Katharina Zweig received the communicator award 2019

for her dedicated and versatile communication on ethical, political and social implications of algorithms and their use [1]. The Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Stifterverband (Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany)

have been presenting the Communicator Award to researchers since 2000 in recognition of outstanding achievements in science communication. The award acknowledges a researcher's commitment to making their work and specialist area accessible to a wider audience and engaging in a dialogue between the research community and the public. It also promotes the idea that science communication should be given a higher status as part of a researcher's job.

(DFG 2017 [2])


The networker

Prof. Dr. Katharina Zweig, computer scientist, is an experienced ad well recognized networker on behalf of many aspects in social informatics. A DFG video portrays Katharina Zweig in honour of receiving the communicator award 2019 [3].


The purpose of education in social informatics

In the 6:17 video portrait from minute 1:10 till 1:41 she defines social informatics and sketches the B.Sc. and M.Sc. study programs in socioinformatics at TU Kaiserslautern [4 & 5]. Some German colleagues call social informatics "socioinformatis", perhaps to avoid confusion with the development and application of software(-systems) in the social-service area. On the use of the terms social informatics and socioinformatics see for instance Zdenek Smutny's paper "Social informatics as a concept" [6] and my blog of 20 Jun 2019 [7].

At TU Kaiserslautern fifty percent of the programs refer to software engineering: students have to be able to "built" actually software. Furthermore students shall explore and learn the effects of information technology on society. To afford this the other fifty percent of the study program contain basic education in law, economics, sociology and psychology and - as K Zweig adds: of course - in ethics. She emphasizes the purpose of the study programs: The aim is to empower graduates in social informatics to be able to produce better software so that it is of use for todays society.

The study programs are good examples how future experts in social informatics can be educated and which topics are relevant. Visit the programs at TU Kaiserslautern [4] and K Zweig [5] at the university and of course in the digital social media.


Again: congratulations, Katharina Zweig.

Christa Weßel - Thursday, 11 Jul 2019


Links and further reading

[1] DFG Deutsche Forschunsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation). Communicator-Preis 2019 geht an Katharina Anna Zweig. Letzte Aktualisierung: 02.07.2019 - https://www.dfg.de/gefoerderte_projekte/wissenschaftliche_preise/communicator-preis/2019/index.html (11 Jul 2019)

[2] DFG Deutsche Forschunsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation). Communicator Award. Last updated: 15 September 2017 - https://www.dfg.de/en/research_funding/programmes/prizes/communicator_award/index.html (11 Jul 2019)

[3] DFG bewegt. Film-Porträt der Communicator-Preisträgerin 2019 - Prof. Dr. Katharina Anna Zweig. Am 01.07.2019 veröffentlicht. - https://youtu.be/wzDinmcqwVo (11 Jul 2019)

[4] TU Kaiserslautern (Technical University). Department of Computer Science. Socioinformatics (B.Sc./M.Sc.) - https://www.cs.uni-kl.de/en/studium/studiengaenge/bm-si/ (11 Jul 2019)

[5] TU Kaiserslautern (Technical University). Algorithm Accountability Lab. Prof. Dr. Katharina Anna Zweig. - http://aalab.informatik.uni-kl.de/gruppe/zweig/ (11 Jul 2019)

[6]  Smutny Z. Social informatics as a concept: Widening the discourse. Journal of Information Science, 2016, 42(5), 681-710. - https://doi.org/10.1177/0165551515608731 (20 Jun 2019)

[7] Weßel C. Social Informatics Experience ... Learning and teaching sociological basics in a technical context. Blog 20 Jun 2019 - https://www.christa-wessel.de/2019/06/20/social-informatics-experience/ (11 Jul 2019)