Social Sciences

IMF publications now available online

Posted November 20th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

imf_seal

Study international economics or finance?  Use publications from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)?  MIT now has access to all IMF publications online through the IMF e-Library.  Access publications, sometimes as far back as 1951, including:

  • books and analytical papers
  • periodicals and reports

IMF publications cover a range of topics, including macroeconomics, globalization, development, trade, aid, technical assistance, demographics, emerging markets, policy advice, poverty reduction, and much more.

Access the eLibrary at http://libraries.mit.edu/get/imf or via our research guide to economics.

Looking for statistical data from the IMF?  In addition to what you can get on the Data and Statistics section of the IMF web site, MIT subscribes to:

 

OA research in the news: Changes to auditing may help reduce pollution

Posted October 15th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn
Michael Greenstone

Michael Greenstone

Economists at MIT have co-authored a study that underscores a troubling aspect of the auditing industry, in which auditors, because they’re paid by the companies they scrutinize, have an incentive to not deliver bad reviews. The study looked at about 500 industrial plants in a western Indian state and found that when auditors were randomly assigned to plants and paid from central funds, their results were very different. For example, auditors in the study found that nearly 60% of the plants were violating India’s particulates emissions laws; previous audits had cited only 7%. The state is now using this information to help enforce pollution laws.

“There is a fundamental conflict of interest in the way auditing markets are set up around the world,” said Professor Michael Greenstone, an author on the paper with his colleague Esther Duflo. “The ultimate hope with the experiment was definitely to see pollution at the firm level drop,” said Duflo.

Esther Duflo

Esther Duflo

Explore Professor Greenstone’s research and Professor Duflo’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

What we did on your summer vacation!

Posted August 30th, 2013 by Heather Denny

Welcome back! The MIT Libraries have been working hard during your summer vacation.  Here are some of the new things you can look forward to this fall:WhatWeDidgraphic

New Resources

  • New search tool  Finding library resources just got easier with BartonPlus. It brings together many library collections in one search interface–searching most MIT-licensed e-resources like e-books and full-text articles, as well as collections in the classic Barton catalog like books, theses, music, DVDs, and more. 
  • More options for borrowing  Borrow Direct, a partnership that allows library materials to be shared between member institutions, has expanded to include the University of Chicago. MIT users can search over 50 million volumes owned by Borrow Direct libraries through MIT’s WorldCat.
  • New guide to APIs for scholarly resources  Many scholarly publishers, databases, and products offer APIs to allow users with programming skills to more powerfully extract data to serve a variety of research purposes. With an API, users might create programmatic searches of a citation database, extract statistical data, or dynamically query and post blog content. Learn more in the APIs for Scholarly Resources guide.
  • Music Oral History Project  For over 100 years music has been a vibrant part of MIT’s culture. A new website features in-depth interviews with faculty, staff, and former students about their musical experiences at the Institute, as well as their professional careers in music or other fields.

Improved study spaces

  • Upgrades to Hayden Library  The window bays in Hayden have gotten a facelift! The windows have been cleaned, frames painted, and new shades have replaced the curtains. Also check out the  new artwork by Dennis Oppenheim that adorns the first floor wall. Additionally, a number of tables and study carrels in Hayden were refinished this summer. Coming up – we hope to reupholster some of the comfy seating on the 1st floor.

Upcoming events

  • Music & Theater Arts Composer Forums  During the fall term the Lewis Music Library will host MTA Composer Forums. Stop by the library at 5pm on Oct. 9, Oct. 23, Nov. 6, Nov. 20 to hear from featured musicians.
  •  Fall workshops Throughout the month of October the Libraries will offer a series of workshops on subject-specific resources. See the event calendar for details.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest news!

 

OA research in the news: Fighting crime with math

Posted August 21st, 2013 by Katharine Dunn
Cynthia Rudin

Cynthia Rudin

Crimes like burglary often go unwitnessed, which makes it difficult to predict and prevent a criminal’s future acts. Police analysts scour reports and databases for patterns in criminal activity, but the work is labor and time intensive. Two Sloan School of Management researchers, including associate professor Cynthia Rudin, have teamed up with Cambridge police crime analysts to develop an algorithm that quickly detects patterns including where, when, and how a crime happened. “You’re trying to find the [modus operandi] of the suspect,” Rudin told the Boston Globe. “If you can do this really effectively it can lead to an accurate suspect description.” The algorithm, called Series Finder, is built on data from nearly 5,000 housebreaks in Cambridge over a decade.

