Twitter: #eurocss

European Symposium Series on Societal Challenges

in Computational Social Science


2018: Bias and Discrimination


Cologne, Germany

December 5th-7th, 2018

Register here



MAIN SYMPOSIUM SUBMISSIONSAugust 1st, 2018 (23.59 Hawaii Standard Time)Deadline for abstract submission
September 8th, 2018Notification of acceptance for main symposium submissions
WORKSHOP AND TUTORIAL PROPOSALSAugust 1st, 2018 (23.59 Hawaii Standard Time)Deadline for workshop and tutorial proposals submission
August 8th, 2018Workshops and tutorials acceptance notification
DATASET CHALLENGE SUBMISSIONSSeptember 1st, 2018 (23.59 Hawaii Standard Time)Dataset challenge submission
September 15th, 2018Dataset challenge notifications
DOCTORAL CONSORTIUM SUBMISSIONSSeptember 1st, 2018 (23.59 Hawaii Standard Time)Doctoral consortium submission
September 15th, 2018Doctoral consortium notification
TRAVEL GRANT APPLICATIONSSeptember 1st, 2018 (23.59 Hawaii Standard Time)Deadline for travel grant applications (for all submission types)
September 8th, 2018Travel grant notifications (main symposium and workshop/tutorials)
September 15th, 2018Travel grant notifications (dataset challenge and doctoral consortium)
SYMPOSIUM DATESDecember 5th, 2018Pre-symposium day (workshops/tutorials/doctoral consortium/dataset challenge)
December 6th-7th, 2018Main symposium


This is the second in a series of three symposia that discuss societal challenges in computational social sciences. This year, the focus will be on “Bias and Discrimination” (Cologne, 2018). The focus of last year was “Inequality and Imbalance” (London, 2017) and the next year’s symposium of this series will focus on “Polarization and Radicalization” (Zurich, 2019).

With these three events we provide a platform to address one of the most pressing challenges in today’s digital society: understanding the role that digital technologies, the Web, and the algorithms used therein play in the mediation and creation of inequalities, discrimination and polarization.

By addressing inequality as the topical issue for the symposium series we intend to explore how CSS can contribute to opening up new ways of thinking about, of measuring, detecting and coping with social inequality, discrimination, and polarization. We will discuss how divides and inequalities are proliferated in digital society, how social cleavages can be observed via web data, how the organizational structure of the web itself generates biases and inequality, and how, in contrast, algorithms and computational tools might help to reduce discrimination and inequality. We will also investigate how bias and unequal social structures foster political tension and polarization, including issues of radicalization and hate.


The Symposium series is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.



The Euro CSS 2018 will be a three-day event consisting of:

  • a two-day, single-track conference featuring a series of invited talks that will provide different perspectives on challenges in the area of Bias and Discrimination
  • a day of multiple satellite events, including workshops and tutorials
  • an open call for contributed presentations that will provide opportunities for computational social scientists to present and discuss their own work
  • an open call for workshop and tutorial organization that will provide opportunities for computational social scientists to gather focus groups around the latest trends in computational social science
  • a doctoral consortium where PhD candidates have the opportunity to present their work and meet other scholars from whom they receive feedback to their current research and guidance on future directions
  • a dataset challenge to encourage creative engagement with the data from different perspectives and dialogue across disciplines
  • plenty of possibilities for interdisciplinary networking (e.g. a science slam supported by RWTH Aachen HumTec Institute)
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Add to My Calendar 2018-12-05 09:00:00 2018-12-07 18:00:00 Cologne/London European Symposium Series on Societal Challenges in Computational Social Science 2018: Bias and Discrimination GESIS and Maternushaus, Cologne GESIS


You can register online via Eventbrite (click here) until November 21st, 2018. Paper/poster submission is not a requirement for attendance.

The registration fee is €50. It covers the participation fee and coffee breaks for the pre-symposium day (December 5th, 2018) as well as participation fee, coffee breaks and lunch for the two main symposium days (December 6th-7th, 2018). On the pre-symposium day lunch on own expenses will be available at the venue. To secure a place for the pre-symposium day, don’t forget to register early – a number of free registrations be given on a first come, first served basis.

Cancellation Policy

Attendees can receive refunds up to 9 days before the event starts (November 26th, 2018). Cancellation must be made in writing by sending an email to



