Newsletter Spring 2021

Spring Newsletter

In this issue …

Latest news about the 2021 Web Science Conference
Announcing our new partnership with Brave Conversations
Noshir Contractor nominated to ICA
Untangling the Web Podcast goes from strength to strength
LAB FEATURE: NUS (Singapore)
PhD FEATURE: Jessica Van Brummelen (MIT)
Recent Publications
Say Hello / Wave Goodbye
Recent & Upcoming Events

WebSci’21 Conference News


Once again the ACM Web Science Conference will run as an online conference this year. The theme is Globalisation, Inclusion and the Web in the Context of COVID.

Web Science is an interdisciplinary field dedicated to understanding the complex and multiple impacts of the Web on society and vice versa. The Web has enabled a globally connected network of individuals and communities, but divides still exist and new ones emerge. Fostering an inclusive and equitable online environment is a persistent challenge. In recent years, this challenge has been amplified by the increasing prevalence of artificial intelligence and the automation of Web-based tasks, as well as ongoing inequalities in Web access, use, and skills.

The conference will call attention to these challenges and how they might be addressed, particularly in light of the ongoing global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are seeing, for example, just how important global collaboration within and between scientific communities has been to swift vaccine development, and the essential role of the Web in timely and effective public health communications.

Presenters and participants will have multiple opportunities to engage over a full week of talks, Spotlight Panels, workshops, social events and “Meet the Author” informal discussions. New events are being added to the programme all the time, and we already have a growing list of Keynote Speakers:

  • Daniel Weitzner, director of the MIT Internet Policy Research Initiative
  • Baroness Martha Lane Fox CBE, co-founder of
  • Jennifer Zhu Scott, Executive Chairman of The Commons Project
  • Matthew Weber, Associate Professor in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University

The core programme will take place in European time, and there will also be satellite workshops/events in SE Asia and the USA. All sessions will be recorded, so you don’t need to cover every time zone in one day! More details of the presenters and other conference activities will be shared in the lead up to the event. Keep an eye on our tweets via the #WebSci21 hashtag, and check out our website (below) for further updates and registration information.

We look forward to welcoming you to the second wholly online Web Science conference in June.

Registration will be just 50 pounds to attend the full 5 days of the conference.

Visit the Conference Website


WST Trustee elected President of ICA

Noshir Contractor’s upcoming post as International Communication Association (ICA) president will tap into his vast expertise in creating and nurturing diverse global networks as well his insight into Web Science.

The ICA is the preeminent professional organization for communication scholars and researchers from around the globe. It was founded over 50 years ago and comprises about 4,500 members in 80 countries. Building on its past accomplishments, Noshir wants to reimagine opportunities for growth, and as President-Elect-Select, he’s set a threefold agenda to expand representation, access, and unity within the ICA.

“It is our goal to raise awareness of communication as a credible disciplinary landing ground for scholars,” he said. “I see my role as doing what I study, and that is building networks and nurturing those networks.”

Read the whole article

The team at Brave Conversations, led by Anni Rowland-Campbell, has been working on Web Science questions where “the rubber meets the road” since even before hosting their first event under the Web Science umbrella in 2017. They have travelled the world speaking with governments and businesses whilst dragging in unsuspecting “real people” to talk about social + technological issues and the sensitive topics that they raise for all of us.

Brave Conversations continues to be extremely popular and we want to recognise the incredible impact that the team has had in a way that complements and extends what our academic partners are trying to do through research.

With this in mind we are announcing that Brave Conversations (a product of becomes the latest distinguished WST Gold Partner.

Visit Brave Conversations

Untangling the Web Podcast

This new series is hosted by Web Science expert, Northwestern University professor and President-Elect-Select of the International Communication Association (ICA), Noshir Contractor. Noshir interviews thought leaders in the technology and research space to help all of us (including non-experts) navigate some of the most burning issues in Web Science: the study of how the Web is shaping and influencing our society just as we are shaping and influencing the Web.

In each episode (there will soon be 10 in the series) Noshir invites guests with unique perspectives and policy/research experiences to talk about various facets of Web Science. You can subscribe to UTW on Apple, Spotify and other Podcast platforms.

Through this, listeners can hear about the challenges — and excitement — that comes with understanding how networks of people and machines interact on a global scale. And how we can avoid the Internet fragmenting into distinct “splinternets.”

Visit the Podcast Homepage


with thanks to NUS for this article.

NExT++ Centre conducts leading-edge research into deriving useful insights from heterogeneous data analytics that are sometimes known as Big Data.

