Imgur Forms Research Alliance DERP

DERP

It can be difficult for academic researchers to get their hands on social media data. As The Guardian reports: “The major services at least have a vibrant community of developers and researchers working on ways to access and use data, but for smaller communities, there’s little help provided.”

Thus, Imgur is teaming up with with other community-oriented platforms to offer a one-stop shop for researchers in the form of the Digital Ecologies Research Partnership (DERP). At launch, its partners include:

  • Reddit
  • Twitch
  • Fark
  • StackExchange

The alliance is open to new members — those who have data to share can email org@derp.institute, and researchers looking for data should reach out to proposals@derp.institute.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, the platforms that are part of DERP want to make their data easily accessible to even members of the public. Imgur head of special initiatives Tim Hwang told The Guardian that most of the data being provided will already be accessible through public APIs.

As to what sort of research the data could lend itself to, Molly Sauter, a DERP fellow, told The Guardian:

We have a couple of fellows in the initial class who are interested in how civic and political processes play out in online communities, and I think there are some datasets out there which could yield some very interesting findings in that area. Most of my work in is online social movements and hacker culture, so there’s a lot of data here to be excited about.

Plus, there’s always the question of how to get free pizza from Redditors.

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