The IDF will conclude with a view from the next generation of data professionals. As data becomes more ubiquitous and fundamental for every aspect of life, how will our responsibilities and opportunities evolve? How does the current generation of digital natives see the impact of data on their work lives and the broader society? What does the horizon look like to them? The session will provide a glimpse of the views of next generation professionals about the brave new world of data.
Moderator: Francine Berman, Co-Chair, RDA Council; RDA/US Chair; Hamilton Distinguished Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Transcript has been edited slightly for clarity and only includes personally relevant sections.
Moderator Introduction: I am Fran Berman from the Research Data Alliance. One thing that struck me throughout the day is that this audience is amazingly accomplished and intergenerational. I really enjoyed seeing people all around the room from so many different professional venues and at different places in their careers. The people on stage are very accomplished, but they have seniority. We thought we would end the day by showcasing early career professionals who are also incredibly accomplished to get their spin on what’s going on in the data world and what they’re looking forward to. So, without further ado, I am going to introduce them and share what to expect from the panel. The first thing is this is going to be a very conversational panel, and there will be time for questions at the end. We will introduce the panelists, they will tell you a little bit about themselves, we will have a conversation here on a variety of topics—including data for the public good, data and ethics, and data driven research—and then we will open it up for questions.
[5:00] Fran Berman: Candice, we are going to jump to you because you are the next person on my card. Candice is a PhD Candidate in Communication and Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. An institution I know well. Candice’s dissertation is a sociological study of the research design and communication practices of big social data practitioners. Those are data scientists, engineers, and computer scientists who use large scale social media data sets to answer questions about science, society, and individuals. Candice is also co-chair of the RDA interest group on ethics and social aspects of data sharing. She just completed a term as a communications fellow for the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations. Which, we will have to hear about. Candice is really concerned with empowering users to respond to the changing technology landscape, and she has done all kinds of interesting work in that area. One was a recent paper “Telling the Quants from the Quacks: Evaluating Statistical Arguments in Debates Online.” So tell us a little about that paper and the themes in your research.
Candice Lanius: Thank you, Fran. I think she just selected that because she loves the title. In that paper [Telling the Quants from the Quacks], what I address is how, with open science and open data, you really start to have quality issues, particularly when you are looking at online communities who are not just quoting science anymore, they are starting to try to emulate that process themselves. The evaluation standards do not import from our own scientific disciplines: you can’t do peer-review, and you don’t necessarily have their process notes, so we are looking at how those [results] are arguments in a different sense. In this case, I was looking at climate change skepticism compared to those that recognize that climate change is real, and how the data from one source is being used differently by both communities. From the outside looking in, we can evaluate what they are doing to see which one is the “quant” and which one is the “quack.” Continue reading