Zhang Lun and Winson’s Article to appear in IPM

June 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Publications 

The article entitled as “Structurally embedded news consumption on mobile news applications” was accepted for publication at Information Processing and Management, an SSCI journal in Information Science and Library Science. This study examines the evolution of diversity of individuals’ news consumption and identifies the factors that underlie such evolution. A decreasing trend in news consumption diversity is observed among users. The news consumption diversity of individuals is positively related to global information diversity. This study complements traditional motivation-driven perspectives of news consumption by mining the structural antecedents of news consumption diversity and further emphasizes the social implications of mobile news technology.

The Lab has cohosted the 3rd Data Journalism Competition in China

May 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

data journalismCo-hosted by a dozen online media and universities including Web Mining Lab at City University of Hong Kong, the 2017 Data Journalism Competition is open for public entries from May 1 to Aug 15, 2017. Students of undergraduate and post-graduate programs around the world can form teams to participate (registered here). There are two categories of competition, including Data News Reports or Data Research Report.

The organizers of the Competition provide all teams a series of real world data on geolocation, weather, housing price, healthcare cost, and movie box office records, to facilitate the design and production of news/research reports.

The top 10 entries will be awarded as follows:


N of Awards

Cash per Award (RMB)

Grand Award



Data News Award 1st Class



Data News Award 2nd Class



Data News Award 3rd Class



Data Research Award



The results of the Competition will be announced at the Conclusion Ceremony at Wuhan University in Nov 2017.

Call for Papers:A Special Issue of Asian Journal of Communication

April 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Publications 

A Special Issue of Asian Journal of Communication on

Introducing Computational Social Science for Asia-Pacific Communication Research

Guest Editors:

  1. Prof. Jonathan Zhu, City University of Hong Kong (Email: j.zhu@cityu.edu.hk)
  2. Dr. Taiquan “Winson” Peng, Michigan State University (Email: pengtaiq@msu.edu)
  3. Dr. Hai Liang, Chinese University of Hong Kong (Email: hailiang@cuhk.edu.hk)

Computational social science (CSS), an emerging paradigm of research, has penetrated into communication research largely due to two intertwined technological advancements: the widely available human behavioral data and the increasingly sophisticated as well as accessible computational methods (Lazar et al., 2009).  To respond to the emerging trends, several influential journals have recently published special issues on challenges and opportunities that CSS has brought to social sciences in general and communication in particular, for example, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science’s special issue on “Toward computational social science: big data in digital environments” in 2015 and Journal of Communication’s special issue on “Big data in communication research” in 2014.

While pioneering, these publications did not directly address the specific conceptual, methodological, and technological challenges and opportunities in the application of CSS methods in Asia-Pacific communication research.  Such challenges and opportunities are deeply rooted in the linguistic, cultural, and political diversity in Asia-Pacific societies.  To fill the gap, the current special issue brings together a community of active researchers to introduce CSS for Asia-Pacific communication research.  We aim to focus on the following questions:

  • What are CSS methods that are particularly relevant to and useful for Asia-Pacific communication research?
  • How can the CSS methods identified above be correctly and efficiently applied to address communication phenomena in Asia-Pacific societies?
  • What are the major strengths and limitations of the above CSS methods in Asia-Pacific communication research?
  • How can we blend the above CSS methods with traditional social science methods in Asia-Pacific communication research?

Scope of the Special Issue
We do not intend to make the special issue as a comprehensive reference of CSS.  Instead, our focus is to introduce and demonstrate a carefully selected set of CSS methods that are particularly relevant to Asia-Pacific communication research.  The methods of interest for this special issue may include, but are not limited to:

  • Data collection methods: server log analytics, web scraping, online experiment, and use of online archiving/indexing data (e.g., Google Trends, Google ngrams, etc.).  Combined use of CSS method(s) and traditional method(s) (e.g., survey, content analysis, experiment, etc.) are welcome and appreciated.
  • Data analysis methods: temporal analysis, spatial analysis, network analysis, text analysis, and visual analysis.  These are broad categories, each consisting of many specific methods or algorithms.  For example, text analysis includes sentiment analysis, topic modeling, deep learning, among others.  We prefer focusing on specific and relevant methods to general or broad ones.
  • Data visualization methods: static infographics, interactive visualization, etc.  Works that demonstrate how visualization assists, enhances, and even revolutionizes data analysis and interpretation are particularly welcome.  If necessary, author(s) of such paper(s) will be required to provide online supplements of interactive visualizations.

