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University of Michigan School of Information


DS/CSS Seminar: Deen Freelon

03/11/2021, 02:00 pm - 03:00 pm

Citation inequities in the social sciences: The case of Communication studies

Calls for equity across categories of race, gender, and national identity are nothing new in politics or the
academy. Yet the social sciences continue to marginalize both research on and by members of such
identity categories. To quantify these inequities, I analyze citation patterns from ten prominent journals
in the field of Communication between 2000 and 2019. The data come from Web of Knowledge, and the
analysis focuses on each author’s identity and professional characteristics, including race, gender,
country of employment, and discipline. As this research is currently in progress, the talk will focus on the
methods used to collect and preprocess the data. Also, a preliminary descriptive analysis of gender
disparities in Communication citation practices will be presented. This research offers both a model
methodology and an empirical baseline for measuring inequities in citation practices across disciplines.

Speaker Bio:

Headshot of Deen Freelon

Deen Freelon is an associate professor in the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina. His research covers two major areas of scholarship: 1) political expression through digital media and 2) data science and computational methods for analyzing large digital datasets. He has authored or co-authored more than 30 journal articles, book chapters and public reports, in addition to co-editing one scholarly book. He has served as principal investigator on grants from the Knight Foundation, the Spencer Foundation and the U.S. Institute of Peace. He has written research-grade software to calculate intercoder reliability for content analysis (ReCal), analyze large-scale network data from social media (TSM), and collect data from Facebook (fb_scrape_public). He formerly taught at American University in Washington, D.C.


The University of Michigan Data Science / Computational Social Science faculty host a seminar series that features invited talks, research presentations and informal work-in-progress discussions. A list of the scheduled speakers for Winter 2021 (January-April) is available here

Link to talk.