‘3. Discourses Analysis’ Category

Article centrality measures in the Wikipedia hyperlink network

November 8th, 2012

In this post we have drawn the network of hyperlinks connecting Wikipedia articles related to climate change. Now we will focus on how to identify the most central articles in the network.

Applying different metrics we can study which issues are more central within our set of articles according to different criteria:

  • In/Out-degree: number of incoming/outgoing links. It measure centrality as the number of connections with other nodes.
  • Pagerank: like in-degree, but the weight of each incoming connection depends on the importance of the corresponding node; weights are computed iteratively. It can be seen as the probability of reaching a node when following a random walk in the graph.
  • Betweenness: number of shortest paths from all vertices to all others that pass through the given node (i.e.: how often the given node lies on the shortest path between a pair of nodes). It quantifies the importance of a node as a bridge between different nodes or groups in the network.
  • Closeness: Average distance from a node to all the other nodes in the network. It represents centrality as the ability to reach the other nodes in few steps.

Climate change adaptation websites and resources

October 4th, 2012

When looking for climate change adaptation resources at the regional and local level the problem is that most of the information is only available in local languages of the different countries which makes things difficult to access and to use. Nevertheless there are – apart from the weADAPT and Climate Funds Update websites – some other websites and resources in English which can be helpful for the climate change strand of the EMAPS project:


UKCIP supports adaptation to the unavoidable impacts of a changing climate. UKCIP coordinates and influences research into adapting to climate change, and encourages organisations to use their tools and information to help them consider their climate risks and how to adapt. There are links to essentials (frameworks, definitions), tools (supporting instruments), government (who is involved where and why), case studies and resources.

ESPON Climate

The ESPON project 2013/1/4 “Climate change and territorial effects on regions and local economies” deals with the impacts of climate change on the European regions and their economies as well as the consequences for spatial planning. Therefore the project seeks to analyse the regional sensitivities towards climate stimuli and the likely economic effects of climate change on European regions also considering mitigation and adaptation measures. Eventually, the project aims at the development of new potential regional typologies with respect to the multitude of aspects and consequences in the context of climate change. At the ESPON website you will find all the main reports as well as reports from the case studies Alpine Space, Tisza River (Hungary), North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany), Mediterranean Coast of Spain, Bergen (Norway), The Netherlands and Coastal Aquifers. Data on the ESPON projects is provided via the ESPON 2013 Database.

Climate Research – The Netherlands

The joint website of the Dutch “Climate changes Spatial Planning” Programme and the “Knowledge for Climate” Research Programme provides information on the programmes themselves, projects that have been funded, methods and approaches, publications and case studies. Both programmes have a slightly different focus: The Climate changes Spatial Planning Programme enhances joint-learning between communities and people in practice within spatial planning, with the themes climate scenarios, mitigation, adaptation, integration and communication, The Knowledge for Climate Research Programme develops knowledge and services, focusing on eight Hotspots (Schiphol Mainport, Haaglanden Region, Rotterdam Region, Major Rivers, South-West Netherlands Delta, Shallow waters and peat meadow areas, Dry rural areas, Wadden Sea, Delta Alliance) enabling the climate proofing of the Netherlands.

Climate Change Adaptation Resource

This website brings together a wide collection of knowledge, lessons and experience from five countries across the Northern Periphery, who participated in the NPP Clim-ATIC project from 2008 to 2011. Twelve communities worked in partnership with researchers and local authorities, to develop their capacity to adapt to the impacts of current and future climate changes, under the themes of transport, energy, risk management and tourism. This knowledge can be freely accessed in a variety of ways using the links above, either via viewing case studies directly or through the targeted training material.

National Adaptation Programmes of Action

National adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs) provide a process for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to identify priority activities that respond to their urgent and immediate needs to adapt to climate change – those for which further delay would increase vulnerability and/or costs at a later stage. The main content of NAPAs is a list of ranked priority adaptation activities and projects, as well as short profiles of each activity or project, designed to facilitate the development of proposals for implementation of the NAPA. To facilitate access to project details from the NAPAs, the secretariat has developed a NAPA Project Database.

