Update posted: Friday, April 23 2021

Digital matters” lunch seminar series

When: May 7th, 2021 Friday 12:00-13:00 CEST

Title: Digitalization and Official Statistics at UNESCWA and in the Arab Region

Speakers: Wafa Aboul Hosn, Mohamad Hossary, and Mohammad Al Abdallah from United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

Abstract: See here.

To join: please send an email to adina.nerghes@wur.nl and you will receive a link to the Microsoft Teams meeting


Update posted: Monday, March 22 2021

Digital matters” lunch seminar series

When: April 9th, 2021 Friday 12:00-13:00 CEST

Title: ‘Colonization’ of highly-regulated industries: an analysis of GAFAM entry into healthcare and education

Speaker: Hakan Ozalp, Assistant Professor in the Knowledge, Information & Innovation (KIN) Research Group.

Abstract: While platform firms have disrupted many sectors, they have not yet visibly transformed most regulated industries. However, we observe early signs of platform entry in regulated sectors such as healthcare and education. In this study, we explore whether and how platforms enter regulated industries and what opportunities / challenges they face in the process. By examining GAFAM entry patterns into education and healthcare, we uncover that GAFAM firms typically start their entry journey as a supplier to incumbents in regulated industries by offering them data-related services. Then, in the second phase, as GAFAM firms leverage the data they capture, they begin to enter these regulated industries directly to add value through (i) designing and offering products and services and (ii) expanding their platform business onto the industry. Overall, we find that while GAFAM firms very rarely provide the “primary service” (e.g., school education or primary healthcare) in regulated industries, they increasingly ‘colonize’ these industries through advanced usage of data.

Want to join? Send me an email at adina.nerghes@wur.nl or send me a private message on LinkedIn. 


Update posted: Friday, February 26 2021

Lunch seminar series on:

Digital matters

We, postdocs and researchers in the Digitalization theme within the Social Sciences Group (SSG) investment program, would like to invite you to participate in our monthly lunch seminar series on “Digital matters”.  

For this seminar series, our aim is to bring together researchers and practitioners interested in the complex interactions between digital technologies and society. This new seminar series will include talks focused not only the technological (i.e. digitisation, as the process of converting physical information into digital) but also sociological, ethical, political and legal aspects of digital technologiesThus, the seminar will host a wide variety of scholars interested in questions regarding the interactions between digital technologies and the society. 

The format of each seminar will include a presentation followed by a discussionThe seminar series will take place online on the first Friday of every month.  The time, link to the Microsoft Teams meeting, and an abstract of each talk will be circulated in advance. Anyone interested in presenting in this seminar series, suggesting topics or any other questions you can email Adina at adina.nerghes@wur.nl.  

The first talk in our seminar series will take place on Friday, March 5 from 12.00 to 13.00

Title: Can Artificial Intelligence Reduce the Risk? Examples from Disaster and Agriculture domains 

Abstract: Risk management in the context of agriculture and disaster is a crucial task, e.g., in the case of a risk, to maintain the functions and mitigate the impacts. It also addresses climate action and zero hunger sustainable development goals. New industrial paradigms such as the internet of things and digital twins are increasingly receiving more attention and are designed to support effective and timely decisions making as well as risk management. Data collection and processing are one of the pillars of such systems. With rapid developments of these concepts and technologies and providing real-time data from different sources, the need for automatic and effective data processing methods is increased. Currently, artificial intelligence (AI), in particular machine learning, methods are the state-of-the-art data processing tools in different industrial and scientific fields as well as agricultural and disaster risk management. Advanced machine learning methods are used for post-disaster damage, recovery and resilience assessments, automatic post-disaster building database updating from remote sensing images, and to support recovery simulation modelling (agent-based model). In the agricultural risk management domain, it is employed to assess different risk types, i.e., production, financial, market, institutional, and personal risks. However, the important question is that can AI reduce the risk? 

Speaker: Saman Ghaffarian 

Bio: Saman Ghaffarian has a PhD in Geo-Information for Disaster Risk Management. He worked on conceptualizing and developing machine learning methods for post-disaster damage, recovery and resilience assessment mostly using remote sensing data. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in a joint project between the Information Technology Group and the Business Economics Group at Wageningen University and Research. In this project, he is developing AI-based methods for agricultural risk management. 

