WebSci’23: Call for Papers

Call for Papers

About the Web Science Conference

Web Science is an interdisciplinary field dedicated to understanding the complex and multiple impacts of the Web on society and vice versa. The discipline is well situated to address pressing issues of our time by incorporating various scientific approaches. We welcome quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research, including techniques from the social sciences and computer science. In addition, we are interested in work exploring Web-based data collection and research ethics. We also encourage studies that combine analyses of Web data and other types of data (e.g., from surveys or interviews) and help better understand user behaviour online and offline.

2023 Emphasis: Inequalities in the Face of Concurrent Crises

Web-based technologies promise to lower the entry barrier for geographically-dispersed individuals to participate in everyday life. Especially in the aftermath of the pandemic and growing international tensions, such technologies have become critical to our lives. Yet, disparities between groups exist across digital spaces, including digital news, social media, and peer production. Research documenting inequities in representation, engagement, visibility, and success is essential to understand how, for example, various racial, ethnic, and gender groups rebound from multiple concurrent crises. This year’s conference especially encourages contributions documenting differential uses of online spaces and discussing ways to address emerging differences. Additionally, we welcome papers on a wide range of topics at the heart of Web Science.

Possible topics across methodological approaches and digital contexts include but are not limited to:

Understanding the Web

Trends in globalisation, fragmentation, rejoining, and Balkanisation of the Web

The architecture and philosophy of the Web

Automation and AI in all its manifestations relevant to the Web

Critical analyses of the Web and Web technologies

Making the Web Inclusive

Issues of discrimination and fairness

Intersectionality and design justice in questions of marginalisation and inequality

Ethical challenges of technologies, data, algorithms, platforms, and people on the Web

Safeguarding and governance of the Web, including anonymity, security and trust

Inclusion, literacy and the digital divide

The Web and Everyday Life

Social machines, crowd computing and collective intelligence

Web economics, social entrepreneurship, and innovation

Legal issues, including rights and accountability for AI actors

Humanities, arts, and culture on the Web

Politics and social activism on the Web

Online education and remote learning

Health and well-being online

Social presence in online professional event spaces

The Web as a source of news and information

Doing Web Science

Data curation, Web archives and stewardship in Web Science

Temporal and spatial dimensions of the Web as a repository of information

Analysis and modelling of human vs automatic behavior (e.g., bots)

Analysis of online social and information networks

Detecting, preventing and predicting anomalies in Web data (e.g., fake content, spam)

Format of the submissions
Please upload your submissions via EasyChair: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=websci23

There are two submission formats.
* Full paper should be between 6 and 10 pages (inclusive of references, appendices, etc.). Full papers typically report on mature and completed projects.
* Short papers should be up to 5 pages (inclusive of references, appendices, etc.). Short papers will primarily report on high-quality ongoing work not mature enough for a full-length publication.

All accepted submissions will be assigned an oral presentation (of two different lengths).

All papers should adopt the current ACM SIG Conference proceedings template (acmart.cls). Please submit papers as PDF files using the ACM template, either in Microsoft Word format (available athttps://www.acm.org/publications/proceedings-template under “Word Authors”) or with the ACM LaTeX template on the Overleaf platform which is available https://www.overleaf.com/latex/templates/association-for-computing-machinery-acm-sig-proceedings-template/bmvfhcdnxfty. In particular, please ensure that you are using the two-column version of the appropriate template.

All contributions will be judged by the Program Committee upon rigorous peer review standards for quality and fit for the conference, by at least three referees. Additionally, each paper will be assigned to a Senior Program Committee member to ensure review quality.

WebSci-2023 review is double-blind. Therefore, please anonymize your submission: do not put the author(s) names or affiliation(s) at the start of the paper, and do not include funding or other acknowledgments in papers submitted for review. References to authors’ own prior relevant work should be included, but should not specify that this is the authors’ own work. It is up to the authors’ discretion how much to further modify the body of the paper to preserve anonymity. The requirement for anonymity does not extend outside of the review process, e.g. the authors can decide how widely to distribute their papers over the Internet. Even in cases where the author’s identity is known to a reviewer, the double-blind process will serve as a symbolic reminder of the importance of evaluating the submitted work on its own merits without regard to the authors’ reputation.

For authors who wish to opt-out of publication proceedings, this option will be made available upon acceptance. This will encourage the participation of researchers from the social sciences that prefer to publish their work as journal articles. All authors of accepted papers (including those who opt out of proceedings) are expected to present their work at the conference.