The Centre has been working on rich media content analysis and search, live social media analytics for several years. As a result, the Centre develops large-scale systems working with live social media data, wellness data, and question-answering. Besides producing more than hundred publications in leading conferences, the Centre has also incubated two successful technology startup companies — ViSenze, focusing on mobile visual search and analytics, and 6Estates, focusing on unstructured data analytics for finance and marketing.

NExT have been working with three key trends in R&D in IT and applications:

  • The availability of large-scale multi-channel heterogeneous data along with domain knowledge. Computational models have had to be able to take advantage of these data types and channels for effective computation
  • The emergence and dominance of deep learning AI systems for a wide range of applications. Many such applications in vertical domains with large amounts of data are being solved effectively. However, although deep learning methods are found to be effective, they are often criticized for being opaque, unexplainable, and occasionally make big mistakes that humans would not usually make
  • The development of AI systems that are trustworthy and accountable. With AI systems being used in applications that affect users’ daily lives, many governments, corporations, and increasingly end users are demanding these systems to be ethical, accountable, and robust. As explainability is the easiest to tackle, many current research efforts focus on explainable AI.
  • Visit the Lab Page


WSTNet Vice-Chair Tat-Seng Chua

Our Centre Director at NUS (and Vice-Chairman of WSTNet) is Professor Tat-Seng Chua. He has co-authored/edited over 600 publications in support of his teaching and research projects. He has been the co-Director of NExT++ Center, a joint research centre between NUS and Tsinghua University on Extreme Search, since 2010. He also founded the Lab for Media Search (LMS), which conducts regular seminars on Multimedia Information Retrieval and Social Media Analytics. He has regularly hosted summer schools bringing together students from multiple WSTnet universities internationally.

His main research interests include unstructured data analytics, multimedia information retrieval, recommendation and conversation systems and emerging applications in e-commerce and fintech.

When we spoke to Tat-Seng we asked about Web Science and his ground-breaking work on Observatories of social media content. He said:

“These observatories enable us to mine weak signals and to perform causal reasoning to infer users insights from the data streams, with applications in FinTech, food security, and infectious disease detection.”

Learn more about Tat-Seng

FOCUS ON Students: Jessica (MIT)

Jessica Van Brummelen is a Mechanical Engineering student, orginally from Canada, whose focus lay in the area of autonomous vehicles/systems. Like many researchers who end up drawn to the Web Science perspective (networks of people and technology at large scale), the engineering question: “How do we decide what the car should do?” started to morph into other more socially-oriented questions such as:

What are the social implications of the decisions made by the vehicle’s AI?

At the time of her undergraduate engineering research, Jessica was volunteering teaching the Scratch programming language to students across a range of ages when she applied to Hal Abelson’s MIT App Inventor PhD programme.

Several of these earlier threads were drawn together into a research proposal centered around the interplay between mobile apps, teaching children and AI learning. Jessica is now studying for her PhD at MIT.

Her research activities fall into three areas:

  • Working with children/teachers using AI and programming and having them consider the implications of the instructions they give to machines
  • Having the children “teach” an AI and consider the implications of mistakes that the AI can make if it learns incorrectly and who has the power/responsibility to address those mistakes
  • Programming AI’s through a conversational interface.

When we spoke to Jessica it was striking how her work fell squarely into the Web Science domain considering not only the “mechanics” of the technology but also the AI as an agent in the human/machine interaction and the importance of the ethics and perceived responsibilities in that interaction.

We wish Jessica every success in her research and look forward to hearing more about it in the future.

Jessica’s recent publications include:

(preprint; conditionally accepted to be presented at EAAI at AAAI Feb. 2-9, 2021)

(preprint; conditionally accepted to be presented at CHI May 8-13 2021)

(2020 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC))

(EAAI at AAAI 2020)

If you would like to nominate a student or have your own PhD research featured in a future newsletter please send a name, an email address and a brief summary of the PhD topic to

Say Hello – Wave Goodbye

Steffen Staab steps down as Chair of the WSTNet labs and joins as a new WST Trustee Board member – congratulations Steffen. Emilio Ferrara takes over as our new Chair of the WSTNet labs and is joined by Tat-Seng Chua who joins as Vice-Chair – congratulations and welcome!

We are very sad to say goodbye to Joanna Lewis who, whilst remaining a friend of WST and an enthusiastic supporter of Web Science, is stepping down as a Director and Trustee. Sincere thanks for all your hard work over many years.

Recent Publications 

Unsurprisingly, in this COVID year, when so many things went online, there were plenty of important books about the Web and the Internet, some from within Web Science, as well as journalistic or business-oriented texts that chronicle how technology affects us, and is delivered.

