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OeSS: The Oxford e-Social Science Project

OeSS: The Oxford e-Social Science Project


Advances in information and communication technology are transforming the way scholarly research is conducted across all disciplines. The use of increasingly powerful and versatile computer-based and networked systems promises to change research activity as profoundly as the mobile phone, the Internet, and email have changed everyday life. The Oxford e-Social Science (OeSS) research project studies the use and impacts of these new approaches—called ‘e-research’ — and their ethical, legal, and institutional implications.

Scientific collaboration is increasingly coming to be seen as critically dependent upon effective access to shared digital research data and the advanced information tools that enable data storage, search, retrieval, visualization, and higher level analysis. The increasing role that advanced ICTs play in the practice of scientific research promises the potential to transform the way facts about the physical and social world are acquired, shared, analyzed, and translated into useful knowledge.

Building large, collaborative systems is not just a technical challenge: by looking at e-Research from a social shaping perspective, we are able to understand how researchers shape the technologies they use, and how they in turn have their behaviour shaped by the technologies and by social, ethical, legal and organizational forces.

By understanding how e-Research projects negotiate various constraints, we hope that our work can help researchers avoid the problems others have faced as they build these scientific collaborations.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC)Oxford University Computing Laboratory (OUCL)

Key Information

  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC)
  • Oxford University Computing Laboratory (OUCL)
  • Project dates:
    October 2005 - March 2012

    All Publications



    Professor Paul Allan David

    Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford


    Dr Matthijs den Besten

    Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford


    Dr Justine Pila

    Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre



    Project Press Coverage