Centre for Social Data Science (CSDS)

The Centre for Social Data Science (CSDS) advocates the use of data science methods and data-driven inquiry within social sciences. CSDS conducts both (1) methodologically oriented basic research about research methods and (2) applied research within social sciences where advanced methods are required.

CSDS promotes open data, open science and data-driven research inquiry. CSDS develops and maintains infrastructures for data collection and analysis. In addition, CSDS aims at increasing the collaboration between researchers and methodology experts, with the goal of improving both applied research as well as basic research on research methods.

CSDS is part of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Data Science in Society event (January 2020)

Data Science in Society was an open event organised in Think Corner by HiDATA and CSDS in January 2020.

The programme, the talks, and speaker biographies are available on the HiDATA website.

CSDS people with brief CV info

   Picture: The five founding fellows of CSDS in August 2019.

CSDS Researchers (April 2020--)

Christina Bohk-Ewald, Uni­versity Lec­turer (Ap­plied Data Science and Demo­graphy)

Krista Lagus, Professor (Digital Social Science), Director of CSDS

Riku Laine, Research Assistant (Social Data Science)

Mikko Myrskylä, Professor (Social Data Science)

Matti Nelimarkka, University Lecturer (Computational Social Science)

Joni Oksanen, Research Assistant (Social Data Science)

Maria Valaste, University Lecturer (Social Data Science)

Kimmo Vehkalahti, University Lecturer (Social Data Science)

Welcome to Friday Coffee!

Feeling lonesome? Would you like to discuss. e.g., your topic of research with someone?

Come and have a cup of tea or coffee with us! It may have surprising consequences.

Krista Lagus at the Whiteboard in U35 Coffee Room

We are available (almost) every Friday at 9am via Zoom.

Look at our calendar and register yourself as a visiting player in our team.

Please note that some Fridays are booked for the CSDS Researchers only.

Looking forward to hearing from you!
Krista, Mikko, Christina, Maria, Matti, Kimmo, and Joni

From Autumn 2020 onwards, the CSDS staff & fellows will teach a large selection of courses on the themes of Social Data Science, mostly in the Contemporary Societies (COS) Master's Programme and the Doctoral Programme of the Social Sciences (SOST).

Courses in 2019 - 2020

Period 4 (Mar-Apr 2020)

Intensive period (May 2020)

Courses in 2020 - 2021

More detailed information on the courses below will be published during the Summer 2020.

Period 1 (Sep-Oct 2020)

  • COS-D402 Co-creative Methods of Collaboration in Societal Challenges (Krista Lagus)
  • SOST-930 Introduction to Computational Social Science (Matti Nelimarkka)
  • SOST-930a Introduction to Programming for Social Scientists (Matti Nelimarkka)
  • SOST-9151 Social Data Science PhD Seminar I+II (CSDS)
  • VALT-103 Johdatus yhteiskuntatilastotieteeseen, osa 1 (Kimmo Vehkalahti)

Period 2 (Nov-Dec 2020)

  • COS-D405 Digital Inequalities and the Ethical Turn (Minna Ruckenstein)
  • COS-D407 Scientific Modeling and Model Validation 1 (Christina Bohk-Ewald)
  • COS-D422 Scientific Modeling and Model Validation 2 (Christina Bohk-Ewald)
  • COS-D411 Data Wrangling and Analysis (Maria Valaste)
  • COS-D413 Register Based Research and Data Analysis (Maria Valaste & Krista Lagus)
  • COS-D421 The Political in Human-Computer Interaction (Matti Nelimarkka)
  • COS-R407 Bridging Quantitative and Qualitative Research (Krista Lagus)
  • SOST-930 Introduction to Computational Social Science (Matti Nelimarkka)
  • SOST-930a Introduction to Programming for Social Scientists (Matti Nelimarkka)
  • SOST-9151 Social Data Science PhD Seminar I+II (CSDS)
  • VALT-104 Johdatus yhteiskuntatilastotieteeseen, osa 2 (Kimmo Vehkalahti)
  • PHD-302 Introduction to Open Data Science (Kimmo Vehkalahti)

Intensive period (Jan 2021)

  • SOST-932b Network Analysis (Matti Nelimarkka)

Period 3 (Jan-Feb 2021)

  • COS-D415 Survey Methodology (Maria Valaste)
  • COS-D418 Exploratory Methods of Multivariate Data Analysis (Kimmo Vehkalahti)
  • SOST-932a Introduction to Atlas (Digital Constructive and Experimental Methods for Social Sciences) (Matti Nelimarkka)
  • SOST-9151 Social Data Science PhD Seminar I+II (CSDS)
  • SOSK-403 Sosiaalitutkimuksen tilastolliset menetelmät (Maria Valaste & Kimmo Vehkalahti et al)
  • KIK-417 Johdatus digitaalisiin ihmistieteisiin (CSDS in collaboration with HELDIG)

Period 4 (Mar-Apr 2021)

