WebSci’21 | 13th ACM Web Science Conference | Second Call for Papers
21-25 June 2021
Hosted by the University of Southampton, UK, delivered on online

Globalisation, Inclusion and the Web in the Context of COVID
The Web has enabled a globally connected network of individuals and communities, but divides still exist and emerge in various online environments. Fostering an inclusive and just online environment is a persistent challenge: Web technologies can hinder or promote equity, and can exacerbate intersectional disadvantages. 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 divides in Web access, use, and skill. The theme for WebSci 2021, Globalisation, Inclusion and the Web in the Context of COVID, calls attention to these challenges, particularly in light of the ongoing global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Web Science is an interdisciplinary field dedicated to understanding the complex and multiple impacts of the Web on society, and vice versa. As such, the field of Web Science is particularly well situated to address these pressing issues. This year’s theme seeks to call attention to core issues facing the field, but as always we welcome a broad array of submissions relevant to Web Science.

Call for Papers
The 13th International ACM Conference on Web Science in 2021 (WebSci’21) is an interdisciplinary conference where a multitude of research disciplines converge with the purpose of creating a greater insight into a complex global Web than the sum of their individual parts. We invite participation from diverse fields including computer and information sciences, communication, economics, informatics, law, linguistics, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology.

Contributions may be analytical, conceptual, creative, critical, predictive, theoretical (or all of the above) and should aim, wherever possible, to cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. The conference provides a platform to a range of practitioners from Ph.D. students to experienced researchers and ideas ranging from early work through projects as well as final analysis and completed publishable work. We look to evaluate and value the impact of the Web Science approach, its current theoretical, methodological, and epistemological challenges as well as Web practices of individuals, collectives, institutions, and platforms.

Building on our theme for 2021, we especially welcome contributions that:

● Have a broader perspective on the Web and that combine analyses of Web data and other types of data (e.g., from surveys or interviews) to better understand user behaviour (i.e., online and offline)
● Present successful cases of interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary Web research
● Examine trends in globalisation, fragmentation, rejoining, and Balkanisation of the Web
● Examine automation and AI in all its manifestations relevant to the Web
● Interrogate questions of discrimination, representation, and fairness
● Bring lenses such as intersectionality or design justice to questions of marginalisation and inequality
● Consider the impact of COVID on technology adoption, risk perception and risk taking, rates of change, change management, digital health, and privacy

Methodologically, Web Science is a discipline that is agnostic to specific methods. We welcome quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research, including methods from the social sciences and computer science. In addition, we welcome work that explores the ethics of Web-based data collection and research.

More broadly, possible topics for submissions include (but are not limited to) the following:
● Ethical challenges of technologies, data, algorithms, platforms, and people in the Web
● Modeling Web-related structures, data, users and behaviours
● Impact of AI and machine learning on the development of Web Science
● Detecting, preventing and predicting anomalies in Web data (e.g., fake content, spam, algorithmic and data biases)
● Data curation, Web archives and stewardship in Web Science
● Safeguarding and governance of the Web, including anonymity, security and trust
● Temporal and spatial dimensions of the Web as a repository of information
● The architecture and philosophy of the Web
● Social machines, crowd computing and collective intelligence
● Analysis and modeling of human vs. automatic behaviour (e.g., bots) and their influence on the structure of the Web and responding behaviour
● Health and well-being online
● Humanities, arts, and culture on the Web
● Critical analyses of the Web and Web technologies
● Web economics, social entrepreneurship, and innovation
● Analysis of online social and information networks
● Legal issues including rights and accountability for AI actors
● Inclusion, literacy and the digital divide
● Health, politics, and education on the Web

Format of the submissions
Please upload your submissions via EasyChair.

The ACM Web Science Conference will run as an online conference, where authors will present their work remotely to online participants. There is one format for submission. All contributors will submit an abstract (max 400 words) followed by a full paper of between 6 and 10 pages (inclusive of references, appendices, etc.). The authors shall adopt the current ACM SIG Conference proceedings template (acmart.cls). Please submit papers as PDF files using the ACM Submission template (single column), either in Microsoft Word format or with the ACM LaTeX template on Overleaf (ACM Conference Proceedings “Master” Template) using the “manuscript” option. A full description of the procedure can be found in this link (https://www.acm.org/publications/taps/word-template-workflow). Accepted papers will be formatted with the sigconf style at camera-ready time

All contributions will be judged by the Program Committee upon rigorous peer review standards for quality and fit to the conference, by at least three referees. We will adopt a single-blind review process. Do not anonymize your submissions. Submissions without authorship information will be desk-rejected without review.

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 (virtually) at the conference. In 2020, the Web Science conference registration costs were kept low, and the intention is to continue this for Web Science 2021.

Important Dates
Feb. 12, 2021 Abstract Submission Deadline
Feb. 19, 2021 Paper submission deadline
April 9, 2021 Notification
May 10, 2021 Camera-ready versions due
June 21-25 Conference dates

Best wishes
Clare Hooper, Matthew Weber, Katrin Weller (Program Chairs)
Wendy Hall and Noshir Contract (General Chairs)