Luca Maria Aiello, NOKIA Bell Labs Matteo Magnani, Uppsala University
Fred Amblard, University Toulouse 1 Capitole Yelena Mejova, Qatar Computing Research Institute
Jisun An, Hamad Bin Khalifa University Stasa Milojevic, Indiana University
Pablo Aragón, Universitat Pompeu Fabra John Mohr, University of California, Santa Barbara
Martin Atzmueller, Tilburg University Sophie Muetzel, University of Lucerne
Pablo Barberá, New York University Sanna Ojanpera, University of Oxford
Andrea Baronchelli, City, University of London Elisa Omodei, UNICEF
Cody Buntain, University of Maryland Sarah Otner, Imperial College Business School
Michele Catasta, Stanford University Symeon Papadopoulos, Information Technologies Institute
Fabio Celli, University of Trento Christian Pentzold, Chemnitz University of Technology
Rense Corten, Utrecht University Alessandro Provetti, Birkbeck, University of London
Michele Coscia, Harvard University Hemant Purohit, George Mason University
Sebastian Deri, Cornell University Cornelius Puschmann, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society
Victor M Eguiluz, Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Physics and Complex Systems (CSIC-UIB) Miriam Redi, Yahoo
Emilio Ferrara, University of Southern California Luca Rossi, IT University of Copenhagen
Vanessa Frias-Martinez, University of Maryland Camille Roth, National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)
David Garcia, ETH Zurich Giancarlo Ruffo, University of Turin
Kiran Garimella, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Rossano Schifanella, University of Turin
Mathieu Génois, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences Ingo Scholtes, ETH Zurich
Kristina Gligoric, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Xiaoling Shu, University of California, Davis
Przemyslaw Grabowicz, Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS) Emma Spiro, University of Washington
Raphael H. Heiberger, University of Bremen Sebastian Stier, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences
Laura Hollink, Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica Carmen Vaca Ruiz, Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL)
Geert-Jan Houben, Delft University of Technology George Valkanas, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Andreas Kaltenbrunner, Eurecat Dani Villatoro, IIIA, Spanish Council for Scientific Research
Kazuhiro Kazama, Wakayama University Ingmar Weber, Qatar Computing Research Institute
Brian Keegan, University of Colorado Boulder Robert West, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences Gregor Wiedemann, Leipzig University
Andreas Koch, University of Salzburg Christo Wilson, Northeastern University
Srijan Kumar, Standford University Arkaitz Zubiaga, University of Warwick
Anders Larsson, University of Oslo


Preliminary Schedule

Please note that the schedule is subject to change.


Venue: Cologne Marriott Hotel

8:30 – 9:30

Dataset Challenge, Doctoral Consortium, Morning Workshops & Tutorials

Dataset Challenge
Doctoral Consortium (Part I)
Workshop:Linguistic Temporal Trajectory Analysis – A Dynamic Approach to Text Data (Part I)
Workshop:1st Workshop on Reframing Research (RefResh 2018) (Part I)
Workshop: 1-Click Reproducibility: Lessons Learned and Best Practices in the Computational Social Sciences
Tutorial:Computational Argumentation: Computational Analysis of Argumentation in Natural Language Text

9:30 – 13:00

Lunch Break

13:00 – 14:30

Doctoral Consortium, Afternoon Workshops & Tutorials

Doctoral Consortium (Part II)
Workshop: Linguistic Temporal Trajectory Analysis – A Dynamic Approach to Text Data (Part II)
Workshop: 1st Workshop on Reframing Research (RefResh 2018) (Part II)
Workshop: Biases in Social Computing Data and Technology
Workshop: Synchronous Online Experiments
Tutorial: textnets. An R Package for Automated Text Analysis Using Network Techniques

14:30 – 18:00

Science Slam

Venue: Die Wohngemeinschaft



Venue: Maternushaus

8:15 – 9:30



9:30 – 9:45

Invited Talk

9:45 – 10:20

Session 1: Spotlight Talks for Posters

10:20 – 11:00

Coffee Break

11:00 – 11:30

#eurocss Special Guests Short Talks: Sandra González-Bailón & Jürgen Pfeffer

11:30 – 12:10

Session 2: Spotlight Talks for Posters



12:10 – 12:50

Lunch and Poster Session

12:50 – 14:15

Session 3

14:15 – 15:45

Coffee Break

15:45 – 16:15

Session 4

16:15 – 17:15

Invited Talk

17:15 – 18:05

Informal Evening Event

18:30 – 21:00


Venue: Maternushaus

9:30 – 9:45

Invited Talk

9:45 – 10:20

Presentation by Winner of Dataset Challenge

10:20 – 10:30

Session 7

10:30 – 11:00

Coffee Break

11:00 – 11:30

Session 8

11:30 – 12:30

Lunch and Poster Session

12:30 – 14:00

Session 9

14:00 – 15:30

Coffee Break

15:30 – 16:00

Session 10

16:00 – 16:30

Invited Talk

16:30 – 17:05


17:05 – 17:15


Full Day

Workshop: 1st Workshop on Reframing Research (RefResh 2018) Click for more details
Organized by Andrea Mannocci (Open University), Francesco Osborne (Open University) & Paolo Manghi (Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell’Informazione (ISTI)

Workshop: Linguistic Temporal Trajectory Analysis – A Dynamic Approach to Text Data Click for more details
Organized by Bennett Kleinberg (University College London & University of Amsterdam), Isabelle van der Vegt (University College
London) & Maximilian Mozes (Technical University of Munich Germany)


Tutorial: textnets. An R Package for Automated Text Analysis Using Network Techniques < Click for more details
Organized by Friedolin Merhout (Duke University), Taylor Brown (Duke University) & Marcus Mann (Duke University)

