Web Science Centre for Doctoral Training

Web Science Research Week – 24th-28th February 2014

Web Science Research Week – 24th-28th February 2014

An opportunity to meet Web Science students and hear about their research at Web Science Research Week.

The Web Science Institute and the Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Southampton invite you to the Web Science Research Week (24-28th February 2014) to influence research on the Web, Internet and Digital Economy. The Web Science Institute is a research and training initiative of the University of Southampton that brings together the brightest minds to generate insight and innovation on the Web, Internet and Digital Economy.

The Web Science Institute (WSI) acts as a focal point, co-ordinating and putting into practice education, research and enterprise initiatives on web-related developments at the University of Southampton. It brings together the brightest minds to generate insight and innovation.

Its inaugural research week will undertake a programme of short term projects.

The aims of the week are
- to answer questions and generate insight on issues relevant to the Web, Internet and Digital Economy
- to build relationships between Web Science partners and supporters from industry and academia
- to meet students and trainee researchers and influence and participate in their future research directions

If you are interested in applying for a Web Science MSc or PhD, you are very welcome to attend the launch on Monday 24th February or the presentations at the Royal Society in London on Friday 28th February. You will have the chance to speak to current Web Science students, read about their research during the poster session and decide whether a Web Science MSc or PhD is for you!

Research Week Programme:

Monday 24th February

Aim: Launch of the Research Week with keynote speakers, lunch and a poster session with a networking opportunity with our students and staff. Small teams of researchers set to work on each project.

11am  Welcome by Professor Dame Wendy Hall
11:15   Keynote talk from Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt and Professor Susan Halford
11:45   Introduction of the research projects by Professor Leslie Carr
12:30  Buffet lunch and Web Science Research Poster session
14:00  Research groups start their project work

Location: Building 40, Garden Court Conference Rooms, Highfield Campus, University of Southampton

Tuesday 25th-Thursday 27th February

At University of Southampton: Research teams carry out project work.

Guest Seminars

Tuesday 25th February – Building 27, Room 3056 – (includes buffet lunch from 12:15)

12:30 – Richard Jones from the National Cybercrime Unit will be talking on researching and analysing the cyber criminal career pathway. How do offenders get into cyber criminality? What are their personality traits and motivations? In which environments do they develop the interest and then go onto become involved in criminality?

1pm – Glen Hart from Ordnance Survey will talk on ‘Reinventing Ordnance Survey for the Web Age – A research perspective’

Wednesday 26th February – B32, Level 4, 4077 – (includes buffet lunch from 12:00)

12:15 – Josie Smith, Research Scientist & National Lead for Substance Misuse (Harm Reduction) from the Welsh Emerging Drugs and Identification of Novel Substances Project (WEDINOS) will introduce her organisation and their work in identifying novel psychoactive substances.

12:45pm – Sam Hepenstal, an Intelligence Analyst within Trading Standards and Community Safety at Hampshire County Council will demonstrate how the web and the open source analytic tools are being harnessed to tackle traditional crime policing areas such as rogue trade activities and food fraud.

1:15pm - Wendy Seltzer is the Policy Counsel and Technology & Society Domain Lead at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and a Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.  She will be talking  about Privacy Feedback: Privacy decisions often lack meaningful contemporary feedback, leading us to undervalue the privacy risks. This talk will look at how privacy feedback fails, particularly online, and how that affects our technological, societal, and legal responses. It suggests improving privacy feedback loops to enable better self-regulation and privacy choices.

Thursday 27th February – B32, Level 4, 4077 – (includes buffet lunch from 12:00).

12:30pm – Dr Kenji Takeda from Microsoft will give a talk on ‘Devices, Services and the Web – where next?’ – The world is moving to pervasive computing, predicated on devices and cloud services being widely available and used. This rapid transformation is both technological and social. In this talk we will explore industry trends for both consumers and business. We will then discuss our work in Microsoft and Microsoft Research in key areas such as social computing, gaming, machine learning, prediction markets, online education, and cloud computing.

1pm – John Taysom – 2012 Senior ALI Fellow, Harvard University, will talk on the following topic: ‘The underlying protocols of the internet were essentially connectionless. Adding layers of functionality to enable the maintenance of state and the delivery of the rich content we have come to rely on for work and depend on for play has also added exceptional surveillance capability to the web and to app based services. Can a less direct coupling of id to declared or observed attributes of individuals deliver better targeting and better privacy? And can a similar approach of applied web science also add value to the debate on connected medical records, smart energy metering, and even security surveillance?’

Friday 28th February – 11am

Aim: Summary presentations from each research team, closing keynotes and lunch.

