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Imagine a data platform that can help improve community resilience to natural disasters, avoid potential supply chain disruptions and accurately predict infectious disease outbreaks.
Those are among the goals of a new data platform being developed by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research (ISR), which was awarded a $38 million investment from the National Science Foundation (NSF) earlier this year.
The new data platform will enable researchers in multiple fields to more effectively collect, store and secure vital information for their studies. In the past, many researchers have faced obstacles such as incompatible data standards, missing or error-filled information and technical difficulties in managing large datasets.
The $38 million investment by the NSF is enabling the Institute for Social Research to establish the Research Data Ecosystem: A National Resource for Reproducible, Robust and Transparent Social Science Research in the 21st Century. ISR will oversee the creation of new data archives and software that researchers can use to access, organize, analyze and contribute data.
“The Research Data Ecosystem (RDE) is a five-year project and is expected to be completed by the end of 2026,” explained Jeannette Jackson, managing director of the RDE.
The work on RDE began on January 17, 2022, and is now in the early stages of construction.
“The first products will be available in 2024,” Jackson noted. “The end result will be a flexible data management system with a user-friendly interface that will enable researchers to deposit, search for, make use of the cloud to work with their data and disseminate their data in a safe and secure environment. The ultimate goal is to make it easy for researchers to find data and create new knowledge.”
An urgent need for better quality research data
The Research Data Ecosystem infrastructure project was initiated because ISR recognized the need to provide better data management and analytics support for researchers engaged in cutting-edge social science, Jackson said. ISR is the largest academic social science survey and research organization in the world. The RDE work is situated within ISR at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the world’s largest social science archive specializing in curated data.
“RDE is a transformative infrastructure project that will modernize the ICPSR software platform and develop an integrated suite of software tools to advance research in the social and behavioral sciences with a focus on the democratization of data,” according to Margaret “Maggie” Levenstein, director of ICPSR and primary investigator for the RDE.
Per Levenstein, the RDE will enable:
- Interoperability: An integrated system for the entire research data lifecycle, so that work done early in the data lifecycle is useful at later stages, making it possible to integrate data from different sources.
- Reproducibility: Making it easier to reproduce and build on prior research results by being able to find and reuse data and code.
- Transparency: Providing information about provenance, including source, code and method of collection for research data.
- Efficiency of data sharing: Reducing burden on data producers in sharing data and ensuring that shared data are FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable).
- Confidentiality protection: Protecting confidentiality while increasing research access.
To achieve these goals, the project will develop the Research Data Description Framework for describing different research data lifecycle events. This is a metadata specification similar to the Resource Description Framework, Levenstein said.
“RDE will include stand-alone functional components for each stage of the research lifecycle that will be interoperable with one another and with key existing global research infrastructure,” Levenstein said. “The platform will support social and behavioral science researchers using traditional (e.g., survey and experimental) and novel (e.g., digital trace, imaging) types of data over the entire research lifecycle, from data collection to analysis to sharing to rediscovery and re-analysis.”
This infrastructure will improve the quality, integrity and safety of data. It will also increase accessibility to data and collaboration between users across social science and behavioral science disciplines. It will do so with a user interface designed to make data more accessible across the board, Levenstein said.
Turning mountains of data into nuggets of insight
The new RDE platform basically seeks to solve a problem that is shared in virtually every industry – organizations collecting mountains of data that don’t always communicate with each other, and makes it difficult to find meaningful insights in it.
“ICPSR began constructing digital archives for social science data in the 1960s to preserve and disseminate the novel data that ISR researchers were creating,” Jackson said. “At that time, each dataset was created with its own bespoke framework, permissions, metadata, etc.”
Since then, advances in the ability of the IST to collect data have led to a massive influx of different data types and sizes. Once the ICPSR software platform is modernized, these datasets can be linked to inform research within the social sciences.
“Using bespoke environments is extremely expensive in terms of time and money for both researchers and data providers,” Jackson said. “The resulting data are not interoperable with other parts of the research ecosystem. This increases a researcher’s burden and reduces the quality, transparency and reproducibility of research. RDE will accomplish these efficiently, at scale and in a way that enhances the scientific standards of social science research.”
The RDE platform is being built upon a new infrastructure (OpenShift/Kubernetes) with updated cloud-native technologies. The platform consists of a set of shared services which cover functions including ingest, curation, search, dissemination, preservation, authentication and authorization.
“The platform will improve the quality of data-driven social and behavioral science research over the entire data lifecycle,” Levenstein said. “This, in combination with a human-centered design interface, will enable researchers across disciplines to conduct their work more efficiently and to create, organize, archive, access and analyze data in ways that they cannot with existing infrastructure. The new infrastructure will also facilitate interactions between other parts of the research ecosystem through a system of APIs.”