European Environment Agency

By providing information on climate change in Europe, the EEA supports the implementation of legislation on climate mitigation and adaptation in Europe, the evaluation of EU policies and the development of long-term strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change. EEA’s information (data, indicators, assessments, projections) focuses on climate change mitigation (greenhouse gas emission trends, projections, policies and measures), and on climate change impacts and adaptation actions in Europe. The EEA provides information and publications such as Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe 2012, Impacts of Europe’s changing climate – 2008 indicator-based assessment, Impacts of Europe’s changing climate 2004. Further, there is a section on sharing European environmental datasets, maps, charts and applications.

UNEP Climate Change Adaptation

UNEP helps developing countries to reduce vulnerabilities and build resilience to the impacts of climate change. UNEP builds and strengthens national institutional capacities for vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning, and supports national efforts to integrate climate change adaptation measures into development planning and ecosystem management practices. It provides sections on Science and Tools and focuses on the following topics: Science and Assessments, Knowledge and Policy, Ecosystem-Based Adaptation, Economics and Finance, Access to Adaptation Finance.

Network of articles about climate change

October 3rd, 2012

In a previous post, we have explained how we collected a list of about 1000 articles related to climate change, and presented several measures of the associated discussions. Here we want to study the network of hyperlinks between these articles.

More specifically, we build a graph in which each article is a node, and a directed edge connects node A to node B if the corresponding articles are linked, i.e. if article A contains a link to article B.

As in Wikipedia each article represents an encyclopedic entry, and thus an entity, each link can be interpreted as evidence of a relationship between the entities which are the subjects of the articles. Following this idea, for example, the network of hyperlinks betweeen biographies in Wikipedia can be interpreted as a network between notable persons and historical characters, as shown in Aragón et al. (2012).

In the present case, each article represents an issue, an event or an actor related to climate change, and the network can reveal how these entities are related to each other according to the Wikipedia community.

Hyperlink network

Network of hyperlinks between Wikipedia articles related to climate change

In this figure, drawn with Gephi, the size of each node depends on its pagerank. Colours have been assigned to nodes and arcs according to a clustering algorithm (modularity maximization), so it is possible to get an idea of the main groups (clusters), in which articles are strongly interconnected. To better visualize the network, you can download the pdf version (searchable).

On the bottom-left of the figure we observe a purple cluster which includes articles Global warming and Climate change and is mostly focused on the scientific debate on climate change, and the associated controversies and actors (e.g: Global warming controversy, An inconvenient truth, List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming, Al Gore). This cluster has no clear boundaries and is strongly interlinked to a turquoise one on the bottom, focused on global models for climate, and centered around the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

If we keep moving towards the right, we can see a cyan cluster grouping articles associated with climatology and the effects of global warming, such as Ice Age, See level rise or Greenhouse effect, and a dark blue one mostly related to Climate change mitigation and Geoengineering.

On the top we can distinguish two clusters related to energy and climate change: a red cluster on the right, centered on Greenhouse gas, Fossil fuel and Renewable energy, and a green cluster on the left, associated to the Kyoto protocol and policies for emission reduction.

Close to this we find the last cluster (mustard, on the left),  grouping articles related to international treaties and conferences on climate change (the most relevant one appears to be the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and more in general Individual and political action on climate change, including some relevant actors such as the World Bank and Greenpeace.

Beyond showing how articles can be grouped into different clusters, the figure also reveals which articles are more relevant in this network, according to the pagerank. In order to investigate further which are the most relevant nodes in the network, we will apply and compare several centrality metrics in the next post.



Aragón, P., Kaltenbrunner A., Laniado D., and Volkovich Y. (2011).
Biographical Social Networks on Wikipedia – A cross-cultural study of links that made history
WikiSym ’12 – 8th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration.


Examples / U.S. National conventions’ discourses visualized

September 9th, 2012

We’d like to share an interesting example of discourse visualization, created by the New York Times.

It shows how often speakers at the two presidential nominating conventions used different words and phrases.

The visualization is quite simple but effective. Each word is represented with a circle, and size represents its use. the circle is divided showing the word’s use by each group.
X axis represents polarization (democrats on the left, republicans on the right).

