Dr Scott A. Hale

Dr Scott A. Hale is a Senior Research Fellow, Social Data Science MSc Programme Co-Director, and Turing Fellow. He develops and applies computer science techniques to the social sciences focusing on bilingualism, UX, mobilization, and mobility.

Email: scott.hale@oii.ox.ac.uk

Dr Scott A. Hale is a Senior Research Fellow, Co-Director of the Social Data Science MSc Programme, and a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute. He develops and applies techniques from computer science to research questions in the social sciences. His research investigates the spread of information between speakers of different languages online, the roles of bilingual Internet users, collective action and mobilization, and human mobility.

Scott graduated with degrees in Computer Science, Mathematics, and Spanish from Eckerd College, FL, USA. During his time at Eckerd, he published computer science research in the area of image processing while working on a larger research project, Darwin, to uniquely identify dolphins from digital photographs. After graduating, he worked in Okinawa, Japan, at the Okinawa Prefectural Education Centre with public school teachers to develop English immersion curricula and with IT professionals to deliver continuing education training through the Internet to staff members and students on outlying islands. He came to the OII as a master’s candidate in October 2009 and completed his DPhil (PhD) at the department in 2015. His DPhil research concentrated on how the design of social media platforms affects the amount of information shared across language divides.

Selected Publications

Wang, Z., Hale, S.A., Ifeoluwa Adelani, D., Grabowicz, P., Hartman, T., Flöck, F., and Jurgens, D. (2019) Demographic Inference and Representative Population Estimates from Multilingual Social Media Data. In Proceedings of the Web Conference 2019, WWW 2019, ACM.
Open-access |Blog | Python package | Web demo

Hale, S. and Eleta, I. (2017) Foreign-language Reviews: Help or Hindrance?, Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Margetts, H., John, P., Hale, S., and Yasseri, T. (2015) Political Turbulence: How Social Media Shape Collective Action. Princeton University Press.

Hale, S.A. (2014) Global Connectivity and Multilinguals in the Twitter Network. In Proceedings of the 32nd International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI’14, ACM.

Hale, S.A. (2014) Multilinguals and Wikipedia Editing. In Proceedings of the 2014 ACM conference on Web science (WebSci ’14). ACM.

Hale, S. A. (2012) Net Increase? Cross-lingual Linking in the Blogosphere. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication.

Research interests

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), bilingualism, applications of machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), social network analysis (SNA), experiments, visualization, complex systems, mobilization and collective action, human mobility

Positions held at the OII

  • Senior Research Fellow, September 2018 –
  • Social Data Science MSc Programme Co-Director, January 2019 –
  • Social Data Science Programme Director, February 2017 – December 2018
  • Senior Data Scientist and Research Fellow, June 2016 – August 2018
  • Data Scientist, January 2015 – May 2016
  • DPhil Student, October 2010 – January 2015
  • Research Assistant, May 2010 – December 2014
  • MSc Student, October 2009 – August 2010

Students supervised at the OII

Current students
Past students

Latest blog posts

Current projects

  • Current Affairs 2.0: Agenda setting in the European Union

    Participants: Dr Scott Hale, Fabian Flöck, Przemyslaw Grabowicz, David Jurgens, Chico Camargo

    This project seeks to measure and explain what societal issues are given the highest priorities by media organizations, policy makers, and the general public in different nations and languages of the European Union.

  • Elections and the Internet

    Participants: Professor Helen Margetts, Dr Scott A. Hale, Dr Jonathan Bright

    This site collects elections research at the OII. We are interested in exploring the extent to which data from the social web can be used to predict interesting social and political phenomena, especially elections.

  • Government on the Web

    Participants: Professor Helen Margetts, Dr Tobias Escher, Dr Scott A. Hale, Simon Bastow, Professor Patrick Dunleavy, Oliver Pearce, Jane Tinkler

    Research dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of e-government and the impact of web-based technologies on government.

  • OXLab: Oxford eXperimental Laboratory

    Participants: Professor Helen Margetts, Dr Tobias Escher, Dr Nir Vulkan, Dr Scott A. Hale, Ingrid Boxall, Professor Peter John, Lucy Bartlett

    Oxford eXperimental Laboratory is undertaking laboratory-based experiments (eg information-seeking tasks) on networked computers in two disciplines: Economics (interactive decision making) and Political Science (evaluating government information online).

  • Political Volatility

    Participants: Professor Helen Margetts, Dr Scott Hale, Dr Chico Camargo, Dr Myrto Pantazi, Professor Peter John

    This project seeks to quantify trends and changes in the volatility of public opinion before and after widespread use of social media, and to study how social information can drive public opinion.

  • TRANSNET: Forecasting and understanding transport network resilience and anomalies

    Participants: Dr Scott A. Hale, Dr Jonathan Bright, Dr Graham McNeill, Chico Camargo

    This project seeks to utilise newly available data to help urban policy makers improve transport infrastructure to cope with growing and increasingly mobile populations.