The NSF has invested in the new data platform in order to help advance social science research capabilities, which are aimed at benefitting all citizens.
“Research in the social, behavioral and economic sciences aims to improve understanding of human behavior: how we create, respond to and are shaped by the natural and social worlds,” Jackson said. “Progress in the social sciences enables effective, high-quality decision-making – by individuals, parents and families, civic participants and civil society organizations, businesses and evidence-based policymakers.”
An empirical renaissance across the social sciences – in which scientists are using new computational methods, new experimental approaches and new data sources – has transformed our understanding of human society, from the determinants of inequality to how children learn to read, Jackson stressed.
“These innovations in knowledge were enabled by researchers who gained access to large, novel data – digital traces of human activity – which they plumbed for new insights. NSF has recognized that data abundance creates enormous opportunities: harnessing the Data Revolution is one of its priorities,” Jackson said.
NSF has made considerable investments in ICPSR throughout its history, including facilitating the move from tape drives to the internet.
“We believe that in addition to bolstering the investments they have already made in the social science archives at ICPSR that NSF now recognizes the need to invest in the ability to work with bigger, more connected data in the cloud,” Jackson said.
To understand the significance of the investment, Jackson shared an example.
“Imagine you would like to study a particular ZIP code that is known to have specific adverse health conditions. You could come to ICPSR and safely and securely identify all sorts of studies and data from this ZIP code (EEG data, survey data, video data, geospatial data, criminal justice data, educational data, etc.),” she said. “You could then conduct research in the cloud in a way that was never been possible before. RDE, once built, and in conjunction with the work being done at ICPSR to curate data, will enable the research community at all levels to do just that.”
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‘She-Hulk’ Release Schedule: When Does Episode 9 Hit Disney Plus?
The current Marvel series dropping weekly episodes on Disney Plus is almost over. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is a half-hour scripted comedy about Jennifer Walters (played by the incredible Tatiana Maslany), the Hulk’s equally green cousin.
The first season consists of nine episodes. Six are directed by Kat Coiro and the other three by Anu Valia, with Jessica Gao as head writer. Originally, She-Hulk was set to take over Ms. Marvel’s Wednesday release spot, but the episodes instead arrive each Thursday (probably because Star Wars series Andor took over the Wednesday slot).
Exact She-Hulk episode release dates and times
Here are the exact episode release times.
- Episode 1: Available now.
- Episode 2: Available now.
- Episode 3: Available now.
- Episode 4: Available now.
- Episode 5: Available now.
- Episode 6: Available now.
- Episode 7: Available now.
- Episode 8: Available now.
- Episode 9: Available Thursday, Oct. 13 — 12 a.m. PT (3 a.m. ET/7 a.m. GMT)
The first smashing trailer
After a teaser that well and truly teased us (by not showing She-Hulk’s face), Marvel dropped the first official trailer on May 17. This time we see what She-Hulk will look like in her awesome green glory.
She-Hulk also stars Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Wong and Tim Roth, who starred as the main antagonist in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. Ginger Gonzaga, Josh Segarra, Jameela Jamil, Jon Bass and Renée Elise Goldsberry are also part of the cast.
First Super Mario Bros. Trailer Is Here: You Can Finally Hear Chris Pratt
It’s-a him. Chris Pratt as Mario in the movie. OK, so co-producer Chris Meledandri confirmed back in 2021 that Pratt wasn’t going to use the stereotyped voice of the video game plumber in the upcoming animated Mario film. But on Thursday, Nintendo dropped a highly anticipated teaser trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and Pratt revealed, kind of, the voice he did choose.
Honestly, the much-anticipated Pratt-as-Mario voice was kind of a letdown. There’s … maybe a faint bit of Italian accent in the few lines Pratt speaks? Or is he just using his normal voice? Pratt’s Mario mostly just reacts to getting the wind knocked out of him as he heads off on his Mushroom Kingdom adventure.
Sure, there was no way Pratt was going to use the exaggerated, stereotypical voice, but so little of him can actually be heard in the teaser it’s tough to say how his Mario will sound. He doesn’t deliver any of Mario’s famed catchphrases — no “It’s-a me, Mario” or “Wahoo!” Maybe more will be revealed when a longer trailer comes along. Regardless, there’s a better chance to hear some of Jack Black’s Bowser (he’s excellent) and a good look at the vibrant animation.
Fans were underwhelmed by Pratt’s voice, or at least what we got to hear of it.
“Everything in the Mario movie trailer looks and sounds absolutely great…except for Chris Pratt’s voice lol,” one viewer tweeted.
Pratt reminded one viewer of Ratso Rizzo in 1969’s Midnight Cowboy. “It was like four words, but I definitely got Dustin Hoffman ‘I’m WALKIN HEAH!’ vibes.”