Tutorial: Computational Argumentation: Computational Analysis of Argumentation in Natural Language Text Click for more details
Organized by Henning Wachsmuth (Paderborn University)

Workshop: 1-Click Reproducibility: Lessons Learned and Best Practices in the Computational Social Sciences
Organized by Arnim Bleier (GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences)

Workshop: Synchronous Online Experiments 
Organized by Stefano Balietti (Microsoft Research)

Workshop: Biases in Social Computing Data and Technology
Organized by Jana Diesner (University of Illinois)


Analysing Biases in Perception of Truth in News Stories and Their Implications for Fact Checking
Mahmoudreza Babaei, Juhi Kulshrestha, Abhijnan Chakraborty, Elissa Redmiles, Meeyoung Cha and Krishna Gummadi

Analyzing Racist Discourse on Facebook
Irfan Chaudhry and Anatoliy Gruzd

Biases in Bibliometric Network Data and the Measurement of Triadic Closure
Jinseok Kim and Jana Diesner

Combining Facebook and Traditional Survey Data to Nowcast Migrant Stocks in the United States
Monica Alexander, Kivan Polimis and Emilio Zagheni

Demonstrating Real-time, Transparency of Paid-for Political Ads on Social Media during a Political Campaign – A Case Study of 2018 Irish Referendum on the Eight Amendment
Liz Carolan, Craig Dwyer, Diane Payne and Killian McLoughlin

Ethics is a Smokescreen. Why Socially Just AI Innovation Requires a Rethinking of Technology,
Data and Society Beyond Ethics

Mona Sloane

Examining the Influence of Pro-vaccine and Anti-vaccine Videos on YouTube
Yunju Song and Anatoliy Gruzd

Finding Gender Bias in Web-based, High-trust Interactions
Pasquale De Meo, Iacopo Pozzana, Ylli Prifti and Alessandro Provetti

Fooling with Facts: Studying Anchoring Bias through a Large-scale Online Experiment
Jannie Reher and Taha Yasseri

Gender Bias in Sharenting: Both Men and Women Mention Sons More Often Than Daughters on Social Media
Elizaveta Sivak and Ivan Smirnov

Gender, Resources, and Status: An Empirically Grounded Model of Status Construction Theory
André Grow

Hosting the Comfortably Exotic: Cosmopolitan Aspirations in the Sharing Economy
Isak Ladegaard

Identifying the Narrative Styles of YouTube’s Vloggers
Maximilian Mozes, Isabelle van der Vegt and Bennett Kleinberg

Media Bias Monitor: Quantifying Biases of Social Media News Outlets at Large-Scale
Filipe N. Ribeiro, Lucas Henrique, Fabricio Benevenuto, Abhijnan Chakraborty, Juhi Kulshrestha, Mahmoudreza Babaei and Krishna P. Gummadi

Perceptions of Information Bias and Inequity Among Black Wikipedians
Boryung Ju and Brenton Stewart

Predicting Political Behavior and Attitudes Using Digital Trace Data
Ruben Bach, Christoph Kern, Ashley Amaya, Florian Keusch, Frauke Kreuter, Jan Hecht and Jonathan Heinemann

Simulating Income Distribution Inequalities in Ride-sharing Services
Eszter Bokanyi and Aniko Hannak

The Politics of Social Media Images: Potentials and Biases of Image Recognition Algorithms
for Studying Congressional Behavior

Carsten Schwemmer, Emily Bello-Pardo, Carly Knight, Stan Oklobdzija, Iacopo Pozzana, Martijn Schoonvelde and Jeff Lockhart

The Role of Suspended Accounts in Political Discussion on Social Media: Analysis of the 2017 French, UK and German Elections
Silvia Majo-Vazquez, Mariluz Congosto, Tom Nicholls and Rasmus Nielsen

Understanding How News Outlets Target Audiences
Erick Elejalde, Leo Ferres and Rossano Schifanella

Understanding the Linguistic Trajectory of Far-right Abusive Language
Bennett Kleinberg, Isabelle van der Vegt and Paul Gill

Urban Mobility and Gender Through Mobile Phone Data
Ciro Cattuto, Laetitia Gauvin, Michele Tizzoni, Andre Panison, Simone Piagesi, Leo Ferres, Natalia Adler, Stefaan Verhulst and Andrew Young

Using Internet Search Data to Examine the Relationship between Anti-Muslim and Pro-ISIS Sentiment in U.S. counties
Friedolin Merhout, Christopher Bail and Peng Ding

Vectors Against Social Discrimination
Orestis Papakyriakopoulos, Fabienne Marco and Simon Hegelich


A Socio-computational Examination of Gender Bias in Science
Brett Buttliere, Seren Yenikent and Kseniia Zviagintseva

Algorithms, Fairness, and Race: Comparing Human Recidivism Risk Assessment with the COMPAS Algorithm
Arpita Biswas, Marta Kołczyńska, Saana Rantanen and Polina Rozenshtein