Visualization loads only the most used words, but it is possible to add other words or sentences just typing them in the form.

This visualization not only allow to get an overview of the discourse, but also to reach the punctual data. Clicking on a words, it returns a list of all the sentences containing it. This link between an global and detail should be one of our goals: also from London’ workshop we saw that when people engage with a visualization, they want to go deeper in details.


Linking controversy maps with stakeholder needs

July 4th, 2012

In our meeting in London we discussed about the addressees of the emapping products. The workshop on ageing gave some first impressions how people react to the maps and how they might be used in providing information and in decision-making processes. This can be the starting point for the identification of stakeholder needs and especially decision-maker needs in the climate change adaptation strand of the project.
Decision-makers in the area of climate change adaptation can be found at all spatial levels:

  • global/international: development policies, funding adaptation measures, adaptation vs. mitigation etc.
  • national: development of national adaptation strategy, allocation of adaptation funds in highly vulnerable areas (hot spots), identification of vulnerable sectors (water, biodiversity, urban development, agriculture, …) etc.
  • regional: appropriate design and selection of adaptation measures such as lowering the urban heat island effect by supporting networks of green areas, water, cold air streams (examples: London, Paris, Ruhr area); support freshwater supply for new housing and industrial development (example: South East England); avoid future development in climate-triggered extreme events like flash floods or river flooding (example: PPR – Plans de Prévention des Risques Naturels in France or implementation of the EU Floods Directive at river catchment areas)
  • local: urban design and management, adapt cities to climate change (e. g. parks, green roofs, avoid development in hazard-prone areas), smart growth etc.

EMAPS project partners have access to various stakeholders in some of the Member States and throughout Europe due to their participation in various projects at the European (e. g. ESPON Climate or MOUNTAIN RISKS), national (comparison of national adaptation strategies), regional (regional climate change adaptation strategies) and local level (urban development strategies for climate change adaptation).

The CHANGES project which runs in parallel to the EMAPS project is promising in this respect, too, as it will be carried out in four European case study areas (France, Italy, Poland, Romania) with decision-makers, the public and research teams involved. These groups could be involved into the iterative development process of mapping climate change controversies, especially in the following steps:

  • identification of users (regional, urban decision-makers, the public, researchers)
  • dissemination of maps (by EMAPS project)
  • re-interpretation of maps (by users)
  • collection of feedback (incl. user needs)
  • use in decision-making practice (by users again)

Dortmund will be able to set up contacts between EMAPS and CHANGES as both projects seem to be complementary to each other very much. According to the lessons learnt from the London workshop on ageing the case study approach seems to be promising as people find visualisations more interesting when they map a territory that they already know and local maps seem to be more interesting than global maps.
The structure of the CHANGES project as a Marie Curie Action offers another interesting opportunity for co-operation as the visualisation and communication of environmental changes is subject of three post-doc positions that are potentially interesting for EMAPS project partners and members of the research teams:

  • Development of risk communication and visualisation tools: This post-doc position is oriented to the development of software tools for risk communication and visualisation which could either be web-based or more oriented to innovative communication tools such as planning games. The post-doc will work closely together with PhD students that provide the components for these tools and with both full network partners as private companies specialised in software development. Vacancy announcement: http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/index.cfm/jobs/jobDetails/33789674 (application deadline: 25 July 2012).
  • Development of web-based tool for probabilistic risk assessment of geohazards: The objective of this post-doc position is to develop and implement a tool for probabilistic risk assessment of geohazards (landslides, floods) in a web-based environment, including the design of a multi-hazard Spatial Data Infrastructure. Vacancy announcement: http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/index.cfm/jobs/jobDetails/33791493 (application deadline: 31 July 2012).
  • Development of web-based decision support tool for risk management: The objective of this post-doc position is to develop a web-based decision support tool for risk assessment of hydro-meteorological hazards (landslides, floods). Vacancy announcement: http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/index.cfm/jobs/jobDetails/33791493 (application deadline: 17 August 2012).