To join: please send an email to adina.nerghes@wur.nl and you will receive a link to the Microsoft Teams meeting

We look forward to seeing many of you next Friday! 

All the best,  

The SSG Digitalization postdoc team 

Update posted: Thursday, February 04 2016

Call for Abstracts for the organized session

Words and Networks

at the conference

Networks in the Global World 2016

Multiple Structures and Dynamics: Applications of Network Analysis to European Societies and Beyond

July 1-3, St. Petersburg, Russia


Deadline: March 1st 2016

Chairs: Adina Nerghes, VU University Amsterdam and Jana Diesner, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

This session is dedicated to cutting edge research at the nexus of text analysis and network analysis. While text analysis/ natural language processing and network analysis have evolved into mature yet quickly advancing fields, work at their intersection is less prevalent. Bridging this gap matters, since prior research has shown that without considering the content of text data, we are limited in our ability to understand the effects of language use in networks and vice versa. Jointly considering text data and network data enables the analysis of networks along multiple dimensions of human behavior, namely language use and social interactions, which ultimately helps to advance our understanding of the interplay and co-evolution of socio-technical networks and information. This conceptualization has inspired eminent work in areas such as: language change, the diffusion and adoption of information and beliefs online and offline, collective problem solving through information propagation, and relation extraction techniques.

To enable progress in this area, scholars have developed powerful and scalable methods and tools for analyzing text data authored or shared by network participants, as well as for language-based interactions. However, there is gap between theoretical foundations for these solutions and actual implementations in the form of empirical and computational work. For this session, we are looking for contributions that bridge the gap between theories related to language use, and/ or networks and methods/ tools for utilizing text data for network analysis. We are particularly interested in work that advances theories about the use or production of language or text data and integrates with network analytic methods and technologies.

Furthermore, we welcome methodological and theoretical contributions on the role and importance of context. The social context in which text is produced and consumed defines what topics and issues may be discussed, and to some extent, how these topics and issues are discussed. While text analysis and network analysis are versatile approaches, the socio-cultural context in which texts are produced may impact the degree to which meaningful information can be inferred. To this end, we are interested in work that addresses the social construction of meanings, the ways in which meanings are constrained by specific social contexts, and on text and network analytical methods adapted to capture these interactional aspects of text and meanings.

Another area of interest for this session is the conceptualization of network analysis metrics for the specific case of word networks. While it is common to apply social network analysis metrics to networks of words (or socio-semantic networks), very little effort has been dedicated to theorizing on how these metrics apply to networks in which the nodes are concepts or words. Arguably, a more wide-ranging conceptualization of network metrics for semantic networks would guide researchers in selecting those centrality metrics appropriate for their research goals and would support the inference of more robust interpretations of results. As such, we encourage contributions to the reconceptualization of network measures as tools of analysis in the specific case of word networks.

Please submit your abstract(not exceeding 200 words) here before March 1st 2016.

When submitting, don’t forget to select the session title “Words and Networks" from the list.

The conference website provides additional information.

We are looking forward to your contributions.

Email any questions to adina.nerghes@vu.nl, jdiesner@illinois.edu or netglow@spbu.ru.

Update posted: Thursday, November 30 2017

Call for abstracts

Advances in Socio-Semantic Network Analysis Session

Sunbelt 2018

June 26-July 1, Utrecht, The Netherlands

We are pleased to invite you to submit to the Advances in Socio-Semantic Network Analysis Session dedicated to exploring theoretical and methodological challenges on the interplay between social networks and discursive networks. 

People, groups and organizations are linked (or separated) not only by their social ties but also by their discourse. In recent years, scholars have explored the interplay between the two through a network perspective shedding new light on how the social and the cultural are intertwined, how meaning and relationships coevolve, how cognitive and relational structure affect one another and so on. This emerging framework where semantic and social network data are being jointly appraised still poses a number of theoretical and methodological challenges. 

This organized session will consist of two parts: (1) a regular session where papers will be presented and (2) a panel, where session presenters will be invited to discuss topical issues in socio-semantic network analysis. The purpose here is to stimulate open discussion on relevant issues in socio-semantic network analysis. The pivotal issues will be proposed by the organizers based on the abstracts received. 


