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PhD Studentship: Echo Chambers in Scientific Publishing, Computer Science

University of Exeter - College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences / College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Exeter
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 11th January 2019
Closes: 11th April 2019
Reference: 3433

Web personalisation is currently common place. Most sites recommend friends, products and, more pervasively, websites. It is well known that personalisation may lead to the creation of segregated communities, what is popularly known in social sciences as echo chambers. The name alludes to the fact that when communities are segregated, the information that flows within such communities are echoed and amplified from within the group, making members of the group blind or incapable of noticing new information about a particular topic. Such phenomenon has been observed in many topical areas such as: politics, climate change, vaccination, etc.  Yet, people have not yet tried to quantify how personalisation affects the scientific community, meaning that researchers rely heavily on search engines for finding publications relevant to their area of interest. Given that personalisation uses a multitude of attributes such as language, geographical location and social connections, to name a few, it stems naturally that personalisation may be driving how scientists use citations in their work and which works they can actually see. The existence of echo chambers in science could be disastrous and lead to dire consequences. This project aims to look for possible signs of echo chambers in science as a consequence of personalisation, coupled with the introduction of measures to minimize their effects.

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend.  For students who pay UK/EU tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £14,777 per year tax-free stipend.  Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee and no stipend. 

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in as soon as possible.

Entry requirements

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology. 

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.0 IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project. Alternative tests may be acceptable (see

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