Dr Jo Bates
BA (Keele), MA (Nottingham), MA (Manchester Metropolitan), PhD (Manchester Metropolitan)
Senior Lecturer in Information Politics and Policy
+44 114 222 2648
Full contact details
Regent Court (IS)
After completing a degree in Politics and American Studies at Keele University, I took a number of years away from academia working in the Housing Benefits department of Manchester City Council.
I then returned to study for an MA in American Studies at Nottingham University, before moving into the information field via an NHS librarian graduate traineeship. Whilst completing my librarianship qualification at Manchester Metropolitan University, I became increasingly interested in the social shaping in information environments.
This led to me staying on at Manchester to complete my PhD on the politics of the UK’s Open Government Data initiative. I joined the Information School at Sheffield as a Lecturer in 2012.
- Co-Director for Postgraduate Research
- Data Science Deputy Programme Coordinator
- Information School Strategy Group (Staff Rep.)
- University Research Ethics Committee (Faculty of Social Science Rep.)
- Faculty of Social Science Digital Society Network Steering Group
- Module Coordinator: Data and Society (PGT) and Digital Media and Society (UG)
- Member of the Digital Societies Research Group
- Research interests
My research is situated in the field of Critical Data Studies – an interdisciplinary field that uses critical social theory approaches to examine the social drivers, implications and power relations of emergent forms of data and algorithmic practices.
I work collaboratively with other scholars in the field of Critical Data Studies and cognate fields, as well as computer and information scientists who are engaged in the algorithmic processing of data.
I am a co-founder with Prof. Helen Kennedy and Dr Ysabel Gerrard of the Data Power conference, and on the Editorial Advisory Board of Big Data and Society.
My research has examined:
- Socio-material dynamics that influence the production and use of data, and that enable and restrict the movement of data between different people and organisations. This work was largely conducted on the AHRC funded project ‘The Secret Life of a Weather Datum’, and includes the development of the ‘Data Journeys’ approach and work on the concept of ‘Data Friction’. See Bates et al (2016); Bates (2017); Bates and Goodale (2017) and Bates et al (forthcoming)
- Affective dynamics in cultures of Data Science practice. See Bates and Elmore (2018)
- Socio-cultural biases and transparency in image search results conducted in collaboration with Prof. Paul Clough and Dr Frank Hopfgartner in the Information Retrieval group and Prof. Jahna Otterbacher at the Open University of Cyprus. See Otterbacher et al (2017) and CYCAT project (Horizon 2020)
- Socio-technical approaches for improving crowdworkers’ labour conditions in ongoing research with Dr Alessandro Checco in the Information Retrieval group. See Checco et al (2018)
I am interested in supervising PhD projects that advance the critical study of emerging data and algorithmic practices and flows. This includes, but is not limited to, issues around:
- socio-cultural and/or political economic drivers of emergent practices of data production, processing, distribution and/or use in different contexts
- bias and discrimination in data and algorithmic processing
- cultures of data science practice
- notions of data justice, fairness, accountability and transparency
I am a member of the Digital Societies Research Group and on the steering committee of the Faculty of Social Science Digital Society Network.
CyCAT (Cyprus Centre for Algorithmic Transparency)
European Commission Co-Investigator €999,965 1st October 2018 36 months
The Cyprus Center for Algorithmic Transparency (CyCAT) is hosted at the Open University of Cyprus and is collaborating with four leading universities across Europe and Israel through an H2020 Twinning grant. The aims of the project are to promote digital literacy through raising citizens’ awareness of the ways in which data analytics and algorithmic processes affect their access to information and opportunities, and to develop computational methods, personalized tools, as well as innovative training and education programs that address these issues.
The Secret Life of a Weather Datum
Arts and Humanities Research Council Principal Investigator £79,460 1 January 2014 15 months
The Secret Life of a Weather Datum project developed and piloted the "data journeys" methodology which aims to illuminate the ways in which socio-cultural factors influence how data are produced, used and distributed across different sites of data practice. The project focused specifically on the journey of meteorological data from our local weather station - Sheffield Weston Park - through the Met Office, and on into re-use in climate science and financial markets. We also examined the intersecting journey of data produced by citizen scientists. Throughout these journeys we stopped off at various organisations, projects and communities in order to explore the data practices people were engaged in, the socio-cultural values that frame their data practices, and the public policies that influence data sharing and distribution. You can find out more at lifeofdata.org.uk.