Analyzing the Starbucks Arrest Controversy on Twitter
Rick Galeano, Katrin Galeano, Billy Spann and Dr. Nitin Agarwal

Are Women Present, Absent or in Disguise? Analyzing Gender Bias in the Spanish Wikipedia
Julià Minguillón, Julio Meneses, Sergi Fàbregues, Eduard Aibar and Núria Ferran-Ferrer

Assessing the Bias of the New Facebook API
Justin Chun-Ting Ho

Beyond Cyber-hate: Micro-determinants of ‘Emotionality’ of Digitally Mediated Interactions
Sławomir Mandes and Maja Sawicka

Bias in Information Flows: A Formal Typology and Empirical Investigation of Platforms’ Power
Pascal Jürgens and Birgit Stark

Big Data and India: Does Aadhaar Violate Right to Privacy?
Rajesh Kumar

Classifying Incivility in User Comments
Anke Stoll and Marc Ziegele

Gender Bias in Academic Publishing: Assessing the Gender Gap in Computational Social Science
Lisa Hehnke

Gender Related Participation Differences in Parliament: ‘To what extent do the speeches of women and men in the German Bundestag differ regarding to frequency, topic and gender neutrality?’
Gina-Gabriela Görner and Josef Holnburger

Geographical Trends in Research Conferences: Closed Clubs or Open Houses?
Andrea Mannocci, Francesco Osborne and Enrico Motta

Hate on the Internet
Natalie Alkiviadou and Andreas Andreou

How Political Actions Affect Wikipedia: The Case of the Turkish Wikipedia Ban
Seren Yenikent and Joachim Kimmerle

Impact of Recruiters’ Ideology on Gender, Caste, and Religion Based Discrimination in Online Job Process
Faiz Ahamad and Saista Perween

It’s All About Context: Selective Exposure and Fragmentation in the Swiss Political Twittersphere
Aleksandra Urman

Mapping out Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) on Twitter: The Case of India
Priya Kumar, Anatoliy Gruzd and Philip Mai

Media Bias Towards African-Americans Before and After the Charlottesville Rally – A Word Embeddings Approach
Julia Leschke, Manasa Rath and Carsten Schwemmer

Media-related Biases Before the 2018 Presidential Elections in Russia: A Comparison of Public
Agenda Issues Owned by V. Putin and A. Navalny

Kseniia Semykina

Mitigating Confirmation Bias on Twitter by Recommending Opposing Views
Elisabeth Lex, Mario Wagner and Dominik Kowald

Model-centric Explanation as a Tool to Combat Algorithmic Bias. Perspective of the European Law
Joanna Mazur

On the Interplay of Political Affiliations, Social Media Consumption and Devaluation of Minorities
Birte Schiffhauer and Madlen Preuß

Political Perceptions of Us vs. Them and the Influence of Digital Media Usage
Laura Burbach, Martina Ziefle and André Calero Valdez

Raising Awareness Among HR Stakeholders Against Discrimination in HR Analytics
Tina Arens

Ride with Me – Ethnic Discrimination, Social Markets and the Sharing Economy
Jasper Tjaden, Carsten Schwemmer and Menusch Khadjavi

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Perceived Encounters and Confidence of Detecting Misinformation in Europe
Kadri Rootalu, Krista Lepik and Ragne Kõuts

Social and Contextual Biases in Tweeting. An Approach Based on Geographical Inference
Gilles Bastin

Social Contagion in Ethnic Abusive Wearing During Periods of Increased Terrorist Activity
Christoph Spörlein, Elmar Schlueter and Pamina Noack

Studying Confirmation Bias in Hashtag Usage on Twitter
Dominik Kowald and Elisabeth Lex

Systematic Literature Review on Bias in Algorithmic Filtering
Aliya Iskenderova and Emese Domahidi

Testing Focus Theory on Online Data: The Case of Sentiment Analysis
Johannes Zschache and Martin Potthast

The (not so) Dynamic Nature of Political Partisanship: Insights from Italian Elections
Luca Rossi and Fabio Giglietto

The Determinants of Reputation Effects in C2C Online Markets: A Meta-analysis
Ruohuang Jiao, Wojtek Przepiorka and Vincent Buskens

There Can be Only One Truth: Ideological Segregation and Online News Communities in Ukraine
Mykola Makhortykh and Aleksandra Urman

Training Non-discriminatory Models
Przemyslaw Grabowicz and Luis Lafuerza

Uncovering Bias and Discrimination in Training Corpora for Machine Learning
Susan Leavy, Gerardine Meaney and Derek Greene

Useful and not so Useful Definitions of Discrimination by Human and Non-Human Algorithms
Sebastian Wenz

Voicing the Mute: Digital Culture and Dalit Activism in India


In the evening of December 5th, 2018, we welcome you to join us at the first Euro CSS Science Slam, a fun event with interesting science talks. The event will take place in Die Wohngemeinschaft. More details will be coming soon.


Call for Abstracts (Talks or Posters)

We welcome submissions in the intersection of the social sciences and the computer sciences, including (a) new approaches for understanding social phenomena and addressing societal challenges, (b) improving methods for computational social science, (c) and understanding the influence of the Web and digital technologies on society.