No matter which method(s) the author(s) of each submission choose(s) to focus on, all submitted papers should address at least the following three points:

  • Description of the specific methods in a clear, precise, but non-technical style.  In addition, the author(s) should provide a (brief) review of how the method(s) have been used in social science research in general and communication research in particular.
  • Evaluation of the merits and limitations of the method(s) in comparison with the corresponding traditional method(s).  The evaluation of the chosen method(s) should be empirically-based and the comparison with traditional method(s) be as concrete as possible.
  • Application of the method(s) to a non-trivial conceptual question in Asia-Pacific communication research.  Authors are encouraged to apply the method(s) in a comparative context, either within Asia-Pacific or with counterpart(s) elsewhere, to ensure the generalizability of the study.  For the same purpose, authors should avoid a “single-event” approach that focuses on a breaking event in a particular location.

Submission of Extended Abstracts and Full Papers:

All authors are required to submit an extended abstract of their paper by May 15, 2017.  Extended abstracts should have a length of 500-800 words (excluding tables, figures, and references).  Extended abstracts should be submitted in a pdf format through email to cssajoc@gmail.com.

The special issue editors will screen the extended abstracts for fit with the above descriptions.  Authors will be informed about acceptance or rejection of the extended abstracts by the end of May 2017.  Authors who are invited to submit full papers will need to submit their full papers by August 1st, 2017.  Each full paper of the special issue should not exceed 5,000 words (excluding tables, figures, endnotes, and references).  Full papers should be submitted following the Asian Journal of Communication standard submission process (see http://www.tandfonline.com/action/authorSubmission?journalCode=rajc20&page=instructions).

Important Dates:

Extended abstract submission deadline            May 15, 2017

Full paper submission deadline                       August 1st, 2017

First round review decisions                           September 1st, 2017

First round revisions due                               October 1st, 2017

Second round review decisions                       November 1th, 2017

Second round revisions due                           January 1st, 2018

Final editorial decision                                   February 1st, 2018

Computational Communication Workshop will be held on Sept. 23-25th

April 2, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Conference, Uncategorized 

Web Mining Lab, Nanjing University, Baidu and Social Media Processing Committee will organize an Annual Conference and Workshop of Computational Communication on Sept. 23-25th , 2016 at Nanjing University. The workshop will cover two sub-themes (Network Approaches to InformationDiffusion and Text Data Processing). For more details, please visit:  http://computational-communication.com/css/ccr-conference/

Lab members will give seven presentations on ICA 2017

March 2, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Conference 

The 67th Annual ICA conference will be held on May 25-29, 2017 in San Diego, USA. On the conference, lab members will give seven presentations in six different sessions. The titles of the papers are listed below:

Zhu, J. J. H., Guan, L., Liang, H. & Peng, T. Q. (2017). New Bottle of Old Wine vs. Old Bottle of New Wine: What Contributions Have Computational Methods Made to Social Media Research?

Peng, T. Q. & Zhu, J. J. H. (2017). It’s not just about mobility: How can mobility datasets advance our understanding of information diffusion?

Zhang, L., Peng, T. Q. & Zheng, L. (2017). Technologically Narrowing but Structurally Diversifying: News Consumption on Mobile Internet.

Zhang, Y. F., Guan, L., Chen, H. X., & Zhu, J. J. H. (2017). Using Text Mining to Measure Diffusion of Innovation.

Liang, H. (2017). The Implications of Computational Methods for Comparative Studies.

Zhang, L. (2017). Divergence or Convergence: Interaction between News Media Frames and Public Frames in Online Discussion Forum in China.

Wang, C. J. & Zhang, X. Z. (2017). Analyzing Mobile Phone Data with Network Science.

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