NASN 2021: Grand Challenge

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North American Social Network Conference: 2021 Grand Challenge 

The NASN 2021 Grand Challenge asks researchers to explore a dataset and share their insights. The datasets selected for the Grand Challenge  are typically both fairly new and not fully explored. There are no preconceived notions of what researchers should find or what conclusions should be reached. The goal is for the researchers to present what they determine are key insights or unique findings. 

For 2021, we have created a new Twitter dataset around COVID disinformation.  The Federation of American Scientists ( recently published two papers around vaccines and herd immunity.  This year’s challenge data is really a collection of several datasets.  The data was pulled using the Twitter data access API and extracted over several queries. The data has not been cleaned or altered. 

CAUTION:  DO NOT explore links in the tweets.  Some are known to point to viruses and malware.

The selection criteria are as follows:
Date Range:
  •  Sept 1 to Oct 23, 2020
  • AstraZeneca
  • “Astra Zeneca”
  • AZD1222
  • vaccine
  • immunity
  • "herd immunity”
  • Barrington
  • “focused protection” 
Number of Tweets:  2,507,401

Known issues:
  • The data in the files are not in chronological order. 
  • The list of query terms and date range fluctuated over the extractions
  • The number of columns fluctuated over the extractions
  • There are gaps in the dataset
  • Some of the embedded URLs point to malware site


The data is shared under the non-commercial / academic research terms of use, contains only publicly available data, and is not intended for the development of any new service or product. 

By accessing the data, you are agreeing to the Twitter terms of use. 

To request the data, please contact


Submission Deadline: January 15th, 2021
Send submissions via a Google Form:


Up to 5 pages in Word or PDF format.  The document should match the following structure:
1.     Key Findings*
2.     Analytic Approach
3.     Results
4.     Conclusion
5.     References

*The Key Finding section can be thought of as an abstract of what the research uncovered at a high level.  There is no need for and introduction or background section.

Entering the Grand Challenge does not preclude anyone from submitting an abstract for the primary NASN conference.