Bill Dutton is the Quello Professor of Media and Information Policy at Michigan State University, where he is Director of the Quello Center. He was the OII’s Founding Director, a Fellow of Balliol College and the first Professor of Internet Studies at Oxford University. Before coming to Oxford in 2002, he was a Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, where he is now an Emeritus Professor. In the UK, he was a Fulbright Scholar 1986-87, and was National Director of the UK’s Programme on Information and Communication Technologies (PICT) from 1993 to 1996.

His recent publications on the social aspects of information and communication technologies include Society on the Line (Oxford University Press, 1999), and Transforming Enterprise, co-edited (MIT Press, 2005), and World Wide Research: Reshaping the Sciences and Humanities, co-edited with P. Jeffreys (MIT Press, 2011). He is currently editing a handbook on Internet Studies for Oxford University Press and a four volume series of readings on the Internet and Politics for Routledge.

His service includes chairing the Advisory Committee for England of the UK’s Office of Communications (Ofcom), and participating on the NHS Direct Innovation Committee.

He was Director of the OII from 2002 to 2011.

Research interests

Internet and society, digital divides, digital choice, the Fifth Estate, network society, politics and the Internet, collaborative network organizations, research-centred computational networks, e-research

Positions held at the OII

  • Advisory Board Member, October 2014 –
  • Research Associate, August 2014 –
  • Professor of Internet Studies, July 2002 – August 2014
  • Director, July 2002 – September 2011

Students supervised at the OII

Past students


Current projects

  • WIP: World Internet Project

    Participants: Dr Grant Blank

    The World Internet Project (WIP) carries out panel surveys in over twenty countries to help understand how individuals adopt and use the Internet and other technologies, as well as the resulting social, economic, political and everyday-life implications.

Past projects

  • OxIS: Oxford Internet Surveys

    Participants: Grant Blank

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

  • Global Centre for Cyber Security Capacity-Building

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Ian Brown, Gillian Bolsover

    This Oxford-based Centre aims become a leading global resource for understanding how to deliver effective cyber security; OII Fellows Bill Dutton and Ian Brown lead its work on security cultures and regulation.

  • Oxford Digital Economy Collaboration Group (ODEC)

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton

    ODEC aims to foster collaboration between researchers, businesses and public sector groups in the digital, Internet, and creative industries. It supports the projects and priorities of the newly established Connected Digital Economy Catapult (CDEC).

  • Internet Governance

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Jonathan Zittrain, Professor Ian Brown, Desiree Miloshevic

    A programme of seminars, forums and conferences informing our research on Internet governance.

  • The Fifth Estate

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Dr Elizabeth Dubois

    The Fifth Estate is a research project designed to examine critically the Internet's role in enabling new forms of democratic accountability and voice, comparable to the press of an earlier era.

  • The Global Internet Values Project: International Perspectives on Privacy, Security, Trust, and Freedom in a Networked World

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Soumitra Dutta, Gillian Bolsover, Ginette Law

    This research aims to identify patterns and trends in individual attitudes and behaviours related to online trust, privacy, security and freedom.

  • ULab: European Laboratory for Modelling the Technical Research University of Tomorrow

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Rebecca Eynon, Dr Monica Bulger

    ULab will work as a University Laboratory, systematically reviewing, evaluating and experimenting with current practice in research, valorization, entrepreneurship and outreach activities in each of the five partner universities.

  • KNETWORKS: Dissemination and Networks of Knowledge in the Atlantic Area

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Eric T. Meyer, Dr Cristobal Cobo

    KNETWORKS aims to create a strong knowledge sharing and dissemination network in the Atlantic area to promote the exchange of good practices and implementation strategies for building and exploiting a 21st century knowledge and information society.

  • OeSS: The Oxford e-Social Science Project

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Paul Allan David, Professor Ralph Schroeder, Dr Marina Jirotka, Dr Annamaria Carusi, Dr Matthijs den Besten, Professor Eric T. Meyer, Dr Kathryn Eccles, Professor Christopher Millard, Professor Michael Parker, Dr Justine Pila, Professor Tina Piper, Dr Michael Spence, Professor David Vaver

    The Oxford e-Social Science project aims to understand how e-Research projects negotiate various social, ethical, legal and organizational forces and constraints, in order to help researchers avoid these problems when building scientific collaborations.