Here is a selection of some of the publications that caught our eye:

  • Anu Bradford, The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World (Oxford University Press), describes the EU’s use of law to extend its global reach on issues like privacy and consumer safety.
  • Laura DeNardis, Derrick L. Cogburn, Nanette S. Levinson & Francesca Musiani (eds.), Researching Internet Governance: Methods, Frameworks, Futures (M.I.T. Press), an impressive collection of methodological chapters from leading figures.
  • Mark Elliott, Elaine Mackey & Kieron O’Hara, The Anonymisation Decision-Making Framework: European Practitioners’ Guide (UKAN), an upgrade of Elliott et al’s ADF data anonymisation methodology to address new issues brought in by GDPR, available for free download
  • Sarah Frier, No Filter: The Inside Story of How Instagram Transformed Business, Celebrity and Our Culture (Simon & Schuster) narrates the rise, and painful absorption into Facebook, of the photo sharing platform.
  • Reed Hastings & Erin Meyer, No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention (Virgin), the boss of Netflix sets out his management philosophy.
  • Mireille Hildebrandt & Kieron O’Hara (eds.), Life and the Law in the Era of Data-Driven Agency (Edward Elgar), an international multidisciplinary collection of chapters reacting to legal, political, philosophical and technical issues raised by Hildebrandt’s 2015 book Smart Technologies and the End(s) of Law.
  • Jill Lepore, If Then: How One Data Company Invented the Future (John Murray), a celebrated historian becomes an archaeologist of the data world, recounting the men and women who created Simulmatics, a pioneering analytics company of the 1960s.
  • Kevin Macnish & Jai Galliott (eds.), Big Data and Democracy (Edinburgh University Press), is an international collection of papers largely from the perspective of philosophy and politics.
  • Charlton McIlwain, Black Software: The Internet and Racial Justice, From the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter (Oxford University Press), chronicling the neglected figures who worked to make black politics central to the Internet’s birth and paved the way for 21st century activism for racial justice.
  • Johan Norberg, Open: The Story of Human Progress (Atlantic Books), arguing that the principles of openness that drove the development of the Internet have been key to human progress throughout history.
  • Carissa Véliz, Privacy is Power: Why and How You Should Take Back Control of Your Data (Bantam Press), continues the debate kicked off by Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, by arguing from a philosophical perspective that the trade in personal data should be banned.

Recent/Upcoming Events

  • WebSci’21 21-25 June 2021, Southampton, UK and many other locations
  • Brave Conversations is coming to WebSci’21 and later in Riyadh date tbc. 


Thank you as always for subscribing to the WST Newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in the next edition. If you have any events, courses and news that you would like to share across the WST network please do get in touch via email using:

Subscribe to our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. Visit our WST homepage for more news and updates on upcoming events.

Best wishes,
Web Science Trust Team

Copyright (C) 2021 Web Science Trust. All rights reserved.


Spring 2020 Newsletter


Spring Newsletter

With major disruption following the Coronavirus outbreak we’ll be considering the impact that networks (of people and of (dis)information) are having and the issue of network resilience highlighted by panic buying/selling. In this edition we’ll talk about our newest WSTNet Lab in India and link to spotlight interviews with a WSTNet Student and one of our WSTNet Labs.  

In This Issue:

Coronavirus – A Networks Perspective 

WebSci’20 Southampton: An Update

WSTNet Lab Profile: Inria

PhD Profile: Simon Jonsson (Southampton)

Saying Hello/Goodbye

Recent Publications

Recent and Upcoming Events

Coronavirus – A Networks Perspective

Whilst at its heart the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, and the associated COVID-19 pandemic, is a biological event, the impacts and reporting around it have social impact in many ways, for example in the ways we react to the event, cope with it, and judge our governments and health services.

Earlier this week several major social media providers including Google, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks released a joint statement ( in support of handling fake news and mis-information related to COVID-19. Our perceptions of the outbreak (as much as any objective facts) have led to fake cures, conspiracy theories, stock market panic selling (even across normally negatively correlated instruments) and panic buying of, and price gouging (profiteering) around, hard-to-find supplies; all of which have figured prominently in recent news reports. A notable common thread running through many of these issues (and also the evidence-based approach to modelling the spread of the virus) is the perspective that many of them could be considered to be networks: epidemiological networks, supply-chain networks, financial networks, social networks, academic/business networks and “social machines” (the interaction between human and machine actors in large networks). Command-and-control hierarchies are simply overwhelmed by the movement of information at scale through these networks.

Click here to read the full article.

WebSci’20 Southampton: An Update

ACM Web Science (now in its 12th year) will be hosted by the Web Science Institute (WSI) at the University of Southampton July 7th-July 10th 2020. With so many live events already cancelled or under review, the organisers have stressed that several alternatives were considered to both support the work of the Web Science research community whilst safeguarding the health of its members.

