A SocioPatterns study during the ECIR

A SocioPatterns study during the ECIR

UPDATE: Please fill out the survey (http://tiny.cc/ecir2019_sp) using your anonymous ID in the envelope of your name badge. Thanks a lot to all!

We will host a scientific study at the 41st European Conference on Information Retrieval. The Computational Social Science Department at GESIS, in association with the Survey Design & Methodology Department at GESIS, the CPT in Marseille, and the ISI Foundation in Turin, will conduct a SocioPatterns study during the main days of the ECIR 2019 from April 15-17.

The SocioPatterns collaboration has enabled scientists to understand how people interact in distinct social contexts such as schools, hospitals, workplaces, and conferences [1, 2]. By capturing face-to-face interaction the initiative has learned the fundamental properties of social interaction. These properties are crucial to understanding, for example, how diseases spread and how information propagates [3-6]. During the conference, you can help researchers to advance our understanding of these phenomena!

At the ECIR 2019, the Computational Social Science department at GESIS will deploy the SocioPatterns setup with the goal to replicate an experiment conducted during the GESIS CSS Winter Symposium in 2016, the IC2S2 in 2017, and the Euro CSS Symposium in 2018. The goal is to further understand the characteristics and dynamics of face-to-face interaction within this particular context of academic conferences.

The setup is straightforward: every person who agrees to take part in the study will be given a small sensor to wear throughout the conference. This sensor detects other sensors that are close enough (i.e., less than one meter). Please note that no other signal, such as localization or sound, is recorded.

The study is entirely anonymous.

Further to the sensor data we aim at gathering survey data; participants can share information about their gender, institution, status (i.e., undergrad, Ph.D., professor), nationality, and research field. This information is essential because it allows for more in-depth studies of the underlying patterns of people interaction. Finally, one part of the survey covers the intention of participants why they are at the conference as well as questions on the social environment of the conference. The completion of the survey will take about 5 minutes. Of course, the survey is also anonymous; each participant fills the survey using an anonymous numerical ID.

The ECIR 2019 is an excellent opportunity to present the SocioPatterns setup to the Information Retrieval community. We encourage all participants at the conference to take part in the study.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Is my identity recorded?
    No. We do not, at any point, record your personal identity. Furthermore, the setup is designed so that your identity cannot be reconstructed from the data.
  • Do I keep the sensor during the conference?
    Yes. You keep the sensor in your name badge during the whole conference, take it with you to the hotel and bring it back every morning, and return it only when you leave the conference.
  • Do the sensors work outside of the conference?
    No. The data is collected with the help of stationary antennas only within the venue (including the open areas of the venue). Everything that happens outside of the venue cannot be recorded by the setup.
  • How will the data be used?
    The data will be used only for research purposes. It will not be used in any commercial way.
  • I accepted/refused to participate, can I change my mind?
    Yes, absolutely. At any point in time you can reach the SocioPatterns information desk and decide to quit/join the study.

If you have questions please contact
Johann Schaible (GESIS, Department for Computational Social Science)

[1] Wearable Sensor Networks for Measuring Face-to-Face Contact Patterns in Healthcare Settings. Barrat et al. Proceedings of the 3rd International ICST Conference on Electronic Healthcare for the 21st century (eHealth 2010). Link
[2] SocioPatterns conferences datasets [Data set]. Génois, Mathieu. (2019). Zenodo. Link
[3] Building connections: How scientists meet each other during a conference. Génois et al. ArXiv (2019). Link
[4] Close Encounters in a Pediatric Ward: Measuring Face-to-Face Proximity and Mixing Patterns with Wearable Sensors. Isella et al. PLOS ONE 6(2): e17144 (2011). Link
[5] High-Resolution Measurements of Face-to-Face Contact Patterns in a Primary School. Stehlé et al. PLOS ONE 6(8): e23176 (2011). Link
[6] Contact patterns among high school students. Fournet et al. PLoS ONE 9(9):e107878 (2014). Link