Hello there !

I am Ali (the simplest version of Aliakbar Akbaritabar, believe me, I have tried other versions!). Below you find pictures of me in my happiest moments. Those moments normally involve a bike (see my Strava) and my good friends!

I like to call myself a Social Data Scientist (I don’t know when it is going to officially become a thing, till then, it is mainly what data scientists are doing plus a sociological approach which is what I have been studying for most of my academic life). A couple of times I have been asked what does it mean, I have added a description below.

You can find a detailed CV of me here and introductions to Research Projects & Ideas I have been working on here

What do I mean by Social Data Scientist?!

In 2017, when I was shortly back to my country, Iran, my friend’s colleague asked me a short question about my everyday job. A short, but hard question, she asked:

“When you say, you work on a daily basis with data, as a social data scientist, what does that mean? What do you do with data?”

I gave an answer, which seemed raw to myself by then. I have been searching and thinking about it. Once more, I was describing it to someone else and the answer seems more mature to me. My job includes taking a few steps:

  1. Question: First I need to ask relevant questions. I also need to realize which kind of data can help in answering those questions. The questions can come from many sources, “social” adjective in above title means some of these questions are sociological.
  2. Gather: I need to gather the data. It can mean scrapping the web for it, sending requests to databases to capture it, building API solutions, or spending time and build a tool to make up data from scratch. I have even designed and carried out my own surveys (both online and offline, see in my CV).
  3. Clean: Organizing the data, reshaping it, cleaning it, making it ready to be used is the next step. It can be long and frustrating if previous step has not been done reasonably.
  4. Model: Then comes the phase when we need to find out which way is the best way to use this data to answer our starting questions. Modeling the data in statistical, relational (Networks and network analysis is here) and structural or other modeling frameworks appear here. Sometimes, I need to first learn those models, reshape my data according to them and then apply them. “Social” adjective in above title means some of these models are stemmed from sociological theories or methodologies.
  5. Report: At the end, my main job is to prepare reports describing all above steps and main findings. I have put quite a high level of energy to generate reports dynamically from previous steps. It has made my life so much easier, faster, and replicable in future and besides, less prone to errors (read more about it here).
  6. Presenting the results in conferences and publishing them, which in itself is another world, is the next step. Of course, then comes getting feedback and repeating all of the above.

These are the main steps, in short: ask questions, gather data, clean data, model it, interpret and report it.

This online CV and minimal website is built with R Markdown and github pages (based on the simple guide of Julia Stewart Lowndes; you can find it here)