And another person summed it up nicely, writing, “It’s not similar to Mario. It’s not similar to Mario’s vibe. It’s not even similar to the live action movie version. Just Chris Pratt sounding a little confused.”
“It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to be Mario,” Pratt says in a video clip preceding the trailer, relating how he played Mario games on a machine at his childhood laundromat. Good to know, but the jury is still out on how that dream will become a reality.
And after the trailer was published, Pratt tweeted about it, writing, “After playing the games for years as a kid (and adult) I’m excited to bring Mario to all of you! Enjoy!”
The trailer did reveal Jack Black as Bowser, and Keegan-Michael Key as Toad. But some fans were disappointed that the clip didn’t include a clip of Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, especially the actor’s infamous laugh.
“My only complaint is that we didn’t get to see Seth Rogen’s Donkey Kong voice let alone SOME form of laughter,” one fan wrote.
The Mario movie was set to come out in late 2022 but is now scheduled for release on April 7, 2023.
How marketers are tailoring data-driven creative to engage audiences on CTV
As the end of the year approaches and marketing teams look to finalize their 2023 budgets, many are wondering how to ensure their ads are set up for success in the months ahead, appealing to unique audiences whose media consumption habits continue to evolve.
Advances in programmatic technology and data targeting have made it possible to reach these audiences with precision and at scale, serving ads that showcase the products and services they’re most interested in — be it on their desktop, mobile or CTV devices. But something the industry doesn’t always discuss during the campaign planning process is how creative contributes to campaign goals and directly impacts consumers.
Nielsen found that creative is the top driver of a brand’s in-market success — up to 80% in traditional TV and 89% in digital advertising. And there are ways to ensure that creative speaks not only to viewers’ collective interests but to their nuanced interests as individuals in a non-invasive, privacy-conscious way. Using existing creative — in other words, not reinventing the wheel — marketers are taking steps to boost engagement, enhance brand awareness and achieve personalization on a greater and increasingly sophisticated level.
Making video ads actionable
Actionable creative encourages viewers to engage and interact with brands on a one-to-one level. For marketing teams, QR codes are proving an effective way to elevate this engagement, especially in the advanced TV space. For video ads produced without a QR code, these can be added as an overlay, branded frame around the video or an end card.
In essence, QR codes mirror the strategies of clickable ads in desktop or mobile environments, pushing consumers to take action and moving them through the marketing funnel (i.e., “scan to add to cart”). Not every viewer will scan the code, but even an incremental uptick in engagement is a powerful one. QR codes are an opportunity to place a brand in the palm of a consumer’s hand.
Given the proliferation of smart speakers and voice assistants (estimated to be present in approximately 95 million US households), voice-to-action commands are another way advertisers are motivating viewers to act while watching ads. By suggesting that viewers “Ask Alexa to do X” — via branded frames or end cards, for instance — marketers empower consumers to purchase a product, book a test drive and more.
Keep branding front and center
It’s one thing to serve impressions; it’s another for a brand to make an impression that drives campaign results. And without robust and well-placed branding, it’s near impossible to ensure viewers will remember a brand.
Video ads are increasingly cinematic, which, while entertaining, doesn’t automatically ensure the successful delivery of marketing goals and KPIs. If a viewer isn’t paying full attention to an ad for the full 15 to 30 seconds, they might entirely miss what the brand is, thus limiting brand recognition and recall.
When crafting creative (for CTV or otherwise) — even a more out-of-the-box, entertaining ad — successful marketing teams often place a small logo in the corner of the screen. The effect can somewhat interrupt the cinematic tone of the ad, but it ensures that consumers know which brand is speaking to them.
Developing dynamic creative to fine-tune targeting
Different audiences have different needs and therefore benefit from seeing different versions of a message. Not every brand has the budget to adapt its creative to every audience and screen, but many have found cost-effective ways to do this. One technique is dynamic video creative, in which one video is modified to become more personalized to each individual in a target audience, depending on the campaign strategy.
For example, historically, a local tourism board running a summer road trip campaign promoting travel to various destinations and attractions across a state has created a traditional TV spot to show off these destinations. However, if the tourism board wants to reach viewers on a more intimate — but also more programmatic — level, then dynamic video creative and data can turn the ad creative into thousands of iterations for all screens. In this way, they reach viewers with messages molded to their interests, needs and physical locations. The outcome is that adventure enthusiasts learn about destinations for mountain biking, and families with small children are shown amusement parks within driving distance, for instance.
These practices help marketers drive awareness, engagement and action at little to no added expense, ultimately ensuring a brand speaks to audiences in the most powerful, most convincing way. Creative may be king, but these simple techniques are the kingmakers; coupled with data and technology, they’re more achievable than ever.
Sponsored by: Tremor
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