  • COS-D409 Forecasting II: Applied Research Project part A (Christina Bohk-Ewald)
  • COS-D423 Forecasting II: Applied Research Project part B (Christina Bohk-Ewald)
  • COS-D416 Survey Sampling (Maria Valaste)
  • COS-SD302 Perspectives to Digitalizing Society (Krista Lagus)
  • SOST-9151 Social Data Science PhD Seminar I+II (CSDS)
  • KUKA-501 Introduction to Digital Humanities and Social Sciences (CSDS in collaboration with HELDIG)

Intensive period (May 2021)

  • COS-D401 Introduction to the Framework of the Economic Statistics (Ilja Kavonius et al)
  • COS-D406 Causality (Mikko Myrskylä & Maarten Bijlsma)

Method courses elsewhere in University of Helsinki


Mas­ter’s Pro­gramme in Con­tem­por­ary So­ci­et­ies (COS) is a multidisciplinary, research-based Master’s Programme focusing on the key themes in the dynamics of contemporary societies both in a European and a global context. Beginning from August 2020, COS will be our primary study programme where we offer our new, extensive selection of courses related to social data science. Almost all our courses are open for students of other programmes and some are MOOCs (open for anyone). More information on this new interesting study track will be available soon. For the course list (2020-2021), see Teaching above!

Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences covers the widest areas of social science research in Finland: media and communication studies, social and cultural anthropology, social psychology, social and public policy, social work, sociology, social data science, criminology and demography.

Master's Programme in Mathematics and Statistics has (until July 2020) four study tracks: mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics and social statistics. Social Statistics (M.Soc.Sc.) has been a training program providing the students the necessary research and data analysis skills to continue in PhD level studies as well as to work as statistical experts in research and statistics production. Students can specialize in two lines of study; general social statistics and official statistics. The official statistics line gives the students the European Master in Official Statistics (EMOS) certificate. Both lines share core components and include a minimum of 6 month paid training at Statistics Finland or another partner organization, as well as a strongly recommended international research visit. Beginning from August 2020, the Social Statistics track will be replaced by the new (and wider) Social Data Science track in the Mas­ter’s Pro­gramme in Con­tem­por­ary So­ci­et­ies (for the course list 2020-2021, see Teaching above!).

CSDS is the home base of the discipline of Social Data Science (formerly called Social Statistics). Social Data Science supports evidence-based decision making for the government, organizations and private companies. Applications range from pensions and health care to finance and social media. Statistical analysis is used to explore various topics, such as questions of inequality between and within genders, regions or generations. Dynamic probabilistic modelling is a primary tool in analyses involving forecasting and risk management. Machine learning methods can be used quantitative data, but also on textual, audio and visual materials. We examine various data sources: surveys, interviews, register data, open governmental and business data, big data and digital trace data. However, the essential focus in Social Data Science is to ground the data analysis in social science through its theories and concepts.

CSDS Fellows

Catarina Ahlvik, Affiliated Researcher (Management and Organization, Hanken School of Economics)

Daria Gritsenko, Assistant Professor (Russian Big Data Methodology)

Ilja Kavonius, University Researcher (Economics)

Kathrin Komp-Leukkunen, Associate Professor (Sociology, Social Policy)

Hanna Konttinen, University Lecturer (Sociology)

Riikka Koulu, Assistant Professor (Law and Digitalisation)

Salla-Maaria Laaksonen, Postdoctoral Researcher (Media and Communication Studies)

Krister Lindén, Research Director (Language Technology)

Eetu Mäkelä, Associate Professor (Human Sciences–Computing Interaction)

Minna Ruckenstein, Associate Professor (Digital Innovations & Consumer Society)

Reijo Sund, Professor (Register Studies, University of Eastern Finland)

Mikko Tolonen, Assistant Professor (Digital Humanities)

Laszlo Vincze, University Lecturer (Quantitative Methods)

Julia Velkova Öberg, Postdoctoral Researcher (Centre for Consumer Society Research)

CSDS Networks


CSDS was officially opened on Monday, 28th October 2019 in Unioninkatu 35, Helsinki.

The auditorium of U35 was full of invited participants - students, researchers, teachers, alumni, and staff from various units of the University of Helsinki, other universities of Finland and other institutions. In addition, hundreds of people were following the opening stream online. The event was held in Finnish.

The opening speech was delivered by Taina Kyllönen, the Director of Communications and Community Relations, who also introduced the CSDS staff (at that time, the five founding fellows).

The audience had an honor to enjoy two special talks given by our distinguished academic fathers:

  • Teuvo Kohonen, Academic and Emeritus Professor of the Academy of Finland:
    On the Expectations Related to Artificial Intelligence (Tekoälyyn liittyvistä odotuksista)
  • Seppo Mustonen, Emeritus Professor of Statistics:
    Statistical Computing with Survo (Tilastollista tietojenkäsittelyä Survolla)

The (almost) complete video of the opening (produced by Unigrafia) is available in Vimeo:

CSDS Opening video thumbnail



Currently no open positions (June 2020)

Our most recent appointments:

Two Research Assistants in Social Data Science
for projects (began in March and April 2020)

Uni­versity Lec­turer in Ap­plied Data Science and Demo­graphy
for a 3-year appointment (began in February 2020)