  • Media Literacy: Testing and refining criteria to assess media literacy levels in all EU Member States

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Dr Monica Bulger, Emilie Normann, Kristian Pederson, Paolo Celot, Agnes Bruszik

    This project aims to develop and validate indicators of adult media literacy levels, in response to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive requiring that the European Commission report levels of Media Literacy in all EU Member States by December 2011.

  • Me, My Spouse and the Internet: Meeting, Dating and Marriage in the Digital Age

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Dr Bernie Hogan, Dr Nai Li, Dr Grant Blank, Dr Monica Whitty

    The project uses survey data from Australian and UK couples to look at the significance and impact of the Internet on intimate relationships, including how people use ICTs to meet each other and maintain relationships, and how ICTs affect their behaviour.

  • Digitised Resources: A Usage and Impact Study

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Ralph Schroeder, Professor Mike Thelwall, Professor Eric T. Meyer, Dr Christine Madsen, Dr Kathryn Eccles

    This project combined quantitative and qualitative indicators to measure the impact of online scholarly resources and to develop a best practices toolkit that allows assessment of the impact of digitisation projects by researchers and funding bodies.

  • The e-Horizons Institute

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Paul Allan David, Professor Ralph Schroeder, Dr Marina Jirotka, Professor Anne Trefethen, Professor Paul Jeffreys, Professor Eric T. Meyer

    The e-Horizons Institute researched the coming technological breakthroughs in e-science that will have cross-sector social and economic implications as they are taken up by business, government and other actors.

  • Networks for Web Science

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Jonathan Zittrain, Professor Yorick Wilks, Tim Berners-Lee, Professor Wendy Hall

    Establishing networks of researchers from different technical and social science research disciplines to begin to develop a Web Science research agenda through the exchange of PhD students and collaborative workshops.

  • World Wide Web of Humanities

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Ralph Schroeder, Dr Robert Ackland, Professor Eric T. Meyer, Dr Christine Madsen

    Establishing a framework for e-Humanities research using available open source tools and technologies and archived web content to create novel research interfaces to the first of many, scholarly, e-Humanities web collections.

  • Performance of distributed problem-solving networks

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Paul Allan David, Dr Tobias Escher, Dr Wolf Richter, Dr Matthijs den Besten, Dr Max Loubser, Dr Robert Ackland, David A. Bray, Irene Cassarino, Karen Croxson, Professor Jean-Michel Dalle, Dr Aldo Geuna, Dr Jukka-Pekka Onnela, Felix Reed-Tsochas, Philipp Tuertscher

    Addressing the uncertainties that surround the coordination and performance of 'Distributed Problem Solving Networks' (DPSN), as well as the areas in which these new Internet-based forms offer advantages over more familiar modes of problem-solving.

  • Clinical and psychological characteristics of Internet gamblers: web-based survey

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Dr Victoria Nash, Joanne Lloyd, Professor Robert D. Rogers, John Geddes, Guy Goodwin

    Expanding our understanding of online gambling by undertaking a web-based survey of users of Internet gambling sites, covering areas such as demographic and occupational characteristics, psychological characteristics, and attitudes to risk.

  • Digital Choices and the Reconfiguring of Access

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton

    Research on how the use of the Internet in different, overlapping and interacting arenas is shaped by everyday and strategic choices about the design and use of the technology.

  • Breaking Barriers to e-Government

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Helen Margetts, Professor Rebecca Eynon

    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.

  • Cybertrust: The tension between privacy and security in an e-society

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton

    Perceptions of trust in online activities are significant factors influencing the kinds and extents of Internet use and interactions: this work draws on Oxford Internet Survey (OxIS) data to explore and refine key social determinants of cybertrust.

  • Civil society participation in the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS)

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Dr Victoria Nash, Dr Sonia Liff, Professor Stephen Coleman

    Achieving a deeper understanding of the nature, extent and potential of civil society groups' participation in the 2003 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and ICT policy making by establishing a cross-sector academic / practitioner dialogue.

  • The World Wide Web of Science: emerging global sources of expertise

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Ralph Schroeder, Professor Alexandre Caldas

    The World Wide Web of Science project assesses whether, and to what extent, the Internet and the Web are transforming access to sources of scientific expertise, and whether these sources are becoming more concentrated or more diversified.

  • EICN working group on child protection and mobile phones

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Dr Victoria Nash

    An OII-led working group to gather information and develop policy recommendations about the practices of mobile network operators in Europe in relation to child protection in the era of third-generation (3G) multimedia mobile phones.

