Centre for Internet and Society
Recent publications
This article shows how a machine can employ a network view to reason about complex social relations of news reliability. Such a network view promises a topic-agnostic perspective that can be a useful hint on reliability trends and their heterogeneous assumptions. In our analysis, we depart from the ever-growing numbers of papers trying to find machine learning algorithms to predict the reliability of news and focus instead on using machine reasoning to understand the structure of news networks by comparing it with our human judgements. Understanding and representing news networks is not easy, not only because they can be extremely vast but also because they are shaped by several overlapping network dynamics. We present a machine learning approach to analyse what constitutes reliable news from the view of a network. Our aim is to machine-read a network’s understanding of news reliability. To analyse real-life news sites, we used the Décodex dataset to train machine learning models from the structure of the underlying network. We then employ the models to draw conclusions how the Décodex evaluators came to assess the reliability of news.
Several governments around the world have developed new ways of registering citizens when it comes to their relations with the state administration. Contemporary practices of identification through databases open up new ways of institutional and governmental practices across various sectors. In France, the tax administration had become the flagship of the whole French e-government project. The first case study focuses on the Copernicus project, which rapidly raised concerns about the implications of identification practices for taxpayers/citizens/households/individuals through unique identifiers. The Indian case study focuses on the National Register of Citizens as a citizen identification infrastructure, the processes of trying to categorise a diverse demography into citizens and non-citizens, and the subsequent issues that arise around different claims to citizenship. Taking these two case studies, this article discusses two national databases in France (tax administration) and India (citizenship), respectively, as examples of contemporary state practices around digital identification infrastructures as a form of database politics to enforce accountable forms of citizen practices through which different forms of data driven institutional and sociotechnical processes are marking new changes in the state–citizen relationship, both in France and in India.
Motivation Datafication – growing presence, use and impact of data in social processes – is spreading to all sectors in developing countries. But, to date, there are few analyses of real‐world experiences of datafication in developing country organisations. Purpose We address this knowledge gap by analysing evidence of big data in practice in relation to three key issues: implementation, value and power. Approach and methods Using interview, observation and documentary sources, we analyse implementation and impact of big data systems in Indian electricity and transport public‐sector organisations. Findings Big data systems have been much slower to implement than anticipated, and the paper exposes the nature and scale of implementation challenge facing such systems. These are already delivering value for some managers within public‐service organisations but, as yet, more operational than strategic and incremental not transformative. Big data systems are facilitating a shift in power from public to private sectors, and from labour and middle management to Panopticon‐type control by central managers. Big data intersects with politics especially around the imaginaries of wider stakeholders, changing their view of the financial and political issues that technology can address. Policy implications Policy‐makers and practitioners can better understand and plan for big data in development using three frameworks presented in the paper: information value chain, decision pyramid, and big data—power model. These expose key issues of implementation, organisational value and power that must be incorporated into big data policy and projects. Benefits of datafication have been largely restricted to senior managers, private contractors, and some politicians. To spread these to other stakeholders including workers and citizens, actions must be taken to address both practical and political issues arising in the datafication of development.
Drilling generated shocks and vibrations (torsional, axial, and lateral) are among the main causes of failures in the drilling industry; because they affect the rate of penetration, directional control, and wellbore quality. Rotary steerable system tools are equipped with measurement devices such as magnetometers, accelerometers, and shocks and vibration sensors from which statistical information is obtained, such as root-mean squared error, maximum peaks, and peak levels. From these statistics, whirl, bit bounce, and stick/slip severity are inferred. Often, the derived statistics are not enough to distinguish between normal drilling versus abnormal drilling for a location in the wellbore or to determine whether the shocks and vibrations are the result of poor drilling practice, formation disturbances, or mechanical failures of the bottomhole assembly, including the bit. Machine learning methods were used for analyzing the high-frequency radial shock burst data, which compresses and classifies the data; i.e., good drilling and abnormal drilling. The method is capable of further clustering the data into whirl or no whirl, bit-bounce or no bit-bounce, formation change or no change, and/or faulty equipment and parts; thus, assist in the robust post-failure analysis of existing data sets and prevent catastrophic failures in real time and improve the trajectory control.