The conference committee led by Prof. Dame Wendy Hall has announced:

“ Given the situation in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19), the ACM Web Science Conference will this year run as an online conference, where presenters will be able to present their work remotely to the online participants. Once we have the infrastructure plans in place we will publish the registration fees, which will be nominal. We will provide updates via this website and mailing lists.

The Conference Committee sends its best wishes to you and your families during this challenging time.”

The conference website is available with information about the event and readers will be updated with details and advice as the situation develops.

WSTNet Lab Profile: Inria

Inria is the French national research institute for digital science and technology. World-leading research and technological innovation are an integral part of its DNA. Inria’s 3,500 researchers and engineers put their passion for digital technology to work in nearly 200 project teams, most of which are joint teams with our academic partners, including major research universities and the CNRS. They explore new fields, often in collaboration with different disciplines and industrial partners, with the aim of meeting ambitious challenges.

As a technology institute, Inria supports the development of numerous software products, sometimes making a global impact via the open source model. Because technology start-ups are powerful channels for research outcomes, Inria also supports entrepreneurial risk-taking and start-up creation (Deeptech). Firmly established on major university campuses and in industrial ecosystems, the Institute is at the heart of the digital revolution.

Click Here to see the full article.


Fabien Gandon is a Research Director and Senior Researcher at Inria, France.

Fabien’s PhD in 2002 pioneered the joint use of distributed artificial intelligence (AI) and Semantic Web to manage a variety of data sources and users above a Web architecture. Then, as a research project leader at Carnegie Mellon University (USA), he proposed AI methods to enforce privacy preferences in querying and reasoning about personal data. In 2004, recruited as a researcher at Inria, he started to study models and algorithms to integrate social media and knowledge-based AI systems on the Web while keeping humans in the loop. In 2012 he became the representative of Inria at W3C and founded Wimmics, a joint research team on bridging social and formal semantics on the Web with AI methods. In 2017 he established and became the director of the joint research laboratory between Inria and the QWANT search engine. 

Fabien remarked :

“In Web Science, we should build our research program as a joint effort with two research fields born in the 50s: “AI” for Artificial Intelligence and “IA” for Intelligence Amplification and Intelligence Augmentation. The Web Science research agenda must account for the fact that the long term potential of the Web is to augment and link all forms of intelligence.”

Click here to read the full article
Click here to visit the Inria website
WSTNet Student Profile: Simon Jonsson

Simon is completing his second year at the Web Science Institute (WSI) at the University of Southampton where he is working towards a PhD in Web Science on “Increasing engagement and learning performance in educational apps”.

We spoke to Simon about his interest in enhanced learning techniques and how he hopes to contribute towards improved learning experiences at a time when many are relying so heavily on remote and on-line learning approaches.

Simon’s take on Web Science from his own experience:
“The most significant aspect of Web Science has been the interdisciplinarity – the opportunity to work with aspects of education coming from a background in Maths and Psychology. That interdisciplinarity is so important.”

Click here to read the full article

Say Hello – Wave Goodbye

WSTNet continues to grow steadily and we are delighted to announce that the IIIT Bangalore is the latest Lab to join the network indicating the growing interest in Web Science in India. 

  • Our Koblenz Lab director, Prof. Steffen Staab, has moved to the University of Stuttgart and his replacement will be announced in the next newsletter. 
  • Prof. Yike Guo, Lab Director for Imperial, is working at the University of Hong Kong and will be supported by his Data Science Lab team in his absence.
Recent Publications

Mireille Hildebrandt & Kieron O’Hara (eds.), Life and the Law in the Era of Data-Driven Agency,

Sarah J. Jackson, Moya Bailey & Brooke Foucault Welles, #HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice,

Steven Levy, Facebook: The Inside Story, 

Joanne McNeil, Lurking: How a Person Became a User,

Fil Menczer, Santo Fortunato & Clayton A. Davis, A First Course in Network Science,

Daniel Susskind, A World Without Work: Technology, Automation and How We Should Respond,

Anna Wiener, Uncanny Valley: A Memoir,

See also two interesting new policy interventions: 

The new European Commission has already marked out a strong focus on issues to do with digital technology, developing (and defining?) an EU fit for the digital age. For the EU’s Digital Strategy, see

Meanwhile, a new report by Diane Coyle and colleagues for the Nuffield Foundation in the UK has examined the complex problem of how we put a value on the data that we create and exchange. See their literature review and the policy implications at

Head over to the website to see more Web Science publications
Recent and Upcoming Events
February 12th 2020.  Brave Conversations in Bengaluru, India.
The new Web Science Lab at IIIT Bangalore ran a lively event together with students from the WSI, Southampton as part of the Brave Conversations series.

