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Volume 23 / Issue 11

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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-023-11-1057


Prospects and Challenges for the Computational Social Sciences

Giangiacomo Bravo (Linnaeus University, Sweden)

Mike Farjam (Linnaeus University, Sweden)

Abstract: Computational social sciences (CSS) refer to computer-enabled investigations of human behaviour and social interaction. They include three main components - (i) computational modelling and social simulation, (ii) the analysis of digital traces of online interactions, (iii) virtual labs and online experiments - and allow researchers to perform studies that were even hard to imagine a few decades ago. Moreover, CSS favour a more systematic test of theories and increase the possibility of study replication, two factors holding the potential to help social sciences reach a higher scientific status. Despite the huge potential of CSS, we follow previous works in identifying several impediments to a larger adoption of computational methods in social sciences. Most of them are linked with the humanistic attitude and a lack of technical skills of many social scientist. Significant changes in the basic training of social scientist and in the relation patterns with other disciplines and departments are needed before the potential of CSS can be fully exploited.

Keywords: big data, computational social sciences, experiments, social simulation, sociology

Categories: E.0, I.6, J.4