- Journal articles
- Conference proceedings papers
- Website content
- Theses / Dissertations
- Working papers
- ‘Someone like me’ : user experiences of the discussion forums of non-12-step alcohol online support groups, June 2019. Addictive Behaviors, 98. View this article in WRRO
- Introduction to the data power special issue : tactics, access and shaping. Online Information Review, 43(6), 945-951. View this article in WRRO
- Assembling an infrastructure for historic climate data recovery: data friction in practice. Journal of Documentation, 75(4), 791-806. View this article in WRRO
- ‘Berrypicking’ in the formation of ideas about problem drinking amongst users of alcohol online support groups. Information in Contemporary Society, 11420, 806-816. View this article in WRRO
- Community participation in the management of palm leaf manuscripts as Lanna cultural material in Thailand. Journal of Documentation. View this article in WRRO
- Data Power in Material Contexts: Introduction. Television and New Media, 18(8), 701-705. View this article in WRRO
- Making Data Flow for the Climate Risk Market. Television and New Media, 18(8), 753-768. View this article in WRRO
- The politics of data friction. Journal of Documentation, 74(2), 412-429. View this article in WRRO
- Resisting Neoliberalism: The challenge of activist librarianship in English Higher Education. Journal of Documentation, 73(2), 317-335. View this article in WRRO
- Data journeys: Capturing the socio-material constitution of data objects and flows. Big Data & Society, 3(2), 205395171665450-205395171665450. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Co-observing the Weather, Co-predicting the Climate: Human Factors in Building Infrastructures for Crowdsourced Data. Science and Technology Studies, 29(3).
- Developments in LGBTQ provision in secondary school library services since the abolition of Section 28. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 48(3), 269-283. View this article in WRRO
- The strategic importance of information policy for the contemporary neoliberal state: The case of Open Government Data in the United Kingdom. Government Information Quarterly, 31(3), 388-395. View this article in WRRO
- The domestication of open government data advocacy in the United Kingdom: A neo-Gramscian analysis. Policy and Internet, 5(1), 118-137. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO “This is what modern deregulation looks like” : co-optation and contestation in the shaping of the UK’s Open Government Data Initiative. Journal of Community Informatics, 8(2).
- Social reproduction and exclusion in subject indexing: A comparison of public library OPACs and LibraryThing folksonomy. Journal of Documentation, 67(3), 431-448.
- Adversarial Attacks on Crowdsourcing Quality Control. Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, 67, 375-408. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Social and Cultural Biases in Information, Algorithms, and Systems. Online Information Review.
- View this article in WRRO 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 Big data, open data and the climate risk market In Brevini B & Murdock G (Ed.), Carbon Capitalism and Communication (pp. 83-93). Palgrave Macmillan
- Data cultures, power and the city, Data and the City (pp. 189-200). View this article in WRRO
Conference proceedings papers
- Integrating fate/critical data studies into data science curricula: Where are we going and how do we get there?. FAT* 2020 - Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (pp 425-435) View this article in WRRO
- Quality Control Attack Schemes in Crowdsourcing. Proceedings of the Twenty-Eighth International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 10 August 2019 - 16 August 2019.
- Using data journeys to inform research design: Socio-cultural dynamics of patient data flows in the UK healthcare sector. iConference 2019 Proceedings
- View this article in WRRO Affect Dynamics in Data Science Practice. Human-Centred Study of Data Science Work Practices Workshop, CHI 2019, 4 May 2019 - 4 May 2019.
- View this article in WRRO All That Glitters Is Gold - An Attack Scheme on Gold Questions in Crowdsourcing.. HCOMP (pp 2-11)
- The Role of Stories in Three Non-12 Step Alcohol Online Support Groups. Transforming Digital Worlds, Vol. 10766 (pp 126-131), 25 March 2018 - 28 March 2018. View this article in WRRO
- Identifying the Affective Dimension of Data Mining Practice: An Exploratory Study (pp 243-252)
- Community involvement in the Management of Palm Leaf Manuscripts as Lanna Cultural Material in Thailand. iConference 2017 Proceedings (pp 491-497)
- Competent Men and Warm Women: Gender Stereotypes and Backlash in Image Search Results. Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 6 May 2017 - 11 May 2017. View this article in WRRO
- An exploration of the value of collaborative management of palm-leaf manuscripts as Lanna cultural material in libraries and communities in Thailand.. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Asia-Pacific Library and Information Education and Practice Conference (pp 223-228)
- An exploration of the value of a collaborative model of collection management for Lanna cultural material in libraries in Northern Thailand. IConference 2015 Proceedings (pp 1-4)
- Data Journeys as an approach for exploring the socio-cultural shaping of (big) data: the case of climate science in the United Kingdom. Iconference 2015 Proceedings (pp 1-16)
- Mapping Data Journeys: Design for an interactive web site. iConference 2015 Proceedings (pp 1-4)
- View this article in WRRO Information policy in the crises of neoliberalism: the case of Open Government Data in the UK. IAMCR 2013. Dublin
- View this article in WRRO Socio-Technical Transitions Pathways for UK Open Government Data. ACM Web Science 2013
- View this article in WRRO Building consent: strategy and power in the development of the United Kingdom’s Open Government Data initiative. International Political Science Association 22nd World Congress of Political Science. Madrid, 8 July 2012 - 12 July 2012.