Against the backdrop of comments on chemistry research in India made in three recent reports prepared by Nature Index, Elsevier and Thomson Reuters, we have made a scientometric analysis of contributions from India in leading multidisciplinary chemistry journals over the 25-year period 1991-2015. We have compared India's performance with that of China as a benchmark. Overall, the number of chemistry papers from India increased steadily between 2007 and 2014. The threeyear moving average of number of papers during the period grew at a compound annual growth rate of 8.9%, and the overall increase in papers was accompanied by a more than proportionate increase in the leading journals. Also, the average number of cites received by papers with at least one author from India in Angewandte Chemie International Edition (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.) and Accounts of Chemical Research was higher than the world average. Despite its huge share of the world's population (~17%), India continues to be poorly represented in the top journals: the country's share of papers in the Journal of the American Chemical Society is 0.7% compared to 58.4% for USA, 7.6% for Germany and 5.1% for China, and its share in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. is 1.2% compared to 28% for Germany, 25.3% for USA and 9.9% for China. This could be due to the fact that till recently Indian universities did not encourage mobility across disciplines. That only a small number of Indian researchers and institutions publish in leading journals is also a matter for concern. India accounts for only a small number of papers in the top one percentile of the most highly cited chemistry papers, whereas China leads the world. Only 2.3% of the 2234 papers published in 2014 that are in the top one percentile is from India compared to 38% from China.
Paying to publish is an ethical issue. During 2010-14, Indian researchers have used 488 open access (OA) journals levying article processing charge (APC), ranging from US$ 7.5 to 5,000, to publish about 15,400 papers. Use of OA journals levying APC has increased from 242 journals and 2,557 papers in 2010 to 328 journals and 3,634 papers in 2014. We estimate that India is potentially spending about US$ 2.4 million annually on APCs paid to OA journals and the amount would be much more if we add APCs paid to make papers published in hybrid journals open access. It would be prudent for Indian authors to make their work freely available through interoperable repositories, a trend that is growing in Latin America and China, especially when funding is scarce. Scientists are ready to pay APC as long as institutions pay for it and funding agencies are not ready to insist that grants provided for research should not be used for paying APC.
ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID, is a non-profit, community-driven effort to create and maintain a registry of unique researcher identifiers and a transparent method of linking research activities and outputs to these identifiers. Together with other persistent identifiers for scholarly works such as digital object identifiers(DOIs) and identifiers for organizations, ORCID makes research more discoverable. It helps ensure that one's grants, publications and outputs are correctly attributed. It helps the research community not just in aggregating publications, but in every stage of research, viz. publishing, reviewing, profiling, metrics, accessing and archiving. Funding agencies in Austria, Australia, Denmark, Portugal, Sweden and the UK, and the world's leading scholarly publishers and associations have integrated their systems with ORCID registry. Among the BRICS countries, China and South Africa are adopting ORCID avidly. India is yet to make a beginning. If research councils and funding agencies in India require researchers to adopt ORCID and link ORCID iDs to funding as well as tracking performance, it will help them keep track of the workflow. Journal editors can also keep track of contributions made by different authors and work assigned to different reviewers through their ORCID iDs.
We explore here public and private initiatives in technological solutions for educating the poor and the disadvantaged in India since the second half of the twentieth century. Specifically, we document Ministry of Human Resource Development’s project to develop an affordable tablet computer, named ‘Aakash,’ as a personal access device for digital courses and online learning materials. We approach this case study in relation to several educational technologies that preceded it, and with a wider interest in mapping a contemporary transition from satellite-based mass education to Internet-based mass education. We argue that this process cannot be easily seen as a transition from unilateral broadcasting to more democratic multi-casting model of communication and learning. Specifically, we study the manufacturing process of Aakash and the public debates around it, to comment on the nature of state power in India, as revealed in its attempts to imagine and develop a digital personal device to deliver mass education.
This article considers that the Horizon 2020 (H2020) Open Access (OA) policy can be adopted as a policy model in European Research Area (ERA) countries for the development and increasing alignment of OA policies. Accordingly, the OA policy landscape in five ERA countries – Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and the UK – is assessed and the extent of alignment or divergence of those policies with the H2020 OA policy is examined. The article concludes by considering some of the impacts that aligning OA policies may have and looking at mechanisms that may contribute towards enhancing policy alignment.
This manifesto offers three approaches to understand the “social” in “social media.” Drawing from emerging practices, discourses, architectures, and research, the manifesto argues that while it is important to look at how the emergence of digital media changes, regulates, and shapes the social structures of governance and inter-personal communication, it is also necessary to look at how sapient technologies communicate and talk to each other, thus creating a new sociality that emerges from machine architecture and interface design rather than human intention and social norms.
