Final meeting on January 14, 2021

Nine years after signing the agreement to launch EquipEx DIME-SHS, the cutting-edge research infrastructure program for SHS is nearing its conclusion. This milestone will be ratified on January 14, 2021, in the presence of all the project partners and representatives of the French National Research Agency.

This meeting will provide an opportunity to take stock of the project’s many achievements. Twenty full corpora of qualitative surveys have been made available and can be browsed, as well as more than 70 surveys from the Elipss panel. Numerous computer applications have also been developed, from web crawlers such as “hyphe” to an online panel management tool. However, the balance sheet goes far beyond these achievements, with the implementation of infrastructures that will have an impact beyond the end of the early funding.

This final meeting will also be an excellent opportunity to thank the personnel who were involved throughout the course of the project, the ANR for the outstanding support they provided, and the partner institutions and supervisors for their continued involvement in the project. A special tribute will also be dedicated to the initial project leaders, in particular Laurent Lesnard, who was the Scientific and Technical Manager of DIME-SHS from 2012 to 2017. Finally, because a research network is nothing without those with whom and for whom it is built, the participants and users of the network will of course be at the heart of the talks!

New important versions of the DIME-web tool

The imminent end of funding for DIME-SHS is an opportunity to finalize a certain number of developments. Some of the developments concerning the Dime Web instrument have been underway for many months on its main open source software, in order to perpetuate the work accomplished and stabilize the tools and their use beyond the lifespan of the Equipex.

Three major new releases have been published in the last few days for Hyphe, Hyphe-Browser and Gazouilloire, and will be presented on February 6, 2021 at the FOSDEM international open source software conference in the Open Research Tools & Technologies room.

The life of these tools does not end with Equipex, and the software will continue to be supported and improved in the future by the engineering team of the médialab at Sciences Po.

Gazouilloire v1.0

Dime Web has developed the Gazouilloire software to allow the implementation of a longitudinal follow-up of Twitter over several months or years. Nearly 7 years after the development of its first prototype and the collection of several hundred million tweets for numerous research projects, Gazouilloire has reached its maturity with its version 1.0!

In addition to being very easy to use for developers with an [installation and configuration that only takes a few minutes, this new version aims, above all, to sustain and stabilize the tool thanks to its upgrade to python3 (the current standard version of the language) and to simplify the handling, exploration and analysis of the large corpuses collected (thanks to the switch to the ElasticSearch data storage and indexing technology).

Hyphe-Browser v2.0 & Hyphe v1.4

Since the release of its first full version in 2017, the web-crawling software for social sciences Hyphe has continued to develop on a regular basis with numerous bug fixes reported by users, but also with the addition of new options, features and settings available with Hyphe v1.4.

As announced in the DIME-SHS 2018 action plan, one of the challenges for Hyphe prior to the end of EquipEx was to facilitate its deployment in order to allow researchers to quickly access the tool, for a more or less short period of time, by making a financial contribution. This objective was achieved thanks to the implementation within Hyphe Browser of the possibility, when choosing the Hyphe server to connect to, of deploying a new server at a cloud host (OVH, CityCloud or VexxHost) at the user’s expense in a few clicks, without having to call on the Dime Web team.

The Hyphe Browser complementary software allows users to browse the web while building its corpus with Hyphe; it also allows users to categorize its actors while visiting their web pages. It has been funded by IDEFI FORCCAST in order to train students to use the web in social sciences as part of their controversy analysis courses. In addition to the option of deploying Hyphe instances on the cloud, its brand new version 2.0 has been completely redesigned, after considering the observations of users’ experiences to make its use much more intuitive. Finally, this redesign has made the tool much more stable and fast, and has enriched it with many new features that will undoubtedly prove very useful for future research projects.

ELIPSS : a partner in Covid-19 research

The Sociological Observatory of Change (OSC) and the CDSP are mobilizing to study, through the prism of social inequalities, the impact of social distancing and the lockdown measures put in place by the government. Based on the extensive data collected within the framework of the probability-based ELIPSS panel, the “Coping with Covid-19” project will study the evolution of the practices and attitudes of the population by administering a series of surveys specific to Covid-19 during the period of crisis.

The CoCo Project: Coping with Covid-19

Coordinated by Ettore Recchi (CSO), Coping with Covid-19 / Faire face au Covid-19 (Coco) is a research project aimed at assessing, with regard to social inequalities, the social effects of the epidemic in France. Thanks to an original method-based approach (mixing quantitative longitudinal data, personal diaries, focus groups and individual interviews), CoCo proposes to analyze a wide range of indicators over time (socio-economic, socio-psychological and socio-political), in order to highlight the disruption of daily activities resulting from the rules of the lockdown.

The ELIPSS contribution

The quantitative part of the project is based on extensive data from the ELIPSS panel, which has been compiled on a regular basis since 2012. From April 2020, five new rounds of surveys will be administered to the ELIPSS panel to cover different phases of the Covid-19 crisis, and to monitor changes in social habits, household structures, life plans, mental health conditions or socio-political attitudes. This approach will therefore make it possible to systematically record and assess the impact of the epidemic on attitudes and behavior over time.

DIME-SHS expertise within two European projects

The software engineering endeavours supporting the DIME-SHS instruments occasioned valuable skills acquisitions, regarding online panel and device fleet management. This expertise drew the attention of the European Social Survey (ESS ERIC) at the time prospecting resources to implement the software infrastructure to support its web panel “Opinion Study for Europe”.

Hence, singled out to partner with the ESS ERIC, Sciences Po contributes to the Social Sciences and Humanities Open Cloud SSHOC (Social Sciences Humanities Open Cloud) project that endeavours to make accessible through the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) services and resources provided to the SSH scientific community by european research infrastructures. Specifically, the CDSP partakes in the Innovations in data production work package by developing a sample management web service suited to european-scale online surveys. The CDSP is also involved in the first survey project to take advantage of the new infrastructure (ESS-SUSTAIN-2).

An initial version of the application, covering the functional scope outlined in the first project deliverable, will be released in december 2020 with access limited to users in charge of testing during the course of january 2021. The application will consecutively find its first use case in the “Opinion Studies” web survey series covering 12 european countries.

To attend new users, an online documentation is supplied and will be complemented by a live training session directed to ESS-SUSTAIN-2 actors, including ESS national coordinators.

ELIPSS, a forthcoming collaborative book

The book “Un panel Français. L’Étude longitudinale par internet pour les sciences sociales (ELIPSS)”, a collaborative effort initiated in 2018 with a call for contributions from the data users of the DIME Quanti system, will be published by INED. It will appear in the Grandes enquêtes collection alongside other social science reference works. Featuring contributions from some thirty authors, the coordinators of the book,

Emmanuelle Duwez and Pierre Mercklé, present the work carried out on twelve datasets produced and disseminated within the framework of ELIPSS. The ambition of this book is twofold: to contribute to knowledge in many areas of social life while questioning the way in which this knowledge is produced.

Three main objectives of the project serve as the outline of the manuscript. Following a chapter that describes how the ELIPSS panel was set up, the first part of the book, entitled “Confronting: data to renew the analysis of the social space”, highlights the longitudinal nature of the system and thus the interest of being able to cross-reference a considerable amount of available data. The contributions of the second part, “Comparing: family, justice and health through the prism of different demographics”, focus on the comparability of the data produced in this way. Finally, the last section, “Exploring: new methodologies and new questions”, presents some new surveys that have been created thanks to the ELIPSS panel. The book is scheduled for publication in the spring of 2021.