- Social Media as a Source of Information: An Exploratory Study of Young Libyans' Perceptions of the Impact of Social Media in Libya during the Period 2011-2015. iConference 2016 Proceedings
- http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2016/01/12/towards-a-critical-data-science-data-and-the-democratic-project/ Towards a critical data science – the complicated relationship between data and the democratic project. Retrieved from
- http://lifeofdata.org.uk/ Life of Data website. Retrieved from
- http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2014/10/02/open-government-data-and-the-neoliberal-state/ The progressive ideals behind Open Government Data are being used to further interests of the neoliberal state. Retrieved from
- http://theconversation.com/big-data-lets-global-corps-bet-on-the-threat-of-climate-change-19501 Big data lets global corps bet on the threat of climate change. Retrieved from
- https://mobilizingideas.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/productive-freedom-and-the-political-economy-of-hacking/ Productive Freedom and the Political Economy of Hacking. Retrieved from
Theses / Dissertations
- Politics of Open Government Data: A Neo-Gramscian Analysis of the United Kingdom's Open Government Data Initiative.
- Data Cultures, Power and the City. Programmable Cities: Data and the City.
- Climate Risk, Big Data and the Weather Market. SPERI, 13.
- Research group
Current PhD students
Ruth Beresford: Algorithmic bias: patterns, consequences and alternatives
Dan Grace: Creating the convivial library: exploring the effect of technology on the public libraries capacity to promote community resilience.
Sally Sanger: Alcohol online support groups: the role of discussion forums in constructing users' understanding of their condition/disease.
Jun Zhang: A study based on the analysis of deploying an integrated smart transportation system within the context of China.
Itzelle Medina-Perea: The socio-cultural life of personal health data flows in the UK healthcare sector.
- Teaching interests
My teaching is research-led and is focused on the development of students’ critical understanding of the social drivers and impacts of emergent data and media practices.
I use a variety of traditional and innovative teaching methods to help students engage with their learning, including making significant use of digital technologies.
I have received a number of teaching grants including a £1500 grant to work collaboratively with international students to produce four teaching case studies about internet use in different countries around the world.
I have presented work on my Data Science teaching at Data Power 2017.
I completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in 2014, and I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority.
- Teaching activities
I co-ordinate and teach two core modules in the School: ‘Data and Society’ on our MSc Data Science and ‘Digital Media and Society’ – an innovative 40-credit UG module that is part of the Faculty of Social Science’s new Digital Media and Society degree that I developed with Prof Helen Kennedy in Sociological Studies.
I am also deputy programme co-ordinator for the MSc Data Science, and in my role a Postgraduate Research Co-Director I run the School’s Doctoral Training in Information Studies module.
- Professional activities
- Co-editor of Online Information Review journal (2016-present)
- Editorial Advisory Board for Big Data and Society
- Co-founder and co-organiser of international Data Power conference since 2015
- AHRC-funded research project - The Secret Life of a Weather Datum - cited by RCUK in their submission to the UK government inquiry on the Big Data Dilemma
- Gave oral evidence as an invited international expert on Open Government Data to a public hearing of the Canadian Federal Parliament
- Invited speaker at ERC funded Data and the City workshop organised by Prof. Rob Kitchin
- Peer reviewer of grant applications and research articles for ESRC, Big Data and Society, Policy and Internet, Social Theory and Health, Government Information Quarterly, Journal of Further and Higher Education, iConference.
- Speaker at various external events including Yorkshire and Humberside Information Governance Group, Department for Work and Pensions, White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership.
- Research has been reported by a number of media outlets, including Forbes, New Statesman, BBC Radio Sheffield.
- Advisory Board for EPSRC funded research project: Everyday Growing Cultures in the North of England: participation, citizenship and local economies