  • Johanne Saint-Charles, University of Quebec at Montreal 
  • Nikita Basov, St. Petersburg State University 
  • Iina Hellsten, University of Amsterdam 
  • Adina Nerghes, Digital Humanities Lab, KNAW Humanities Cluster 
  • Camille Roth, Sciences Po, Paris 

To submit your abstract to this session, please select “Advances Socio-semantic network analysis” in the drop-down menu « Preferred session » of the Abstract Submission page for Sunbelt 2018 (see here). Please note that the menu appears only after you have selected « Presentation » in the « Presentation preference » menu. 

Testimony of the dynamism of research in the field, this year, there are two other thematically close sessions, you may want to consider as well: 

  • Words and Networks relates to innovative research at the nexus of text analysis and network analysis. 
  • Network Approaches to Language, Sociocultural Interaction, and Relational Sociology relates to the use of network theory or methods in contributing to the cross-fertilization of ideas in studies of language, communicative events, and relational sociology. 

Feel free to contact us at groupe-reseaux@uqam.ca if you have any doubt about which session you should be submitting to. 


Update posted: Thursday, September 28 2017

Call for papers for a Special Issue of Poetics on Discourse, Meaning, and Networks: Advances in Socio-Semantic Analysis

Research that considers combining social and semantic networks goes back decades but the focus on socio-semantic network analysis has come together as a specific arena of scholarship only recently. Bringing together the rich tradition of the study of social networks with the mobilization of network analytic techniques to analyze texts and discourse logics, this scholarship is offering novel understandings of the relationship between social structure and discursive/meaning structure that individuals, identities or groups make use of as they operate within social networks. For this special issue, authors are invited to submit papers focusing on theoretical, methodological or empirical advances that address the complex relationship between the networks created by social ties and those constituting the content of communication and its meaning, whether this relationship is operative in face-to-face interactions or mediated.

Below are examples of topics that could be addressed by the authors:

  • Theorization of the complex relationship between semantic structure, meaning structure, and social structure.
  • Qualitative and quantitative methods to relate semantic structure and social structure
  • Multiplex, multilevel and multimode socio-semantic networks.
  • Relationship between semantic similarity and social ties.
  • Joint semantic network analysis of message content and social network analysis of communication channels.
  • Application of social network analysis techniques to semantic and socio-semantic networks.
  • Use of semantic network data to capture social structures between actors.
  • Semantic structuring throughout conversations in networks.
  • Material embeddedness of socio-semantic structures.

Submission process

A two-step acceptance process is proposed for this special issue, a first step being the submission of a 2-page abstract to the editors. This abstract will allow the editors to ensure that the topic of the paper aligns with the aims of the Special Issue. Upon acceptance of their abstract, authors will be invited to submit a first version of the full paper again to the guest editors, who will provide feedback and make a decision about inclusion in the SI. Papers accepted by the SI editors will then be submitted to Poetics together, where each will undergo a final stage of blind review. Below is the calendar for submission deadlines.

  • Abstract (2-page): January 15th 2018
  • Full paper to the editors: May 15th 2018
  • Full paper for blind review: September 1st 2018
  • This Special Issue is going to be published in 2020.

Abstract and full papers to the editors should be sent to: sociosemantic@gmail.com  

The Guest Editors 

  • Dr. Nikita Basov, St. Petersburg State University 
  • Prof. Ronald Breiger, University of Arizona 
  • Dr. Iina Hellsten, University of Amsterdam 
  • Prof. John Mohr, University of California at Santa Barbara 
  • Prof. Johanne Saint-Charles, University of Quebec at Montreal

Update posted: Friday January 29 2016

Call for abstracts for the conference

Networks in the Global World 2016 

Multiple Structures and Dynamics: 

Applications of Network Analysis to European Societies and Beyond 

July 1-3St. Petersburg, Russia 


Deadline for submissions:  March 1st 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Please consider participating in the conference “Networks in the Global World” in St Petersburg, Russia. The general conference topic for 2016 is “Multiple Structures and Dynamics: Applications of Network Analysis to European Societies and Beyond

Abstract submission deadline: March 1.

Conference dates: July 1-3.


NetGloW’16 will host such acknowledged network analysts as Peter Bearman (Columbia University), Ronald Breiger (University of Arizona), Han Woo Park (Yeungnam University), Michael Batty (University College London), Wouter van Atteveldt (VU University Amsterdam), Peng Wang (Swinburne University of Technology), Iina Hellsten  (VU University Amsterdam), Johan Koskinen (University of Manchester), and others. 

