Dr Jo Bates

BA (Keele), MA (Nottingham), MA (Manchester Metropolitan), PhD (Manchester Metropolitan)

Information School

Senior Lecturer in Information Politics and Policy

Jo Bates
Jo Bates
jo.bates@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 2648

Full contact details

Dr Jo Bates
Information School
Regent Court (IS)
211 Portobello
Sheffield
S1 4DP
Profile

My academic background is in Politics and American Studies, which I studied before training to be a librarian and from there developing my academic career in data studies. I joined the Information School at Sheffield as a lecturer in 2012, shortly before completing my PhD on the politics of Open Government Data in the UK.

More recently, my research has explored cultures of data science practice; the social, cultural and political economic shaping of data flows – particularly climate data flows; and labour issues in crowdwork platforms. I have received a range of funding to work on these topics, including two AHRC grants as PI (Secret Life of a Weather Datum 2014-15 and Patterns in Practice 2021-24). My 2017 paper on ‘Data Friction’ published in Journal of Documentation was awarded a highly commended Emerald Literati Award.

I have been co-organiser of the international Data Power conference since it began in 2015, and I am currently part of the conference management team. I am also on the Editorial Advisory Board for the journal Big Data and Society and a member of the AHRC’s Peer Review College.

My research interests inform my teaching practice. Over recent years, I have led efforts to embed data politics and ethics teaching into the Information School’s Data Science degrees, and led research on this topic that I presented at ACM FAccT 2020.

You can find out more about my work on my website: lifeofdata.org

University responsibilities

Information School REF Co-ordinator

Head of Digital Societies Research Group

Digital Society Network – Steering Committee and Data, Algorithms and AI in Society Hub co-lead

Research interests

My research is in the field of Critical Data Studies. Critical Data Studies is an interdisciplinary field that uses critical social theory to examine the social drivers, implications and power relations of emergent forms of data and algorithmic practices.

My recent research broadly breaks down into four thematic areas: data cultures, data journeys & friction, climate and environmental data, and digital labour. You can read more about my research in each of these areas on my website.

I am currently working on the following projects, which involve collaborations with a variety of organisations including GSK, JISC, BBC and DWP:

I am interested in supervising PhD projects that advance the critical study of emerging data and algorithmic practices and flows. By critical I mean projects that in some way grapple with issues of power, ethics and justice as they relate to topics of data, automation, data science and AI. I tend to use qualitative research methods, including ethnographic methods and (policy) document analysis. There is a wide range of potential projects in this area. Applicants are advised to check out recent papers in key journals such as Big Data and Society to get a sense for emerging topics. 

Publications

Show: Featured publications All publications

Journal articles

Chapters

  • Bates J (2021) Big data and data analytics, The Routledge Social Science Handbook of AI (pp. 281-294). View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bates J (2017) Big data, open data and the climate risk market In Brevini B & Murdock G (Ed.), Carbon Capitalism and Communication (pp. 83-93). Palgrave Macmillan View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bates J (2017) Data cultures, power and the city, Data and the City (pp. 189-200). View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bates J, Checco A & Gerakopoulou E () Worker perspectives on designs for a crowdwork co-operative In Hepp A, Jarke J & Kramp L (Ed.), New Perspectives in Critical Data Studies: The Ambivalences of Data Power. Palgrave Macmillan View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download

Conference proceedings papers

Reports

  • Kennedy H, Taylor M, Oman S, Bates J, Medina Perea I, Ditchfield H & Pinney E (2021) Living with Data survey report RIS download Bibtex download

Website content

Theses / Dissertations

  • Bates J (2013) Politics of Open Government Data: A Neo-Gramscian Analysis of the United Kingdom's Open Government Data Initiative. RIS download Bibtex download

Working papers

  • Bates J (2015) Data Cultures, Power and the City. Programmable Cities: Data and the City. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bates J (2014) Climate Risk, Big Data and the Weather Market. SPERI, 13. RIS download Bibtex download