  • Internet and productivity in public services: innovative pathways for e-government

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Professor Paul Allan David, Professor Alexandre Caldas, Orges Ormanidhi

    Investigating indicators of productivity growth in public sector institutions across eight EU countries, including patterns and impacts of ICT use, organisational perspectives, and implications of the interaction of ICT usage and organisational processes.

  • Spam email: a qualitative study

    Participants: Professor William H. Dutton, Dr Leslie Haddon

    A qualitative study of how individuals view and manage unwanted email, particularly spam, based on semi-structured interviews of users.


  • The Oxford Internet Institute @ 20

    Recorded: 5 May 2021

    Duration: 00:00:00

    A panel discussion, with OII Directors past and present, reflecting on what the OII has achieved in the last 20 years, and how it hopes to address current and future technology challenges going forward.

  • William Dutton discusses the Oxford Internet Institute

    Recorded: 5 November 2015

    Duration: 00:40:27

    Our Founding Director, Bill Dutton, returns to the OII for a "fireside chat" with our Deputy Director Vicki Nash, in which he discusses the OII and his own work.

  • Dot Rural: Interviews

    Recorded: 1 October 2013

    Duration: 00:22:53

    Interviews about rural Internet.

  • The Future of Research Libraries in the 21st Century: Interview with Dame Lynne Brindley

    Recorded: 25 April 2013

    Duration: 00:05:22

    Bill Dutton interviews the former CEO of the British Library before her talk at the OII on the future of research libraries in the 21st Century.

  • Open Journal Publishing: Interview with Professor Dieter Stein

    Recorded: 28 February 2013

    Duration: 00:06:29

    Bill Dutton interviews Professor Dieter Stein, based at Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, before his talk at the OII on open access journal publishing.

  • A Decade in Internet Time: William Dutton

    Recorded: 22 September 2011

    Duration: 00:06:47

    Professor William Dutton introduces the plenary session "A Decade in Internet Time" to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Oxford Internet Institute.

  • The Fifth Estate of the Internet Realm

    Recorded: 26 October 2010

    Duration: 00:02:59

    Professor William Dutton discusses the main themes of his lecture in the OII's "Society and the Internet" lecture series. How does the Internet create a space for new forms of social accountability? Is it enabling a 'Fifth Estate'?

  • After the digital switchover …

    Recorded: 26 November 2009

    Duration: 01:28:14

    At the launch of the International Journal of Digital Television, the speakers ask: After digital switchover will we still have television as such? Will it still need special regulation? Will we have gained or lost, socially and culturally?

  • Social Networking Conference. Session 1: Online Social Networks

    Recorded: 7 April 2008

    Duration: 01:25:35

    A discussion of online social networks, covering online Social networks: 'Social Networks: Reconfiguring Access to People', 'Cyber tribes and information warfare' and 'Youth Work and Social Networking'.

  • Social Networking Conference. Session 2: Intimate Relationships and Online Social Networks

    Recorded: 7 April 2008

    Duration: 00:38:11

    A discussion of intimate relationships and online social networks, covering intimate relationships and online social networks: 'Netiquette within Married Couples' and 'Stalking 2.0. Social Networking and Privacy: Incompatible Ideas?'.

  • Social Networking Conference. Session 3: Businesses and Online Social Networks

    Recorded: 7 April 2008

    Duration: 01:06:40

    A discussion of businesses and online social networks, covering businesses and online social networks: 'Social networking and business practice: telecoms industry case study' and 'Social software in a hard world' and 'Wikipedia'.

  • Through the Network (of Networks): The Fifth Estate

    Recorded: 15 October 2007

    Duration: 00:48:27

    The Internet and web are creating a new space for networking people, information and other resources: this has the potential to become an important 'fifth estate' to support greater accountability in politics, the media and other institutional arenas.

  • Trust in the Internet as an Experience Technology

    Recorded: 6 November 2006

    Duration: 00:51:50

    Bill Dutton summarizes and discusses his paper 'Trust in the Internet as an experience technology' published in the journal Information, Communication and Society (iCS 9:433-451).

  • Learning from Experience in eGovernment: Concluding comments

    Recorded: 26 June 2006

    Duration: 00:45:08

    Concluding comments from the 'Breaking Barriers to e-Goverment' project workshop: 'Breaking Barriers to eGovernment: Overcoming Obstacles to improving European Public Services'.

  • Information, Communication and New Media Studies: Networking a Multidisciplinary Field

    Recorded: 3 February 2006

    Duration: 01:00:07

    Identifying the most promising approaches for connecting multidisciplinary research efforts focused on the growing social importance of ICTs in structuring diverse aspects of public life.

