Archive for calls, November 2012

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[ecrea] Call for Paper International Symposium Towards an Ecology of Data

Tue Nov 13 23:52:08 GMT 2012

Call for Paper

International Symposium

Towards an Ecology of Data.

Political and Scientific Issues of Digital Data.

February 14th, 2013

Institut des Sciences de la Communication du CNRS (ISCC)

20 rue Berbier-du-Mets, Paris, France

There is currently a growing number of data produced and disseminated in professional, public and scientific spaces. These data come from various sources: governments posting their operational data within Open Data initiatives, companies opening non-strategic data, scientists increasingly sharing banks of data, or Internet users.

Traditional ways of processing data seem insufficient in front of these big data. This fact calls for new means of thinking how to extract, store (grids, cloud computing ...), share, analyze and visualize data. The Web 2.0 related term “data science” (i.e. extracting, processing, analyzing data) now concerns a large number of activities similarly facing large data sets, such as scientific research or data journalism.

This symposium will cover the theoretical and practical implications of social research based on data. It calls for critical works that identify the quantitative leap induced by large masses of data available for social sciences, and the related disciplinary and epistemological consequences, e.g. notions of author or producer, public and private actors strategies, citizen uses of data, emerging ecosystems of data processing, local initiatives currently developing Open Data services and applications with related business issues.

Epistemological reflections, work in progress and position papers are welcome and can cover one of the following areas:

1. Digital data and social sciences: History and Epistemology

Large data corpora have been processed for a long time within scientific practices: what is the precise nature of the qualitative leap brought by current technologies? Does the presence of massive data change social science practices? What are the needs, expectations, challenges and emerging solutions? Do these new methods of processing digital data imply epistemological changes?

2. The politics of Open Data, citizen participation and local eco-systems.

In recent years, Open Data initiatives have been set off by both law changes and actors’ specific demands. It aims to make public data available and reusable. This movement raises many questions: Is it a public service improvement, a regional development tool? What is the relationship between supply and demand, top/down and bottom/up initiatives? Who are those who really understand the data? Can these uses be interpreted as civic empowerment or democracy renewal, as suggested by the proximity between "Open Data" and "Open Government"? How can traditional participatory democracy use these data? What are the possible links between public data and already implemented territorial e-democracy practices?

3. New sociotechnical mediations, training and professionalization.

Which elements should compose the knowledge base necessary to understand issues around these data? What are the new forms of mediation facilitating citizen uses of released data and its applications? This third axis will highlight, for each category of actors, the type of skills required to be able to understand the data ecosystem in all its complexity, from technical to political aspects. What are the solutions implemented by the various professions facing this flow of data? What types of mediation would increase effective ownership of released data by civil society? What are the training needs to sustain and develop these efforts? How are these new forms of data management skills reorganizing professions (particularly journalism), companies and administrations involved in Open Data?


We welcome proposals based on current experiments, theoretical reflections and comparative analysis. They can be written in English or in French.

Proposals should be 1000 words long, short bibliography included. Selected contributions will be published in a special issue of a French-speaking academic journal.

Proposals should be sent to:

Jean-Christophe Plantin: (jean-christophe.plantin /at/ and Clément Mabi: (clement.mabi /at/


• Deadline for submission of proposals: November 15th 2012

• Notification of acceptance: December 15th 2012

• Symposium: February 14th 2013

Scientific Committee

David Berry (Swansea University, College of Arts and Humanities)

Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay (CNRS-ISCC)

Clément Mabi (UTC-Costech)

Jean-Christophe Plantin (UTC-Costech)

Bernard Rieder (University of Amsterdam, Media studies department)

Valérie Schafer (CNRS-ISCC)

Laurence Smith-Monnoyer (UTC-Costech)

Bruno J. Strasser (Université de Genève & Yale University)

Stéphanie Wojcik (UPEC-Ceditec)

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