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Digital Social Research: A Forum for Policy and Practice

With Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Ralph Schroeder, Dr Marina Jirotka, Professor Eric T. Meyer, Dr Grace Eden, and Malte Ziewitz
Date & Time:
10:00 - 16:00,
Tuesday 13 March, 2012


e-Science was fostered by public initiatives, such as funding Digital Social Research and other research programmes, and it has been sustained through a variety of transformations, not only as a means for maintaining the competitiveness of research in Britain, but also to improve the power of research on critical global challenges, from ageing to climate change. In what ways have these initiatives fallen short, or exceeded expectations? Have they had unanticipated implications for the sciences and humanities? What kinds of adjustments in policy or practice are needed to more fully realize the potential of these advances in research?

This one-day policy forum will bring together leading academics in the rapidly evolving field of Digital Social Research with key thought leaders from business, industry and government interested in the future of research policy and practice. All participants will be asked to provide a brief (1-2 page) position paper, which identifies the key issues they would like the forum to address, along with references to any background papers or work of relevance that they wish to call to the attention of other participants. The forum will be open to any issues raised by the invited participants, but we hope to cover the challenges posed by new approaches to research, such as privacy of personal data, ethical questions raised by new forms of data collection and analysis (e.g. informed consent), and institutional resistance to supporting new, bottom-up approaches to mining distributed, collective information sharing, such as embodied in citizen science.

The Oxford e-Social Science (OeSS) team will record the discussion and draw from this discussion, the position papers, and its own research to write a forum discussion paper that will identify and explain the key issues confronting the future of this important interdisciplinary field. This will be used to provide guidance for key work that addresses these issues, but also to form an agenda of questions for which there are many unresolved issues requiring further research.

This event is organised by the Oxford e-Social Science Project, a collaboration of faculty of the Oxford e-Research Centre, the Oxford Internet Institute, and the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, supported by the ESRC (RES-149-25-1082).