Explore Professor Rudin’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

New Energy Statistics Database from the U.N.

Posted July 5th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

UNSD

Need to compare data on energy production and use across countries over time?  Try the United Nations Energy Statistics Database, available for download from the Harvard-MIT Data Center.  This new dataset covers the historical period of 1990-2005 and provides comprehensive energy statistics on more than 215 countries on topics such as:

  • production
  • trade
  • transformation
  • consumption

Note: this dataset comes as a fixed-field dataset that can be understood utilizing the accompanying documentation.  For questions about using this or other research datasets in the social sciences, contact Katherine McNeill, Social Science Data Services Librarian, at mcneillh@mit.edu.

For updated data covering more recent years, see the Energy Statistics Database via UNdata.

Looking for more energy statistics or other available datasets? See:

Access data on banks in the U.S. and beyond

Posted June 11th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Need data on banks and banking?  Try these databases from the MIT Libraries:

OECD Banking Statistics logo

For banks in OECD-member countries, from the OECD: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/oecdbank
Access data since 1979 on classification of bank assets and liabilities, income statement and balance sheet and structure of the financial system for OECD-member countries.   This is just one of many statistical databases you can access from the OECD.

WRDS logo

For U.S. banks, from Wharton Research Data Services:

  1. Bank Regulatory Database: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/bankreg
    Provides accounting data for bank holding companies, commercial banks, savings banks, and savings and loans institutions.
  2. FDIC: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Datasets: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/fdic
    Historical financial data for commercial banks, savings banks, and savings and loans.
  3. Federal Reserve Bank Reports: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/wrds-frbr
    Includes: Foreign Exchange Rates (H.10 Report), Interest Rates (H.15 Report), and FRB-Philadelphia State Indexes.

For more Libraries’ guides related to banking, see:

Berinsky Awarded for Contributions to Public Opinion Data

Posted May 16th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Berinsky photo

Adam Berinsky, Professor of Political Science and director of the Political Experiments Research Lab (PERL), has won the Warren J. Mitofsky Award for Excellence in Public Opinion Research from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.  Berinsky shares the award with Eric Schickler of the University of California, Berkeley.

The award honors their project of rehabilitating hundreds of under-utilized opinion polls from the 1930s-1950s that were in an obsolete and cumbersome format.  At the project’s completion, nearly one thousand surveys will have been reformatted, labeled and re-deposited with the Roper Center for easier access by the research community.

Want to access this public opinion data yourself?  Use aggregate statistics or micro-level poll results?  Access the Libraries’ Roper Center membership at: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/roper  (note: you’ll need to set up an individual account on their site to download data).

The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research is a leading archive of social science data, specializing in public opinion. The data held by the Roper Center range from the 1930s, when survey research was in its infancy, to the present.

For more resources, see also:

OA research in the news: Can IP rights slow innovation?

Posted May 16th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

Intellectual property rights may give incentive to people and companies to do creative work, but do they also hinder subsequent innovation? This is the question economics professor Heidi Williams asks in a new paper published in a recent issue of the Journal of Political Economy. Over a decade ago, the government-funded Human Genome Project and the private firm Celera each published work on human genome sequencing. From day one, the HGP put its sequenced genes in the public domain, while Celera relied on IP rights to protect its work, selling data to firms and requiring licenses for any commercial products developed.

Williams investigated how the 1,600 genes covered by Celera’s IP—which all eventually went into the public domain—fared compared with genes initially sequenced by the HGP. She found that Celera’s genes were less likely to be the focus of both scientific research and commercial development, even years after the Celera genes were freely available. “One additional year of Celera’s intellectual property translates to a persistent and permanent difference in whether we figure out whether it is linked to disease,” Williams told the Boston Globe. She suggests that IP rights reduced subsequent scientific research and product development by 20 to 30 percent.

Explore Professor Williams’ research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

New databases on U.S. law, government and elections

Posted April 23rd, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Do research on U.S. history, law, government, or elections?  Then try out these new databases from the MIT Libraries!