The following sessions call for abstracts (see sessions’ descriptions here):

  • Network analysis of cultural and social duality
  • Words and networks
  • Socio-material network analysis: relating individuals and physical contexts
  • Statistical modeling of multimodal networks 
  • Qualitative analysis of multimodal networks
  • Making sense of big network data: testing hypotheses on new data
  • Social media networks 
  • Urban networks
  • Networks in arts 
  • Networks in science, technology, and innovation
  • Social movements and collective action as network phenomena
  • Network analysis of political and policy-making domains

Papers on other network analysis topics are also welcome and will form additional sessions.

We welcome theory, method and applications papers from various disciplines and using different approaches.

Additionally, a number of software workshops and focused seminars are planned (no additional fees apply for registered participants of the conference).

Free accommodation will be provided to MA and PhD students who submit the best abstracts.

Fees: standard: 50 EUR. MA and PhD students: 20 EUR.

Abstracts (200 words) can be submitted herehttp://ngw.spbu.ru/submission 

We would appreciate if you could kindly forward this letter to potentially interested colleagues.


Update posted: Sunday November 22 2015

Call for abstracts for the session

Socio-Semantic Networks

XXXVI Sunbelt Conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis

Newport Beach, California, April 5th – April 10th, 2016


In recent years, research jointly considering semantic and social network data has expanded, and options to relate those have been explored theoretically and methodologically. Advanced analytical methods and the increasing availability of large data sets, in particular social media data, have been mutually reinforcing and catalyzing research into combining semantic and social networks. Prior work has shown that both the structure of social relationships and discourse/meaning sharing contribute to the emergence and spread of knowledge and culture. The innovation resides in the contribution that social network analysis offers for studying the relationships between social structures and the discoursive/meaning structures that individuals or communities share.

One trend has been to consider similarities between people’s discourse as a specific form of social ties. The resulting socio-semantic network can then be combined and contrasted with other types of social networks based on friendships, advice, influence and other type of social relationships.  Another trend is to jointly consider social actors, concepts and relations between them as forming multilevel networks. These two modes are expected to coevolve as actors share meanings or differ in those while their social ties transform.

In this emerging field, theoretical and methodological questions abound. For example: Which discourses and communities should be analyzed with regard to a particular research context and question(s)? How does the method chosen to assess similarities in discourses/meanings (topic/theme analysis, semantic fields, concepts and lines between them, exact words) impact the results? What are the ways to analyze the coevolution of social and semantic networks? To what extent can social network measures be applied to semantic and socio-semantic networks? How can statistics of those networks be compared? Which socio-semantic network configurations can be used in statistical models (e.g., ERGMs)? What kind of theorizing is triggered by research of socio-semantic networks?

Interested participants are invited to submit theoretical, methodological or empirical papers, contributing new perspectives on the questions how, when, and under what conditions social relationships, content and meaning structures can be connected via network research; or what approaches are suitable to strengthen the understanding of the connections between the structure of social relations and meaning.

Papers should fall into one or several of the following thematic areas:

  • Theorizing about relationships between meaning structure, content structure and social structure
  • Qualitative and quantitative methods to relate meaning structure and social structure
  • Multilevel and multimode socio-semantic networks
  • The relationship between semantic similarity and social ties
  • Joint semantic network analysis of message content and social network analysis of information channels
  • Applying social network analysis techniques to semantic and socio-semantic networks
  • Using semantic network data to capture social structures between actors
  • Semantic structuring throughout conversations in networks.

Deadline: January 4th 2016. Abstracts up to 500 words should be submitted at http://insna.org/sunbelt2016/abstract-submission/. When submitting, select the Organized Session “Socio-semantic networks" from the list.

Additional information: www.sunbelt2016.org.

Organizers: Nikita Basov, St. Petersburg State University; Jana Diesner, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Iina Hellsten and Adina Nerghes, VU Amsterdam; Johanne Saint-Charles, University of Quebec at Montreal.

Contacts: n.basov@spbu.ru, saint-charles.johanne@uqam.ca, i.r.hellsten@vu.nl, adina.nerghes@vu.nl, jdiesner@ILLINOIS.EDU.