  • Information, Communication and New Media Studies: Good for What?

    Recorded: 2 February 2006

    Duration: 01:40:01

    What do constituencies outside the research field expect from information, communication and media studies? Can it meet these expectations? Under what conditions? Perspectives are provided on the intersection between research and more applied agendas.

  • CyberSafety Conference: Introductions

    Recorded: 9 September 2005

    Duration: 00:27:03

    Introductions to the 2005 Cybersafety Conference, focusing on the complex web of issues, assumptions and trade-offs involved in improving online safety and security at a personal, national and international level.

  • CyberSafety Conference: Close / Ways Forward

    Recorded: 9 September 2005

    Duration: 01:34:10

    Closing notes from the 2005 Cybersafety Conference focusing on the complex web of issues, assumptions and trade-offs involved in improving online safety and security at a personal, national and international level.





  • Can IT Industry be China’s New Growth Point

    4 December 2013 China Radio International

    Bill Dutton is interviewed by Shanming Qian of China Radio along with Professor Liu Baocheng of Beijing University about the information economy and China.

  • Tech-savvy expats embrace flexible working

    29 October 2013 The Telegraph

    The finding in the recent Oxford Internet Surveys that many people use the Internet with reluctance is mentioned in an article about the way that expats organise their working lives.

  • Most UK citizens do not find internet enthusiastic: Study

    4 October 2013 The Times of India

    The Times of India reports on the finding of the OxIS 2103 that many UK citizens use the Internet with reluctance.

  • Over half of British internet users go online ‘without enthusiasm’

    2 October 2013 Phys Org

    A report of the OxIS 2013 findings that nearly half of the people who go online do so with a lack of enthusiasm

  • Britain’s reluctant internet revolutionaries

    1 October 2013 The Daily Telegraph

    The 2013 Oxford Internet Surveys have charted the speed in which the digital revolutions is transforming life in Britain but it also reveals that almost four out of 10 people use it with reluctance.

  • One in seven admit they hate the internet and fear it is ‘taking control of our lives’… but more of us are going online

    1 October 2013 Daily Mail

    Report of the finding of OxIS 2013 that many users of the Internet do so reluctantly.

  • Last Word

    5 July 2013 BBC R4

    Bill Dutton pays tribute to ‘gentle, self-effacing’ Doug Engelbart, who died on 3 July. He was a visionary thinker who foresaw the potential of computers to connect the world long before others. He also famously invented the computer mouse.

  • UM seminar on Social media and the Internet. William Dutton: ‘Fifth Estate’ challenging institutional authority

    11 December 2012 Macau Daily Times

    After Bill Dutton delivered a lecture to the University of Macao on the rise of the Internet, the Macau Daily Times interviewed him about the likely impact of the 'Fifth Estate' phenomenon now and in the future.

  • NYT’s little problem in big China

    26 October 2012 The Guardian

    When the New York Times accused the family of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao of accumulating massive wealth the authorities closed down the Chinese language site.  However Bill Dutton says it is more a symbolic reaction than a political stance.

  • Rural Chinese get online as mobile overtakes desktop

    19 July 2012 BBC News

    Mobile phones are now the most common way for people in China to connect with the Internet. These findings are consistent with the trend noted in other parts of the world says Bill Dutton. "We're moving to what we call next-generation users."

  • Give an Hour: Revealing the habits of new web users

    2 July 2012 BBC News

    Since October 2011, 350,000 new users have been encouraged online through the Give an Hour campaign. Bill Dutton talks about what people are looking for on the Internet and how younger and older people share some common online interests.

  • Top US universities put their reputations online

    20 June 2012 BBC Business News

    Elite US universities are launching ambitious online learning projects with the aim of "revolutionising education around the world". Bill Dutton comments on how the initiatives raise challenges for other educational institutions.

  • Anti-piracy efforts divide web users

    20 January 2012 BBC News

    Bill Dutton analyses the events of a week in which parts of the web voluntary went off-line, Megaupload was shut down by the Department of Justice, and 'hacktivists' attacked US government and other websites.

  • Brave new world

    1 December 2011 ESRC

    In the ESRC's annual magazine, Bill Dutton talks about the legacy of Alan Turing. Turing was a visionary and early inventor of computing, which led to the empowering of new forms of knowledge. Key to this is the concept of the Fifth Estate, Dutton says.