HeinOnline logo

HeinOnline Political Science Research Package (http://libraries.mit.edu/get/hein)

Full text legal history collection of image-based documents. Includes world constitutions, treaties, U.S. Supreme Court reports, U.S. Code, Code of Federal Regulations, Congressional Record, presidential papers and resources for researching legislative histories. 1700s – present.

CQ Congress logo

CQ Press Congress Collection (http://libraries.mit.edu/get/cqcongress)

Access resources and data on the U.S. Congress. Includes roll call votes, voting records, legislative histories and analyses.

CQ Voting logo

CQ Press Voting and Elections Collection (http://libraries.mit.edu/get/cqvoting)

View and download historic and current data on voting and elections in the U.S. at the national and state level. Includes analyses of voting behavior, election processes, major and minor political parties, and voter behavior and demographics.  The MIT Libraries’ subscription includes access to the data sets. The site is organized into six categories:

  • Presidential Elections:explanations of the presidential electoral process, analyses and data for historical and modern presidential elections, modern voting behavior, key events and issues, and biographies.
  • Congressional Elections: explanations of the congressional electoral process, including reapportionment and redistricting; data for historical and modern congressional elections; analyses of modern congressional elections; modern voting behavior; modern district profiles; key events and issues; and biographies.
  • Gubernatorial Elections: explanations of the gubernatorial electoral process and data for historical and modern gubernatorial elections.
  • Campaigns and Elections: explores the American system of voting and elections, electoral process and reform, media, interest groups, and the impact of money.
  • Political Parties: party system in America, including party strength and control, and profiles Democratic, Republican, and third parties.
  • Voters and Demographics: covers expansion of voting rights, voter turnout, voting behavior, modern county census data, and modern district profiles.

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Want more?  Check out our research guides to:

Earth Week Film Screening: Chasing Ice, Friday April 26

Posted April 21st, 2013 by Heather McCann

MIT Libraries in cooperation with the MIT Earth Day Committee present a film viewing of Chasing Ice on Friday, April 26. The film will be introduced by Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT.

 

This 2012 Oscar nominated documentary follows photographer James Balog and his crew as they as they conduct the Extreme Ice Survey, deploying time lapse cameras to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. Register for the MIT Sustainability Summit to see a talk by Chasing Ice photographer James Balog on Saturday evening!

Refreshments at 4 PM in lobby outside 6-120; Film starts at 4:30 in 6-120. Free and open to the public.

For more information, contact: Heather McCann; hmccann(at) mit.edu 617.253.7098

Web site: http://web.mit.edu/earthday

Sponsored by MIT Libraries, Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, EHS, MITEI, and the MIT Earth Day Committee

OA research in the news: The Townsend Thai Project

Posted April 18th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

In 1997, economist Robert Townsend and colleague Sombat Sakunthasathien, a Thai government researcher, began to gather data on family and community finances in rural and urban Thailand. They’ve never stopped. Their program, the Thai Family Research Project (part of the Townsend Thai Project), includes surveys of 2,880 households and 262 community groups. It has resulted in hundreds of thousands of data points, making it one of the largest datasets in the developing world. Among their findings is that much of Thailand’s expanding economy is coming from rural areas. They’ve now written a book, Chronicles from the Field, which delves into statistics but also recounts the human side of doing field work. “Organizations deal with people, and this is all about the people,” Townsend tells the MIT News. “You need to build up trust. The households need to understand why you’re asking them all these questions, and you need to be honest with them. By going back, you establish that you care.”

The book is accompanied by a documentary film, “Emerging Thailand: The Spirit of Small Enterprise,” which will screen at MIT on April 23 at 5:30 p.m. in E25-111.

Explore Professor Townsend’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

Micah Altman wins Pizzigati Prize

Posted April 12th, 2013 by Heather Denny

Micah Altman, MIT Libraries’ Director of Research, has been awarded the Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest for his work developing software that encourages transparency and public participation in the electoral redistricting process. The award was presented today, April 13, at the 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference of the National Technology Network in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The drawing of legislative districts has always been one of the least transparent — and most easily manipulated — steps toward democratic governance. Altman teamed up with Michael McDonald, Associate Professor at George Mason University, to find a way to break the political insider lockgrip on the electoral mapping process.

