Maximilian Held

Social Data Scientist

I develop software and formats to improve and measure deliberative participation.

I am a data analyst at the Lower Saxony State- and University Library Göttingen.

My ongoing dissertation at the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences is about taxation and democracy.

Research Interests

Open and Reproducible (Data) Science

(Data) scientists have a lot to learn from the technologies and conventions pioneered by the open source community. Conversely, data science is most powerful not in one-off scripts, but in productized analysis pipelines, that is, as software.

Ipsative Measures of Subjectivity

Subjective views are best measured not in surveys, but as ipsative choices among alternatives, such as in Q Methodology, Repertory Grid. I work on advancing these approaches with modern statistics and open source software.

Deliberative Participation

Real participation, be it in an organisation or in politics, requires Communicative Action : the effective exchange of mutually comprehensible reasons. Cultivating and measuring deliberation is a hard, but worthwhile regulative ideal.

Optimal Taxation

Alternatives such as a cashflow-based Progressive Consumption Tax, a Georgian Land Value Tax or auctioned Leaseholds promise to offer much more attractive tradeoffs between equity, efficiency and sustanability for the mixed economy. I study how these alternatives can be explained, and what underlying (mis)understandings of the economy they can reveal.


Data Visualisation
HTML5 / CSS / JavaScript
Unsupervised Learning
Exploratory Data Analysis
Bayesian Inference

Git GitHub Data Science DevOps Docker Tidyverse LaTeX Wordpress Bash Linux macOS

English German


Work Experience


Data Analyst

Lower Saxony State- and University Library Göttingen (Germany)

Developing ETL pipelines, dashboard and data dev ops solutions for bibliographic data, all using R.



RStudio (Seattle, WA)

Workflow automation and continuous integration / delivery with GitHub Actions.

2018 - 2020

Research Associate

Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Nuremberg, Germany)

Data scientist for Q methodology in Dr. Sabine Pfeiffer's lab on labor sociology.

2016 - 2018

Research Associate

Universität Hohenheim (Stuttgart, Germany)

Data scientist for Q methodology in Dr. Sabine Pfeiffer's lab on labor sociology.

2014 - 2016

Research Associate

Jacobs University Bremen (Bremen, Germany)

Conducting and analysing behavioral economic experiments Jan Lorenz's computational social science group on Opinion Dynamics and Collective Decisions.


2010 to date

PhD Studies

Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) (Bremen, Germany)

Dissertation on taxation and democracy. Completion expected in 2019.

2008 - 2010

Graduate Studies in Public Policy

Hertie School of Governance (Berlin, Germany)

Thesis on Progressive Consumption Tax.

2007 - 2008

Graduate Studies in Demography

University of California, Irvine (CA, USA)

Fulbright fellow.

2004 - 2007

BA Integrated Social Sciences

Jacobs University Bremen (Germany)

President's List.

1996 - 2003


Gymnasium Syke (Germany)

Graduated best in class.

German National Academic Foundation Fellow (2004 - 2010) Fulbright Commission Fellow (2007 - 2008) Berlin Studies Centre Fellow (2008 - 2009)


2018 to date

R etc.

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

A multi-semester, flipped-classroom introduction to free and open source data science.

2010 - 2015

German Politics and Culture

Jacobs University Bremen

Half area studies, half applied social science introduction to the political system of the federal republic of germany.


Emile, or Schools of Democracy

Deutsche SchülerAkademie (Bildung & Begabung Inc.)

A seminar on deliberative democracy and inclusive pedagogy with Verena Kasztantowicz.


Give and Take

Universität Hamburg

A literature seminar on the intersection of progressive taxation & deliberative democracy.



Deutsche SchülerAkademie (Bildung & Begabung Inc.)

A seminar on democracy and computer science with Matthias Bröcheler.

2007 - 2008

Statistics & Probability I (Section)

University of California, Irvine (CA, USA)

Teaching assistant to Prof. Dr. Paul Shirey.


Statistics I (Section)

Jacobs University Bremen (Bremen, Germany)

Teaching assistant to Prof. Dr. Adalbert FX Wilhelm. Teaching Evaluations Teaching Evaluations

Volunteering & Service

2016 to date

Webmaster for

International Society for the Scientific Study of Human Subjectivity

Columbia, MO (USA)

2003 to date

Teacher and Manager

Deutsche SchülerAkademie (Education & Talent Inc.)

Bonn, Germany Summer camps for gifted students.

JOSS Reviewer JSPP Reviewer



Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Institut für Soziologie
Kochstraße 4
91054 Erlangen