July 6th-7th 2020.  Brave Conversations in Southampton, UK. 
Brave Conversations has become a global event organised by Intersticia running short courses all across the globe for businesses, government and individuals to come together to discuss both the Why and the How of technology in the context of social goods and ethical choices.

July 7th-10th 2020.  12th Annual ACM WebSci’20 Conference at University of Southampton. Details and updates are available on the website and can be found here.
Thank you for subscribing to the WST Newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in the next edition. If you have any events, courses and news that you would like to share across the WST network please do get in touch via email using:

Subscribe to our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. Visit our WST homepage for more news and updates on upcoming events.

We hope you enjoy the new Newsletter – please don’t hesitate to let us know what you think and if we can improve our service.  Send us an email to
Best wishes,
Web Science Trust Team

Summer 2020 Newsletter

Summer Newsletter

Welcome to the Summer (remote, locked-down and socially distanced) WST newsletter. With the fully virtual ACM WebSci’20 all done and dusted, we look at the challenges of virtual working, link to a spotlight piece on one of our WSTNet Labs and talk about the new Web Science podcast series.  

In This Issue:

The Rise of the New “VC” 
WebSci’20 Southampton: A Virtual SuccessWSTNet Lab Profile: RPI
Web Science Manifesto 2020New Web Science Podcast SeriesSay Hello – Wave GoodbyeRecent PublicationsRecent and Upcoming Events

The Rise of the New VC

Whilst VC chiefly used to stand for “Venture Capital” in the business world and “Vice Chancellor” in Academia, the huge impact of COVID-19 on travel and face-to-face meetings (both now and the foreseeable future) has re-focused both the personal and work parts of our lives on the “Video Conference” and we predict that academia will also see an increasing and perhaps permanent growth in remote teaching/learning, remote research collaboration and partially or entirely “Virtual” conferences.

Click here to read the full article.

 WebSci’20 Southampton: A Virtual Success

 ACM Web Science (now in its 12th year) ran as a fully virtual event hosted by the Web Science Institute (WSI) at the University of Southampton from July 7th-July 10th 2020.

Despite all the challenges around COVID and having to re-organise the conference just weeks before the event, the team were able to deliver a conference with the highest ever number of attendees, great quality papers and an amazing line up of guest speakers and panelists. Attendees logged to join hosted talks, panels, Q&A sessions and paper sessions from around the world and the organisers are delighted with both the quality and feedback from the conference.

The organisers reported that the event was so successful as a virtual conference that plans are already underway to run an expanded version for WebSci’21. To look back at the event the WebSci’20 conference website is available with links to selected materials from the event. 

Throughout the five-day event, delegates from as far afield as Africa and Australia participated in panel debates and paper sessions exploring the future of the Web, particularly in the age of COVID-19.

One of the WebSci’20 panels including internet pioneer Vint Cerf was  broadcast by the BBC as part of the BBC Digital Planet Podcast.

Another highlight of the week was the gathering of the original Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI) founders – an initiative that was set up in 2006 between Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Southampton to coordinate and support the study of the World Wide Web. Summing up the conference, Chair Wendy Hall said: “The conference was a great success and because it was online it enabled more speakers and delegates to be able to access it. I strongly believe that is the way forward for future conferences.”The conference hosts have collected a series of summary blog posts which can be found here.

The conference highlight reel can be seen here WebSci’20 Highlight reel – with thanks to Lisa Harris and Jake Foster

WSTNet Lab Profile: RPI

RPI (the Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute) is based in Troy, New York state comprising 30 research centres and over 750 PhD students. These research teams are engaged in projects worth over $100 million.   

RPI’s Center for Computational Innovations (CCI) is home to one of the most powerful (eight petaflop) supercomputers on the November 2019 Top 500 ranking of supercomputers (named AiMOS – Artificial Intelligence Multiprocessing Optimized System). RPI is making AiMOS available (in partnership with IBM, academic institutions, and national labs) to understand and address the threat of COVID-19.

RPI hosts the Tetherless World Constellation (TWC) which is an active WSTNet laboratoryassociated with the Web Science community.Deborah McGuinness is a professor in the computer science and cognitive science departments and the director of the Web Science Research Center at Rensselaer. She is a leading expert on knowledge representation and reasoning languages, ontology creation and evolution environments, and provenance.  

Deborah McGuinness
Click here to see TWC’s WSTNet Page
Click here to visit the RPI website

Click here to see the full article

Web Science Manifesto 2020 
The updated manifesto was presented July 9 in the Spotlight Panel: Research Roadmap at the ACM International Conference on Web Science. It was finalized before Covid-19 hit hard globally, but its statements have become even more important as lockdowns and social distancing have forced so many human activities online. This Manifesto synthesizes and extends results from the Perspectives Workshop “10 Years of Web Science” that took place at Schloss Dagstuhl from June 24 – 29, 2018.

