:

While it might not seem an obvious choice to put a work of sculpture on the cover of a book about journalism, we thought this image might encourage a relational perspective on data journalism as a kind of curatorial craft, assembling and working with diverse materials, communities and infrastructures to generate different ways of knowing, narrating and seeing the world at different scales and temporalities. Rather than focusing on the outputs of data journalism (e.g., with screenshots of visualizations or interactives), we wanted to reflect the different kinds of processes and collectives involved in doing journalism with data. Having both serendipitously encountered and been deeply absorbed by Sze’s exhibitions at the Mudam, Venice Biennale, ZKM, the Tate and beyond, we thought her work could provide a different (and hopefully less familiar) vantage point on the practice of data journalism which would resonate with relational perspectives on information infrastructures and “data assemblages.” Her installations embody a precise and playful sensibility towards repurposing found materials that visually paralleled what we were hoping to emphasize with our editorial of different accounts of data journalism for the book. Bruno Latour recently wrote that Sze’s approach to assembling materials can be considered to affirm “compositional discontinuities” (Latour, 2020) —which sits well with our hopes to encourage “critical data practice” and to tell stories both with and about the diverse materials and actors involved in data journalism, as we discuss further below, as well as with our editorial approach in supporting the different styles, voices, vernaculars and interests of the chapters in this book.

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“Data Worlds” under contract with MIT Press

I’m pleased to announce that my book on Data Worlds: The Politics Open and Public Data in the Digital Age is now under contract at MIT Press. 🎊 📖

The book has been a long time in the making and builds on over a decade of research and engagements with public data practices, cultures, projects and infrastructures (which you can sample here).

If you’d like to be notified when the book is published you can leave your details here and I’ll be in touch when the book is out (and those who are interested can opt-in to receive occasional updates and previews):

An excerpt from the book’s prospectus and current table of contents is copied below.

Data Worlds: The Politics of Open and Public Data in the Digital Age

How are digital technologies changing the social life and politics of public data? How are different actors making, making sense with and changing things with public data? How can we rethink public participation and democratic politics in relation to data infrastructures and “datafication”? Data Worlds explores the visions, practices and technologies associated with open and public data over the past decade, and their broader implications for the future of the “data society”. Drawing on a combination of interviews, content analysis and digital methods research, the book provides empirical engagements with a wide variety of public data projects, theoretical perspectives on their world-making capacities, as well as an agenda for research and intervention around digital public data practices. This includes examining what can be learned through the work by “data activists” to compose alternative public data infrastructures, as well as the prospect of “critical data practice”, modifying data practices in light of critical research on datafication.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Making Data Public, Making Public Data
1. Origin Stories and Conventions of Open Data
2. Ways of Seeing, Knowing and Being with Data
3. Doing Participation with Data
4. Coordinating Data Collectives and Transnational Data Worldmaking
5. Missing Data and Making Data: Data Infrastructural Interventions
6. Doing Data Differently? Towards a Critical Data Practice
Conclusion: Recomposing Data Worlds

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Happy 10th Birthday Public Domain Review!

Today is the 10th birthday of the Public Domain Review, which I co-founded along with its editor Adam Green.

As per its mission statement the review is “dedicated to the exploration of curious and compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas – focusing on works now fallen into the public domain, the vast commons of out-of-copyright material that everyone is free to enjoy, share, and build upon without restrictions”.

Happy Birthday Public Domain Review! 🎊 A year-by-year overview of the project has just been posted on its blog:

Ten years ago today — on 1st January 2011 — we launched The Public Domain Review! Since this auspicious day we’ve published 272 essays, 935 collection posts, featured 134 cultural archives and institutions, and welcomed a whopping 17 million of you to the site. We will be marking this momentous milestone of our tenth birthday with a number of exciting things, to be revealed over the next weeks and months. But for now, on the day itself, we thought it’d be fitting to treat you to a year-by-year glance back over the last decade of the project.

More about the broader vision of mapping and supporting engagement around the public domain and the cultural commons can be found in this 2013 post. Here’s an announcement on this blog from 1st Jan 2010.

If you’d like to support the project as it enters into its next decade you can become a friend or make a donation. 🧧

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Call for Papers: “Critical Technical Practice(s) in Digital Research”, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies

A call for papers on “Critical Technical Practice(s) in Digital Research” has just been published by Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, for a special issue I’m guest editing with Daniela van Geenen (University of Siegen), Dr. Karin van Es (Utrecht University). The text of the call is available here and copied below.