The initiative the scholars went on to launch, the Public Mapping Project, involved government and nonprofits across the country in an effort to develop redistricting software that any concerned citizen could use.

DistrictBuilder, the software that eventually emerged out of this effort, runs on ordinary Web browsers. Anyone with a computer can access DistrictBuilder and use it to both create legislative maps that fairly divide political power, and evaluate the maps that legislators create. DistrictBuilder has already been used to support redistricting efforts in the states of Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Virginia and others.

In addition to being honored by the prize, Altman finds it rewarding to see a new generation of voters involved in the process.

“It’s been very gratifying to see students use the software to create legal districts and really engage with the political process,” Altman said.

The $10,000 cash grant is awarded annually to those who have created or led an effort to create an open source software product of significant value to the nonprofit sector and movements for social change. The prize is named after MIT computer science graduate and open source computing advocate, Tony Pizzigati ’92 who worked at the MIT Media Lab and the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science.

Happy Day of DH!

Posted April 8th, 2013 by Patsy Baudoin

Monday, April 8th is this year’s Day of DH.

A Day in the Life of the Digital Humanities is a project that examines the state of the digital humanities through the lens of those within it. Follow the day’s activities @DayofDH on Twitter.

If you’re interested in the digital humanities or if you’re wondering what it is, explore our most recent research guide, Digital Humanities. Since it’s a work in progress, please let us know what you’d like to see added to it. 

 

 

 

Be an OECD Student Ambassador: and have a chance to go to Paris!

Posted March 18th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

OECD logo

Interested in the world economy or international relations?  Then become an OECD Student Ambassador!  Deadline: April 1st.

Student Ambassadors are undergraduates who engage with the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and plan on-campus activities to raise awareness of the Organization and its work. Based on their performance, two outstanding Student Ambassadors will be selected to attend the OECD Forum in Paris in May 2014.

All Student Ambassadors attend an initial training in Washington, DC, June 8-9 and will receive a certificate of participation and a letter of recommendation.  Expenses for trips plus a budget related to promotional activities on campus will be paid by the OECD.

For more information see: the OECD Student Ambassador Program 2013-2014 Guidelines

Deadline for applications: April 1, 2013

Download the OECD Student Ambassador Program 2013-2014 Application

Email application materials to Elodie Turchi at elodie.turchi@oecd.org. For further questions, contact Ms. Turchi or Katherine McNeill, Economics Librarian, at mcneillh@mit.edu.

Learn quantitative methods at ICPSR this summer

Posted March 18th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Need to expand your skills in statistical methods and quantitative analysis? Attend the ICPSR Summer Program! Each year, ICPSR provides a comprehensive, integrated program of studies in research design, statistics, data analysis, and social science methodology. Registration is now open for the 2013 session.

For a listing of course offerings and application information, see the ICPSR Summer Program web site.  New and ongoing courses this year include:

Note that while most courses are held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the following three will be held nearby, in Amherst, MA or New York, NY:

———————————————

And don’t forget ICPSR as a source of quantitative data on a range of topics: from consumer behavior, election statistics, health, international relations, social attitudes and behavior, and more!  Recently added datasets include:

In other news, ICPSR now is releasing all of its new data files in R software format.

For further information, contact Katherine McNeill, Social Science Data Services Librarian, at mcneillh@mit.edu.

Grow your knowledge! Research guides for any topic

Posted March 1st, 2013 by Remlee Green

DaffodilsStart cultivating a garden of knowledge with MIT Libraries’ research guides. Our guides dig deeper than Google to uncover the best sources for information on your research topic. Each guide contains lists of resources recommended by expert librarians. Suggestions for print and electronic resources, databases, and journals—it’s all there!

  • Researching soil chemistry properties in the scholarly literature? What database does the Chemistry guide suggest?
  • Not sure what the first settlers in Massachusetts grew in their gardens? Try the Historical Newspapers guide.

We even have guides about organizing your referencesmanaging your datagetting published, and so much more! Seriously, think of a topic – any topic. Yep, we probably have that, too.

And you’re always welcome to ask us for help!

New statistical databases

Posted February 21st, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Doing quantitative research?  Need statistics for a research project, paper, or to provide context for a project?  Looking for a needle-in-a-haystack?  Try these new statistical databases from the Libraries!

