Exciting things are happening at EC3! Wences is approaching the end of his PhD in Information and Communication Technologies, so we decided to continue our interview series by talking with him about his experience. Read below to learn more about his experience, hear his advice for other students, and listen to some songs that highlight his journey.
Hi Wences! To start, can you provide some background information about your PhD thesis and research?
Hi! My thesis combines big data and altmetrics. The main objective is to study and map social media interactions around science (e.g. tweets, Wikipedia articles or news stories that mention or involve science), all with a big data perspective. It is mainly oriented towards Twitter and Wikipedia, both of which have a massive volume of data, and where there are also many interactions, for example retweets.
What did you accomplish over the course of your studies?
Well, on the one hand, I have mapped and compared social relations with the academic interests of Twitter users, i.e. I have analyzed whether users with the same interests interact with each other. I have also mapped the role that science plays in Wikipedia, what is cited and how it differs from the academic realm. I have also done a complete dissection of Wikipedia, exploring many possibilities that are sometimes unknown (do you know or have you ever visited the talk page of an article?). This last case, moreover, has taken me quite a long time due to the avalanche of data on Wikipedia.
What moment are you most proud of from your PhD experience?
It may sound silly, but I would highlight my research stay. I had never done one before. At the beginning it was not easy but in the end I enjoyed the experience, everything went well and I have very good memories of it.
Do you have any advice for other PhD students?
Of course! My advice is to always listen and, above all, to trust and follow the instructions of your director, who is the most experienced and who will take care of you. I also advise them to enjoy themselves at all times because it is a demanding and exhausting experience, but if you work in what you like it is very fun and rewarding.
Do you have any plans for the future?
For the moment, for sure, defending the thesis. But it is true that we are already looking at some options to continue researching and working in this field.
Congratulations Wences! We hoped you enjoyed this interview and were able to take away something from his valuable experience and advice (and music taste).