For the 2nd Symposium we are especially interested in:

  • Algorithmic bias
  • Gender related discrimination
  • Ethnic discrimination
  • Religious discrimination
  • Creation and confirmation of stereotypes
  • Unequal structures and social behavior / political action
  • Human-machine communication and manipulation thereof (e.g. effects of social bots)
  • Manipulation and gaming of algorithms
  • Effects of recommender systems and personalization
  • Power of predictions
  • Social engineering and reverse engineering
  • Communicative biases in social media
  • Cognitive biases
  • Biases in Web data
  • Missing data
  • Inequality and biases in social networks
  • Mediating discrimination via computational methods
  • Effects of large data-sets on understanding biases
  • Approaches for removing biases
  • Transparency and open code

Other related topics are explicitly welcome.

Submission Guidelines

Extended abstracts should be submitted in English in pdf format to the EasyChair submission system:

Submissions should be abstracts of approx. 2-3 pages (up to 1000 words plus references and figures) summarizing the work to be presented. We encourage researchers to also submit abstracts of work that has already been published and/or submit work in progress. Please give a sufficiently detailed description of your work and your methods so we can adequately assess its relevance. Please consider that reviewers will be from an interdisciplinary community.

Each extended abstract will be reviewed by a Program Committee composed of experts in computational social science. Accepted submissions will be non-archival, i.e. there are no proceedings. Submissions will mostly be evaluated based on relevance and the potential to stimulate interesting discussions.

Submissions may be accepted as talks or posters.


Call for Workshops and Tutorials

Workshops will give the opportunity to meet and discuss issues with a selected focus, providing an excellent forum for exploring emerging approaches and task areas and bridging the gaps between the social science and technology fields.

Tutorials will be an opportunity for cross-disciplinary engagement and a deeper understanding of new tools, techniques, and research methodologies. Tutorials should provide either an in-depth look at an emerging technique or software package or a broad summary of an important direction in the field.

Members of all segments of the social media research community are encouraged to submit proposals. To foster interaction and exchange of ideas, the workshops will be kept small, with 30 participants maximum.

Important Dates

Workshops and tutorials proposal submission deadline: August 1st, 2018

Workshops and tutorials acceptance notification: August 8th, 2018

Workshops and tutorials day: December 5th, 2018

Submission Guidelines

Please submit your workshop or tutorial proposal by sending a PDF file via email to

Proposals for workshops and tutorials should be no more than three (3) pages in length (10pt, single column, with reasonable margins), written in English, and should contain the following:

  • A concise title
  • The names, affiliations, and contact information of the organizers
  • Planned duration of the event (half-day or full-day meeting)
  • A short abstract describing the scope and main objective of the event
  • A description of the proposed event format and a detailed list of proposed activities

Workshops and tutorials will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Timeliness of the topic
  • Potential to attract the interest of researchers in computer science and social/organizational sciences
  • Promotion of activities that are different from the classic mini-conference format; those include challenges, games, interactive sessions, brainstorming and networking.
  • Involvement people of different backgrounds in the organizing committee
  • Addressing topics at the intersection of different disciplines


Call for Doctoral Consortium

This year the symposium will also feature a doctoral consortium, which will take place on the pre-symposium day December 5th, 2018.
PhD candidates from all disciplines that work on topics related to computational social science are welcome. We are delighted to have two distinguished researchers acting as mentors during the event: Sandra González-Bailón and Jürgen Pfeffer.

If you are interested in connecting with other PhD candidates in the field and receiving feedback on your PhD topic, please consider applying for the doctoral consortium by submitting a description of your work. Based on the submissions we will select participants to present their work in the consortium meeting and to participate in discussions and mentoring sessions. We are interested in all topics that fit into computational social science, the topic does not have to be directly related to this year’s symposium theme “bias and discrimination”.

Submission Guidelines

Applications should be submitted via Easychair:
They should be PDF files of up to approx. 1000 words, including the following information:

  • an abstract of the PhD thesis topic including information about the research question, applied methods and the current state of progress.
  • a short paragraph about the applicant’s biography
  • a paragraph on open questions that the applicant would want to discuss with experts in the field

Deadline for submissions is September 1st, 2018.

Travel Grants

Participants presenting in the doctoral consortium can also apply for travel grants. The number of grants as well as the amount per grant is limited. Please see more detailed information here.


Call for Dataset Challenge

For the first Dataset Challenge as part of our European Symposium on Societal Challenges in CSS, we invite researchers and practitioners from the spectrum of Social and Computational Sciences to approach a common dataset. The aim of this challenge is to encourage creative engagement with data from pluralistic perspectives in order to foster dialogue across disciplines. We envision that this challenge will lead to fruitful, in-depth discussions during the symposium, as participants will have a shared basis through interaction with the dataset(s), but varying ideas of where to go with it.