Statista logo

Statista provides statistics on a wide range of topics, including industries, markets, demography, countries & economies.  It harvests data from market researchers, trade associations, scientific publications, and government sources, and compiles it in a central place for you to search.  Download data in tabular or graphical form and link to original data sources and related reports.  Find statistics such as:

  • Global market share held by the leading smartphone operating systems in sales to end users from 1st quarter 2009 to 4th quarter 2012
  • Percentage of U.S. population who has (or ever had) cancer, 1999-2011, by age
  • U.S. organic food sales growth forecast from 2010 to 2014
  • Monthly unemployment rate in the U.S. from January 2012 to January 2013 (seasonally-adjusted)
  • and more…

Access Statista at: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/statista.

Govistics logo

Researching local areas in the United States?  Govistics provides spending, revenue, employment and crime data for state and local governments and school districts across the U.S., pulling together data from different sources.  Find data such as the following for the City of Cambridge:

  • Government spending and number of employees in all areas, including social services, education, and public safety
  • Number of violent and property crimes
  • Investment portfolio of the city’s retirement system, with data on membership and contributions
  • and more…

Access Govistics at: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/govistics.

Statistical Abstract logo

Need data on your research topic but have no idea who collects it?  Try the Statistical Abstract of the United States!  This online reference source provides summary statistical tables of everything under the sun, and detailed citations to the original source for you to find more detailed data.  Search not only by subject but also filter your results to those available at certain demographic (e.g., age, sex, race, education, marital status), geographic (e.g., state, smsa), and economic (e.g., industry, occupation) breakdowns.  Find data such as:

  • Nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases in private industry by type of injury or illness and days away from work: 2010
  • Coastline counties most frequently hit by hurricanes: 1960 To 2008
  • Municipal solid waste generation, materials recovery, combustion with energy recovery, and discards: 1980 to 2010
  • Research and development expenditures in science and engineering at universities and colleges: 2000 to 2010

Access the Statistical Abstract at: http://libraries.mit.edu/get/stat-abstract.

Want further information on statistics and data resources?  Try Social Science Data Services or other data resources listed on our subject-oriented research guides.

OA research in the news: The value of higher education

Posted February 13th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

James Poterba

David Autor

Is the cost of a university degree worth it? It’s a question on the minds of many American families in an era of high unemployment and rising tuition costs. Scholars and policymakers at an on-campus forum last week suggested that though expensive, college is valuable both to individuals and the country at large. Labor economist David Autor pointed to evidence showing that college graduates earn $250,000 to $300,000 more over their lifetimes, regardless of undergraduate major. Autor is co-director of MIT’s School Effectiveness & Inequality Initiative, whose mission is to study issues related to the economics of education. Moderator and economics professor James Poterba said that higher education is “an extremely important sector of the U.S. economy,” representing about 3.5 percent of the national GDP.

Explore Professor Autor’s research and Professor Poterba’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

OA research in the news: Happiness on tap

Posted January 17th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

More than half of people worldwide with access to water have to walk to fetch it. In urban Morocco, households relying on public taps spend seven hours a week collecting water—a burden that can lead to stress and conflict within families. Economist Esther Duflo and colleagues recently published a paper showing that when offered credit and assistance, nearly 70 percent of households bought a connection to water despite a doubling of their water bill. Nearly half of those who did said their overall quality of life improved afterwards.

Explore Professor Duflo’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

Research energy industries with the eTrack databases

Posted January 14th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill

Alternative Energy eTrack logo

Researching energy industries?  Need statistics, market analysis, news, company information, and financial deals?  Try our suite of eTrack databases:

eTrack provides data and reports on energy industry sectors worldwide. Each database contains numerous statistical databases; detailed information on companies, deals, and key events; plus in-depth industry research.   Find detailed statistics and generate lists such as:

  • Wind farms in Argentina (showing the generation capacity of each)
  • Planned oil exploration blocks, showing the country, area, operator, and acreage
  • Nuclear power reactors to be decommissioned (including shutdown year and decommissioning cost)

Note: To download tables, copy and paste them into Excel page by page.

Want further information about energy?  Attend one of our energy IAP workshops and try the other resources on our Energy Research Guide.