  • How to lift the digital age barrier

    30 November 2011 The Guardian

    According to figures from the OII's Oxford Internet Surveys (OxIS), Internet use among people aged 65 and over sits at only about 30% and has not changed much since 2005, despite campaigns to get more older people connected.

  • Screen test for the online classroom

    23 November 2011 BBC News

    The screen is an important part of the lives of students and young people, and technology is allowing online teaching services to move mainstream. Bill Dutton talks about the future of learning in an increasingly online world.

  • Prof. Dutton: ”Next Generation Internet Users” w sieci szukają głównie rozrywki i multimediów Więcej

    24 October 2011 Gazeta Wyborcza

    William Dutton discusses findings from the 2011 Oxford Internet Survey (OxIS) at the 2011 World Internet Project (WIP) meeting in Poland.

  • Pioneering Internet Institute marks 10th anniversary

    20 October 2011 Oxford Mail

    Outgoing OII Director Bill Dutton is interviewed on the occasion of OII's 10th anniversary: "The internet has exceeded what anybody could have imagined. It is not just changing how we know what we know, but what we know and even who we know."

  • Study finds half of web users go online via mobile devices

    19 October 2011 Broadband Choice

    The characteristics of 'new generation users' of the Internet as revealed in the 2011 Oxford Internet Surveys are highlighted on the broadband website. They visit multiple locations, utilise several difference devices and contribute content.

  • A networked world needs a ‘Fifth Estate’

    11 October 2011 Wired

    Bill Dutton on the 'Fifth Estate,' an independent forum analogous to the press, enabled by the web, comprising networked individuals: a new way to increase democratic accountability but also vulnerable to those who want to undermine it.

  • Wie das Internet das Liebesleben bereichert

    27 August 2011

    William Dutton is interviewed after his talk on "Meeting and Dating Online" given at the annual Austrian Institute of Technology Forum in Alpbach (in German).

  • The Birth of the ‘Fifth Estate’

    5 August 2011 Spiegel Online

    In an interview with Der Spiegel to mark 20 years of the World Wide Web, Bill Dutton talks about how it helps communities organize and its emergence as a 'Fifth Estate,' helping to hold accountable both governments and media around the globe.

  • Spelling mistakes ‘cost millions’ in lost online sales

    13 July 2011 BBC News

    Poor spelling on websites can have adversely affect revenue according to an online entrepreneur. Bill Dutton comments that a tolerance of bad grammar on the informal Internet can translate into questions of trust on commercial sites.

  • Blogging Against Bribery

    6 June 2011 BBC Radio 4

    Interviewed for a programme on how the Internet is being used to combat bribery in India, Bill Dutton says that these initiatives are a fine example of the "Fifth Estate" of networked individuals creating new forms of democratic accountability.

  • Global Internet Culture Emerges

    28 April 2011 InformationWeek

    Internet users worldwide want privacy, security, trust, and freedom of expression, says a report from the Oxford Internet Institute, graduate business school Insead, and comScore.

  • Web creator’s net neutrality fear

    19 April 2011 BBC News

    Bill Dutton warns of the risks in enshrining net neutrality in law, as part of an interview with Tim Berners-Lee conducted by Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC Technology correspondent.

  • Image of ‘wild west’ web makes for too many restrictions

    19 April 2011 Secure Computing

    Bill Dutton's challenge to the notion of an unfettered web is reported in the specialist journal for IT Security professionals.

  • Web isn’t the “Wild West” – it’s already too regulated

    18 April 2011 PCPro

    "We cannot assume freedom of expression is an inevitable outcome of technology advances." Bill Dutton comments on regulation of the Internet to the W3C conference in Oxford, in advance of the launch of the UNESCO report on Freedom of Expression.

  • Democratic potential of the Fifth Estate

    21 June 2010 PerAda Magazine

    Bill Dutton sets out the background to the emergence of a 'Fifth Estate' where networked individuals use the power of the Internet to access information online and use it to better hold government and institutions to account.

  • Ofcom appoints nine new board members

    10 February 2009 mobile news

    Professor William Dutton, Director of the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) at Oxford University, is appointed as Chair of Ofcom's Advisory Committee for England and Member of the Advisory Committee for the South East region

  • Democracy on the line: The Fifth Estate?

    1 January 2009 Oxford Today

    In an in-depth article on the power of the Internet and its capacity to change lives, Bill Dutton describes how it has also enabled a "Fifth Estate" allowing for greater scrutiny and holding to account the government, the press and the establishment.