Past projects


  • Margetts, H., John, P., Hale, S. and Yasseri, T. (2015) Political Turbulence How Social Media Shape Collective Action. Princeton University Press.

Peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings

Chapters and workshop papers

  • Hale, S., Blank, G. and Alexander, V. (2017) “Live versus archive: Comparing a web archive to a population of web pages” In: The Web as History Brügger, N. and Schroeder, R. (eds.). London: UCL Press. 45-61.
  • Meyer, E., Yasseri, T., Hale, S., Cowls, J., Schroeder, R. and Margetts, H. (2017) “Analysing the UK web domain and exploring 15 years of UK universities on the web” In: The Web as History Brugger, N. and Schroeder, R. (eds.). London: UCL Press. 23-44.
  • Hale, S., McNeill, G. and Bright, J. (2017) Where’d it go? How geographic and force-directed layouts affect network task performance. EuroVis Workshop on Reproducibility, Verification, and Validation in Visualization (EuroRV3).
  • Park, S., Kim, S., Hale, S.A., Kim, S., Byun, J. and Oh, A. (2015) Multilingual Wikipedia: Editors of primary language contribute to more complex articles.

Non-peer reviewed publications and working papers

  • Bright, J., Margetts, H.Z., Wang, N. and Hale, S.A. (2015) Explaining Usage Patterns in Open Government Data: The Case of Data.Gov.UK.
  • Bright, J.M., Margetts, H., Hale, S. and Yasseri, T. (2014) “The use of social media for research and analysis: a feasibility study” In: Report of research carried out by the Oxford Internet Institute on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. Department for Work and Pensions.
  • Margetts, H.Z., John, P., Reissfelder, S. and Hale, S.A. (2012) Social Influence and Collective Action: An Experiment Investigating the Effects of Visibility and Social Information Moderated by Personality.
  • Graham, M., Hale, S. and Stephens, M. (2011) Geographies of the World’s Knowledge.
  • Oostveen, A., Meyer, E., Cobo, J., Hjorth, I., Reisdorf, B., Papoutsi, C., Power, L., Abdel-Sattar, N., Hale, S. and Waldburger, M. (2011) First Year Report on Scientific Workshop. SESERV Deliverable D1.2, Socio-Economic Services for European Research Projects FP7-2010-ICT-258138-CSA..
  • Hale, S. (2008) A New Approach to Unsupervised Thresholding for Automatic Extraction of Dolphin Dorsal Fin Outlines from Digital Photographs in DARWIN. The Eckerd Scholar 2008. Eckerd College.
  • Accessing Research Data from the Social Web

    This course teaches the essentials of programming in Python, the language of choice in the growing field of computational social science.

  • Foundations of Visualisation

    Discussion of the two-way interaction between visualisation and the social sciences.

  • Data Analytics at Scale

    The course will teach computational complexity and Big-O notation, cover parallel and distributed computing approaches, and discuss data storage and retrieval techniques.

  • Transnet: Understanding traffic with open data and visualization

    Recorded: 26 July 2018

    Duration: 00:42:30

    This presentation, hosted by the Alan Turing Institute focuses on using crowd-sourced data, such as OpenStreetMap and Waze, to improve traffic models and better understand the factors contributing to traffic jams and other traffic issues.

  • Foreign-language Reviews: Help or Hindrance? (CHI2017)

    Recorded: 2 February 2017

    Duration: 00:05:14

    Dr Scott A. Hale tests the impact of foreign-language reviews on the perceived helpfulness of all reviews using an experiment, and finds use of translation buttons clearly separated individuals with positive and negative attitudes.

  • The ATI Fellow Short Talks: Dr Scott Hale

    Recorded: 2 December 2016

    Duration: 00:25:21

    In the Alan Turin Institute's Fellow Talks, Dr Scott A. Hale talks about social data science and its application to bilingualism.

  • Okinawa in Japanese and English Wikipedia

    Recorded: 26 April 2016

    Duration: 00:03:17

    This is a video summary of a extended abstract and poster presented at the 2014 ACM Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM (Montreal, Canada).

  • How Much Interaction Is There Between Wikipedia’s Language Editions?

    Recorded: 15 January 2016

    Duration: 00:15:01

    Presentation on Scott Hale's Wikipedia research, on the occasion of Wikipedia's 15th Birthday.

  • Modelling the Rise in Internet-based Petitions

    Recorded: 8 November 2013

    Duration: 00:17:39

    The launch of online government petition platforms allows for the passive study of all petitions to government. Scott Hale gives a brief overview of OII findings related to three government petition platforms and the future directions being pursued.

  • Quantitative Methods in Social Media Research: Data Visualization

    Recorded: 26 September 2012

    Duration: 00:10:55

    Scott Hale discusses visualisation during a seminar on quantitative methods in social media research held at the OII on 26 September 2012. How can we visualise data collected by social media? How does visualisation relate to statistical analysis?