Science Seen: Research Bazaar Art Exhibit

“Salt”, by Geo Rutherford

Art plays an important role in helping people make sense of complex data in new and exciting ways. Able to see the patterns in data, artists and scientists alike translate information into visual and aesthetic forms that increase awareness and make complicated issues and ideas easier to understand. 

From January 21 through the month of February, an exhibit featuring artwork influenced by science, technology, or data science will be on display in the Hub Central Lobby at the Discovery Building (300 N. Orchard Street). The exhibit will be featured alongside a new permanent piece by nationally recognized artist Melanie Stimmell, depicting diversity within science. 

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Link Roundup December 2019

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Clare Michaud

The Data Science Research Bazaar is still open for registration—until January 2! It’s free for UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff. We have also extended the deadline for submissions to the art exhibit until December 20, and encourage members of the campus and the community to submit artwork!

The Research Bazaar is also sponsoring two Pre-Bazaar workshops where researchers can choose between Software Carpentry or Reproducible Research on Day 1 and R and Python workshops on Day 2.

Jennifer Patiño

A recent study out of Vanderbilt University suggests that peer reviewed articles with pre-prints may be associated with higher attention and citation scores. A different study out of the Alan Turing Institute indicates that the same may be true for research papers that make their data openly available.

The Banana Data Podcast, a data science focused podcast, is a fun and entertaining way to stay up to date on the latest trends, tools, and issues in the field.

WIRED explores machine learning and the potential – and limitations – of art created by AI.

Kent Emerson

The November 2019 issue of Spheres Journal for Digital Cultures is dedicated to artificial intelligence including articles on topics ranging from decolonizing data science to machine translation.

In October, the UW System Board of Regents approved a Data Science undergraduate major allowing students at UW Madison to gain expertise in a cutting edge field.

UW Madison DoIT put together this 3-2-1 guide for data backup strategies to help you ensure you never lose your data.

Version Control for Research Projects

Working on individual or collaborative projects of any size requires keeping your files organized. Inconsistent file management can result in lost work, redundancies, errors in the final products, or difficulty for others building on your work later on. One of the foundational practices for ensuring you keep your files organized is to use version control conventions and tools. Choosing the appropriate service depends on many factors including the types of files and data you are using and producing, the size of your team, and the frequency with which changes are made to your files. 

When considering the proper platform for maintaining your research files it is important to understand your responsibilities for identifying, transmitting, redistributing, storing or disposing of sensitive information. For more information, refer to UW-Madison’s guide to handling sensitive data, and the UW System policy.

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An Introduction to Web Scraping for Research

Like web archiving, web scraping is a process by which you can collect data from websites and save it for further research or preserve it over time. Also like web archiving, web scraping can be done through manual selection or it can involve the automated crawling of web pages using pre-programmed scraping applications.

Unlike web archiving, which is designed to preserve the look and feel of websites, web scraping is mostly used for gathering textual data. Most web scraping tools also allow you to structure the data as you collect it. So, instead of massive unstructured text files, you can transform your scraped data into spreadsheet, csv, or database formats that allow you to analyze and use it in your research. 

There are many applications for web scraping. Companies use it for market and pricing research, weather services use it to track weather information, and real estate companies harvest data on properties. But researchers also use web scraping to perform research on web forums or social media such as Twitter and Facebook, large collections of data or documents published on the web, and for monitoring changes to web pages over time. If you are interested in identifying, collecting, and preserving textual data that exists online, there is almost certainly a scraping tool that can fit your research needs. 

Please be advised that if you are collecting data from web pages, forums, social media, or other web materials for research purposes and it may constitute human subjects research, you must consult with and follow the appropriate UW-Madison Institutional Review Board process as well as follow their guidelines on “Technology & New Media Research”.  (more…)

Link Roundup November 2019

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Jennifer Patiño

World Digital Preservation Day is November 7th and this year’s theme is “At-Risk Digital Materials.”

Researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa uncovered a glitch in a computer program that produced different results depending on operating systems, possibly affecting more than 100 published studies. A good reminder to make sure you have a detailed README file for any code you create!

Wired reports on a study in Science that revealed racial bias in a widely used algorithm that assigned lower levels of care to Black patients in U.S. hospitals. The study shows how by focusing on healthcare costs, the algorithm replicated disparities in access and provides suggestions on reformulating the algorithm.

Kent Emerson

Researchers at UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, working on a project called Wisconsin Expansion of Renewable Electricity with Optimization under Long-term Forecasts (WEREWOLF), are producing mathematical models that will help policy makers make decisions about the future of Wisconsin’s renewable energy resources.

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University is celebrating its 25th anniversary. During this time, the RRCHNM has produced some of the most widely used open source digital resources including Omeka, Zotero, and Tropy as well as discrete art and art history projects.