Click here to read the full article

New Web Science Podcast Series 
The Web Science Trust is excited to announce the launch of a series of Web Science podcasts in association with the team at SONIC, led by Prof. Noshir Contractor. The new series is called Untangling the Web and features live interviews of leading thinkers and researchers in Web Science and on Web Science-related topics. Untangling the Web is a podcast of the Web Science Trust, a charity promoting the understanding of the Web, through education and research in the discipline of Web Science.On this podcast, we bring thought leaders from around the world to explore how the Web is shaping society and how society in turn is shaping the Web. We hope to improve our understanding of the Web, promote the Web’s positive impact on society – and change the Web for the betterUntangling the Web launched at WebSci’20 and will be available soon on Apple, Spotify and other Podcasts platforms. As part of the initial program, our first two podcasts can be found here or on the main WST site.Say Hello – Wave GoodbyeNo new Labs this time but a new lab director and an upcoming appointment for the WSTNet chair. Dr. Emilio Ferrara takes over as new Lab Director at USC and has been nominated as new WSTNet director from January 2021 taking over from Prof. Steffen Staab who will be joining the main WST board of trustees. Prof. Tat Seng Chua from National University of Singapore (NUS) becomes Deputy Director of WSTNet.

Recent Publications
The best papers for WebSci’20 can be seen on the main conference website here.
We presented two “meet the author” sessions at the conference: 

"Lie Machines" by Philip N. Howard
Phil Howard discussed his new book “Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives”ISBN: 9780300250206
Language: EnglishPublisherYale University Press (23 Jun 2020)and 

Front Cover

Sasha Costanza-Chock discussed their book “Design Justice: Community-Led Practices To Build The Worlds We Need”Publisher: MIT Press (3 April 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0262043459This book is also free to read electronically at design justice. 


Head over to the website to see more Web Science publications 

Recent and Upcoming Events July 6th 2020.  Brave Conversations in CyberSpace (Southampton, UK) 
Brave Conversations has become a global event organised by Intersticia running short courses all across the globe for businesses, government and individuals to come together to discuss both the Why and the How of technology in the context of social goods and ethical choices. 

July 7th-10th 2020. 12th Annual ACM Web Science Conference (WebSci’20) Conference hosted (virtually) by the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton. Details can be found here.

June 28th-July 2nd 2021 Web Science Summer School (WSSS’21) – Caen, France

TBA 2021 13th Annual ACM Web Science Conference (WebSci’21) – Online
 Thank you for subscribing to the WST Newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in the next edition. If you have any events, courses and news that you would like to share across the WST network please do get in touch via email using:

Subscribe to our Facebook page and follow us on TwitterVisit our WST homepage for more news and updates on upcoming events. Best wishes,
Web Science Trust Team

Winter Newsletter 2019


Winter Newsletter

It’s been an exciting year and there have been lots of changes. Having wrapped up WebSci19 in Boston we are already focussing on next year’s conference which we are delighted to announce will be coming to the UK and is being hosted by the Web Science Institute in Southampton. In this edition we’ll talk about Tim Berners-Lee’s new Contract for the Web, our newest WSTNet Labs, a new WST Chairman, a new platform to learn about our Labs and spotlight interviews with a WSTNet Student and one of our WSTNet Labs.  

In this issue:

Tim Berners-Lee’s new Contract for the Web
WebSci20 in Southampton
Dame Wendy Hall talks about (…Turing…)
Phil Howard Distinguished Lecture
WSTNet Lab Profile: Fraunhofer FOKUS
PhD Profile: Amir Javed (Cardiff)
Saying Hello/Goodbye
Recent Publications
Recent and Upcoming Events
Tim Berners-Lee’s Contract for the Web

Sir Tim Berners-Lee has launched a website called intended to lay out the behaviour/responsibilities of international internet giants, such as Google and Facebook, national governments and individual web citizens. 

Image result for tim berners lee

The document is 32 pages long and calls itself as “a global plan of action to make our online world safe and empowering for everyone”. It lists nine principles for the Web (three aimed at governments, three for companies and three for individuals) and can be downloaded here as a pdf.

Why add these social rules 30 years after the technical rules were released? The paper claims that whilst the Web “has changed the world for good and improved the lives of billions… (it) comes with too many unacceptable costs”.

The Contract is supported by more than 150 organisations, including GitHub, Reddit and DuckDuckGo and perhaps surprisingly, Facebook and Google who were recently cited by Prof. Berners-Lee as examples of companies with too much market dominance.

