Professor Helen Margetts

 Professor Helen Margetts

Helen Margetts is the Director of the OII. She is a political scientist specialising in e-government and digital era governance and politics. From 2011 to 2014, Helen Margetts is an ESRC Professorial Fellow.


Tel: +44 (0)1865 287207


Helen Margetts is the Director of the OII, and Professor of Society and the Internet. She is a political scientist specialising in e-government and digital era governance and politics, investigating the nature and implications of relationships between governments, citizens and the Internet and related digital technologies in the UK and internationally. She has published major research reports in this area for agencies such as the OECD and the UK National Audit Office, in addition to important books and articles. In 2003 she and Patrick Dunleavy won the 'Political Scientists Making a Difference' award from the UK Political Studies Association. She is co-director of OxLab, a laboratory for social science experiments and editor of the journal Policy and Internet. She holds the ESRC professorial fellowship 'The Internet, Political Science and Public policy: Re-examining Collective Action, Governance and Citizen-Governance Interactions in the Digital Era' (2011-4).

Professor Margetts joined the OII in 2004 from University College London where she was a Professor in Political Science and Director of the School of Public Policy. She began her career as a computer programmer / systems analyst with Rank Xerox after receiving her BSc in mathematics from the University of Bristol. She returned to studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1989, completing an MSc in Politics and Public Policy in 1990 and a PhD in Government in 1996. She worked as a researcher at LSE from 1991 to 1994 and a lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London from 1994 to 1999.

Research interests

e-government, government information technology and large-scale IT contracts, public management reform, tools of public policy, collective action, political participation, alternative electoral systems, social science experiments, webmetrics

Positions held at the OII

  • Director, October 2011 -
  • Professor of Society and the Internet, October 2004 -
  • Director of Graduate Studies, October 2009 - August 2010
  • Director of Research, October 2004 - September 2009


Current projects

  • OXLab: Oxford eXperimental Laboratory

    October 2006 -

    Oxford eXperimental Laboratory is undertaking laboratory-based experiments (eg information-seeking tasks) on networked computers in two disciplines: Economics (interactive decision making) and Political Science (evaluating government information online).

  • OxIS: Oxford Internet Surveys

    January 2003 -

    Research on access, use and attitudes to the Internet in Britain based on biennial surveys covering (for example) digital and social inclusion and exclusion, social networking, safety and privacy concerns, Internet regulation, and behaviour.

  • Government on the Web

    October 1999 -

    Research dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of e-government and the impact of web-based technologies on government.

Past projects





  • Margetts, H., Hale, S. A., and Yasseri, T. (2014) Big Data and Collective Action. In M.Graham and W.H.Dutton (eds) Society and the Internet: How information and social networks are changing our lives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Margetts, H. (2010) Modernization Dreams and Public Policy Reform. In: H.Margetts, P.6 and C.Hood (Eds) Paradoxes of Modernization. Unintended Consequences of Public Policy Reform. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 17-43.
  • Hood, C. and Margetts, H. (2010) Cyber-bureaucracy: If It Is So Central to Public Administration, Why Is It So Ghetto-ized? In J.Pierre and P.W.Ingraham (eds) Comparative Administrative Change and Reform: Lesson Learned. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 978-0-7735-3659-3.
  • Margetts, H. (2010) The Internet and Political Science. In: C.Hay (ed.) New Directions in Political Science. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 65-87.
  • Margetts, H. (2010) Information Exchange between Government and Citizens. In: V.Uberoi, A.Coutts, I.Maclean and D.Halpern (eds) Options for Britain II: Cross Cutting Policy Issues - Changes and Challenges. London: Wiley, Blackwell.
  • Stoker, G. and Margetts, H. (2010) The Experimental Method: Prospects for Laboratory and Field Studies. In: D.Marsh and G.Stoker (eds) Theories and Methods in Political Science [3rd edn]. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Margetts, H. and Partington, M. (2010) Developments in E-government. In: M.Adler (ed.) Administrative Justice in Context. Oxford: Hart Publishing, pp. 47-72.
  • Margetts, H. (2009) Public Management Change and e-government: the emergence of Digital Era Governance. In: A.Chadwick and P.Howard (eds) Handbook of Internet Politics. London: Routledge, pp. 114-128.
  • Margetts, H. (2003) Electronic Government: A Revolution in Public Administration. In: G.Peters and J.Pierre (eds) Handbook of Public Administration. Sage.

Conference papers



Working papers


Courses taught at the OII

DPhil students supervised at the OII

Current students

  • Ramtin (Rami) Amin

    Visibility in the Digital Age: Evaluating awareness and impact of disclosure on democratic participation in popularly initiated referendums

  • Tom Nicholls

    Digital Era Local Government in England: Service reform and the Internet, 1997-2014

  • Roy Nyberg

    Examining Institutional Entrepreneurship at Early Moments: The Case of Mobile Health in England and Finland

Completed students

  • Amanda Clarke

    Government-Citizen Relations on the Social Web: Canada and the United Kingdom, 2006-2013

  • Max Loubser

    Organisational Mechanisms in Peer Productions: The Case of Wikipedia


  • Helen Margetts at the 2014 World Economic Forum: The Power of Participation

    Helen Margetts at the 2014 World Economic Forum: The Power of Participation

    Recorded on: 22 January 2014 Duration: 00:05:24

    A tweet, Facebook like, or e-petition are tiny acts of political participation. But they can scale up into collective action and leave behind data that can transform political science, says Helen Margetts from the Oxford Internet Institute.

  • Helen Margetts Interviewed at the Chances and Risks of Social Participation conference (HIIG)

    Helen Margetts Interviewed at the Chances and Risks of Social Participation conference (HIIG)

    Recorded on: 22 November 2013 Duration: 00:06:30

    Helen Margetts is interviewed about her keynote presentation at the "Chances and Risks of Social Participation" conference (HIIG, Berlin).

  • IPP 2012: Welcome and Plenary Panel

    IPP 2012: Welcome and Plenary Panel

    Recorded on: 21 September 2012 Duration: 01:00:14

    Panellists discuss the opportunities and challenges posed by big data for research and public policy-making at the conference "IPP2012: Big Data: Big Challenges".

  • Mapping and Measuring Cybercrime (Public Forum)

    Mapping and Measuring Cybercrime (Public Forum)

    Recorded on: 22 January 2010 Duration: 01:30:17

    This public panel discussion focuses on the most appropriate ways of mapping and measuring cybercrime to inform legislative, research and policy debates. It highlights the findings of an all-day invited forum on the topic.

  • Parties, Campaigns and Representation: The Political Impact of Blogs and Social Media

    Parties, Campaigns and Representation: The Political Impact of Blogs and Social Media

    Recorded on: 18 September 2009 Duration: 00:30:13

    Are social media tools likely to prove effective in engaging any voters except those who are already interested in politics? Is their apparent 'democratisation' of traditional party structures to be believed?

  • The Virtue of Forgetting

    The Virtue of Forgetting

    Recorded on: 18 September 2009 Duration: 00:32:54

    Digital technology empowers us to find and share information as never before, but we do not always foresee the consequences of these new powers. Can the dangers of everlasting digital memory be avoided? Can we reintroduce our capacity to forget?

  • Studying at the Oxford Internet Institute

    Studying at the Oxford Internet Institute

    Recorded on: 27 October 2008 Duration: 00:09:13

    Thinking about applying for our DPhil or MSc courses? Want to know more about what it's like to study at the OII? In this ten minute video, faculty and students talk about the OII's DPhil and MSc programmes.