The indictment of 13 Russians in the operation of a “troll farm” that spread false information related to the 2016 U.S. presidential election has renewed the spotlight on the power of “fake news” to influence public opinion. Now, an Indiana University faculty member who studies the spread of misinformation online is joining prominent legal scholars, social scientists and researchers in a global “call to action” in the fight against it. Filippo Menczer, a professor in CNetS and the IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, is a co-author of a paper published March 8 in the journal Science that calls for a coordinated investigation into the underlying social, psychological and technological forces behind fake news. This is necessary to counteract the phenomenon’s negative influence on society, the authors said. READ MORE
The manifesto of science of science has been published in Science magazine. This is a team effort involving 14 coauthors, three of whom are members of our center: Santo Fortunato (first and corresponding author), Staša Milojević and Filippo Radicchi. The team includes superstars in the field of complex systems like Albert-László Barabási, Dirk Helbing, Alessandro Vespignani, and Brian Uzzi. The paper is a review of the main research topics within science of science: knowledge networks, problem selection, novelty, career dynamics, team science and citation dynamics.
First global analysis of human birth-rate cycles reveals that post-holiday ‘baby boom’ persists across cultures, hemispheres. CNetS PhD student Ian Wood and Professors Luis Rocha and Johan Bollen, in collaboration with Joana Sá, used data science and computational social science methods to demonstrate that “Human Sexual Cycles are Driven by Culture and Match Collective Moods.” See full article at IU News and media coverage in many venues such as The Independent, Time, Newsweek, Publico, ScienceDaily, Phys.org, The National Post, DailyMail, The Hindustan Times, Men’s Fitness, Mother Jones, Drive with Yasmeen Khan (at 17:30) (audio of interview), etc. Discussion of the paper was a top trending topic on Reddit. Watch a short video about the research.
Thanks to support from the Indiana University Network Science Institute (IUNI) and Digital Science Center (DSC), the full content of the Twitter data repository from the Observatory on Social Media (OSoMe) is now available to all IU researchers. Many tools to detect social bots, study the spread of fake news, visualize meme diffusion networks, trends, and maps, as well as APIs to access this data, have been available to the general public since mid-2016. Now, however, the IU research community can access enhanced data and content from the large collection, based on a 10% sample of all public tweets. A dedicated portal allows IU faculty and students to submit queries to the OSoMe cluster based on hashtags, URLs, keywords, geo-coordinates, and other criteria. At any time the system can search and retrieve data from the previous 18 months. We hope this resource will spur and support new research projects in all areas of computing, natural, and social sciences. Click here to read how to get access and learn more about the data, or attend our Open Science Forum!
Fil Menczer, professor of computer science and informatics at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, is part of a group that has been awarded a $1.2 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to study how and at what rate information spreads in a global information environment. The project, COSINE: Cognitive Online Simulation of Information Network Environments, also involves Professor of Informatics Alessandro Flammini and Assistant Professor of Informatics and Computing YY Ahn. The project is in collaboration with colleagues at the USC Information Sciences Institute (ISI) and the University of Notre Dame. Read more…
“On the last Friday of each month, instead of heading home to their families after the weekly School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering faculty meeting, professors Luis Rocha and Johan Bollen head to the Root Cellar Lounge and become DJ E-Trash and DJ Angst. […] Both Bollen and Rocha are considered experts in the field of complex networks and systems, and they agree that when they DJ, they are part of just the kind of complex systems they study”. See full article at IU News.
The National Science Foundation has awarded nearly $3 million to train future research leaders in Complex Networks and Systems, via the PhD Program established by CNETS faculty. The highly selective grant from the NSF’s Research Traineeship Award will create a dual Ph.D. program at Indiana University to train graduate students to be proficient in both a specific discipline, such as psychology or political science, as well as network, complexity and data science. The new Ph.D. program will also leverage the strengths of the Indiana Network Science Institute, or IUNI, to involve students in interdisciplinary research.”The biggest challenges currently faced by society require large teams of people who are ‘fluent’ in more than one scientific discipline,” said Luis Rocha, CNETS professor in the IU School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering who will lead the new program. “But the current education model in academia is still largely focused on training researchers who know how to set up independent labs with agendas driven by a single person. If we want to take on the really big problems, we’ve got to create more scientists with deep expertise in multiple areas.” Full Press Release Available.
JAN 2018 UPDATE: THIS SEARCH HAS BEEN CLOSED.
The Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research (cnets.indiana.edu) at Indiana University, Bloomington has an open postdoctoral position to study how information spreads through complex online social networks. The position funded by the DARPA program on Computational Simulation of Online Social Behavior (SocialSim). The anticipated start date for this position is January 1, 2018 (negotiable). This is an annual renewable appointment for up to 3 years subject to performance and funding. Continue reading Postdoctoral Fellowship: Simulation of Information Diffusion in Online Social Networks
A project from NaN and IUNI was among 20 selected (out of over 800 applications) to address the spread of misinformation with support from the Knight Prototype Fund. Led by Fil Menczer, Giovanni Ciampaglia, Alessandro Flammini and Val Pentchev, the project will integrate the Hoaxy and Botometer tools and uncover attempts to use Internet bots to boost the spread of misinformation and shape public opinion. The tool aims to reveal how this information is generated and broadcasted, how it becomes viral, its overall reach, and how it competes with accurate information for placement on user feeds. The project will be supported by the Democracy Fund, which in March, along with partners Knight Foundation and Rita Allen Foundation, launched an open call for ideas around the question: How might we improve the flow of accurate information? The call sought projects that could be quickly built to respond to the challenges affecting the health of our news ecosystem and ultimately our democracy. The winning projects will receive a share of $1 million through the Knight Prototype Fund, a program focused on human-centered approaches to solving difficult problems.