OII research focuses on individual, collective and institutional behaviour on the internet. Now that digital connections are embedded in almost every aspect of everyday life, such research is crucial to understand the social, economic and political world.
We are a social science department of the University of Oxford with a multi-disciplinary faculty from political science, sociology, law, geography, economics, communications, computer science, anthropology, physics, informatics, history and development. OII researchers use a diverse methodological toolkit, and develop cutting edge methods to understand digital life, such as experiments, social network analysis and big data approaches.
Our work stimulates and informs debate on internet-related issues. It is used by policy-makers around the world to shape policy and practice around the reinvention and use of the internet.
'Big Data' Research at the Oxford Internet Institute
Vast amounts of transactional data - our digital traces - are collected about us as we go about our lives online. Access to this 'Big Data' (for example from platforms like Twitter and Wikipedia) is now allowing social and political scientists to tackle longstanding problems that have hitherto been impossible to address, such as how political movements like the 'Arab Spring' and Occupy originate and spread. We can also use it to uncover wider social and geographical patterns: for example, who influences online representations of contested spaces in the Middle East. However, while big data can provide new and surprising insights into human behaviour and social structure, we need to know more about its potentials (and challenges) for social research and public policy. The data newly opened up may demand a re-examination of political science knowledge and theory; huge and complex datasets will also require the development of new methods, for example to extract reliable public opinion indicators (such as approval ratings) from the sentiments encoded in online communications. In short, Big Data presents powerful and often unanticipated opportunities for researchers: we can generate new, precise, and rapid insights into economic, social and political practices and processes. However, it also presents clear methodological, technical, theoretical, and ethical challenges and concerns. It is these challenges and opportunities that the OII is addressing.
We are looking for a full-time Grade 7 Researcher to work with Dr Grant Blank and Dr Mark Graham to study and map the geography of digital inequality on the Internet. Closing: 12:00 BST on Thursday 13 June 2013.
Privacy / Ethical Guidance for Mobile Measurement Tools
A new OII project is developing concrete guidance regarding privacy and data protection for researchers using Measurement Lab (M-Lab) internet measurement tools for mobile phones.
Communications Data Bill
The OII's Ian Brown is one of nine cyber-security experts who have warned the Prime Minister that the proposed Bill "will be expensive, will hinder innovation and will undermine the privacy of citizens" (The Times, 22 April).
Select Committee on e-Crime
Ian Brown (OII) and Sadie Creese, both of the new Government Cyber Security Centre, have provided oral evidence for the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on e-Crime (16 April 2013).
Computational Social Science: Call for Abstracts (ECCS '13)
We are calling for abstracts for Computational Social Science: From Social Contagion to Collective Behaviour, a satellite meeting of ECCS'13 (Barcelona, 19 Sept 2013). Abstract deadline: 30 June 2013.
Impact of Digitisation
New Bodleian-OII report on the impact and sustainability of the EEBO-TCP corpus; fully searchable XML-encoded transcriptions of the image sets of early printed books: Sustaining the EEBO-TCP Corpus in Transition (SSRN).
Last updated on: 17 October 2012