Professor Helen Margetts

 Professor Helen Margetts

Helen Margetts is the Director of the OII (currently on research leave until July 2014). 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

Past projects

  • Interactive Visualizations for Teaching, Research, and Dissemination

    May - September 2012

    "InteractiveVis" aims to support easy creation of interactive visualisations for geospatial and network data by researchers: it will survey existing solutions, build currently missing features, and smooth over incompatibilities between existing libraries.

  • Big Data: Demonstrating the Value of the UK Web Domain Dataset for Social Science Research

    February 2012 - February 2014

    This project aims to enhance JISC's UK Web Domain archive, a 30 TB archive of the .uk country-code top level domain collected from 1996 to 2010. It will extract link graphs from the data and disseminate social science research using the collection.

  • Leaders and Followers in Online Activism

    January - December 2012

    Where do political and policy-oriented mobilizations (such as e-petitions or organized protests) start and how are they sustained? What affects the propensity of people to join a mobilization, and hence, the mobilization's success?

  • Information Exchange between Citizens and the Department of Work and Pensions

    September 2008 - March 2009

    A value for money study for the National Audit Office (NAO) looking at information exchange between the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and its benefit customers.

  • Breaking Barriers to e-Government

    December 2004 - December 2007

    Investigating the legal, organisational, technological and other barriers to expanding effective eGovernment services using the Internet and to define possible solutions at a European level to overcome such obstacles.

  • Participation in Internet-mediated interactions

    October 2004 - December 2006

    This research applied a multidisciplinary approach to developing a methodology for evaluating the web structure and 'health' of e-government, and investigating design mechanisms for fundraising on the Internet (including determinants of giving behaviour).





  • 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

Completed students

  • 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.



  • IPP2014: Crowdsourcing for Politics and Policy

    Thursday 25 - Friday 26 September 2014

    The IPP2014 conference will explore the new research frontiers opened up by crowdsourcing for politics and policy. Taking place in Oxford, it is convened by the OII, the journal Policy and Internet, and the ECPR.