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The Lowdown on Big Data

Michael Todd, SAGE Publishing

Who’s doing big data?

Based on the buzz that the term has been creating since the turn of the century, perhaps a better question is who isn’t doing big data. Certainly the awareness of giant datasets and their potential to be mined for good, or ill, is well-nigh universal. As political scientist Gary King, who heads Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, is fond of saying, “My mom now thinks she understands what I do.”

As with anything buzzy, the truth is that not nearly so many people really understand what big data really is, and an even smaller number are actively working with it. Last year, SAGE Publishing took a stab at figuring out who was doing big data work and what sort of support they needed. More than 9,000 people, mostly academics, worldwide answered SAGE’s survey. That survey resulted in a white paper,...

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President Lachemi welcomes Congress 2017 to Ryerson University

Guest blog by Mohamed Lachemi, President and Vice Chancellor, Ryerson University 

How does a university prepare to host 10,000 visitors? By building a team, planning down to the smallest details and getting support from across campus, including the president’s office.

With the approach of Congress 2017, Ryerson is getting ready for the largest event it has ever hosted, the culmination of years of preparation. My executive team meets regularly with the organizers, and we are keenly interested in making this Congress an outstanding experience for all attendees. Aside from the number of visitors and events, it is an important moment for our university with so many scholars from across the country visiting our campus for the first time.

The excitement is building on campus. We are...

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Le budget de 2017 est axé sur l’innovation et les compétences


Le budget fédéral 2017 fixe l’objectif d’améliorer la prospérité du Canada et de veiller à une répartition plus juste des richesses dans la société. Pour y parvenir, le gouvernement compte principalement sur l’innovation et le développement des compétences tout au long de la vie.

Le nouveau budget n’annonce peut-être pas d’aussi grands investissements en science et en recherche que le budget de 2016 (lequel prévoyait une hausse substantielle de 95 millions de dollars des budgets de base des organismes subventionnaires et une enveloppe de deux millions de dollars sur trois ans pour l’infrastructure universitaire et collégiale), mais il contient des engagements importants. Il reste par ailleurs beaucoup de points à éclaircir, et la Fédération suivra de près les annonces du gouvernement et les importants rapports et examens à venir. Vous pouvez lire le communiqué de presse de la Fédération...

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Ryerson presents… Leanne Simpson

Guest blog by the Faculty of Arts, Ryerson University

Ryerson University is presenting a wide range of events over the course of Congress 2017, ranging from interdisciplinary lectures, to cultural programming, and more. These diverse community events are intended to compliment Congress 2017 and showcase the thought leadership and vitality of Ryerson University’s downtown campus. For a full list of upcoming events please visit Ryerson Programming.

For example, celebrating the Congress 2017 theme “The Next 150, On Indigenous Lands,” Ryerson University is pleased to present “Freedom Sings: Land/Bodies/Resurgence” by Leanne Simpson. 

Simpson, an award-winning Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg musician, writer, academic and First Nations activist, is one of the most influential and compelling Indigenous voices of her generation.

Through story, song and video,...

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Tools that help us talk about impacts in the humanities

Tim Kenyon, Professor of Philosophy and Associate Dean of Arts, Research, University of Waterloo; member of the Federation’s Impacts Project Advisory Group

On February 8-9, I was very happy to meet with colleagues at the University of Manitoba, during a visit organized by the Institute for Humanities. In presentations and discussion sessions, we covered topics relating to the measurement and appraisal of humanities research. A summary of some of the themes raised in those discussions follows.

When asked to provide evidence or descriptions of research impact, humanities researchers typically face two related difficulties. The first is the prevalence and influence of research metrics that do not capture humanities research accurately; the second is the difficulty of proposing characterizations of research impact that do capture humanities research accurately.

We discussed ways in which both difficulties can be addressed through an open,...

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