Dr Linnet E. M. Taylor

 Dr Linnet E. M. Taylor

Linnet is currently working on a Sloan Foundation funded project on Accessing and Using Big Data to Advance Social Science Knowledge.


Linnet’s research focuses on social and economic aspects of the diffusion of the internet in Africa, and human mobility as a factor in technology adoption. Her doctoral research was on Ghana, where she looked at mobility’s influence on the formation and viability of internet cafes in poor and remote areas, networking amongst Ghanaian technology professionals and ICT4D policy. She is currently working on a Sloan Foundation funded project on Accessing and Using Big Data to Advance Social Science Knowledge.

Her research interests include the social and economic impacts of technologies as they diffuse to new populations, in both developing and industrialised countries. She also has an interest in methodologies and in interdisciplinary and mixed-methods research.

Linnet studied a DPhil in International Development at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex where she was also part of the Sussex Centre for Migration Research. She has an interdisciplinary background that includes literature, Mesoamerican languages and history, and cross-cultural research methods. Before her doctoral work she was a researcher at the Rockefeller Foundation where she developed programmes around economic security and human mobility. Her Ghana blog can be found here: linnettaylor@wordpress.com

Research interests

ICT for development, social networks, diffusion of innovations, globalisation, economic geography, West Africa

Positions held at the OII

  • Researcher, October 2012 - December 2013


Past projects

  • Accessing and Using Big Data to Advance Social Science Knowledge

    October 2012 - May 2014

    The project will follow 'big data' from its public and private origins through open and closed pathways into the social sciences, and document and shape the ways they are being accessed and used to create new knowledge about the social world.




  • hacking a path through the Personal Data Ecosystem

    Linnet Taylor on 12 Dec 2013 15:58PM

    Last week the World Economic Forum sponsored a high-level workshop on the idea of the ‘personal data ecosystem’ and how it might look in different contexts. The event raised some interesting conflicts regarding the way different sectors conceptualise, [...]

  • the big squeeze: why the mobile internet isn’t enough

    Linnet Taylor on 29 Oct 2013 13:40PM

    How is the web going to shape knowledge amongst the world’s poorest people? Perhaps through services offered by mobile providers such as Airtel, which announced yesterday that Wikipedia will be available via SMS to Kenyan mobile phone subscribers. This is [...]

  • Surveil the rich, observe the poor: big data at the Internet Governance Forum 2013

    Linnet Taylor on 25 Oct 2013 09:48AM

    This year’s IGF was, unsurprisingly, permeated by the issue of surveillance. Almost every discussion landed on it sooner or later, led partly by the Forum’s headlining of issues of cybersecurity and online freedom.  This led to the use of the term ‘big [...]

  • sharing big data: let it be complicated.

    Linnet Taylor on 22 Oct 2013 04:40AM

    I’m at the Internet Governance Forum 2013 in Bali this week, which kicked off this morning with a discussion on ‘Growth and user empowerment through data commons’ The panel was myself, Alan Paul of the World Economic Forum, and Amparo Ballivian of the [...]

  • Data for growth vs. data protection? an EU debate

    Linnet Taylor on 1 Oct 2013 14:50PM

    At the 2013 European big data conference in Brussels, where a mix of private and public sector leaders are discussing how to use big data to make Europe more competitive. It’s a very wide-ranging discussion which has gone from academic research data [...]

  • Scientific field or hairball? big data research as an academic reality

    Linnet Taylor on 19 Sep 2013 13:19PM

    I’m at the European Conference on Complex Systems in Barcelona today, reflecting on whether big data is, or could become, a field of its own. People here are presenting on diverse topics such as financial risk, gendered decisionmaking in politics, the [...]

  • Clear data, unknown meanings

    Linnet Taylor on 25 Jul 2013 14:55PM

    This post comes out of the big data project currently underway at the Oxford Internet Institute. One of the questions we are asking in this research is what constitutes ‘big data’ for social scientists, and how it’s changing the way they [...]

  • Where do developers belong in development?

    Linnet Taylor on 19 Apr 2013 11:27AM

    If you’re someone with data analysis skills and a yearning to solve poverty/malaria/the mystery of bee mortality, now’s your time. There are numerous ‘big data’ initiatives emerging to connect development initiatives with people who can code, [...]

  • Big Data: Tools and Access

    Linnet Taylor on 17 Apr 2013 13:10PM

    This is a group post from a session held at the Big Data: Rewards and Risks for the Social Sciences conference in March (http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/events/?id=557). Participants in the group were Chris Birchall, Michael Khoo, Cornelius Puschmann, Kalpana [...]

  • big data: rewards and risks for the social sciences

    Linnet Taylor on 8 Apr 2013 19:26PM

    At the end of March OII held a workshop on the potential of big data for social scientific research. The workshop brought together researchers from various continents and a wide variety of disciplines, with research interests including immigration and [...]

  • big data in the developing world

    Linnet Taylor on 4 Mar 2013 14:01PM

    Starting to think about the discussion we are going to organise in 2014 at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre on big data and social change in the developing world. Initially this seems very broad: big data could be almost anything; the [...]

  • Towards a Sociology of Data

    Linnet Taylor on 24 Feb 2013 20:20PM

    OII recently held a workshop – ‘Towards a Sociology of Data’ – which brought together sociologists, philosophers, political scientists and computer scientists to discuss whether there exists – or needs to be – ‘a sociology of [...]

  • workshop, Towards a Sociology of Data: OII, January 11th

    Linnet Taylor on 7 Dec 2012 14:36PM

    Here’s a very last-minute call for anyone interested in attending a workshop on the sociology of data. It’s half a day at OII, January 11th. Check out the invitation and send us 300-500 words if you’re interested.

  • Quis custodiet provisores ipsos?

    Linnet Taylor on 26 Nov 2012 16:41PM

    To a smart lecture on cyber-security at the Dutch national policy council (WRR), by Ron Deibert of Citizen Lab. Deibert spends his time thinking about the ways that organisations and governments may be using our data for surveillance and control, and [...]

  • OII workshop on big data – inviting applications

    Linnet Taylor on 20 Nov 2012 13:34PM

    The Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, in collaboration with the Sloan Foundation and the Digital Social Research directorate of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC), will be holding a 2-day workshop, 21-22 March 2013 for social [...]

  • The internet archiving puzzle: who can capture the web, and what happens if they do?

    Linnet Taylor on 15 Nov 2012 12:06PM

    On Tuesday I went to a workshop on Big-Data Analytics for the Temporal Web run by LAWA (Longitudinal Analytics of Web Archive data). LAWA is an EU-funded project to develop new archiving techniques for the web, and is the European counterpart to the US [...]

  • Did big data win the US election?

    Linnet Taylor on 7 Nov 2012 12:13PM

    Much has been made of the role of big data in this year’s US elections. The New York Times has reported how both campaigns have been mining even the most private personal data to try to get an edge in terms of mobilising voters, and Stephen Baker [...]

  • What’s the big idea?

    Linnet Taylor on 23 Oct 2012 09:43AM

    I recently started work on a new project at the Oxford Internet Institute, ‘Accessing and Using Big Data to Advance Social Science Knowledge’. Along with Eric Meyer and Ralph Schroeder, I will be figuring out what ‘big data’ means for the social sciences. [...]