Where we are, where we are going

June 9th, 2012

The London workshop will not start until next Wednesday, but I already want to express great satisfaction for process that led to this event. In a handful of months, we identified a number research questions, we collected and analysed the data necessary to provide some answers, we visualised the results of the analysis and we are now ready to share our maps with a real public. On a small scale, we already proved the worth of our consortium.
And there’s more: next week event is only a small test compared to the exhibition we will organise in London in the next fall, which in turn is only a small test of the online/offline platform we will develop on climate adaptation.

During the kick-off meeting, I said that our project is complex because it is experimental. I think we have found the good organisation to tame such complexity. The circle displayed in the image below (courtesy of Axel) describes the iterative process of questions-data-visualisations-tests that characterize EMAPS. What is most remarkable about this circle is that it reaches further every time we go through it. More then to a circle, our project resembles to a spiral where every coil delivers better maps and engages more people.
Accordingly, the success of EMAPS depends crucially on our capacity to multiply the iterations among ourselves and with our publics. To use a slogan borrowed from software development: “release early, release often!”

Acknowledging the spiralling nature of EMAPS transforms slightly but decisively the goal of the second day of our London meeting (see page 7 and 8 of the survival kit sent by Axel). At this stage, the priority is not to decide once and for all the precise focus of our project, but to set the mapping spiral into motion. What we need is to identify a first set of adaptation maps that are both interesting and relatively easy to produce.
To facilitate our work, I drafted a list of potential research questions and maps (see page 10-12 of the kit). Our goal for Thursday is to complete this list (because I certainly forgot something important) and agree on the interest and feasibility of each of the proposed maps.

This assessment will be the basis for the work of following months, which will consist in developing a first set of maps to submit to a first sample of public in order to produce better maps to submit to a larger audience and so on and so forth. So the spiral goes, so the project advances…

Identifying more Wikipedia articles related to Climate change

May 31st, 2012

In two previous posts (post 1, post 2) we have reported some metrics about a sample of 53 Wikipedia articles related to Climate Change, manually selected by Tommaso Venturini. The list contains probably the main articles related to this topic; however, given the wideness of Wikipedia we can suppose that many more articles concerning Climate Change exist, and it is hardly feasible to manually collect all of them. In this post we explain how we have expanded this list in a semi-automatic way, relying on Wikipedia’s category structure.

In Wikipedia, each article can be assigned to one or more categories, and each category can in turn be assigned to higher level categories. This can be achieved by any user just by inserting a special tag into a page.

Articles are usually not assigned directly to high level categories, to make the category structure usable: what if you had thousands of articles directly assigned to “Natural Sciences”? It would be impossible to make sense of the categories. Instead, most articles are only assigned to lower level categories, and these are in turn assigned to higher level categories.


Update on “Measures for Wikipedia articles related to the climate change controversy”

May 30th, 2012

A few entries ago  we presented a listing about measures related to the discussions  about the climate change controversy on Wikipedia. The listing was based on data from May 2010. We recently  updated our dataset and recalculated the metrics for the same articles.


Time Evolution of Controversies on Wikipedia

April 24th, 2012

Following up on one of our first blog entries we will introduce here briefly a study about the growth in complexity of discussions. A preprint of the study is available at arXiv.

The idea is to use a similar definition to the m-index introduced already by  J. E. Hirsch in his seminal paper about the h-index (the m-index of  a researcher  with and h-index of θ and who has first published a paper n years ago is m = θ/n).

To measure the growth in complexity we use the inverse of this definition.  First we refresh the definition of the h-index of a nested discussion.

The h-index of a discussion is the maximal number θ such that there are at least θ comments at level (depth) θ, but not θ + 1 comments at level θ + 1. Another possible definition would be that there are θ sub-threads of depth at least θ. (See here for a visual example).

We define then Δh as the average time (measured in days) it takes a discussion to increase its h-index by one.


Edit wars and dynamics of conflict in Wikipedia

March 27th, 2012

In a previous post we have shown how discussion patterns in talk pages associated to Wikipedia articles can be studied to identify conflict, while in another one we have applied these measures to characterize Wikipedia articles related to the climate change controversy.

A complementary approach, based on analyzing the edit history, has been more often adopted in literature to quantify conflict. In particular, several researchers focused on reverts, corresponding to edits in which a user undoes the changes introduced by another user. (more…)