When scientists publish their research, they also make the underlying data available so the results can be verified by other scientists.
At least that is how the system is supposed to work. But lately social scientists have come up against an exception that is, true to its name, huge.
It is “big data,” the vast sets of information gathered by researchers at companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft from patterns of cellphone calls, text messages and Internet clicks by millions of users around the world. Companies often refuse to make such information public, sometimes for competitive reasons and sometimes to protect customers’ privacy. But to many scientists, the practice is an invitation to bad science, secrecy and even potential fraud.
The issue came to a boil last month at a scientific conference in Lyon, France, when three scientists from Google and the University of Cambridge declined to release data they had compiled for a paper on the popularity of YouTube videos in different countries.
The chairman of the conference panel — Bernardo A. Huberman, a physicist who directs the social computing group at HP Labs here — responded angrily. In the future, he said, the conference should not accept papers from authors who did not make their data public. He was greeted by applause from the audience [more after the jump].
Archive for May 21st, 2012
The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) has developed a new website for undergraduates seeking summer research opportunities as well as advice and tips on applying for graduate school. The website is called CS URGE (CS Undergraduate Research and Graduate Education), and the URL is http://cra.org/ccc/csurge.
We URGE you to promote CS URGE with your students and place a link to the site from your departmental website. In addition to sections on “What is CS Research” and “Why Go to Graduate School?”, the site contains links to many undergraduate summer research programs (e.g., NSF REU, CRA-W, and many others) as well as a free service where researchers can post summer research opportunities and students can search those opportunities by disciplinary area. In addition, there is a page with candid advice on how to navigate through the graduate admissions process and what makes for a good application. Finally, there is a blog in which three current CS Ph.D. students share the joys and challenges of being a graduate student.