computational sociology: from industry’s side

We discussed the tools computational sociologists should know and what soc departments should do. Now, we discuss what industry might do profitably engage with the field:

  • Hire sociologists: Seriously. Ask yourself this – how many times have you seen engineers and computer scientists come up with some cool graph using big data that really doesn’t make a dime’s worth of difference? You can create teams of engineers and sociologists, who tend to be a bit better finding the meaning of data. It’s like peanut butter and chocolate – different, but they taste great together.
  • Hire sociology departments: There was an older tradition where leading sociology programs would do consulting work with for-profit firms. Columbia used to be the leader here. Now that is mostly gone. Bring us some projects that you need help with.
  • Send us your nerds: If your company is developed enough, you might be able to give a semester sabbatical (3 months) as a reward. They can take a class and work on projects. Think of it in the same way that an executive might get a little time for MBA level training.
  • Academic github: Create a stable space for storing data and/or code derived from commerical work. In other words, make a space where people can continually consult data generated from industry  collaboration.

Add your ideas in the comments.

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Written by fabiorojas

January 5, 2015 at 12:06 am

Posted in academia, fabio, leadership

One Response

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  1. A few other possibilities:

    1. Academic fellowships — Facebook offers something like this for grad students in CS and associated engineering departments. I don’t know if they also take applications from people in the social sciences.
    2. (Paid) summer internships — Microsoft Research has been good at this, hiring social scientists folks at their New England and New York labs. It’d be lovely to see more places do this.
    3. Subsidizing travel/conference fees for CS conferences (at least for grad students and/or junior faculty) — folks at WWW/ICWSM/CSCW or ACL/EMNLP are always doing really cool things, but conferences are often outside of the US, and the conference fee is easily close to $1,000. Some of the sponsorship of these conferences could be allocated to bringing in folks on a social science track.


    Alex Hanna

    January 5, 2015 at 2:21 pm

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