WebSci20 coming to Southampton

ACM Web Science (now in its 12th year) will be hosted in the UK at the University of Southampton. The conference will be held in the University’s latest addition, the Centenary Building, which marks its 100 years occupancy of the current site.

The conference website is already up with information about getting to Southampton, and the programme structure. The site will be updated with details of the workshops/tutorials and speaker line-up as these are finalised.

Dame Wendy Hall on Alan Turing

Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Executive Director of WST and head of Southampton’s WSTNet Lab the Web Science Institute (WSI) features in a new series of short films featuring Fellows of the Royal Society discussing their favourite scientists in history. In an interview with Professor Brian Cox, Dame Wendy talks about the life and works of Alan Turing. His contributions in both theoretical research and engineering have, Hall argues, provided a firm grounding for modern computing and data science.

Turing’s  work at Bletchley Park delivered vital elements to the solution for cracking intercepted coded messages from the Enigma machine during World War II that enabled the Allies to create an intelligence advantage. 

“He fought all his life to achieve what he wanted to achieve despite being ‘different’,” … “He epitomises the battle for equality, diversity and inclusion that we are still struggling with today.”

Click here to view the full article and to view the film via the BBC iplayer. 

OII Director Phil Howard Distinguished Lecture

Phil Howard, the new WSTNet Lab Director for the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), was recently invited to deliver a WSI Distinguished Lecture at Southampton.

Tomorrow’s Leviathan: Intelligent Machines in a Political World

When will an Artificial Intelligence run for elected office? This may seem like a strange provocation – just an invitation to futurism and speculation. Yet AI systems are rolling out across economic, cultural and political life. Phil explored how AI is changing our experience of politics and rewriting democracy’s “terms of service”.

Click here to read more about Phil and to watch a replay of his lecture.

WSTNet Lab Profile: Fraunhofer FOKUS

Fraunhofer FOKUS is an internationally renowned research institute in the area of information and communication technology. Emphasis is on applied research to facilitate digital transformation. Since 1988, Fraunhofer FOKUS has supported commercial enterprises and public administration in shaping digital transformation through research services ranging from requirements analysis to consulting, feasibility studies, technology development right up to prototypes and pilots. 

FOKUS is managed by Prof. Manfred Hauswirth who has been the executive director of the Institute since October 2014 and holds the chair of “Open Distributed Systems” at the Technische Universität Berlin. Since October 2019 Prof. Hauswirth has been co-spokesman for the field of quantum computing at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. In addition, from 2016 to 2018 he was spokesman of Fraunhofer’s Berlin Center for Digital Transformation. 

He previously served as Deputy Director of the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in Galway, Ireland which was previously a member of WSTNet.  
In his research work, he engages particularly with distributed information systems, the internet of things, data stream processing and artificial intelligence.

We asked Manfred about his take on Web Science …  

Click here to read the full article
Click here to visit the FOKUS website
WSTNet Student Profile: Amir Javed

Amir is based at Cardiff where he is completing a PhD where his main focus is on “drive-by” cyber attacks as they relate both to the impact on affected machines and also the social networks and social engineering that are involved in driving the attacks.  

Amir is looking for early warning signs of infection and identifying suspicious users and activities to inoculate against drive-by attacks.

“I’m based at Cardiff University and my focus is on a particular type of cyber attack called “drive-by downloads” which are typically combined with social media posts on platforms like Twitter”
We spoke to Amir about his current research, future plans and how Web Science relates to his approach.

Click here to read the full article

 Amir has submitted his Thesis and is shortly to be appointed a lecturer at Cardiff
Say Hello / Goodbye

Our current WST chairman Prof. Jim Hendler is stepping down this year but we are delighted to report he is staying on the Board of Trustees. His successor is JP Rangaswami who has been on the Board for several years and is passionate about Web Science in all its forms. Welcome to the chair JP!

All good things come to an end and we are sad to say goodbye to John Taysom who is stepping down as a WST Trustee and we would like to thank him for his service, his energy and wisdom.

WSTNet continues to grow steadily and we are delighted to announce that the School of Computer Engineering and Science at Shanghai University is the latest Lab to join the network indicating the growing interest in Web Science in China.  Our two Labs in Oxford (OeRC and OII) will become one under OII and its new Director Phil Howard.

Recent Publications

Head over to the website to see more Web Science publications
Recent and Upcoming Events
July 6th – 7th 2020.  Brave Conversations in Southampton. Venue TBA

Brave Conversations has become a global event organised by Intersticia running short courses all across the globe for businesses, government and individuals to come together to discuss both the Why and the How of technology in the context of social goods and ethical choices.

