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What explains the worldwide patterns in user-generated geographical content?

How do we explain the significant inequalities in the geography of user-generated information? Mark Graham, PI of a project Mapping and measuring local knowledge production and representation in the Middle East and North Africa, shows that a large part of the country-level variation can be explained by just three factors. Read the full paper: Graham, M., Hogan, B., Straumann, R.K., and Medhat, A. (2014) Uneven Geographies of User-Generated Information: Patterns of Increasing Informational Poverty (Annals Assoc. Amer. Geog.).

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What is stopping greater representation of the MENA region?

There are obvious gaps in access to the Internet, particularly the participation gap between those who have their say, and those whose voices are pushed to the periphery. Despite the rapid increase in Internet access, there are indications that people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region remain largely absent from websites and services that represent the region to the larger world. Mark Graham, PI of a project Mapping and measuring local knowledge production and representation in the Middle East and North Africa, explores the potential barriers faced by Wikipedia editors from the MENA region.

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How well represented is the MENA region in Wikipedia?

There are obvious gaps in access to the Internet, particularly the participation gap between those who have their say, and those whose voices are pushed to the periphery. OII Research Fellow Mark Graham, PI of a project Mapping and measuring local knowledge production and representation in the Middle East and North Africa, shows the MENA region tends to be massively underrepresented on Wikipedia — not just in major world languages, but also in its own: Arabic. Despite Wikipedia’s openness, it may simply be reproducing worldviews and knowledge created in the Global North at the expense of the Global South.

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The sum of (some) human knowledge: Wikipedia and representation in the Arab World

There are obvious gaps in access to the Internet, particularly the participation gap between those who have their say, and those whose voices are pushed to the periphery. There are indications that people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region remain largely absent from websites and services that represent the region to the larger world. OII Research Fellow Mark Graham, PI of a project Mapping and measuring local knowledge production and representation in the Middle East and North Africa, explores this phenomenon through one of the region’s most visible and most accessed sources of content: Wikipedia.

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Past and Emerging Themes in Policy and Internet Studies

What kind of research does the journal Policy & Internet publish? Editor Vili Lehdonvirta approaches the question from two angles; first, by examining the question empirically, through a brief thematic analysis of the articles published since its launch in 2009; second, by considering what kind of research the journal is likely to publish in the future, both in terms of what kind of trends can be seen emerging in policy and Internet research, as well as in terms of what challenges outlined in the journal’s original vision that continue to be pertinent today. Read the full editorial.

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The social economies of networked cultural production (or, how to make a movie with complete strangers)

There’s been a lot of talk about the disruptive and transformative powers of networked technologies, with Wikipedia and open source software commonly highlighted as examples of new production models. However, the economies (whether monetary, social or political) of networked cultural production are under-theorised, and the motivations (including understandings of social capital) of participants producing crowdsourced cultural goods are still little understood. OII Researcher Isis Hjorth discusses her recently completed doctoral research on crowdsourced film-making in the wreckamovie community.

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Edit wars! Measuring and mapping society’s most controversial topics

Wikipedia is more than just an encyclopaedia; it is also a window into convergent and divergent social-spatial priorities, interests and preferences: aka Edit Wars. In his chapter (with Anselm Spoerri, Mark Graham, and János Kertész) The most controversial topics in Wikipedia: A multilingual and geographical analysis, the OII’s Taha Yasseri uses a quantitative measure to locate and analyse the similarities and differences between the most controversial topics identified in 10 language versions of Wikipedia, finding that a quarter relate to politics.

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The physics of social science: using big data for real-time predictive modelling

Use of socially generated “big data” on collective states of minds in human societies has become a new paradigm in the emerging field of computational social science, but bridging the gap between real-time monitoring and early prediction remains a challenge. Taha Yasseri discusses his paper Early Prediction of Movie Box Office Success based on Wikipedia Activity Big Data (with M.Mestyán and J.Kertész), which builds a predictive model for the financial success of movies based on the collective activity of online users, showing that a movie’s popularity can be predicted far ahead of its release date.

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Verification of crowd-sourced information: is this ‘crowd wisdom’ or machine wisdom?

Automated verification practices are becoming an important feature of crowdsourced content environments as a way of coping with the deluge of data. Heather Ford (OII) explains that while these processes can scale up contributions, it is important to understand how they can also be used to restrict the content to that deemed ‘important’ or ‘trustworthy’ enough by organisations — in a process that may be invisible to those contributing or making use of the information.

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Can Twitter provide an early warning function for the next pandemic?

With factors such as air travel act as a catalyst in the spread of new and novel viruses, the need to improve global population monitoring and enhance surveillance of infectious diseases is more pressing than ever. Patty Kostkova (UCL) discusses how the real-time streams of user data generated on social networks like Twitter can be used for monitoring the health of large populations, providing a potential early warning function for pandemics, detecting flu spikes weeks before official surveillance systems. Watch Patty talk on this subject at the OII.

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