The research questions and methods applied to the dataset(s) can be drawn from the broad spectrum of computational social science. They should ideally be related to this year’s symposium topic “bias and discrimination” and approach new ways of learning about bias, be it by putting forward new research designs and questions, or by applying state-of-the-art methods to identify data patterns that can inform theory building. Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Comparisons of user/political actor behaviour
  • Unequal structures and political action
  • Biases in Web data
  • Missing data
  • Coverage bias on different platforms / through different collection methods

We ask participants of the dataset challenge to be creative in their approach to the data.

The work presented at the symposium can be early stage, but should be methodically sound and provide either preliminary insights into an interesting research question or first inductively-reached conclusions of systematic patterns of bias in the dataset. These can also be on a meta-level or may be designated to positioning the work in broader theoretical contexts, e.g., about biases in the data collection. We especially invite inventive combinations with other datasets (e.g., digital trace data, survey data, multimedia data, multilingual data, data from other case studies).

Submissions selected by our review committee will be presented in a special dataset challenge session at the pre-symposium day (December 5th, 2018). After the presentations, participants (and audience members) are invited to engage in discourse about the presented approaches and possible future work and collaborations.

A jury will select the best presentation (including any created resources, such as secondary datasets or analysis code) to be awarded the very first Euro CSS Dataset Challenge Award of 500 Euros sponsored by EPJ Data Science.

Submission Guidelines

Extended abstracts of work in progress or completed projects based on the suggested dataset(s) should be submitted in English in PDF format via the EasyChair submission system:

Submissions should be abstracts of approx. 2-3 pages (maximum up to 1000 words plus references and figures).

The abstract submissions will be evaluated based on originality and the potential to stimulate interesting discussions, but should also consider the feasibility of the proposed idea. Please consider that reviewers will be from an interdisciplinary community, therefore describe your ideas, approaches and potential complementary datasets in sufficient detail.

Deadline for submissions to the dataset challenge is September 1st, 2018. The final work will be presented at the symposium.

Please see the additional information for how to apply to travel grants here.

The Datasets

The following datasets all relate to the topic of political communication in Germany, particularly around the German federal election which took place in September 2017. Participants of the challenge should make use of one or more of the main datasets listed below and are encouraged to combine them or compare them among each other. Additional datasets listed further below may also be used, as well as any other datasets of the participants’ choice (qualitative, quantitative, textual, multimedia, etc.).

Main Datasets

(participants must choose at least one of these – or combine them with other datasets)

1. Algorithmwatch’s donated search results dataset for the German Federal Elections 2017

How similar are the results of Google searches for the names of political parties and candidates for different users? What role does personalisation play in these differences?

The Datenspende: BTW17 is a crowdsourced project which is a cooperation of AlgorithmWatch with media regulatory authorities of the German state and other partners.

Through a browser plugin, users donate their search result data to the project. The plugin conducts searches (on Google Web search and Google News search) for a fixed set of search terms (described below) through the browser of each participant and returns the first page of search results back to AlgorithmWatch’s servers. In addition to the search results, the approximate location of the user (city-level), the time of the query and whether the user is logged into their Google account or not (but no personally identifiable information) is also logged.

More than 4000 participants have donated more than 5 million search results in the period around the German federal elections of 2017. Anonymized search results data has been made publicly available.

Search terms

The search terms comprise of candidate names or party names / abbreviations. The exact list of search terms (two types):

Important politicians:
‘Angela Merkel’, ‘Martin Schulz’, ‘Christian Lindner’, ‘Katrin Goering-Eckardt’, ‘Cem Özdemir’, ‘Sahra Wagenknecht’, ‘Dietmar Bartsch’, ‘Alice Weidel’, ‘Alexander Gauland’

Major parties:
‘CDU’, ‘CSU’, ‘SPD’, ‘FDP’, ‘Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen’, ‘Die Linke, ‘AFD’

Data and its format

The search data for each day can be downloaded as a 7z-packed file from

It is formatted as json objects consisting of two parts:

(i) Search queries made at day X: Each query includes information about the type of search (web or news), location, login status, language, search term, timestamp and the result hash.

(ii) List of search results: Multiple queries could lead to the same list of search results being shown to the users. Therefore the result hash in the query (described above) identifies the exact list of search results shown to the users.

More information about the data formats can be found at:

First publications on the data are listed here:

2. – All members of German parliaments and their votes + more

An API is provided to query several aspects of politicians’ and parties’ metadata in the German Bundestag (BT) and the German state parliaments. While the time range varies, BT votes are available from 2005 and for most state parliaments at least for the last couple of years. Information is available about all elected officials in these parliaments, their metadata and their voting behavior in all the polls.

The general description of the possible API calls can be found at: (EN w/ Gtranslate).

Below we outline some of the important details and options for the different API calls (some of which are not explained exhaustively on the website): (.xml also possible) provides a good entry point as it gets information about all parliaments – per legislature – and allows to get all that parliament’s deputies, candidates, constituencies, polls and committees in separate calls either by name or uuid (See individual “parliaments” and then “datasets” entries under the json root node). Importantly, note that all calls for these lists have also subset methods (defined in the “meta” header”) that lets you dive deeper into the data. for instance retrieves all polls in the BT with metadata (such as a “topics” field, which comes from a fixed category vocabulary) and votes per party, which can be expanded to votes per individal member via the …polls.json?subsets=votes call.

