URLs of wisdom (23rd August)

URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology.


  • Read receipts“We “play games” as a way of controlling the development of a relationship, so that one person isn’t outpacing the other when it comes to being vulnerable.”
  • Can pseudonyms make better online citizens? – “The difference between being pseudonymous and being anonymous is history,” she says. “For something to truly be a pseudonym, it has to have some kind of history within a particular context,” such as how many times the person has posted on a site, the topics he or she comments on, and what he or she has said.”
  • Microsoft Research Faculty summit: Ethics panel. – Interesting write-up of an ad hoc attempt at an interdisciplinary discussion of the recent Facebook newsfeed manipulation study.
  • Twitter versus Facebook as a news source: Ferguson shows the downsides of an algorithmic filter. – “Then there’s the nature of the community: although Facebook has tried to embrace Twitter-style following, which allows users to see updates from others even if they aren’t friends, in most cases people still use the platform the way it was originally designed — in other words, with a symmetrical follow model that requires two people to agree that they are friends before they can see each others’ updates. On Twitter, users decide to follow whomever they wish, and in most cases don’t have to ask for permission.’

Web/Social media developments

  • Twitter starts to change the central logic of its service Favourites are now appearing in other users’ timelines, much like retweets. “By transforming what a fave does, this feature fundamentally changes what a fave is. Users will have to adjust, and that process will exact communal costs.”
  • This: why Atlantic Media is funding a social platform for sharing links, one at a time “Golis wants This to be the social network users check not in the middle of the workday, but during that lean-back evening time when they might otherwise pick up a magazine. “The idea itself started initially because I was describing to a colleague of mine here my obsession with what I saw as the opportunity to get people link recommendations at 8 p.m. instead of the daytime, desktop bored-at-work community,”


Academia online 

  • Crowdsourced peer review  “And of course no one knows whether crowd-sourced peer-review, even if it could work, would be scale-able or sustainable. The key questions are hence:
    1. Would all (most? many?) authors be willing to post their un-refereed papers publicly (and in place of submitting them to journals!)?
    2. Would all (most? many?) of the posted papers attract referees? Competent experts?
    3. Who/what decides whether the refereeing is competent, and whether the author has adequately complied? (Relying on a Wikipedia-style cadre of 2nd-order crowd-sourcers who gain authority recursively in proportion to how much 1st-order crowd-sourcing they have done — rather than on the basis of expertise — sounds like a way to generate Wikipedia quality, but not peer-reviewed quality…)
    4. If any of this actually happens on any scale, will it be sustainable?
    5. Would this make the landscape (un-refereed preprints, referee comments, revised postprints) as navigable and useful as classical peer review, or not?”


Just for fun


Why academics really use Twitter

Why academics really use twitter - from PhDComics: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1737

Why academics really use twitter – from PhDComics: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1737

URLs of wisdom (January 19th 2014)

URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology.

Network analysis

Your friends are probably richer and happier than you  – A study of two different co-authorship networks of scientists, conducted by researchers in France and Finland. They examined the generalised friendship paradox – why it is that your friends have more friends than you. In this case, the paradox means that most scientists are connected to co-authors who have more additional co-authors, more citations and more publications than they do. Original arXiv paper here.

Using network analysis to find innovators – Update on a collaboration between NESTA and Mastodon C to use network analysis to identify innovative technologists in the UK. Data is being analysed from Github, StackOverflow, Twitter and OpenCorporates.

A sociologist at Facebook – A careers post about working at FB with a background in social sciences: “My own team (Growth Research) is made up of two sociologists and a manager trained in communications with a sociologist as an advisor. Many of the teams are doing social science though not always with the benefit and baggage of the formal social-science literature.”


Technology is not driving us apart after all – Cool study looking at the use of public spaces in major US cities, painstakingly comparing archive footage with more recent data to discuss how people use mobile phones when in group situations versus when alone.

Time zones – A reflection on working from different time zones and trying to connect with others around the globe that really resonated.

Is the unlogged life worth living?  – A collection of articles from New Scientist about life-logging, the process of recording data about your everyday activities  from amount of time spent emailing to daily photo diaries. Just how useful is all that information? Compare with “The Academic Quantified self” article below.

Why audio never goes viral – “Audio usage takes place while you’re doing something else.” and “You can’t skim sound. An instant of video is a still, a window into the action that you can drag through time at will. An instant of audio, on the other hand, is nothing. ”

Academia Online

Research on academic blogging – what does it reveal? – Sociologist, Deborah Lupton’s summary of her research for a chapter on what we know about academic blogging – how it’s perceived, what the pitfalls may be.

The academic quantified self – Another post by Deborah Lupton, this time on the LSE Impact blog, asking whether quantifying outputs of academic researchers is limiting academic freedom while also acknowledging “it is also important to consider the undeniable positive dimensions of participating in digital public engagement and thereby reaching a wider audience”.

Ethics and social media research: – Storify of tweets from the #SRAconf discussion about the ethics of using social media in research (Old post – the conference was in June, but interesting topic).

Moneyball for academics: network analysis methods for predicting the future success of papers and researchers – how can looking at network analysis of researchers’ citation networks and social networks be used to predict key papers?

“We analyzed the combination of the publications network (i.e. citation network), the authors’ social network (i.e. co-authorship network) and the links that connect the 2 networks which generate a dual-network structure (see figure 1). Using data from Thomson-Reuters Web of Knowledge, we created a set of yearly snapshots of the papers-authors dual-networks from 1975 to 2012 on over 700,000 papers published in management, information systems and operations research journals. For each network snapshot we computed common centrality measures (see figure 2) of it nodes as part of the variables in our models…..Our findings show that successful papers, i.e. the highly cited papers, have different centrality measures even as early as the first day of publication. “

Web/Social media developments

Trending topics on Facebook  – Facebook introduces trending topics. See this week’s Social in Silico post about cumulative advantage effects which are what trending topics amplify.

NYT website redesign – Thoughts on the NYT website redesign and whether it’s sadly missing key community elements.