Joshua Ben Barbour
Research Interests

My research is concerned with how and why individuals, groups, and organizations manage information and meaning and how we can (re)design conversations, change groups, and help individuals to do so with more sophistication. My work reflects the assumption that by changing how we communicate, we can work together more equitably and more effectively.

My most recent scholarship focuses on data-intensive, automated work in health contexts. These phenomena are important in healthcare where digital technologies are seen as panacea to the challenges of providing high-quality, high-value care while also taking care of caregivers. My current research funded by the National Science Foundation demonstrates the importance of the struggles for legitimacy in data work and practitioners’ communication efforts to work with data (CAREER: The Future of Work in Health Analytics and Automation: Investigating the Communication that Builds Human-Technology Partnerships, SES 1750731, 2018-2023, $467,000). Building on this work, I initiated a project funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences that uses natural language processing and network science to study aggregate risks of conflicts of interest in the biomedical research enterprise. This research will inform communication strategies for supporting deliberation about those risks (A Network Science Approach to Conflicts of Interest: Metrics, Policies, and Communication Design, R01GM141476, 2020-2024, $832,304).

Affiliated Departments