I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. Previously I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard, and received my PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago. I study how organizations and communities create new ideas, and what interventions or organizational designs can help them do so more effectively. I am pursuing this agenda in two tracks:
- Science of science, evaluation processes: How can the value of new ideas or research projects be measured, or even defined? How can organizations use or misuse expert judgment in evaluations? Using computational and field experimental methods to examine [often very sensitive] evaluation processes in science, I investigate how the cultural context and structure of evaluations can bias outcomes, steering them towards particular winners and losers.
- Online communities: How can we create online communities capable of sustaining collaboration or problem-solving even when the topic is highly contested or polarizing? To this end I have studied how the design of a particularly important online community -- Wikipedia -- affects the kind of knowledge the community generates on politically divisive topics.
Methodologically, I specialize in field experiments and computational analysis of textual and interactional data. I apply these tools to data and field settings provided by partners like Harvard Medical School, Elsevier, Public Library of Science, and Wikipedia. My research appears in journals including Nature Human Behavior, Research Policy, Sociological Science, and Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, and has been covered by MIT Technology Review, Washington Post, Scientific American, Daily Mail, NewScientist, etc.
See the Projects page for more details.