You are here

Call for Papers

Call for Papers: Demographic Research with Web and Social Media Data


The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) invites submissions to the workshop "Demographic Research with Web and Social Media Data” taking place at the International Conference on Web and Social Media in Munich on 11th of June, 2019.

The spread of the internet and online communities provide unprecedented opportunities for studying global population dynamics such as fertility, mortality, migration, and health. Internet users do not only leave ‘digital traces’ of their existence - the online world also influences their  behaviour, from daily decisions (like commuting patterns and kin interactions) to major life events (like childbirth and migration). Computational social scientists have long employed innovative methodologies and data sources to study social phenomena but demography has been slow in incorporating digital approaches, in spite of being a historically data-driven discipline. Demographers have only recently moved into the ‘digital realm’, but collaboration between demographers and computationally-oriented scientists remains limited. This workshop aims to foster dialogue and knowledge exchange between these two communities by focusing on the applications and implications of web and social media data for demographic research.

There are clear benefits inherent in connecting demography and data science. Demographers can help identify and answer research questions relevant to the social sciences using well-established analytical and theoretical frameworks. Data scientists possess invaluable technical and computational understanding of digital phenomena needed for this task. Despite the great potential of these interactions, communication between population researchers and data scientists has been very limited so far.

Topics that are relevant for the workshop include, but are not limited to:

  • Nowcasting demographic processes (migration, fertility, mortality, etc.)
  • Online experiments, surveys and simulations for demographic research
  • Inferring age, gender and interests from text and images: recent developments
  • Limitations of social media and internet data and how to overcome them
  • Monitoring population health using social media data
  • Inference from biased or non-representative samples
  • Implications of the digital revolution on demographic behaviour
  • Demographic change, human mobility and disease dynamics
  • Combining traditional sources with Web data
  • Other…

Participants who would like to present must send an extended abstract (2-4 pages) or a full paper to icwsm2019 [at] (this email) by March 22, 2019 with the subject “PaperSubmission” (see important dates). The submissions will be evaluated by the Organizing Committee on the basis of quality and fit to the workshop theme. Accepted abstracts and papers will be presented as short presentations. All submissions and presentations must be in English.

Participants who are interested in attending but do not submit a research paper or an extend abstract should submit a paragraph by May 1, 2019 (see important dates) explaining why they are interested in participating, what they would gain from participation, and how they can contribute to the workshop. Participants who have submitted these paragraphs will be given priority to attend over walk-in attendees in case the workshop is full. These paragraphs should be submitted by email to icwsm2019 [at] (this email) with the subject “Attendance Only” and they will not undergo formal evaluation.

There will be no formal Proceedings for the abstracts and papers submitted. However, authors of high quality submissions will be invited to submit their paper to a special issue on Social Media and Demographic Research of the open access, peer-reviewed journal Demographic Research- one of the top journals in the field.  The issue would include a selection of papers presented at workshops organized in collaboration with the IUSSP Panel on Big Data and Population Processes.

Financial support

Please note that participants are expected to make their own travel and hotel reservations and to cover these costs.


This workshop is organized by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, in partnership with the IUSSP Panel on Big Data and Population Processes.