Detailed information about individual politicans can also be retrieved, for instance via

Apart from official parliamentary process data there is also additional data on questions asked by users to politicians on the platform itself, which in many cases have been answered by the politicians themselves.

3. Social media content generated by German politicians during the German federal election 2017 (BTW17)

This dataset contains results from the social media monitoring for the German federal election campaign 2017. The project collected the tweets of political candidates, organizations and other gatekeepers, as well as the engagement of users with these contents in the form of retweets and @-mentions. In addition, all messages on Twitter containing at least one keyword denoting central political topics were also collected. All data was publicly available at the time of data collection. The dataset covers the time period between July and October 2017.

This dataset contains 22,123,230 tweet IDs linked to 2517 politician and 444 organization profiles. Full texts and metadata for these tweet IDs can be retrieved via the Twitter API. This can for example be done with this tool, requiring only moderate technical expertise: Additionally, we can provide the full (mostly German) text and metadata for a random subset of 50,000 tweets upon request. While there are also 434 Facebook profile links in the dataset, text content of posts are unfortunately not available from us at this time.

A detailed description of the collection process can be found here:

And the dataset can be found here:

Auxiliary datasets (may complement the main datasets)

For German politicians in the Bundestag, offers CSV lists per legislature period plus metadata, including

– biographical data

– social media profile links (Twitter, FB, Youtube,…)

– external identifiers (Wikidata/Wikipedia, gnd, viaf, …) Wikidata for instance has more structured information about these politicians, including links to their respective Wikipedia pages.

There is even a python library you might want to use


This initiative collects all talk topics and corresponding minutes from the Bundestag sessions 2013-2017 in easily accessible formats and even offers an API for easy access.

Description: (EN w/ Gtranslate)

Data: (EN w/ Gtranslate)

For example,

has all the discussion points for different days in the Bundestag, with predefined categories for most points and these can be linked to the actual utterances of individual politicians via Politicians are also explicitly linked to profiles. An API for most up-to-date data is also available and a Jupyter Notebook explaining the access can be found at:


Other potentially relevant datasets:

Any other relevant dataset that you can find

You are encouraged to use other datasets that you can combine with the main datasets provided. Additional datasets should optimally be available under an open license at the time of presenting at the event – or they should at least be recreatable with reasonable effort.

How to join these datasets

Linking the provided datasets can be most easily done via

  • Parties: these names are mostly constant (either abbreviations or full names), apart from changes in the name of “Die Linke” from a merger of two parties in 2007; as well as ‘Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen’, which in some cases is written as only ‘Die Grünen’ (  or ‘Grüne’ (see BTW17 Codebook). Note that “fraktionslos” (”independent” / “without party affiliation”) is also contained in some datasets.
  • Politicians: first name, last name, birth year, gender are contained in 2 of the 3 main datasets (with the nine names in the Algorithmwatch dataset easily mappable by hand) and constitute composite unique keys in almost all cases (if not, this data provides some disambiguation for changed names/ writing styles).

Furthermore, other fields like “constituency” etc. offer rather straightforward linking opportunities as well.

FAQ / assistance

For any questions related to technical aspects, data structure and especially German language that might come up with these datasets, please do not hesitate to contact us! We chose to put the focus on German political data because we think it is underexplored with CSS methods, at the same time holding very interesting potential insights into biases in political processes and communication. We are aware of the language barrier but are confident that most of the structured and even textual data can still be useful even to non-German-speakers.

Please feel free to use our Google Group / mailing list “CSSnet” for discussions about the dataset challenge, for looking for potential collaborations, or to ask questions to the community:!forum/cssnet

Specific questions can also be sent to us directly at


Science Slam

A Science Slam is an epic scientific event where scientists compete with short talks on their research. It’s just like a poetry slam, but with science instead of poems. Slammers are completely free to do whatever they want on stage, everything is allowed including slides, games, the more creative, the better!

The only two rules are:

1) The topic of the slam has to be related to data science / computational social science or to social media, online data or digital behavioral data, and

2) Presentations should not take more than 8 minutes.

The EuroCSS Science Slam will take place in the evening of December 5th in Die Wohngemeinschaft ( To present, send an email to with a short proposal of your topic for the slam and we will contact you.

We will choose the best slammer candidates, based on (i) the scientific quality, on (ii) the novelty of the topic, and on (iii) the potential for giving an engaging talk.

Submission deadline: November 1, 2018

The Science Slam is supported by HumTec (Human Technology Center), RWTH Aachen University.



Pre-Symposium Day Venue: The Marriott Hotel

The Marriott Hotel is a very modern and stylish location within walking distance to the Cologne Central Station, the Rhine and the Cologne Cathedral.