11am Welcome from Professor Susan Halford

11:10 Introduction from Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt
11:20 Keynote from Liam Maxwell – Chief Technology Officer for HM Government
11:50 Presentations from the Research Project groups
12:50 Buffet lunch
13:30 Web Science Research Poster Session
14:30 ‘MOOCS – How the Web is Disrupting HE’ from Professor Hugh Davis

14:45 Closing words from Professor Dame Wendy Hall
15:00 Close

Location: Wellcome Trust Lecture Hall, The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG

Please respond to c.wyatt@soton.ac.uk if you would like to participate and indicate whether you would like to:
1) register a place for the launch on Monday 24th February 2014 at the University of Southampton
2) register a place for the closing event on Friday 28th February 2014 at The Royal Society, London

The week’s research projects are:

Obtaining Legal Highs from the Web

An investigation into the ease of obtaining drugs from the Web, based on the chatter on social networks and the media narratives.

Commissioning Cyberattacks against Business Websites

An investigation into the mechanisms for commissioning cyberattacks against business rivals, buying botnets via Tor etc.

Prevalence of antisocial behaviour on the Web

An investigation into cyberbullying, misogyny, threats, hate speech on the Web – understanding antisocial networking

Calculating the social and cultural capital of web resources

Every web page generated by every user carries a ‘value’ – very often that value is monetary. This fact has underpinned much of the success of the web – but how do you measure ‘value’ in web terms? The emergence of Real Time Bidding has provided opportunity to generate a micro payment for each advertising opportunity. But the ‘value’ of each http request is greater than that – the information contained within it contributes to so many forms of capital – social, intellectual, brand, and, of course, monetary. Every Internet giant lives and dies on these values – how can they be calculated more broadly?

Motivating Unbiased Crowds

It is well known that most crowdsourced projects attract very specific contributors. Using OpenStreetMap as an example the profile of a typical contributor is that of a middle-class technology savvy male in his twenties. In fact research has shown that active membership by women is as low as 3%. This therefore challenges the notion of crowdsourcing as truly democratic. It may be that this bias doesn’t matter, the data is obtained so, so what? However, without involving a broader-church it is impossible to answer this question in that we are unaware of what is missing or how the bias actually affects our view of what is produced. The research aim is to investigate ways of encouraging under-represented groups such as women and working class people to contribute place-related information to a web service. What would motivate them and is there a potential for obtaining different information?

Using Linked Data to Record and Expose Linked Resources

Critical to the research is the collection, curation and organisation of related work, examples and business cases that build the key evidence base upon which further work can be carried out scientifically – standing on the shoulders of giants. While an individual may be able to collate and organise references to other works, it is a much harder job to organise and expose multiple collections of resources at an organisational (and global) scale. This project aims to ask if linked data can help? The ODI uses several mechanism to collect links, references and citations, each suited to the demand of its project and individual preferences of those carrying out each project. These links and references represent a valuable resource not only to the organisation itself but also to the wider population, however organising and exposing these links in context with the reports, projects and work they relate to is a problem as yet unsolved. With several projects now complete, links and references have accumulated in Google Docs, Pinboard and Zotero and we want to find out if these references can be organised, given back context (where they have been used), interlinked (related links) and exposed. We believe linked data could hold the answer to these problems.

Historic Analysis of Government Websites

The National Archive have a collection of all UK government websites going back to 1996. What changes are visible in the use of the Web by government? What evolution in communication policies? How do government websites reflect significant current events recorded in GDELT?

MOOC Observatory

The MOOC phenomenon is hailed as the vanguard of the disruption caused by the way the web changes learning and teaching. But the answer to the question “What is a MOOC?” is changing all the time. This project will examine the antecedents and history of MOOCs, and also classify the various developing themes. We will try to identify the possible ways that the MOOC hype will progress.

Personal Data Observatory

There is an emerging movement in the ownership and curation of customer data – from business organisations as the manager of customer data to individuals managing their own data. The signs and evidence of this change, powered by open data technology and leading to new kinds of business models, needs to be analysed and documented. A “personal data timeline” that gathers together historic and current evidence from news reports and business intelligence sources will help organisations understand the implications and embrace the opportunities arising from the emerging personal information economy. (This project is supported by Ctrl-Shift consultants.)

Web Product Discovery

What patterns are emerging that show how people first discover products, beyond the usual Google or direct-to-retailer trawl? What patterns are there in how users are first encountering a product they eventually purchase – not just during a single session, but across many devices and over periods of time? Are there marked differences between products and sectors – cars, for example, as opposed to electronics? (This project is supported by Haymarket Media Group.)


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