The 'Data and Society' theme addresses key contemporary concerns around trust, accountability and ownership associated with data. These concerns fundamentally affect how data science engages and impacts on government, civil society, public institutions, business and industry. At the same time, public, social and commercial data produced by social media platforms, by administrative systems, by sensors, in commercial transactions and by official sources presents significant challenges for the development of new empirical methods of understanding social processes.
Bringing together researchers from disciplines such as sociology, linguistics, history, design, organizational studies and social work, the 'Data and Society' theme supports research that deepens our understanding and vision of the ethics and accountability of data science in government and industry, and addresses the methodological challenges of working with data forms relevant to social sciences, arts and humanities. It specifically aims to foster expertise in inter-disciplinary engagements with problems of health, inequality, justice, mobility and environment.
Existing strengths in the ‘social theme’ at Lancaster include:
1. international research leadership in working at scale with natural language texts and large document collections
2. a growing international reputation for working with historical and spatial datasets in the digital humanities
3. a long-standing and international reputation for inter-disciplinary research engagement with public concerns around science and technology