July 7-10th 2020.  12th Annual ACM WebSci20 Conference at University of Southampton (Registration coming soon)

WebSci will be running an extended programme next year offering a special public Symposium in addition to the more familiar workshops and plenary sessions.  The Call for Papers is available on the website and can be found here
Thank you for subscribing to the WST Newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in the next edition. If you have any events, courses and news that you would like to share across the WST network please do get in touch via email using:

Subscribe to our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. Visit our WST homepagefor more news and updates on upcoming events.

We hope you enjoy the new Newsletter – please don’t hesitate to let us know what you think and if we can improve our service.  Send us an email to
Best wishes,
Web Science Trust Team

Summer 2019 Newsletter

Following a successful ACM Web Science conference in Boston, we would like to welcome you to the first edition of the Web Science Trust (WST) Newsletter. We will be bringing you a summary of notable news and upcoming events at WST HQ and throughout the WST Network.

Our goal is to help WST supporters get the most from our service by providing news and information about publications and opportunities to meet up.

In this edition, we will be featuring our newest WSTNet Lab and meeting one of our PhD students who will talk about her work. We’ll be looking at coverage of the Web’s 30th anniversary, reviewing recent publications, including an important new book on Social Machines. We’ll sketch out recent and upcoming events, looking back at the recent ACM Web Science Conference in Boston and forward to ACM WebSci 2020 which will be hosted in the UK by the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton.

In this issue:

ACM Web Science Conference
The 30th Anniversary of the Web
Professor Susan Halford on Digital Futures
WSTNet Lab Profile: IIT Madras
PhD Profile: Ipek Baris, WeST University of Koblenz-Landau
Recent Publications
Recent and Upcoming Events

ACM WebSci Conference

ACM WebSci 2019 has just wrapped up at Northeastern University and we want to congratulate everyone who put in so much work to make it possible and also everyone who delivered papers, posters and workshops during the conference. 

It was a great event in beautiful Boston and we are pleased to announce that the 12th WebSci conference is coming to the UK in 2020 with next year’s event to be hosted by the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton.

30th Anniversary of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee ambitiously called his fledgling system a “world-wide” web even though at the start it probably didn’t feel very global. 30 years on, his vision of connecting information across servers, networks and locations has become nearly as indispensable for government, business and academia as power and light. We can read Tim’s own account in his book “Weaving the Web” including the famous anecdote of his boss’ pithy summary of the original proposal for the Web: “Vague…but exciting!!”

How fortunate, Tim commented at a recent 30th Anniversary talk, that he hadn’t chosen instead to write “Exciting …but vague!!. Click here for more links to 30th Anniversary pieces.

Professor Susan Halford on Digital Futures

In a world where society and technology interact to create rapid change, writers, scientists and individuals alike continue to ask how exactly will this affect our futures? This question is one of the core principles of Web Science and was the focus of a recent presentation at Southampton from Susan Halford (Professor of Sociology at the University of Bristol). To read more about the presentation follow this link.   

WSTNet Lab: IIT Madras

Our new feature series profiling the labs of WSTNet kicks off with a look at the Indian Institute of Technology at Madras. IIT Madras is the latest lab to join WSTNet. Head over to the website to read more about the lab or read about the Web Science Symposium held in Madras earlier this year   

PhD Profile: Meet Ipek Baris

Meet Ipek Baris – a first year PhD student at WeST University of Koblenz-Landau, who is part of our new series showcasing the work of Web Science PhD students across the globe. Ipek’s research is sponsored by the Co-Inform project of the European Union. The project aims to research and develop tools and methodologies for combating online misinformation. Read about Ipek’s research here   

Recent Publications

  • Halford, Susan, Hendler, James A., Ntoutsi, Eirini, Staab, Steffen (2019). 10 Years of Web Science: Closing The Loop (Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop 18262). Schloss Dagstuhl (vol 8, issue 6) 173-198pp.

Head over  to see more Web Science publications

Recent and Upcoming Events 

11th ACM Conference on Web Science 2019 – (June 30th – July 3rd), Boston, MA, USA

Brave Conversations – (July 16th), London, UK

WSTNet Web Science Summer School 2019 – (September 9th – 13th), University of Southampton, UK

Thank you for subscribing to the WST Newsletter. We look forward to seeing you in the next edition. If you have any events, courses and news that you would like to share across the WST network please do get in touch.

Subscribe to our Facebook page and follow us on TwitterVisit our WST homepage for more news and updates on upcoming events.

If you want to let the team know about news, events and courses that you’d like us to feature on the website and on social media send us an email using:  




We hope you enjoy the new Newsletter – please don’t hesitate to let us know what you think and if we can improve our service.  Send us an email to

Best wishes,

Web Science Trust Team