Citing data : why you should, and how

Research data producers need to be rewarded and acknowledged for their work. The readers of your research also need to be able to track the sources you used, including the data. This is why data must be cited properly, just like books or papers. Our resident citations expert Catherine Brendow explains how.

Continue reading “Citing data : why you should, and how”

Book of the Week: “Weapons of math destruction: how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy”

A former Wall Street quantitative analyst sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life and threaten to rip apart our social fabric.

“We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives — where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance — are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated.

But as Cathy O’Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: if a poor student can’t get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his zip code), he’s then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky and punishing the downtrodden, creating a “toxic cocktail for democracy.” Welcome to the dark side of Big Data.”

Publisher: London: Penguin Books, 2017
Call Number: 384 HEIA 120998