Programme Committee Chairs:

Katherine Ognyanova (Rutgers University)
Harsh Taneja (University of Illinois Urbana Champaign)
Ingmar Weber (Saarland University)

For any questions and queries regarding the paper submission, please contact the chairs atwebsci23papers@easychair.org

Coord-wstnet mailing list


15th ACM Web Science Conference (in person and online)
April 30 – May 1, 2023
Austin, Texas, USA (co-located with The Web Conference)


Important Dates
Wed, November 30, 2022 Paper submission deadline
Tue, January 31, 2023 Notification
Tue, February 28, 2023 Camera-ready versions due
Sun-Mon, April 30 – May 1, 2023 Conference dates

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Professor Ben MacArthur has recently published a paper on data science for government, with Turing colleagues Helen Margetts and Cosmina Dorobantu.

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Instagram have been accused of failing to safeguard the data of underage users by the Irish  data watchdog (DPC). Meta, Instagram’s parent company, have said they plan to appeal the fine which has been set at $400m and is centered around allowing minors (13-17) to set up and operate business accounts which revealed sensitive personal data incuding phone numbers and email addresses. Instagram points that the rules on the platform have been changed since the 2020 investigation and argues that the GDPR rules used to trigger the fine have been misapplied/misinterpreted.

Welcome to WSTNet : University of Stuttgart

In this interview we welcome a new lab team and an old friend of Web Science 

Ian: Steffen, thanks for joining us – it seems a little unusual to welcome you as a new Lab Director when you ran one of our other Labs at Koblenz for many years but your team are new so a very warm welcome to both you and your team.

Steffen: Many thanks – I’m really excited about the new Lab and re-joining the WSTNet.

Ian : How does the work at Stuttgart compare to Koblenz?

Steffen: I think the biggest difference is probably scale – there are several thousand researchers here in Stuttgart so the opportunities to engage in bigger projects across a wider area and multiple disciplines is very exciting.

Ian: What are the broad themes for your group and what are working on right now?

Steffen: Our broad theme is AI and Machine Learning within the Cyber Valley initiative of the Universities of Stuttgart and Tübingen and the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. Whilst this sounds highly technically focussed we have a strong digital humanities/interdisciplinary (i.e., Web Science) element to our research. I am co-director of the Interchange Forum for Reflecting on Intelligent Systems (IRIS) which considers heterogeneous intelligent systems of people, machines, tools etc and is looking at diverse perspectives such as ethical and societal challenges, the risks and benefits of automated decision-making, bias and the transparency/fairness of automated decisions and responsible human-computer interactions. What makes this type of research possible is that it encompasses researchers across the whole university of Stuttgart and we have more than 30 professors and their teams at Stuttgart engaged in this particular collaboration.

Ian: It sounds like you are pretty convinced by the opportunities that come with inter-organisational and inter-disciplinary collaboration?

Steffen: We saw those opportunities at Koblenz as part of WSTNet: we hosted the 3rd annual Web Science conference in 2011 and also ran and took part in a number of Web Science Summer School events around the world taught by some world-class speakers with students from Singapore, US, Korea, UK and other labs which is a tremendous opportunity for the students. In 2015 I joined Southampton as a Professor in the Web Science Institute and had access to colleagues in Law and the Social Sciences which really transformed the type of research we could do. I later acted as chairman for WSTNet and then joined the WSTNet board.

Ian: Now you are on the board of Trustees for the WST has your perspective changed? Who would you encourage to join the WSTNet?

Steffen: I think the profile of people who are interested in Web Science has changed over the last decade. Traditionally the idea of networks carried a more technical focus on networks of machines but the Web has enabled and highlighted the importance of global interactions between networks of human/machine actors, networks of people/locations, networks of tools/systems, networks of cultures, networks of political and legal system and the list goes on, so the original technical focus has been joined by a vital social science perspective without which it is impossible to understand the complexity of these systems. For example, this week I co-organize a Dagstuhl workshop on “Challenges and Opportunities of Democracy in the Digital Society” with researchers from political science, communication studies, sociology, law and computer science.

There are several ”heavy-hitters” in the current WSTNet network, some who helped define and develop the whole Web Science field and we’ve certainly seen those types of organisation with a solid track record in Web Science and (related approaches) apply and join but as the influence of the Web and the effects of network/machine interaction at scale continues to increase I would also think that groups with strong research credentials in their own (non-technical) disciplines may want to *develop* new digital skills and fold socio-technical, Web Science approaches, into their research arsenal could consider WSTNet a route into Web Science. Its a huge potential resource of technical, cultural and interdisciplinary experience.

As the number of machines and intelligent agents continues to grow (and I think we are only at the very beginning of vast growth) we will see the impact of machines and intelligent agents on every aspect of society and so the need to understand, predict and effectively steward that impact has never been more important. Even for those groups who don’t use the term Web Science we will see the Web Science approach as we have defined and developed it reflected everywhere.

Ian: Steffen – thanks for taking the time to chat with me and once again welcome back to network.