How to find the Cologne Marriott Hotel
Johannisstrasse 76-80
50668 Cologne

The Marriott Hotel is located in the centre of Cologne near the Musical Dome.

Leave Cologne Central Station (“Köln Hauptbahnhof”) via the exit Breslauer Platz. On your right you will see the large blue Musical Dome. At the opposite roundabout just keep straight on and follow the street Johannisstraße. After a few meters you will see the Marriott Hotel on your right.

Main Symposium Venue: Maternushaus

Maternushaus is a conference hotel located in the center of Cologne with two lecture halls, several bright and friendly seminar rooms, comprehensive technical infrastructure, plenty of exhibition space for posters, access for disabled visitors and inviting inner courtyards, which offers a singular atmosphere for hosting the symposium.

How to find Maternushaus
Kardinal-Frings-Str. 1-3
50668 Cologne

Maternushaus is a 10-minute walk from Cologne Central Station (“Köln Hauptbahnhof”). Take the exit at the Cathedral side and go right to the taxi stand. Walk down the street “Dompropst-Ketzer-Straße” and keep going. Turn right after the fourth crossing into “Börsenplatz”, and then follow the street signs directing you to “Maternushaus Kongress”.

Stations nearby: Appellhofplatz and Cologne Central Station (“Hbf Köln / Köln Hauptbahnhof”)

Science Slam Venue: Die Wohngemeinschaft

Die Wohngemeinschaft is a popular hostel with a CaféBar and creative spaces in Cologne.

How to find Die Wohngemeinschaft
Richard-Wagner-Straße 39
50674 Cologne

You can reach Die Wohngemeinschaft by metro (U-Bahn). It is a 3-minute walk from the station “Moltkestraße” or 6-minute walk from the station “Rudolfplatz”. Alternatively, you can walk from the Cologne Marriott Hotel to Die Wohngemeinschaft for 30 minutes.

How to Get to Cologne & Getting Around in Cologne

Cologne/Bonn Airport (CGN): Approximately 15 minutes to Cologne Central Station by train

Frankfurt am Main Airport (FRA): Approximately 60 minutes to Cologne Central Station by Intercity-Express (ICE)

Düsseldorf Airport (DUS): Approximately 40 min. to Cologne Central Station by train

Cologne has a well developed public transport network. For updated timetable information, please click here to check.

Bus, metro and tram tickets are sold on a regional zonal tariff basis. The city of Cologne, Cologne/Bonn Airport, Cologne Central Station, and Maternushaus are all located in zone 1b. A single ticket in zone 1b costs €2.80. However, if your journey is less than four stops you can buy a cheaper “KurzstreckenTicket” (Short Trip Ticket) for €1.90.

Tickets are available for one person or for groups of up to five, and for one or four journey(s), or as a day ticket. Other tickets (weekly/monthly pass) are available, but only valid from Monday to Sunday or from the first to the last day of the month – not when you first use the ticket. With the KölnCard, tourists can use public transport for 24 or 48 hours.

Ticket vending machines are available on buses, metro and trams, and at most stations. However, some machines only accept coins or EC cards. Tickets bought here are automatically validated. If you purchase your ticket at a sales outlet, please validate it as soon as you enter the vehicle by using the red validating machine.

For more on visiting Cologne. check the website of Cologne Tourism.

Travel Grants

Due to the generous funding by Volkswagen Foundation we are able to offer a limited number of travel grants to researchers whose submissions are accepted for the symposium (presenters of talks or posters at the main symposium, workshop or tutorial organizers, participants of doctoral consortium and dataset challenge).

Travel grant recipients will be selected based on academic excellence, financial needs and diversity (e.g. gender, geographical and disciplinary diversity).

To apply for a travel grant please send an email with the subject “Travel Grant” to including the following information: a) your submission number in EasyChair or the title of your submitted workshop/tutorial, b) your contact details, c) your motivation for the grant application and d) whether you will still attend the symposium without a travel grant.

Travel grants will be awarded as lump sums, the amount to be awarded will be based on the country of the awardee’s affiliation.
Grants will be paid out after the conference.

The grants aim to especially support attendees with limited travel resources and attendees from countries where computational social science is not yet well established. We acknowledge that there may be more meritorious applications than we will be able to award and support.

Deadline for travel grant applications is September 1st, 2018 (for all submission types). Late applications cannot be considered.

Visa Support

Letters of support can be requested by accepted European Symposium Series on Societal Challenges in Computational Social Science authors or registrants with a completed registration with payment. If you are attending the European Symposium and require a letter of support, please send the following information in an email with the subject “Visa Support” to

  • First/Given Name:
  • Family/Last Name:
  • Position:
  • Organization:
  • Department:
  • Address:
  • City:
  • Zip/Postal Code:
  • Country:
  • Email:
  • Are you an author of a paper?
  • Paper title:
  • If not accepted author, Registration Confirmation Nr.:











Cologne Marriott Hotel
Johannisstrasse 76-80
50668 Cologne

Kardinal-Frings-Str. 1-3
50668 Cologne



Organizing Team

+49 (0221) 47694-254


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