All publications

Journal articles

Chapters

  • Bates J (2021) Big data and data analytics, The Routledge Social Science Handbook of AI (pp. 281-294). View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Quinn K & Bates J (2019) Everyday activism: challenging neoliberalism for radical library workers in English higher education In Tett L & Hamilton M (Ed.), Resisting neoliberalism in education: local, national and transnational perspectives Policy Press View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bates J (2017) Big data, open data and the climate risk market In Brevini B & Murdock G (Ed.), Carbon Capitalism and Communication (pp. 83-93). Palgrave Macmillan View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bates J (2017) Data cultures, power and the city, Data and the City (pp. 189-200). View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bates J, Checco A & Gerakopoulou E () Worker perspectives on designs for a crowdwork co-operative In Hepp A, Jarke J & Kramp L (Ed.), New Perspectives in Critical Data Studies: The Ambivalences of Data Power. Palgrave Macmillan View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download

Conference proceedings papers

Reports

  • Kennedy H, Taylor M, Oman S, Bates J, Medina Perea I, Ditchfield H & Pinney E (2021) Living with Data survey report RIS download Bibtex download

Website content

Theses / Dissertations

  • Bates J (2013) Politics of Open Government Data: A Neo-Gramscian Analysis of the United Kingdom's Open Government Data Initiative. RIS download Bibtex download

Working papers

  • Bates J (2015) Data Cultures, Power and the City. Programmable Cities: Data and the City. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bates J (2014) Climate Risk, Big Data and the Weather Market. SPERI, 13. RIS download Bibtex download

Presentations

  • Bates J Open Government Data, Online Collective Action and Policy Change in the UK: a Neo-Gramscian Approach. RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

I am Head of the Digital Societies Research Group

Current PhD students

- Ruth Beresford:  Algorithmic bias: patterns, consequences and alternatives

- Ian Widdows: Secondary school accountability measures in England - their effectiveness, effects and an exploration of alternative approaches.

- Anajoyce Katabalwa: agricultural research data management in Tanzania

Grants

Research projects

Patterns in Practice: culutres of data mining in science, education and the arts

Arts and Humanities Research Council Principal Investigator £458,454 August 2021 - February 2024

Living With Data: understanding people’s experiences of data practices and their perspectives on what would make them `fair’

Nuffield Foundation Co-Investigator £286,543 September 2019 - March 2022

The Cyprus Centre for Algorithmic Transparency (CyCAT)

European Commission - Horizon 2020 Advanced Partner £999,965 October 2018 - September 2021

The Secret Life of a Weather Datum

Arts and Humanities Research Council Principal Investigator £80,185 January 2014 - March 2015
Teaching interests

I currently teach on the MSc Data Science programme and the BA Digital Media and Society programme.

I developed the ‘Data and Society’ core Data Science module and have co-ordinated and taught that module since 2016. In its current form, the module covers topics such as informational power, bias and discrimination, epistemology, public and artists engagements with data science, legal constraints on data processing, and applied ethics.

I was the Deputy Programme Co-ordinator for the MSc Data Science programme from 2017-2020. As part of this role, I did a lot of work around how best to integrate ideas from critical data studies into Data Science curricula. I presented some of this work at Data Power conference 2017, and more recently led a research project in the Information School exploring our evolving approach to integrating FATE (fairness, accountability, transparency and ethics) and Critical Data Studies into our MSc Data Science. I presented our paper on this research at ACM FAccT 2020. I am continuing to work on this topic with the School’s Data Science teaching team.

With Helen Kennedy in Sociological Studies, I developed the Faculty of Social Sciences degree BA Digital Media and Society, which we launched in 2017. The core modules of the degree are jointly delivered by the department of Sociological Studies and the Information School, with pathways currently offered by Journalism and Education. We began with a cohort of around 20 in 2017, and this has increased to 115 in 2020. I developed the core first year module ‘Digital Media and Society’, which I co-ordinated and taught from 2017 to 2021. The module is a large 40-credit module that integrates both social science and web design teaching and assessment. I have now handed the co-ordination of the module over to my colleague Susan Oman.

Teaching activities

I currently co-ordinate and teach on INF6033 Data and Society and teach on INF109 Digital Media and Society.

Professional activities
  • Data Power Conference Management Team (2015 - )
  • Big Data and Society Editorial Advisory Board (2015 -)
  • AHRC Peer Review Council member (2020 - )
  • Member of Association of Internet Researchers