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  1. Gwizdka, Jacek ; Rieh, Soo Young (Ed.)
    Keeping up with the research literature plays an important role in the workflow of scientists – allowing them to understand a field, formulate the problems they focus on, and develop the solutions that they contribute, which in turn shape the nature of the discipline. In this paper, we examine the literature review practices of data scientists. Data science represents a field seeing an exponential rise in papers, and increasingly drawing on and being applied in numerous diverse disciplines. Recent efforts have seen the development of several tools intended to help data scientists cope with a deluge of research and coordinated efforts to develop AI tools intended to uncover the research frontier. Despite these trends indicative of the information overload faced by data scientists, no prior work has examined the specific practices and challenges faced by these scientists in an interdisciplinary field with evolving scholarly norms. In this paper, we close this gap through a set of semi-structured interviews and think-aloud protocols of industry and academic data scientists (N = 20). Our results while corroborating other knowledge workers’ practices uncover several novel findings: individuals (1) are challenged in seeking and sensemaking of papers beyond their disciplinary bubbles, (2) struggle to understand papers in the face of missing details and mathematical content, (3) grapple with the deluge by leveraging the knowledge context in code, blogs, and talks, and (4) lean on their peers online and in-person. Furthermore, we outline future directions likely to help data scientists cope with the burgeoning research literature. 
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  2. In recent years, the popularity of AI-enabled conversational agents or chatbots has risen as an alternative to traditional online surveys to elicit information from people. However, there is a gap in using single-agent chatbots to converse and gather multi-faceted information across a wide variety of topics. Prior works suggest that single-agent chatbots struggle to understand user intentions and interpret human language during a multi-faceted conversation. In this work, we investigated how multi-agent chatbot systems can be utilized to conduct a multi-faceted conversation across multiple domains. To that end, we conducted a Wizard of Oz study to investigate the design of a multi-agent chatbot for gathering public input across multiple high-level domains and their associated topics. Next, we designed, developed, and evaluated CommunityBots - a multi-agent chatbot platform where each chatbot handles a different domain individually. To manage conversation across multiple topics and chatbots, we proposed a novel Conversation and Topic Management (CTM) mechanism that handles topic-switching and chatbot-switching based on user responses and intentions. We conducted a between-subject study comparing CommunityBots to a single-agent chatbot baseline with 96 crowd workers. The results from our evaluation demonstrate that CommunityBots participants were significantly more engaged, provided higher quality responses, and experienced fewer conversation interruptions while conversing with multiple different chatbots in the same session. We also found that the visual cues integrated with the interface helped the participants better understand the functionalities of the CTM mechanism, which enabled them to perceive changes in textual conversation, leading to better user satisfaction. Based on the empirical insights from our study, we discuss future research avenues for multi-agent chatbot design and its application for rich information elicitation.

     
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  3. Civic problems are often too complex to solve through traditional top-down strategies. Various governments and civic initiatives have explored more community-driven strategies where citizens get involved with defining problems and innovating solutions. While certain people may feel more empowered, the public at large often does not have accessible, flexible, and meaningful ways to engage. Prior theoretical frameworks for public participation typically offer a one-size-fits-all model based on face-to-face engagement and fail to recognize the barriers faced by even the most engaged citizens. In this article, we explore a vision for open civic design where we integrate theoretical frameworks from public engagement, crowdsourcing, and design thinking to consider the role technology can play in lowering barriers to large-scale participation, scaffolding problem-solving activities, and providing flexible options that cater to individuals’ skills, availability, and interests. We describe our novel theoretical framework and analyze the key goals associated with this vision: (1) to promote inclusive and sustained participation in civics; (2) to facilitate effective management of large-scale participation; and (3) to provide a structured process for achieving effective solutions. We present case studies of existing civic design initiatives and discuss challenges, limitations, and future work related to operationalizing, implementing, and testing this framework. 
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