Participants at the DH17 Conference by Country and Continent

​​In recent years I have published a couple of posts about the participants at DH conferences: HDH 2015 and DHd 2016. It was about time to publish about the DH conference. So let’s go directly to the visualization and I will explain the details later:

Authors at the DH17 Conference
Authors at the DH17 Conference

So, what is in these bars? Each author (regardless of how many proposals or roles they were involved in) at the conference has been counted once using the HTML view of conftool; the data has been grouped by country of their current position (cleaning this information semi-automatically) and the results are plotted as bars. Also, the continent defines the color of the bars. So, some details: if a conference paper had 7 co-authors, each of them is counted once. So the countries with a bigger tradition of having multiple co-authors are more likely to appear over-represented. On the other hand, the very active people that are part of several papers and panels only count once. I think both criteria balance the results at the end.

Using the data, the results show different group of countries:

  1. The lead country is USA (not a surprise)
  2. After that, we see a group of three countries with a lot more researchers than the rest: Germany (123), Canada (92) and the UK (73). I didn’t expect to find Germany in the second position
  3. The next country has less than the half of the researchers: France with 36, followed by Switzerland, Netherlands and Japan; all of them very closely together.
  4. The fourth group is built of countries with more then ten researchers: Ireland, Taiwan, Russia, Austria, Poland, Mexico, Spain, and followed very closely (but with less than 10 people) by Belgium
  5. After that we can consider the rest of the countries as part of the long tail with researchers between 6 and 1 (a single country with this value: Denmark!)
  6. Can we think for a moment about the whole region of the world that is just not represented at all in these bars?

There are other aspects that are remarkable: Italy had only 3 authors (!). China had only 1, while Taiwan had 15. There is not a single person from the Arabic World. Actually not a single person coming from the region between Morocco and Pakistan. Not a single soul from Central America, Carribbean or Andes.

Please, don’t take this a a criticism of the conference. I am trying to understand better our community and am simply verbalizing some surprises. And remember that these references of the countries are not the country where the author was born, but where they are currently working. For example, in these bars I am counted as an author from Germany, although my only passport is printed by the Reino de España.

Now, we can group the information by continent and see how they are represented:

Authors at the DH17 Conference by Continent
Authors at the DH17 Conference by Continent

A word of notice about how I divided America: there is no satisfying decision about it. If we group USA and Canada together to see better how Latin America is represented, then we can’t use the concept of North America since Mexico is also part of North America. So I decided to group together all American countries. Anyway there were only 5: USA (313), Canada (92), Mexico (11), Brazil (2) and Argentina (2). So Latin America would have a bar twice as large as the one of Africa.

There are two countries split between Europe and Asia: Turkey (6) and Russia (12). In these cases I decided to follow the rule „put the doubts in the smaller category so they don’t get lost in the large one“.

Even if we only sum USA+Canada (313 + 92 = 405) and make the biggest possible version of Europe with Russia and Turkey (385 + 12 + 6 = 403), the North Americans are still the largest group by literally a couple of people. What is clear is that the two largest groups of authors at the DH Conference are basically composed by people working in Europe and Canada+USA. This is not a surprise, although I didn’t expect that the number of Europeans would be almost as big as the number of North Americans, even when the conference is on their side of the Atlantic.

Let’s see what will happen next year in DH2018 Mexico! Will there be more authors working in different countries of Latin America? From other parts of the world? The deadline will probably be in some months, so, stop procrastinating with posts about DH participants and let’s work on the next proposal!


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