When it comes to examining the relationship between digital technologies and gender, our discourse has fallen into two pre-wired sets of responses: The first set approaches gender as something that is operationalised through the digital, thus producing the rhetoric of ICT4D and women's empowerment through access to the digital. This also gives rise to the DIY cultures that makes women responsible for the safety of their bodies and selves, and puts the blame of sexual violence or abuse back onto the body of the woman. The second set approaches the digital as something that operates gender, examining the regulations and control that the digital technologies exercise on women's bodies, gender and desires. This focuses on practices like revenge pornography, privacy, protection and security in the age of growing cyber-bullying and attacks on women. In both these discourses, there is always the imagination of one of the two sites as passive - either the gendered body uses digital technologies for its intentions, or the digital technologies shape the gendered body following the protocols of algorithmic design. By looking at the figure of the digital slut, as it emerges in popular cultural practices and debates in regulation, that this separation of gendered intention from machine protocol fails to accommodate for the quotidian and varied engagements of bodies and technologies, and thus produces flawed regimes of regulation and law around digital gender. I propose two strategies to understand 'digital gender' as a moment of configuration rather than a finite resolved category: The first is to combine the protocols of technology with the metaphors of the body, producing a metaphorocol, which enables us to move beyond the aporetic production of body and technology in contemporary discourse. The second is to relocate agency and question the body as actor/the body as acted upon paradigm that is invoked in thinking of body-technology relationships. Consequently, I argue I propose two different approaches that draw from material practices of gender and the architecture of physical computing, to offer new ways of reading the practices of policing and pathology of gender in the age of ubiquitous networking. I argue in my conclusion that 'digital gender' as a concept helps us build upon earlier intersections of feminist thought and practice with other identity politics by opening up to other identities of regulation and control that emerge within data regimes of information societies.
This article considers that the Horizon 2020 (H2020) Open Access (OA) policy can be adopted as a policy model in European Research Area (ERA) countries for the development and increasing alignment of OA policies. Accordingly, the OA policy landscape in five ERA countries – Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and the UK – is assessed and the extent of alignment or divergence of those policies with the H2020 OA policy is examined. The article concludes by considering some of the impacts that aligning OA policies may have and looking at mechanisms that may contribute towards enhancing policy alignment.
A few commercial publishers dominate provision of access to scientific and technical information sought after by researchers around the world. Increasing subscription prices of journals at rates higher than general inflation caused librarians to think of forming consortia, but publishers started selling online journals as bundles, and libraries ended up with many journals their researchers have very little use for. Scientists and librarians adopted open access, but publishers came up with hybrid journals and article processing charges to beat any adverse effect on their profits caused by the fast-spreading open access movement. We compare the steps taken by scientists and librarians in the West to reclaim ease of access to research findings with what is happening in India. We end with a few suggestions.
This paper presents the main challenges and issues faced when collecting and analyzing a large volume of network data measurements. We refer in particular to data collected by means of Neubot, an open source project that uses active probes on the client side to measure the evolution of key network parameters over time to better understand the performance of end-users’ Internet connections. The measured data are already freely accessible and stored on Measurement Lab (M-Lab), an organization that provides dedicated resources to perform network measurements and diagnostics in the Internet. Given the ever increasing amount of data collected by the Neubot project as well as other similar projects hosted by M-Lab, it is necessary to improve the platform to efficiently handle the huge amount of data that is expected to come in the very near future, so that it can be used by researchers and end-users themselves to gain a better understanding of network behavior.
The recent rise of digital activism' has promoted a questioning of the existing relationships between state, markets, civil society and citizen action by developing new and networked ways of thinking. The network society has become the default context within which these acts of digital activism are located and understood. This contribution proposes that the newness in Activisms 2010+' is the imperative that the digital technologies put upon these events should be rendered intelligible, legible and accessible within the digital paradigm. There is a demand that local events, contextual histories and material practices should be made understandable and accountable to the global rhetoric of spectacle' that neglects, overrides and makes invisible acts that do not have the possibility of a spectacle. Through a case study of the Shanzhai Spring Festival Gala' in China, this article hopes to illustrate the need for a new conceptual framework and vocabulary to account for the new conditions of citizen action and the potentials for political change and intervention therein. It further suggests that the discourse around digital activism stop focusing on the new in terms of processes, spectacles and objects, and instead look at the new in conditions that make citizen action possible.
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