A/Prof Bosch on Social Science One Advisory Committee

9 Aug 2018 - 12:15


CFMS is proud to announce that one of our faculty members, Associate Professor Tanja Bosch, is on Social Science One’s Africa Advisory Committee. SSO has created a unique partnership between academic researchers and private industry to work towards understanding and solving society’s greatest challenges. SSO research aims to benefit the public, academics, and companies. SSO ensures that the public gains societal value from scholarly research, but also that the scientific community, via the support of private firms, can produce social good while protecting firms’ competitive positions.

SSO’s inaugural project on “the effects of social media on democracy and elections” offers researchers privacy-preserving data access from Facebook, funding from NGOs from across the ideological spectrum and a new type of peer pre-review service offered by SSO that speeds up publication and scientific progress.

SSO consists of a commission of senior academics, including some who sign confidentiality agreements and forego grants and publication, acts as a trusted third party with full access at the company. Partnering companies agree to provide the commission access to confidential internal information and answer relevant questions, with the exclusion of information and data which violates privacy, existing legal agreements/obligations, and ongoing investigations. The commission is obligated to report to the public any violation of this agreement by the company.

The commission identifies relevant datasets and writes a series of Requests For Proposals. After scientific and ethical peer review, final decisions are made by SSO, with outside scholars retaining freedom to publish on agree upon topics without company pre-approval. To ensure that the scientific and ethical peer-review processes conform to best academic practices, SSO has contracted with a universally respected independent foundation, the Social Science Research Council, which will provide formal financial discretion and control and make recommendations on all proposals to SSO.

Like editors-in-chief at scholarly journals, SSO decisions falls to the co-chairs, Gary King and Nathaniel Persily, with input from commission members. Commission members such as our A/Prof Bosch, provide advice as issues arise in their areas of expertise, and as sounding boards for ideas and communications; those needing access to private Facebook information sign confidentiality agreements. Commission members help SSO stay in contact with their academic communities by soliciting and listening for suggestions and ideas, and disseminating news about SSO activities. Commission members may also participate in the peer review process of which they are not applicants, and apply for grants that are not in conflict of interest.