New Journal coming: Big Data & Society

Our friend Evelyn Ruppert at Goldsmiths is editor and founding editor of a new open access peer reviewed journal that is in the making. We have met Evelyn the last time at 4S in San Diego where she contributed to our “State Multiplicity, Performativity and Materiality: Current STS Research on State and Stateness” sessions with a great talk on “Peopling Europe”. She is also known to many for her co-lead on the Social Life of Methods theme at CRESC.

Big Data & Society (BD&S) is an open access peer-reviewed scholarly journal that publishes interdisciplinary work principally in the social sciences, humanities and computing and their intersections with the arts and natural sciences about the implications of Big Data for societies.


The Journal´s key purpose is to provide a space for connecting debates about the emerging field of Big Data practices and how they are reconfiguring academic, social, industry, business and government relations, expertise, methods, concepts and knowledge.


BD&S moves beyond usual notions of Big Data and treats it as an emerging field of practices that is not defined by but generative of (sometimes) novel data qualities such as high volume and granularity and complex analytics such as data linking and mining. It thus attends to digital content generated through online and offline practices in social, commercial, scientific, and government domains. This includes, for instance, content generated on the Internet through social media and search engines but also that which is generated in closed networks (commercial or government transactions) and open networks such as digital archives, open government and crowdsourced data.  Critically, rather than settling on a definition the Journal makes this an object of interdisciplinary inquiries and debates explored through studies of a variety of topics and themes.


BD&S seeks contributions that analyse Big Data practices and/or involve empirical engagements and experiments with innovative methods while also reflecting on the consequences for how societies are represented (epistemologies), realised (ontologies) and governed (politics).

viaBig Data & Society: About the Journal.

ANT and Ethnography

Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz just alerted me to the fact that Qualitative Sociology is going to host a special issue on ANT and ethnography called “Reassembling Ethnography: ANT beyond the


Deadline for submissions: March 31, 2012 submitted directly to the journal.
Word Limits: 10,000 words (maximum) including bibliography
Queries: Gianpaolo Baiocchi (, Diana Graizbord
(, and Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz

Check out the full solicitation here:

"Computational Culture", a new journal. Feels like home…

As I have just read on Lev Manovich´s Blog on Software Studies there is a new journal ready to launch. On its editorial board are such great scholars as Mathew FullerAdrian MacKenzie and Olga Goriunova. Seems that the sociology of infrastructure could get a home. The website is still under construction, but the initial statement sounds like it will be a perfect place to look for the topics we discuss here (and elsewhere). Here is the blurb:

Computational Culture, a journal of software studies is an online open-access peer-reviewed journal of inter-disciplinary enquiry into the nature of computational cultural objects, practices, processes and structures.

The journal’s primary aim is to examine the ways in which software undergirds and formulates contemporary life. Computational processes and systems not only enable contemporary forms of work and play and the management of emotional life but also drive the unfolding of new events that constitute political, social and ontological domains. In order to understand digital objects such as corporate software, search engines, medical databases or to enquire into the use of mobile phones, social networks, dating, games, financial systems or political crises, a detailed analysis of software cannot be avoided.

A developing form of literacy is required that matches an understanding of computational processes with those traditionally bound within the arts, humanities, and social sciences but also in more informal or practical modes of knowledge such as hacking and art.

The journal welcomes contributions that address such topics and many others that may derive and mix methodologies from cultural studies, science and technology studies, philosophy of computing, metamathematics, computer science, critical theory, media art, human computer interaction, media theory, design, philosophy.

Computational Culture publishes peer-reviewed articles, special projects, interviews, and reviews of books, projects, events and software. The journal is also involved in developing a series of events and projects to generate special issues.

The Editorial Group

Matthew Fuller, Goldsmiths
Andrew Goffey, Middlesex
Olga Goriunova, London Metropolitan
Graham Harwood, Goldsmith
Adrian Mackenzie, Lancaster

For initial enquiries, please contact:

Ethics: IRB approval and article reviews

Data collection in the social sciences must typically pass through an institutional review board’s (IRB) human subjects committee (HSC) before being conducted in order to ensure comformity with IRB regulation. This we all know.

I once reviewed an article and while doing so got the sneaking suspicion that the author (whomever s/he was) had not gotten their study passed through the IRB. The reason was that data in the article came in the form of casual conversations and e-mail correspondence. Quotations from data sources identified the speaker/e-mail-writer by name, not pseudonym. There was little written about the length of these conversations, how many there were, where they were conducted, etc. or any mention of the methodological strategy employed or method of analysis. This sort of methodological sloppiness is reprehensibe in its own right, but the idea that this research study might not have passed through the proper research channels started to bothered me.

And then it bothered me a little more.

As I read, article in hand, I increasingly felt like I was holding a soiled garment.

And so, I wrote the editor and, without making any accusations, expressed my “sneaking suspicion” and provided the evidence that encouraged me to think so.


1. Has anyone been asked for proof of IRB approval for articles when social/human subject data used?

2. Has anyone read a paper and wondered if it had passed IRB?

3. What would you do if you read a paper like this during reivew?