CRA Statements and Positions

Data Science

  • Computing Research and the Emerging Field of Data Science - October 2016

    By CRA’s Committee on Data Science: Lise Getoor (Chair), David Culler, Eric de Sturler, David Ebert, Mike Franklin, and H.V. Jagadish on behalf of the CRA Board

    Our ability to collect, manipulate, analyze, and act on vast amounts of data is having a profound impact on all aspects of society.  This transformation has led to the emergence of data science as a new discipline.  The explosive growth of interest in this area has been driven by research in social, natural, and physical sciences with access to data at an unprecedented scale and variety, by industry assembling huge amounts of operational and behavioral information to create new services and sources of revenue, and by government, social services and non-profits leveraging data for social good.

Rankings

  • Dangers of Rankings with Inaccurate Data - May 2010

    By Eric Grimson, CRA Board Chair, on behalf of the CRA Board

    Our culture is embedded with rankings: of movies, of college athletic teams, of consumer products, of universities, and of graduate programs. Rankings are a guilty pleasure—we claim they don’t influence us, and we know their foibles, yet we can’t help looking to see where we stand.

    The CRA board is very concerned about releasing flawed citation and publication data as part of the NRC report. The board has urged the NRC to acquire accurate publication data and to release a ranking system that includes those data but does not include the flawed citation data; if that is not possible, the board urges the NRC to withhold the release of computer science programs until they can fairly assess the productivity and impact of those programs. The board urges the NRC to work with CRA, Thomson Reuters, and other partners to implement an accurate and fair citation measurement system for computer science. Without this, we are concerned that the NRC’s ratings system will incorrectly portray the field of computer science in a manner damaging to all of us.

  • Ratings Redux - November 2010

    By Eric Grimson, CRA Board Chair, on behalf of the CRA Board

    In May 2010, we provided a perspective on our interactions with the National Research Council (NRC) group tasked with evaluating and ranking doctoral programs. We outlined concerns with the pending ranking system, especially with regard to its plans to evaluate faculty publications and citations using a method we believe to be flawed. As reported in the statement, the NRC’s compromise was to remove the citation analysis and to augment the data used in the report with a list of conferences provided by the CRA, together with CVs submitted by faculty to the NRC.

    Since the release, many departments have examined the data in detail and the associated ranges of rank produced by the NRC system. Based on their observations, there appear to be additional concerns about the NRC rankings-some unique to our discipline and some perhaps shared by other disciplines. We highlight some of those concerns.

Advocacy