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“Critical Zones” featured in New York Times “Best Art Books of 2020”

Critical Zones: The Science and Politics of Landing on Earth edited by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel on MIT Press (to which I contributed a chapter on the “Datafication of Forests”) has been featured on the New York Times’s list of “Best Art Books of 2020”. ✨ 📖 🌱

‘CRITICAL ZONES: THE SCIENCE AND POLITICS OF LANDING ON EARTH’ Edited by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel (MIT/ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe). Climate change should furnish to art what Galileo delivered to theology: a definitive rupture of where we think we stand. The giant catalog for this German exhibition unites philosophers, scientists, historians and artists (from Caspar David Friedrich to Sarah Sze) to re-anchor art inside a constantly transforming ecosystem. The old “Blue Marble” won’t cut it; we need new methods of depicting Earth and its landscapes that account for our codependency with all species. After all, as the editors write, aesthetics is “what renders one sensitive to the existence of other ways of life.”

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New Book: “Reassembling Scholarly Communications: Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access” (MIT Press, 2020)

MIT Press have recently published a new book on Reassembling Scholarly Communications: Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access edited by Martin Eve and myself.

The book aims to provide a “critical inquiry into the politics, practices, and infrastructures of open access and the reconfiguration of scholarly communication in digital societies”.

My chapter, “Infrastructural Experiments and the Politics of Open Access” examines how scholarly communication infrastructures may be taken as both an object of research and a site of experimentation to explore questions of who has access, what counts, what matters, and how relations are organised.

The chapters in the book are also available as a set of open access PDFs to coincide with Open Access Week. The whole book is available as a single PDF here. Following is an overview of the table of contents with links to full texts of corresponding chapters.

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Twelve Challenges for Critical Data Practice

Data Journalism Handbook cover

As we’re in the final stages of editorial for the Data Journalism Handbook (forthcoming on Amsterdam University Press) Liliana Bounegru and I are curious to hear from those who have read and/or used the online beta of the book.

In particular we’re curious to learn about any projects or activities which were prompted by the “Twelve Challenges for Critical Data Practice” (copied below) as we finalise the book’s introduction. If you’re used or incorporated these into any data journalism projects or research, we’d love to hear from you. 📖 📝 ✨

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Online launch of “Critical Zones” exhibition at ZKM

This weekend sees the online launch of “Critical Zones – Observatories for Earthly Politics” at ZKM Center for Art and Media in Germany, co-curated by Bruno Latour, Peter Weibel, Martin Guinard and Bettina Korintenberg.

I’ve contributed a chapter on “The Datafication of Forests? From the Wood Wide Web to the Internet of Trees” to the accompanying book Critical Zones: The Science and Politics of Landing on Earth (forthcoming on MIT Press). You download an open access preprint of my chapter here and the final version here. Here’s the abstract:

How can data and networked digital technologies be used to cultivate collective sensibilities towards the presence of trees? How can the datafication of forests build on or depart from other ways of relating to trees, whether through mythology, mapping, camping, conservation, literature, logging, painting, planting, film, food, art installations, activist occupations, imperial expansion, indigenous stewardship, botany, birthing, or bathing (shinrin-yoku)? This piece briefly explores some of the emerging practices, infrastructures, and devices that are used to render trees experiencable, sensible, and relatable through digital data.

Bruno Latour and co-curators at the online launch of “Critical Zones”

To mark the opening of the exhibition there is a free virtual opening and streaming festival, including guided tours, interviews, talks, discussions, film screenings and more – with Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway, Peter Weibel, Jennifer Gabrys, Eyal Weizman, Alexandra Arènes, Soheil Hajmirbaba, Marie-Claire Pierret, Jan Zalasiewicz, Bettina Korintenberg, Barbara Kiolbassa, Tim Lenton, Sébastien Dutreuil, Simon Schaffer, Joseph Leo Koerner, Ali Gharib, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Emanuele Coccia, Vinciane Despret, Frédérique Aït-Touati, Adam G. Riess, Bruce Clarke, John Feldman and many others. This includes free online screenings of Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival by Fabrizio Terranova and Symbiotic Earth: How Lynn Margulis Rocked the Boat and Started a Scientific Revolution by John Feldman. You can find the programme here, the livestream here, the digital edition of the exhibition here.

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An open letter and open questions about the COVID19 datastore

I’ve co-signed an open letter with some open questions on the COVID19 datastore along with a group of researchers and of civil society organisations.

The letter is copied below. The original version can be found here. Associated coverage and posts can be found at The New Statesman, The Register, Computer Weekly, IT Pro, Hollyrood and the Open Knowledge Foundation. You can also find a related petition from OpenDemocracy here.

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